Motorcycling and Christmas

A week has passed since our last post but then it has been Christmas so we have been slightly distracted!!  Weatherwise, in the UK, not been the best week for getting out on a motorbike but thanks to family and friends we did receive some excellent presents relating to our passion for two wheels.

A travel journal was one such present which is invaluable in the line of business we are in and we are very much looking forward to filling it up with details of our motorcycle tours coming up in 2013 together with the day ride-outs we are planning in.

A present to spark “garage rivalry” are parking signs for the Kawasaki Versys and the Triumph Tiger with the footnote “other bikes will be crushed“….    Could prove interesting as we did not receive one for the VFR !!!!

Another gift was a hand-carving of our logo done by I Wood For You – worth checking them out.  We’ve also had “evolution of man” t-shirts and mugs with the final stage being motorbike (as we are sure you would have guessed!), our logo on a mousemat, winter buffs and thermal socks………. sadly no new motorcycles from Santa this year – maybe 2013 ??

What about you?  We’d love to hear what motorcycling gifts you had for this Christmas and also how many of you got out to ride over the past week?

Here’s looking forward to 2013 :-)

 

 

Rain & Motorbikes?? inevitable……

Whilst sat indoors this last couple of days listening to the rain pouring down outside it gets you to think about the number of days when you are on a motorcycling tour or ride-out and by the end of the day you are completely soaked!  Does it matter?  Does it stop you doing it all again?  Not really it’s just another dimension to motorcycling and very often you can end up talking about the times you rode through a downpour as the days you had nothing but blue skies :-)

Don’t get us wrong it’s highly unlikely you would willingly don your waterproofs partly because they can be such a faff to put on!  But as with everything, if you’ve got the right gear you’ll be fine.  On one of our ride-outs a couple of years ago, 4 of the lads were “fairweather” riders all wearing one-piece leathers.  We set off in sunshine but about 40 miles down the road the heavens opened and when we reached our coffee stop on the A483 in Mid Wales they looked like they had stepped back in time – their white t-shirts were now “tye-&-dye” style (for those who can remember)!!!  Needless to say they have since invested in all-weather bike gear – happily not required on the majority of our 2012 ride-outs as you can see from our gallery.

Another particularly wet ride was a transition day a few years ago on a motorcycle tour of the Alps.  Jan was riding pillion at the time and as we approached a set of traffic lights just outside Gex on the french/swiss border she was able to make a fist shape and wring her gloves out whilst still wearing them!!   This prompted Phil, who was riding with us, to do the same – he was still wearing his summer gloves!

Let us know about some of your wet weather experiences on a motorbike – we’d love to share them.

Motorcycling in the Pyrenees cont’d…

When we last sat to write about our motorcycling tour of the Pyrenees the wind and rain was lashing against the window and so it is today!  Still it is at times like this that it’s good to dig into the archives and remember warm sunny days touring on a motorbike.

Having said that the particular day in question did not start in brilliant sunshine, infact we left our hotel and rode towards the Col du Tourmalet which is the highest road in the Central Pyrenees and climbed the majority of it in thick fog which made for an interesting ride.  It was getting to be one of those days on two wheels when you think you may as well turn around and go back to the hotel bar, however, just at that point we rode through the cloud base and came to the top of the Col where we entered the first cafe we could find for a warming cuppa.  It was in this cafe that we encountered one of the typical french toilets – basically what looks like a showerbase with a hole in the middle!   Geraint used it and came out with cleaner bike boots than he went in as he had flushed before moving his feet off the baseplate :-)

We were on this particular ride-out with a group of friends and we proceeded over the Col taking in spectacular views and encountering some local wildlife including pigs and horses which was an interesting encounter.  We continued towards the Spanish side of the Pyrenees taking in some excellent motorcycling roads, huge sweeping bends on smooth tarmac giving a different aspect to the second half of our day as we dropped into the valleys.  The weather turned on us as we encountered sheet lightening and then a tremondous thunderstorm broke out – luckily just as we were approaching a village and we were able to pull up outside a tiny restaurant.

This turned out to be a great fun place to eat in, 3 courses of fantastic food, Spanish music playing and amazement from the waitresses when the riders turned down the wine which was included in the price of the lunch!  Purely out of respect for the waitresses (!!) the pillions took up the offer;-)  We proceeded to have an excellent meal whilst the storm blew through and came out to blue skies for the ride back to the hotel.

