Our W.I.S.E. Motorcycle Tour Sept 2013

When we posted that we would be doing a “WISE” tour, we had many questions as to what this could mean!  Well the mystery was soon solved when we advised it was a motorcycling tour of Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England – strictly speaking there should have been 2 x “I”‘s as we did both Southern and Northern Ireland and in the end due to the first autumnal storm to hit the UK coming in on the last day of the tour – the “E” for England part of the tour had to be curtailed……, however, we did cover 5 countries in 10 days and our next couple of blogs will let you know how we got on 🙂

As motorcyclists many of you will know that riding in the northern hemisphere can have weather challenges but these days no matter where you choose to ride you will no doubt encounter some rain and our 10 day tour was no exception 🙂  But then as our hosts at Henry’s Bar in Cashelgarren pointed out….“you don’t come to Ireland for the weather”!!  We guess that is true in part, what you do get though are very welcoming people and fantastic scenery and we experienced both in abundance on this tour, not only in Ireland but everywhere we went.

Our tour started on the border of England and Wales from where we rode into the Snowdonia National Park and onto the Isle of Anglesey which was our base for two nights.  We love motorcycling in this part of Wales and the roads never disappoint.Welsh Wildlife??  We had an interesting encounter with some “welsh wildlife” in Betws-y-Coed…….  although a gorilla is not what you would normally expect to encounter when out and about on your motorbike, but then that’s all part of the experiences you have whilst touring 🙂

The roads through Wales were relatively quiet as you can see A5 Walesfrom this picture taken on the A5 from Cerrigydrudion and what’s more we had plenty of blue sky on that day to enjoy – we even had an “al fresco” lunch at The Oakley Arms hotel – a great place to stop if you happen to be riding that way.

Over the couple of days we had on the first part of our WISE tour, we rode several of the mountain passes in Snowdonia, had a photo stop at the famous Welsh village which has 57 letters in its name….!!!  Visited a reservoir, a lake, rode passed several slate quarries and sampled lots of hearty local fayre all of which set us up well for the next leg of the tour which was to cross over to Ireland……

We’ll let you know how our motorcycle touring of Southern Ireland went in our next blog, if you have anything to share with us about your experiences of riding through North Wales please let us know at info@dragonmototours.co.uk we’d love to hear from you.

Riding Col D’Iseran August 2013

It’s been a while since our last blog, but we have a good excuse – we’ve been on tour 🙂

For motorcycle touring riding the Col D’Iseran has to be up there with the best and we had a beautiful day for it too.  Weather forecast had been for snow showers and temps just over zero which was not promising to say the least, Top of Col D'Iseranbut it would seem that the forecasters got that one wrong!  OK, so it was only 5 degrees at the top of Col D’Iseran but we had clear blue skies for the ride to the top and amazing views as you can see from this photo – it felt like being on top of the world – well at 2,770m it was not far off!!!

We had started our day from our hotel in the Aosta Valley Italy, not all of our tour group joined us as some had decided to have a day off the motorbikes and explore the local area.  Some walked around the castle whilst others took a bus into Aosta town and mingled with the locals.  Petit Col St BernardFor the rest of us we set off around 9.30am and rode through the valley sighting Mont Blanc before we climbed up the Petit Col St Bernard.  This was John and Gail’s first motorcycle tour in Europe and he relished negotiating the hairpins which rise out of Pre St Didier, we took a very similar picture of Colin riding the same road in September 2012 and he enjoyed it as much as John 🙂

It was evident from some of the road surface that it must have been a harsh winter on the Petit St Bernard pass, but it made it no less of a road to ride as the road twists and turns through stunning scenery upto the top where the border between Italy and France is.  We crossed over into France and then descended to the valley and on towards Val D’Isere.  The town is the start of the ride to the top of Col D’Iseran and as soon as you leave it you are into open meadowland before you start the ascent. Did Phil use this bike??? The road is not only popular with  motorcyclists, but also with cyclists and Phil couldn’t believe how light this particular bike was when he picked it up – we reckon he might of taken a bit longer to get to the top had he not been on his GS though!!!

We returned to Val D’Isere for lunch at Val’s Creperie – a welcome meal to set any motorcyclist up for the return ride over the Petit Col St Bernard and back to the Aosta Valley…..

Rather than stop for coffee at the France/Italy border we carried on down towards La Thuile and had a fantastic welcome from the girls at Rifugio Riondet where they make excellent coffees and hot chocolates – we hooked up with them on facebook and even left one of our stickers over their bar – certainly looking forward to visiting them again next time we are riding that way!  On the piste!!!What was good for four of our tour group was the fact that they had stopped here for a hot drink whilst ski-ing in this region and it turns out that the road in front of the cafe is actually the piste during the winter!!!

It was a great way to end a fantastic day of motorcycling and we are certainly looking forward to riding the roads again in the future.