Archive for April, 2009

Bike09 – Sunday 19th

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

Up at the crack of something or other – certainly not dawn… Shockingly, Mr. B was up and about first! Mr. G and Mr. J almost fell out of bed.

The weather was much better 🙂 loaded the bikes and departed for Lausanne. There was some pretty dramatic scenery up and down the sides of mountains – really beautiful. Through the Swiss border and had a choice of routes. Decided on the ‘slow’ road. Bloody good choice. Route 9 into Lausanne was spectacular.

Stopped by the lake to have a comfort break and had to get back on it as time was marching on. Getting out of town was definitely a lot less fun the getting in… Loads of traffic, crappy roads, traffic lights and Mr. J’s sense of direction all contributed to a rubbish hour or so of riding. Montreaux was lovely, but the worst roads ever! And to top it, we got stuck behind the fuzz. Quite painful, I can tell you.

Had to pause just before the Alps to fuel up and tog up, as it looked pretty rainy up top.

Towards Chamonix

Towards Chamonix

Halfway up

Halfway up

Up we went! We thought that the scenery so far had been good. Here it was quite simply spectacular, stunning and many other superlatives. Unfortunately we couldn’t keep stopping for pics.

Luckily it didn’t get too wet, but it did get very cold, so we were quite relieved to roll into Chamonix. Found a very pleasant little hotel pretty quickly, freshened up and headed off to the Terrace bar. And saw Man U lose to Everton on penalties, so the was a good start to the evening!

The Terrace Bar

The Terrace Bar

Had a very nice meal at a restaurant whose name escapes me, and tried in vain to find somewhere lively so decided to call it a night – at 10pm! As expected, Mr. B rattled the windows with his snoring, although it was Mr. G fumbling with the earplug packet that woke Mr. J!

 

Today’s route:

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bike 09 – the start of the adventure

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

So it finally happened. The lads are off to France on the bikes. To protect the individuals in question, names have been changed to protect the innocent. They will be known only as Mr. B, Mr. G and Mr. J. Mr. B might well have been know as Mr. Brown for reasons far too complex to go into here. No animals were harmed in the making. Well, except for thousands of flies. 

Mr. B graciously let us stay the night of the 17th april, so that we could have an early and coordinated bacon sandwich in the morning. which was nice. Then it was all go go go and off to dover. The M25, in all its usual wonder was stunningly dull. But this leg passed uneventfully enough. Got the ferry with time to spare and settled down to a nice mug-o-t. Then the Germans came… Luckily these were 2 yummy-mummy germans and their cute daughters, so we didn’t mind that at all. Obviously only Mr. J was looking…

Off the ferry and it was direction reims! Decided to autoroute it most of the way as there is not much to see and we had about 500km to cover. The weather was getting steadily crappier, so during one of many petrol stops, it was decided to stay on the autoroute all the way to Nancy. Coincedentally enough, we ran into the Germans again!

On the leg from Metz to Nancy, the rain really started coming down. Oh it’s so much fun sliding across white lines and spinning the rear up overtaking lorries! Mr. B seemed the only one not suffering – having a (relatively) sensible machine.

Incredibly we managed to find the hotel académie with no trouble at all. Mr. J recognised Avenue Foch and for some reason his addled memory retained enough to remember the way. Mr. G was convinced that we had taken him to some godforsaken industrial estate, and the hotel did little to persuade him otherwise… The bikes were parked and there was much freshening up before a well deserved beverage. Only we seemed to have found the depressing end of town, so we struck out in search of more life. This was thankfully quickly found, and no sooner had we blown the froth off, Mr. J was approached by a tipsy French girl in search of rolling papers. In his best pigeon, Mr. J exclaimed “je ne comprende pas – je suis Anglais!” so she went to get her mate, who happened to be in a band. Mr. B was in his element and was soon outside having a smoke. Food was the next item on the list, so we wandered around like lost children until we happened upon a pizza place. We were all starving, so that was job done. The calzone that Mr. B and Mr. G had were huge! This was followed by a quick stroll around the local square which was incredibly ornate.

Place Stanislas, Nancy

Place Stanislas, Nancy

 

After that, we thought “just one more beer would be nice”. As you do. The only lively place seemed to be the irish bar (naturally!) so it was in there for a guinness. At £8 a pint… just around midnight, Mr. J headed off to the toilet with the comment “we should head off to bed now, got to get up early in the morning”. On returning, he found Mr. B and Mr. G in gales of laughted. Apparently, as soon as Mr. J was out of earshot, Mr. B growled “I didn’t come on holiday to have a eff’in early night”.  So that was 3 more guinness then! And more… Still, the scenery inside the pub was loverly 😉

Eventually we wound our way back to the hotel, feeling smug that the first day was a success.

 

Today’s Route:

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