Luxembourg Roads are made for motorcycling!

This is not the first time we have toured in Luxembourg and most certainly will not be the last with a tour already planned for June 2016!  The country is within easy reach of Calais and offers some of the best road surfaces for riding together with picturesque towns, villages and stunning scenery.  For this trip we stayed in one location for four nights in the town of Vianden which is looked down on by a Vianden at nightbeautiful chateau which is stunning when lit up at night as can be seen from this photo.  The town itself offers plenty for people to do if they feel like having some time off their bikes with the only chair lift in the Duchy of Luxembourg taking you up to a cafe with stunning views of the Our Valley, which is also home to a wonderful motorcycling road which meanders for nearly 8 miles alongside the river Our.  It was along this stretch of road that we met two very nice Luxembourg police officers who stopped us all for a routine document check – it is worth remembering that you need to carry these documents with you at all times whilst riding in Europe and they were happy that everything was in order and wished us well on our way.

On a tour in September 2014 we visited the National Motor Museum at Diekirch and called in there again this time as we had new clients with us and they enjoyed taking a look at the cars and motorbikes which were on display.  It is well worth a visit and if there are more than 10 in your group the entrance cost is only €3 per person.low Scooter in Diekirch museum  The museum offered up a suggested answer for why there are no potholes in Luxembourg – imagine trying to ride this scooter on UK roads 🙂

We had not only fantastically smooth tarmac to enjoy but also some stunning scenery, in particular riding through the Mullerthal region is spectacular, albeit not a long stretch of road and whilst it is known as Luxembourg’s “Little Switzerland”, you are not going to find high mountains, but you do have the opportunity to ride through the rocky outcrops which overhang the road so close you can almost touch them.

We crossed the border into the Eifel region of Germany for one of our ride-outs and visited the old town of Monschau complete with its 300 year old half-timbered buildings and as luck would have it as we arrived they were getting ready to start off over 140 classic cars who were driving from Monschau over to the Nurburgring some 30 miles away. Classic Mini in Monschau It was quite a spectacle to see all the old cars driving through the town’s streets, there was even an old Mini looking in very good condition, although the occupants may have felt the bumps from the cobbles…..!

We discovered on the Saturday that it was a public holiday over that weekend and in particular whilst riding some of the roads near Spa Francorchamps in Belgium we encountered several cycle races which at times brought the roads to a standstill.  We were able to filter passed the queues and make our way to the front of one race only to divert off our route and encounter a second race in progress!!!  Fortunately there were no cycle races going on in either Luxembourg or the Eifel region so we were only held up for a very short time, it gave us a good excuse to include an extra “pit stop” that afternoon at a lovely ice cream cafe in Vielsalm – if you pass that way try the double strawberry flavour!!!

The ride-out on the Sunday stayed solely within the borders of Luxembourg which is home to many flowing roads and pretty towns and villages to pass through.  We had morning coffee in a small town on the banks of the Moselle River, set within the vineyards of this wine growing region and close to the German border before stopping in Esch-sur-Sure on route back to our hotel.

Our five day tour was blessed with excellent weather, the clients on tour were fantastic fun and the roads were sublime, we are riding through Luxembourg and staying overnight on the first day of our Bavaria tour in July and we are already looking forward to it 🙂

Shropshire Marches Ride-Out May 2015

Some days life throws little challenges at us and our ride-out day into the Shropshire Marches was not without a couple of “curve balls”!!!!  It was certainly a first for us to arrive at our morning coffee stop minus 3 riders….. 🙂 29 The Green Innbut 2 turned up in time for a brew, albeit they arrived from a direction we still haven’t quite figured out having taken a random right turn for some reason?! and the other met us at lunch having hooked onto the back of 5 other riders who had joined in with us at one roundabout but then headed off in a totally different direction 🙂 Still, as we often say “when you are on a motorcycle you are never lost or late….. you’ve just seen a bit more than you meant too!!”  We would like to thank Alison, Helen and the team at The Green Inn, for making us all so welcome and we are looking forward to visiting again later in the year (especially if the coffee cake is on offer !!)  🙂

Motorcyclist of the future..We were set a challenge whilst at the Green Inn and this was to all provide our autograph to Harri who was rather taken with all our motorbikes parked outside and wanted to have one of our stickers and some photos to taken into school next day for his “show and tell”.  Perhaps we have a budding motorcyclist in our midst…….

Our route from coffee saw us criss-crossing the English/Welsh border and the counties of Powys and Shropshire as we took in some of the quieter B roads in the area which offer a great variety for any motorcyclist, whether you enjoy open flowing roads, 32 open road ridingsweeping bends, hairpins, hills and descents and all this combined with a dry day for riding and great views of both the Shropshire and Welsh hills.  Many of the roads we included for this ride-out were new to people and it is always good to receive positive feedback and to know that they are roads which will be used again either on a ride-out with us or on their own.

Lunch was in the “Town on the Dyke”, (that being Offa’s Dyke) and with plenty of cafe’s and pubs open in Knighton it gave everyone chance to have a leg stretch and take in this small border town.  Siesta timeFor some lunch must have been substantial and required a “siesta” before they got back on their bikes…… but we soon put them on roads which made them wake up and smile as we rode through Shropshire with the hills looking like a patchwork quilt with the yellow rapeseed fields mixed into the grassy ones.  Some of us were temporarily held up on a cracking riding road by a tour bus, but our faith in human nature was restored when the driver pulled over and let around 15 of us passed so that we could enjoy some of the bends which were coming up!!!

We had an afternoon rest stop in the quiet village of Whittington at The White Lion pub before finishing the ride-out at The Sandstone near Bickerton and would like to thank both venues for their hospitality.  The weather was good for us and it was a fantastic Spring day for enjoying the British countryside on two wheels – as ever, thanks to all who joined us.  🙂

 

 

 

Touring the French & Belgian Ardennes

Our first European motorcycle tour of 2015 was over the early May bank holiday this year with 4 nights staying in one location in the heart of the French Ardennes and daily ride-outs to the Champagne region and also through the Ardennes both in France and Belgium.  Parked up in BelgiumA cross section of bikes joined us on this trip, 4 Kawasaki’s, 3 BMW’s, 5 Triumph’s, 2 Honda’s and 1 each of Suzuki, Yamaha and Ducati.  We made quite a splash of colour as we rode through this region 🙂

The weather was a little “colourful” at times too with a mix of rain on some days, downpours on others and sunshine for our ride into Belgium.  Still it brought out the smiles within our group, in particular when John realised he had left his carefully folded waterproofs on his kitchen table at home!!!!  Dressed for all eventualities!And as for Jane, well she had come prepared for all weathers 🙂  We had included a visit to the Battle of Marne Memorial monument which ordinarily offers spectacular views over the vineyards of the Champagne region, however, in this instance as Steve aptly pointed out “the only bubbles he could see were those on his visor”!!  enough said…… So it was onto lunch which we had booked at an Auberge and they treated us very well, providing us with our own dining room, a large table set for lunch, hangers for all our wet gear, tables for our tank bags and helmets and a wonderful meal to go with it – not to mention champagne which some of the pillions were able to enjoy!  We took the french approach and had an extended meal so that the worst of the rain could pass, giving us an opportunity to ride some of the fantastic motorcycling roads in the dry through the vineyards and forests of the Ardennes on our return to the hotel.

On the Monday we headed east to Belgium and had blue skies to accompany us for this ride.  The open roads flowed as we made our way to the border and we were rewarded with views of the forests of the Ardennes opening up ahead of us, dotted with the yellow rapeseed fields which gave the landscape a fantastic splash of colour.  Coffee was at The Orval Abbey which is also home to a brewery and cheese factory – and as tempting as they both were, all of our group abstained from sampling  (didn’t want anything to hamper their progress on the Belgian roads!!)  Semois ValleyLunch was overlooking the beautiful Semois Valley and the ride on the ascent to this view point was something else, with twists and turns taking you higher through the Ardennes…. it was no wonder everyone was smiling when we stopped at the top 🙂

Our sojourn into Belgium continued for a short distance before we crossed the border back into France and after a quick divert into Sedan for a fuel stop, we left the town traffic behind us as we enjoyed yet more empty roads which snaked through the French Ardennes back to our hotel.

We had designed this tour to give our clients a chance to have a short break away in Europe within a reasonably short distance of the UK and to show them that the roads in this region are a motorcyclists dream – open, flowing with very little in the way of traffic.  The area is steeped in history with our tour including a stop at not only the Battle of Marne Monument, but also the Navarin Ossuarie and a stunning American Memorial.  The variety of scenery on offer varied from vineyards to forests and beautiful valleys such as the Semois.  We are very much looking forward to riding the roads in this region again very soon!