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Published: July 30th 2009
To add to the lessons learned from my first trip:
1. Bungees linked together and stretched out between trees make an excellent washing line, assuming you had enough bungees. Never a problem for me, I always have an absurd amount - I could string a line across the Millau bridge.
2. Petrol is 30%!c(MISSING)heaper in Spain. OK, so on the thimble sized petrol tanks on most bikes it is not going to realise considerable financial gain but by the same token it's hardly worth filling up in France just before you cross the border. Fuel prices seemed consistently 1.38E and 1.05E respectively.
3. OK so three pairs of gloves was ridiculous - I admit it I never used them all.
4. For hot countries summer kit and poor tex was definitely the right combo - but perhaps make sure your poor-tex was in good nick. Mine was shagged.
5. The new boots were superb - highly recommend them.
6. Take mosquito coils. I more or less needed a transfusion from being attacked in the Pyrenees and I resembled someone with measles.
7. Camping is the way to go - it offers you so much flexibility. But do stay two nights at each location, it allows you a free day on the bike without luggage and the time wasted setting up and decommissioning camp.
8. As I had figured before I set off to Norway (but not had time to sort out) hiking shoes were the ideal footware, taking up the same space as trainers but much more versatile. However I would also take a pair of flip-flops.
9. If you suffer from sea sickness - do not take the ferry across the Bay of Biscay. At 2 am this morning the rollers were pitching the bow clean out of the water - you could hear the splitting crash when it met back with the water on the way down. It was as bad last time. A better alternative for those with sensitive stomachs maybe the Auto train as discussed in my last blog entry. It went every day from Paris to a plethora of stations across the south and if you were even too lazy to get to Paris there were trains direct from Lille a couple of days a week in the summer - brilliant. Having said that today has been a beautiful hot sunny day.
10. If you have pockets only big enough to hold a few loose coins, such as the Richa, then a small tankbag would be useful and I wished I'd had one. I have actually got two but as both are magnetic and the beemer has a plastic tank, they wouldn't have stayed on for long.
Covered 2100 miles in 14 days wearing:
- Richa Jacket - 4*. Did everything could be expected of it, pockets were a bit small.
- Hein Gericke Air trousers 3.5* - Why were they black?
- Schubert Helmet - 4.5*, I liked it anyway
- Ultimate Ear protectors - 4*
- Sidi Canon (or was it Canyon?) boots - 4.5*. Generally excellent, the buckle p1ssed you off a bit that was all
- BMW Alpine rallye summer gloves - 4*. Pretty good, decent value.
- Hein Gericke Overalls - 2*. Made your crotch wetter than watching Basic Instinct, but kind of my fault I guess
- Technical (wicking tops) - not worth rating but definitely a must
- Knox ricochet back protector - 3*. My back was fine sliding along on it in Norway, but it was too hot and the velcro fasteners were wearing
The eyewear saga
Not content with destroying my glasses hours before I was due to set off with my only spare pairs in London, I then took to consigning my non-prescription sunglasses to the same fate by squidging them in the panniers. See picture. This meant that to perform the business of seeing I now had: Prescription sunglasses, but not glasses, and disposable contacts, with no sunglasses - useful. This was highly inconvenient and wasteful. First thing in the morning, unless I wanted to do my best Roy Orbison, I'd put my contacts in. Then as it got brighter (unlike me) I would have to trash the disposables to put on my prescription sunglasses, then as dusk fell the process was reversed. In Barcelona the situation was worse as I popped in and out of Museums with my fingers in and out of my eyes like Basil Fawlty remonstrating with Manuel. Fortunately I had loads with me but I have used most of them. Of course I should have bought another pair of sunnies - I just never got round to it. After all this wasn't a shopping trip.
Tot: 2.511s; Tpl: 0.054s; cc: 11; qc: 30; dbt: 0.043s; 2; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb