Triumph Rat Motorcycle Forums banner
  • Hey everyone! Enter your ride HERE to be a part of this month's Bike of the Month Challenge!

1 - 20 of 42 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know its still cold, and the 'bike season', whatever that is, doesn't start for a while but ...

I've managed to get someone to watch the dogs and our daughter, for a few days (4-5) so that my wife and I can spend a few days on the bikes, some time around the end of April.

I'm based in the UK near Londonand just wondering if anyone has any advice on places to go. I like the option of the Eurotunnel (no need to get someone to strap down your bike and whatever that entails) and just would feel better sitting with my bike.

We want to avoid the motorways and traffic and stick to quiet A roads. We've never toured before and this would be dipping our toes in the water to see how long we feel like riding, what is involved, hopefully for a bigger trip in the summer to Spain or something. Mileage wise the most I've done in a day was about 350 miles in freezing temperatures, but my wife's on a HD Sportster and I know they are a little more tiring to ride (though tons of fun). So maybe 250 day is about right, more maybe when needed but not too much.

So, to my follow Brits, if you had 4-5 days or slow-mo riding, where would you go?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
397 Posts
Well, I would most certainly take a couple of days to have a leisurely ride along the south coast to Land's End, Cornwall... and then ride back along the N. side of the Peninsula... You can then ride back via the Cotswolds, taking in Cheddar (the home of Cheddar cheese), Glastonbury Tor, Stonehenge, Oxford on your way back to London. You can do all of that on 'A' roads with some awesome scenery and quaint English towns along the way. To enjoy it properly you will probably need most if not all of your time though, but it could be done in a couple of days if you don't really stop much to look at stuff.

If you want more info PM me and I can give you some weblinks to various points of interest, etc along the way.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
591 Posts
In Summer - Scotland! Without a shadow of doubt. If you've watched the Monty Halls programme on a Sunday night on BBC2 he is near Applecross and it is STUNNING up there.

In France, well, once at Sangat, head along the coast towards Le Touquet and then into Brittany - lovely straight, quiet A and B roads, with some lovely twisty bits to help break up the travel to smaller villages/ the coast/ overnight stops etc.

if it were me, I'd maybe bite the bullet and try Northern Spain though, but of course the travelling by boat there is too long for your time frame.

Good luck though!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
275 Posts
Crossing the channel!

If you're wedded to going via the tunnel link & with easy day touring you could do worse than look at going along the north french coast as far west as say Dinan then cutting south to say to LeMans then back north east againto the tunnel. This has the advantage of tons of good restaurants (not many bad ones in France anyway) and good roads without having to use too many 'peages'. You can take in Rouen the Bayeux tapestry Mont St Michel (bit of a tourist trap but quite impressive). Maybe you could incorporate a night in Paris too depending on the itinerary........however if you're on any sort of diet - forget it & enjoy some of the best food & wines anywhere in the world.

Otherwise it's a dash to the south & a dash back unless.....
you go to Bruges or Brussels & spend a couple of days in that area where the the sights & roads may not be quite as interesting as France but the beer & 'moules mariniere' is excellent!

By the way I'm not really motivated by food & drink....I'm just naturally chunky:D

Whatever you do I hope you enjoy the ride & the weather keeps ok for you.:thumbsup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If it was just me then I'd do spain, but I don't want to go there and then then find that I have to really push it to get through the miles to get to calais in the short time I have.

I want to keep clear of paris, want to keep it quiet, Paris would just be like riding into London but worse.

Brussels is an interesting idea as I'm also thinking of Amsterdam (there's a ferry back to harwich that's pretty quick if memory serves).
Though looking at the map the distance between Brussels and Amsterdam is pretty short so I'd have to detour.

Keep the favorite routes coming. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
896 Posts
If it was just me then I'd do spain, but I don't want to go there and then then find that I have to really push it to get through the miles to get to calais in the short time I have.
your realistically looking at 2 days thru france just to N.spain, depending on how hard you want to ride. likewise should you want to venture down towards the Milau bridge area.
so for a 4-5 day round trip,Northern France, belgium or brittany is do-able.

As for myself, the trip to Faro Portugal, via france is on the cards, as the Portsmouth - Bilbao ferry is such a PIA being 36/30hrs each way
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
472 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
151 Posts
As others have said plenty to see in Northern France with some excellent roads near the Belgian border and also over in Normandy in the Swiss Normandy area south of the Cherbourg peninsula.