The joys of touring on a motorbike were fully on display that day, spectacular scenery, great roads, excellent food and all to be shared with good company.  We’d love to hear about a particular ride out which you have great memories of – post a comment here or e-mail us at info@dragonmototours.co.uk

 

A Motorcycle ride-out on a winter’s day

It’s an interesting time of year to be riding a motorbike isn’t it?  Many of us put the bikes away over the winter months and that’s more than understandable given the cold and the extreme likelihood of salt on the roads.  However, every so often during the winter months we’ll have a few rainy days which wash the salt away and then the sun comes out to play…..!

It was such a day last Sunday, 16th December when we decided to take the motorbikes from under their winter blankets and go out for a short ride-out.  The battery of Jan’s Triumph Tiger 1050cc had been on trickle charge and thankfully started straight away and we set of with the temperature at 8 degrees and the sun shining on a slightly damp road surface.  We rode for 18 miles before we saw another motorcycle and then like “London buses”, two came along at the same time – those were the only bikes we saw all day!  If the riders of a blue Triumph and a Kawasaki  are reading this and were riding the A49 around noon last Sunday – then hello and glad you were out on your motorbikes too :)

Riding a motorbike at this time of year does make you more vigilant, the glare of the lower sun can sometimes make it more difficult for other motorists to see you and that’s with wearing hi-vis vests – we would certainly recommend wearing them at this time year and ours came from TwoZero it’s well worth checking out their website.

An unavoidable thing from a winter’s ride-out, is the muck on the roads and for us last Sunday it resulted in a longish session of motorbike washing – and just to rub in the fact that by now the temp had dropped to 4 degrees we did the washing with a cuppa in hand rather than a cool beer which is our preferred accompaniment on a nice summer’s day……..:)

Motorcycle touring Pyrenees

At the time of writing this the wind is howling and the rain is lashing against the window and not the most appealing of days to get out on a motorbike!  So it’s great to be able to write about one of our earlier motorcycle tour experiences which was riding through France to the French Pyrenees, we can almost feel the heat on our backs.……..

Some of the friends we had met earlier in the year were on the same tour and it was great to share the trip with them.  By now the packing of a pannier had become a little easier with some of Jan’s “luxuries” staying at home!  We took a couple of days to travel south and at that time many french fuel stations would close on a Sunday and were not very good at accepting UK debit/credit cards all of which led to an interesting section of one of the days when we ended up with 2 of the bikes riding with us nearly running out of fuel (only 1/2 litre left in each tank!!!).

Motorcycling tip of the day:  “re-fuel when you can if you are not sure…”.  Our motorbike and 2 others had tank ranges of approx 200 miles and we ended up in an arrow head formation with the 2 sports bikes in the middle heading on the French Autoroute to the nearest services.  There were 2 very thirsty sports bikes and 5 very relieved riders when we did find fuel!!  It’s experiences like this though which lead to story swapping at the bar in an evening – you soon find that you were not the first (and certainly won’t be the last), to go through something similar!

In more recent years we are happy to report that it is far easier to fuel up in France now on a Sunday with the majority accepting UK cards – apart from an Intermarche supermarket in Pont a Mousson just a week ago where we could only use cash…….!!!

Anyone else had similar experiences?  Let us know we can share your hints and tips too.

 

 

 

Best new motorcycle touring company in the northwest?

DragonMotoTours appears to be receiving some great reviews from our riders!  Anthony Maddocks (from the north west) commented on how he felt that we were “.. the best company that he had ever ridden with.”  We pride ourselves on our ever expanding UK and European motorbike tours and ride outs which are fully researched with the requirements of our customers in mind.

If you have any experiences that you would like to share with us, we would appreciate if  you would contact us at info@dragonmototours.co.uk

 

 

About Us cont’d…

It’s a week ago since we said we would share some of our motorcycling experiences with you and the reason for the gap in time is because we went over to France for a few days researching some of the excellent roads to ride your motorbike on.

As it goes our first motorcycle tour was in Northern France.  We went on a short 3 day break on an organised tour and from the start we met people who have remained firm friends over the years.

We like to compare the difference in riding a motorbike and driving a car to that of visiting the vets against going to a doctors surgery!!!  What are we on about?  well……. When you visit a vets with your pet it takes no time for conversations to begin with other pet owners whereas you visit a doctors surgery and no one has eye contact and very little is said to one another!  Same can be said with a bike and a car – turn up at a cafe or maybe a ferry terminal and before long you have started to chat to other motorcyclists, “have you ridden far?”,  did you have a good journey?” etc., etc., would you ask that of a fellow car driver?  In our experience the answer would be no and that’s one of the main reasons we love motorcycle touring, you get to meet like-minded people, you are able to share experiences, see stunning scenery and most importantly ride excellent roads and make lasting friendships along the way.

