Peering out of the window of the Hotel Kyriad in Etaples, the rain was lashing down and the trees bent in half. We were about to set out on day two of our mini break to France, heading to a town just north of Le Mans to visit our mates. My other half, Mark, was in the car, while I thought it’d be fun to ride over on the Street 750. I hadn’t banked on Storm Katie taking hold, with her 60mph winds and stair-rod rain, which meant it was going to be a very long 230-mile day of riding.
I’d thought I’d be taking the scenic route but realised the safer option in weather like that was to stick to motorways, travelling in convoy with Mark. I’ve driven the journey a few times and hadn’t realised just how exposed the roads are. I kept an eye on the horizontal windsocks that lined the route, making sure I kept as relaxed as possible. The Harley’s not designed to travel at speed but I wanted get to my fuel stop as quickly as possible so I was pushing on. When I filled up the higher speed had reduced my fuel economy to a disappointing 42mpg. I found my fingertips were tingling because of vibrations through the handlebars − not pleasant, but bearable.
Turning off the motorway at last to find drier roads and a few sweeping bends, I was able to lower the speeds, lift my head and enjoy the final 20 miles of the ride. Seeing La Maison du Foster come into view, I couldn’t wait to get off the bike, stretch my rather weary legs and enjoy a chilled glass of rosé!
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