Another option is an overnight ferry Portsmouth to Le Harve or Caen then you can get to the Auvergne in a day (350 miles) where the really great roads start spend the next two days enjoying the roads and scenery around the town of Issoire then break the journey back into two stopping of in the Loire valley (somewhere like Beaugency) before heading back to the ferry on day 5 getting the 5pm ferry back.

This is a trip the group I ride with do every year :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Wales is local for me and worth a try

Either go west on A40 and keep going or for quicker exit of England, run west on M4 and cross the old Severn Bridge, pick up A40 Welsh side via Usk.

A40 takes you from centre of London all way west to Fishguard where ferry goes to Ireland. Don’t really know the English A40 part since its years that I have been on it. Thus the idea of skipping England via M4.

The Welsh part of the A40 is a great biking A road. Taking in several really nice towns and villages. Plenty of places to stop for food and drink as well as very good public toilets to.

You should be able to aim for the old walled seaside town of Tenby in Pembrokeshire and still get time en-route to stop and look along the way. Tenby is great stop off since plenty of B&B to choice from and about 250 miles from London.

Depends on time of year and weather, but day two should be spent looking around Pembrokeshire. Fantastic coast and lots of small villages, beaches etc to see. You could back track a little east and visit Pendine. This is the British equivalent of Bonneville Salt Flats. Severn miles of beach used for breaking many a land speed record in the past.

Going west again you have Pembroke town with a very good castle and not to far away the best beach in the world "Barafundle". Pembrokeshire is full of castles which run in a line from Tenby to the North. Everything west is what’s known as the little England beyond Wales. In the North of Pembrokeshire you have St David’s, the smallest city in the world, with its cathedral. Fishguard north again with its historical links to London by road and rail. Its ferry service to Ireland.

Note: You have to keep as close to the coast as possible even on the smallest roads. This way you will discover the best there is to discover.

Slightly inland from Fishguard you have the Gwaun Valley and the Dyffryn Arms. This Inn still serves beer decanted via the jug, through a hatch in the wall. Could go on and on.

Second night could be spent in Solva which is back tracking from Pembrokeshire north coast, but great for a good meal and a beer or two. It’s a lovely little harbour. Try and get accommodation in the old lower part though.

Otherwise head north and stop for night in Aberaeron.

Day three. Aberystwyth, Devils Bridge, Elan Valley and anywhere in between. Elan Valley a must. Devils Bridge right on end of Elan Valley and has lovely hotel to stop in.

Day four. Slow ride through Elan Valley again, then follow roads down to Brecon before heading east home.

Hope you enjoy.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
86 Posts
Sounds like you are set on going abroad.

I'm a fan of the 8pmish ferry from Portsmouth to St Malo - get a small cabin, dinner's pretty good, cabaret is, well cabaret and then a fresh early start, by passing the ports and the fairly uninspiring roads - then mid France is at you disposal. The ferry crew are expert in my experience in tying the bike down, but do learn how to set the alarm in ferry mode or disable it!

The road network is huge, VAST - take large scale maps and even better GPS too (not instead of) - esp just to get you to the destination when light fails and you get tired/lost etc! It also allows much more generous wandering without slavishly following a route, and the it can lot a route back to the hotel.

Also consider just one hotel and use it as a base, to minimise on the packing.

Whatever you pack, cut it down by 30%. I wonder how Mrs Biker will cope?

A summary of tips:
take two sets of keys per bike and swap with the wife - in case of loss!
Colour photo copies of licence, insurance & V5.
Fuses, some gaffer tape, few tools - they have bike shops but it's amazing what can fall off even brand new bikes. And bungees/nets break too.
Batterys in good shape? Spare bulbs - a legal requirement.
Breakdown cover?

Where's my passport..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,701 Posts
Belgium

If it were me, I'd go thru Belgium. Years ago when stationed in England with the American Forces, Belgium was my favorite destination. From Felixstowe to Zeebrugge (I think I got it spelled right), it was a 4 hour boat ride in the day time (8 hours at night, which is what we did, slept the whole way after work and we were ready to go when we got there) - Brugge was always the final destination back then.

The end of April, the weather should be okay...