As with any motorcycle tour you will have those who have many years of experience and others who are novices but the commonality is the passion to get out there on two wheels.  As “novice tourers” – it was the packing of panniers which was the major stumbling block for Jan who tried to fit in a hairdryer, straighteners, high heeled shoes and enough clothes for a week!  Thankfully Geraint’s army background kicked in and he was able to shall we say…. streamline the contents.  Over the years you will find that there is an art to packing for a motorcycling holiday and you will never be over the weight limit should you find yourself flying anywhere in the future!!

This first tour led us into travelling further afield on the bike and also gave us an understanding of what people look for in a memorable motorcycle tour……. more of that next time.

 

Northern France Dec 2012

We mentioned in our previous blog that we would be travelling over to France for a few days to catch up some friends and also to check out some roads to include in our Northern France tour in June 2013, and here we are!  Currently we are based in the Somme region having had a couple of days exploring some roads which will be great for motorcycling, (although not such a good idea to be on two wheels in early December!).

We have “taken the initiative” somewhat in that we have come over in the car and pretty glad of that when it started sleeting this evening and temps dropped to around zero degrees!  We are not the only ones limiting their time on a motorbike at this time of year either as we saw only 24 bikes during our 257 mile journey in the UK to Eurotunnel, (or as a friend calculated 1 bike in every 10.7 miles!!).

We are not only enjoying the roads but we are loving the way the french dress their towns and villages for Christmas and there are some wonderful Christmas markets going on with lots to sample and buy.

We visited our friends at Orchard Farm today for a very welcome cuppa and a catch up on how they are getting on with their B&B and also their gite which are both great places to stay at if you want to take a tour around the Somme.  Last time we visited them was in March of this year when we were on our motorcycles and we got extremely lucky with the weather that time riding in temps around 20 degrees higher than today!

So far this trip has presented some interesting sights which we are looking forward to sharing with those who join us in June 2013, but one of the most surreal was a “person” standing in a river (well it was a statue really but as it was wearing a T-shirt and a pair of knickers on its head it could just have easily been a drunken student….).

Wonder what we will find over the next couple of days????  We’ll keep you posted  G&J

 

The “Ride” to DragonMotoTours

Our first blog was about a great motorcycling book to read – “The Long Way Home” about a 9 month motorbike ride from Australia to the UK and there are so many more great books out there which we can chat about another time.

So what next?  Well we’ve decided to stay on the “journey” theme letting you know more about DragonMotoTours.  We’ll give you an insight into who we are, places we have been to and people we have met during our motorbike tours through the UK, Europe and  America.  We do have an “About Us” page on our website where we highlight key elements but we thought our blog would be a better forum for sharing our passion for all things motorbike!  As you will see from that page the “who” is Geraint and Jan, we’re both motorcyclists with Geraint having many years of riding experience and Jan passed her test in early 2008.

We have a lot to share with you which we intend doing over several posts which should give you a feel for how we “tick”.   As well as chatting about what we have done, we’ll also be talking about the here and now, for example we’re off to France soon for some more research on routes for our Northern France tour which is in June 2013 and catching up with some friends who run a B&B over there and don’t you just know it….. both of them ride motorbikes as well!

As the best series say : To Be Continued………….

The Long Way Home…

They say you should challenge yourself whenever possible, so our challenge for December 2012 is to create a blog for DragonMotoTours and share our thoughts, plans and details of our tours and people we meet along the way.

So what to discuss in our first blog?  We run motorcycle tours but as we are now heading into the winter months we will not be undertaking many of them over the coming weeks!  But then, by a quirk of fate we bump into Nathan Millward at MotorcycleLive in Birmingham earlier this week and our first blog is born…..  Why talk about Nathan?  Well in many ways he has done and written about “the ultimate riding tour”, although we will confirm that the type of tours DragonMotoTours undertake are far less challenging!

We first met Nathan at another motorcycle show in London in February 2012 where he was selling his book “The Long Way Home”, his journey being from Australia to the UK over 9 months on a Honda CT110 – these motorbikes are actually used by the Australian postal service so as you can imagine are not built for adventure touring, but that was not going to stop Nathan and it is an excellent read which we would highly recommend to anyone whether you are interested in motorcycling or not.

Nathan named his motorbike “Dorothy” and as Jan likes to call her Triumph Tiger 1050 “Tigger”, there was instantly a common discussion on why some of us name our modes of transport!  Currently Dorothy is residing in America whilst he is over in the UK promoting his book and they are to be reunited in early 2013 when he continues his adventures.

www.thepostman.org.uk

As for us, we’re going to set a question to end this blog – what do you call your motorbike and why……  ?

Geraint & Jan