A tour of France

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My friend Jeff Cheeseman and I had originally planned to head to the French Alps on our Kawasaki ZX9R and Honda CBR1000RR, but on the day before departure huge rain storms were forecast for the days ahead, so we used the internet to check the best weather, and decided to go anti clockwise around middle France trying to avoid the wet stuff.

The first morning we had to ride through torrential downpours which found its way into my (now ex) one-piece oversuit but by the afternoon we found dry roads and sunshine and only only got caught in one very minor shower for the next 4 days. 

First real journey using my Ipaq satnav, technology Brilliant! Directions, music. Paris, doddle.

With no hotels pre booked we just tried our luck wherever we stopped and our luck was always in, each night we planned the next leg confirming the weather on the t.v in the hotel and adjusting our route to suit.

First night we stayed in Chateauroux and savoured our decision to follow the good weather, the morning sun shone as we headed to the forests of the Limousin region we found empty newly surfaced roads twisting like a snake though the trees egging us on to greater angles of lean I’m sure I could hear Jeff giggling?

We stopped for lunch and decided that the wather was with us and we were about 150 miles away from the Millau bridge so following a long morning of twisties we blasted along the motorway joined every now and then by ever eager bikers heading down to the Moto GP in Catalunya. We arrived at the quite amazing sculpture called the Millau Bridge and rode across slowly so that I could take a picture (with my phone!)
   The morning we headed north (rain sweeping in from south) and took in the Gorge Du Tarn, what a find not the fastest but oh so scenic weaving through rock faces and along the edge of a beautiful river. We spotted three guys on Repsol Blades and leathers to match coming the other way (It’s nice to be different!)
 The final leg was weird from France to Germany, Luxembourg then Belgium all in an afternoon, skirting along the Mosel river in the warm sun is recommended though a little crowded at times as it seems its the local bikers rideout.
 So many good roads and memorable moments and what a great way to build a friendship, but here are some of the standouts…..

Funniest…in Luxembourg we stopped unintentionally at a very expensive restaurant. Ordering the cheapest item on the menu, we were a little unsure about being fed with local asparagus and cheese sauce. It’s an  acquired taste, (and it makes your pee smell foul!). At night the town centre of Charleroi was alive with stag & hen parties and we were serenaded by a group of scantly clad ladies whilst watching a guy have yogurt hurled at him whilst dressed as a clown,,
Wierdest.. . We walked into a country cafe and sat with locals. Not being given a menu or seeing anything on the boards, we were just brought  what all the locals were eating. Luckily it was a three course traditional workers meal, different but enjoyable.
Then we found out much later that Jeff knew one of the Repsol Boys!
Scariest …..Sitting in a bar after a few beers realising I had lost my keys in one of the bars, running back to find it had closed, but a big bang on the door brought out the owner and promptly gave me my keys!
Best Roads …..D940 Guret to Tulle  N89 Tulle to Clermont Ferrand and the Gorge Du Tarn Oh must not forget the N10 along the Mosel River.

Graham Bell

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By Graham Bell