Now, I have quite an interest in bicycle racing, so I think I'd follow where ever those boys happen to be riding, which may not actually be in Belgium right then. If they are too far removed from Belgium, then ditch that idea for me -- I'd stay in Belgium and the immediate surroundings for the four days -- Amsterdam, northern France, Luxemborg, Paris, Germany..... Not all of it of course -- pick a direction and beer style.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
177 Posts
Wales is great. If you're set on crossing the Channel, forget the tunnel and take a ferry. Far more civilised IMO. Just as quick too.
For 1st time I'd recommend Normandy and Brittany. Plenty to see there and accomodation easy.
Just put the finishing touches to my trip end May to Croatia. Did Austria/Italy last year and Spain the year before. Can't wait ! Already started packing !!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
139 Posts
+1 on normandy and brittany

I'd definitely recommend northern France. I went over with my wife via the tunnel but next time I would be tempted by the ferry - the ride between calais and Rouen is pretty dull and drags a bit. It starts to get nicer after Caen. I'd highly recommend Mont St Michel and the surronding area, also the cemeteries are a mind blowing tour...

If you are going via the tunnel and trying to get to the good bits I think you'll waste the best part of a day getting there, I'm really not a big fan of the first 130 miles south of Calais... If the tunnel is already decided though I would suggest this route

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=calais&daddr=st+malo+to:nantes+to:tours+to:eek:rleans+to:evreux+to:amiens+to:calais&geocode=&hl=en&mra=ls&rtol=0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7&dirflg=h&doflg=ptm&sll=49.087345,0.11398&sspn=7.066861,19.775391&ie=UTF8&ll=50.092393,1.955566&spn=6.922204,19.775391&z=6

which is pretty hefty for 4 days but gets a lot of the loire valley in. I have also put a link to a map of Chateaux in the loire valley.

http://www.chateaux-de-la-loire.fr/loire_valley_map.htm

Whatever you decide to do I'm sure it will be a blast!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
These are all great idea, think i've started a fun thread here.

The rides in the UK are good ones for sure, I've done some riding through Wales as I have kids in Anglesey. If I can't get the dogs and stuff watched long enough then chances are it'll be a ride across to south wales , then head up through all the way to snowdonia and across to the lake district and back.

We regards to the tunnel, it's not a must, I just saw it as less fuss as its quicker and I like the idea of hop on, sit around half an hour, hop off, but if it really does mean that you land some place that takes ages to get through then I'd do something else. In fact the current route I am working on takes a boat back from the netherlands to Harwich.

The wife has told me though that she really wants to goto amsterdam for a day/night at least so I think it's looking like Northern France/Belgium/Germany/Netherlands.

So I'm working out a route that incorporates that and then goes to Amsterdam whilst trying to keep the mileage down to a sensible amount.

Right now I'm figuring out how far to go on day one, as it seems that the further I get on day one the more pretty stuff I can get into day 2, but I need to make sure that its not too rough a day or it'll put her off.

I also notice that on the Tom Tom site there seems that there is a good Windows itinerary planner that comes with the tom tom bike gps but I didn't that get with my 720 plus I use a mac. So Google Maps seems to be my friend and I've found a tool that turns routes in google maps into Tom Tom itenerys.

Found a couple of sites with routes on them too but they all kinda fall short... maybe time for me to write a new website
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
472 Posts
We booked to stay in Namur for our first night. Been reliably informed it's a two hour autoroute ride from Calais. Sets us up great for the good stuff in the mountains the next day. Day one will be our biggest miles. Being down south already it should be a doddle for you!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Yeah I saw that on your route, though I told google maps to avoid motorways, otherwise day 1 would be m4, m25, mwhatever to ferry/train then M France to namur. I'm trying to decide if I can get that far if I dont go on the motorways through france in day 1.

I think if I can get that far on the first day it sets up for a nice ride for sure. Tricky decision but thats what this is all about, learning about touring.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
591 Posts
Or you can stay in the UK - Lake District, Cornwall, Wales (but not North Wales...) East Anglia

And of course - SCOTLAND!:D:D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
What's wrong with North Wales??? (I have kids there poor things so been there anyway).

The lakes and Scotland are definately options... I guess there is a certain amount of wants to go some place different, but I know that this country has alot to offer.
 
1 - 20 of 42 Posts
Top