RIDING AFTER 30 YEARS OFF – CHAPITRE NUMÉRO QUATRE
FOR ONE VERY EVENTFUL ROUND-TRIP TO PARIS
We've done it! We (my husband and I) got to Paris on C90s (or one C90 for the last part of the journey) in time to watch our son run the Paris Marathon. After 30 years off from riding, I can safely say getting back on again has been an experience.
For those of you who missed it, here're parts one, two, and three of our trip so far. Finally, we're on our way home, and I begin to wonder, would I do this again? Perhaps a decision would be reached once I was safely back home and on the sofa with a cuppa. But for now...
The advantages of riding pillion
Back on the road. The journey out of Paris was as hard work as the journey in, but once on the outskirts, we were able to follow the route we had planned, me reading the directions from several pieces of paper.
We were heading for Le Touquet to stay with our friend Maggie who has an amazing Guest House – I think this was about a 6-hour journey with a couple of stops for coffee and petrol etc.
The advantage of being a pillion on a Honda 90 is that when the bike stops e.g. at lights, you can stand right up from the bike with your feet on the ground to give yourself some rear-end pressure relief. You can’t do this on a bigger bike so, in all fairness, being a pillion on such a little bike is no different in terms of comfort. It’s also a lot easier to get on and off.
We spent a lovely restful catch-up evening and the next morning with Maggie, who cooked us a splendid dinner with delicious champagne and wine that made the journey all the more worthwhile.
Welcome back to England!
The next morning, having decided to head to Calais to get the Eurotunnel to Folkestone, we headed up the coast road through Boulogne, Wimereux, and Sangatte. A route Dave (my husband) would not normally take, as he's usually in a hurry to get the miles done. I'm glad he did, as it was a great road with some lovely scenery.
We rolled off the train and Dave went on to reserve – except it was already on reserve. It seems the fuel tap is the other way round on a Honda 90 than every other bike Dave has had. Doh!! A quick look at the sat nav showed a Tesco garage a mile and a half away. Dave pushed the bike, I walked much slower as I had the luggage on my back; half way there the sky opened with rain and hail. Welcome back to England!
I decided that I would not consider our journey as well and truly over until I was sat on the sofa at home with a cup of tea. I had a quick check on the phone for the weather and it looked like it was a passing shower.
The intention was to go back to London via smaller roads but by this point, we both just wanted to get home, so the A20 was our designated route back. It felt so long, and I can’t imagine how Dave was feeling at this stage doing all the riding with 2-up on that poor little bike.
'"Where's the bike now?"'
Once home, Dave shared with me his thoughts about our trip; we both agreed it was a shame my C90 broke down - it was going so well, after all, wasn't it? He did admit to having to adjust his expectations about how easy it should have been to cover what were relatively short distances, saying that, when he goes trail riding, it's not unusual for him to cover 100 miles in a good day's ride. Still, he confirmed that he'd had a laugh, and began contemplating the idea of a longer trip - perhaps one where the odd problem could be dealt with en route...
And what have I learned from this experience? The French roads are lovely to ride on – so much quieter with so fewer cars. There’s hardly any traffic during the long lunch breaks, and less so on a Monday when everything seems to close down. Speed bumps are a pain through the towns, but no worse than at home. I think I could give it another go! Oh, and 'where’s the bike now?', you may ask. Well, the lovely Jean-Michel has it securely in his garage waiting for us to go pick it up, but that’s another story….
Big thanks to Dave and Caroline in Brighton for their hospitality. Jean-Michel for bike sitting. Maggie in Le Touquet (if ever stopping in the area check out: belvederefrance.com). And our friends and family who went to Paris using every route possible to make for a great weekend to support Martin.
But mainly CONGRATULATIONS to Martin for his great run that he did for a great cause: Macmillan Cancer Support.
13/05/16 Great! People have more fun doing that type of trip I'm sure, even though it's harder & more demanding than the norm
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