With the English summer well and truly washed out by the rains, it felt like the right time to take a holiday and where better than sunny South of France?
Once a year, James and I like to blow the cobwebs off our leathers and take our own hogs out for a road trip. We’ve got biker friends up and down the country, so we’ll usually be happy hitting the A-roads of the UK, stopping off at our favourite cafe’s and roadside pitstops along the way, however this summer was different. This summer has been wet to say the least, whilst we’ve certainly had our fair share of sunshine between the downpours, there have been so many downpours that we’ve even had a few late cancellations from bikers who have had to take refuge from the rain. This kind of weather does not make for good business! Still, now that that the summer seasons has effectively been put to an end, James and I at least had the chance to take a much needed holiday.
After another quiet weekend at the Engine Inn, James and I settled down to look at renting a villa in the South of France, it’s rare that we consider going far out of our comfort zone, but we were both hungry for some sun and didn’t want to risk two weeks of miserable bike rides through the UK for our only holiday this year. As any bikers reading this will know, setting the right destination is crucial for any road trip. When part of the experience of the holiday is riding your bikes, you don’t want to set your destination to close to home, otherwise you may find yourself with a bit too much spare time on your hands. Set your finish line a little too far away, however, and you run the risk of tiring yourself out and not having enough juice left to enjoy the evening. It’s also important to have a route laid out so that you can guarantee a place to rest your head (and shelter your bikes) for the night.
Two weeks is a lot of time to play with and we felt pretty confident in setting our end point for Marseille, a good 800 miles or so away. We loaded up our bikes on Sunday night and set out for Dover early the next morning to catch the first ferry across the channel. Ever since we started riding together, James has always favoured tailing over the vanguard position. In his youth he liked to ride up front, with nothing but the horizon to chase, but now he says he prefers to follow behind me. I don’t mind taking the lead, navigation has certainly gotten easier with advances in GPS and bluetooth headsets built into helmets.
After a fine, but breezy morning ride, we arrived in France proper and began our journey down south, in search of the sun and a fine glass of wine. We’d scheduled a couple of stops on the way down to Marseille, including a couple of spots to picnic – but those are stories for another time and another blog!