David Griffin

The Grifflets

David Griffin

Europe » Italy » Lombardy June 7th 2018

After another restful day we decided to take a ride to Lake Lagano, a shared Italian Swiss stretch of water. Set off was 10:30. It was already 19c and getting hotter. A lesson we learned last year was that the turnoff to Lagano is in a short gap between tunnels and SatNav’s only work with line of sight to the satellite. When the SatNav says 17 km turn right, set the odometer because once in a tunnel the SatNav has no idea where you are and makes an uneducated guess, based on your speed when you entered. Seriously the gap with the exit was 150 metres, the SatNav was out by a kilometre and if I hadn’t set the trip we’d have missed it. Out of the tunnel and climbing a miniature spaghetti junction of switchbacks ... read more

Europe » Switzerland » North-West » Lucerne June 1st 2018

I am going to say this very quietly for fear of tempting fate, but once again the promised storms didn't appear. Yes it was drizzling when we left the hotel, but that soon dried up. Climbing into the mountains of the Alsace was cool, sometimes misty, but always spectacular. It was the perfect practice grounds for the Alps to come. We retraced some of the routes from previous trips in the region and, I think, the better ones. With quite a long ride ahead we didn't have time to spend in some of the beauty spots and at the war memorial, which was a shame. The roads, towns and villages were however beautiful. I am not a religious person myself but I do appreciate a good church and in this part of Europe they know how ... read more

Europe » France » Champagne-Ardenne September 17th 2016

The plan, Leave the hotel in Eastbourne bright and early, head for the tunnel, grabbing breakfast on the way. 10:20 train to France and reach the accommodation by 16:30 / 17:00. That was the plan. It all started well. Everyone up and ready on time, check. Out the door and on the bikes, check. Off and making good time, check. Stop for petrol and arrive at the tunnel with 50 minutes to spare, check. Trains delayed by 60 minutes.... Ah. Into the departure lounge for coffee and wait. And wait. And wait. After about an hour we were called to go down, then we stood in our lanes, in the rain, for another hour before finally boarding the train. One on the train we found out that there was a signalling problem, and sat through about ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » England September 17th 2016

Last night we did the final bit of packing and prep. Unusually for me that included cleaning the bike. Why the sudden need to clean? Partly because it's an opportunity for a close inspection and partly because Ken and Brionys bikes would be spotless. Bike cleaned and luggage fitted we settled down for the night and a storm of biblical proportions. No joke, we watched the water level rise by the front door. Fortunately the storm didn't last and today the weather was more settled. Julia and I were working with the hope of an early finish which payed off and we were on the road in good time. First stop was the Travel Lodge in Eastbourne. Normally Julia and I would go all the way to Folkestone but Ken and Briony are new to this ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Hampshire » Eastleigh September 14th 2016

It feels like we have done no preparation for this trip. Much of the kit is still packed and ready to throw back onto the bike. We aren't doing a big tour this time so no routes to plan. We just needed to agree and book a destination and set the dates. Oh and this time, we are going with friends, Ken and Briony. One significant piece of prep was to change the springs on the bike. Last trip was done with a leaking front fork. Although this didn't seriously affect the handling, the loss of oil meant the bike tended to wallow and dive under breaking. I decided I'd have a crack and fixing this myself... ok with a lot of help from Ken. As the forks were coming off I also thought it a ... read more

Europe » Spain June 21st 2016

So this is the end of our adventure. This morning I put the odometer back to miles and we have covered 2300 since leaving Southampton 12 days ago. Yesterday was a very straightforward trip from Jaca. Pretty much fast main roads and motorways. Still, as motorways go, better than anything in the UK. The only thing that comes close is the M74 from Carlisle to Glasgow. Usually quiet with some lovely countryside. The hotel in Bilbao was very nice. It was located in a suburb just outside and ideally placed for the airport. That was evident by the number of low flying aircraft that came over at regular intervals. The room was spacious and pleasant and the bottle of red wine left in our room a lovely touch. In essence however this was just the last ... read more

Europe June 19th 2016

We tried to plan this trip to get the most out of the riding and the destinations. For example, day one to Luxembourg, we wanted to avoid the pay motorways, they are dull to ride. We wanted to stay in Luxembourg and we wanted to see a castle. That was the criteria, and that is what we did. Day two, we wanted to ride through the Black Forest, and so it went on. After Andorra we had pretty much ticked every box on this trip and so today and tomorrow are about getting across Spain to Bilbao and the ferry home. When I was planning the route, all I really did was work out where approximately half way was to book the hotel. I also tried to keep the route as close to the Pyrenees as ... read more

Europe » Andorra » Sant Julià de Lòria June 18th 2016

We have covered 1900 miles since we set off 10 days ago so we decided to take today off travelling. Fortunate that we had a 2 night stay in the same hotel. We enjoyed a lay in, much appreciated after getting up at 7am every day to pack, eat and set off. After a leisurely breakfast the plan was to jump on the bike and head up the mountainside that over looks Sant Julia de Loria to an activity and nature park Naturlandia. It had been raining through the night and the last dregs were being squeezed over the courtyard outside the dining room windows. By the time we had finished eating it had stopped and the sun was making its way though the gaps in the peaks that surround the town. I found another route ... read more

Europe » Andorra June 17th 2016

Just about everything that was wrong with yesterday was right with today. Sitting outside eating breakfast with the other guests brought a level of sanity to this insane trip. The chat was congenial and the sun quickly lifted the temperature to 22c. This was the most expensive stop on the trip but I have to say, the nicest. I could even forgive the cat that left its dirty poor prints on the bike seat. The morning weather carried on into afternoon in the same way. Pretty much clear blue sky from Arles to the Pyrenees. The roads were by and large quiet, although windy. We had a couple of service stops as we followed the Mediterranean coast line towards Spain, and the ever looming mountains which will be our playground for the next few days. Yes, ... read more

Europe » France June 16th 2016

We slept like we were paid for it last night and woke up to the sound of the lake outside the window being topped up by the weather. Yes, it was raining, but somehow the darkened sky just added to the drama of this place. OK, the prospect of managing a quarter tonne Triumph, plus luggage and weary passengers down that hill and around those bends in the wet left me a little apprehensive. Oh well, it could stop whilst we ate breakfast. It did, just in time for a photo shoot before setting off. As part of this piece of advanced photo journalism I spotted a wilderness riding centre. Do I tell Julia? She likes horses riding. Not me, dangerous things, give me a bike any day. Ah but she has been indulging my two ... read more

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