Spring is here – Goodbye Winter!

So today is the day we motorcyclists look forward to….. the first day of Spring and to be honest it could not come soon enough 🙂   We saw a post recently which summed up the Winter quite well “It is like it has had a tantrum, run out of the room and then stormed back in saying – and another thing…..!!!”  The clocks will soon “spring” forward an hour with lighter evenings and as we have sent out our first tour itineraries today it most definitely feels like the touring season is finally just around the corner.

The cold weather has been biting in Europe too, we were in Germany and Italy last week on a research trip for our 2019 / 2020 seasons and  so very glad we made the decision to go in the car rather than on the bikes – we felt very sorry for this Belgian rider who would have ridden in decent weather to the hotel one day and woken up to this the next morning!  But then the capacity for coping with the snow is on a different level in Europe to the way we deal with it in the UK.  Only a few days ago we were at over 7,000 feet in Italy and this small mountain pass was perfectly clear we think the road sign was very apt in this instance 🙂

We did have some blue skies and sunshine whilst passing through Austria on route to Italy last week as this beautiful snowscene demonstrates – we are putting in our order for the blue but not the white for the start of our first tour of 2018 when we visit County Donegal, Ireland in just over 3 weeks 🙂

For info, following on from our three winter recce trips we now have a clear steer of how our 2019 tour programme is likely to pan out, the tour to the Dolomites in July of next year is already full with expressions of interest and we now have two confirmed UK tours lined up – Mid Wales in April and Devon in May.  Ireland and Spain are most definitely on the agenda with a visit to Millau also on the calendar in June and we will be returning to the Vosges in August of 2019.  Other tours are in the pipeline so look out for updates throughout the year.   Whatever your plans are for this year we trust you have a safe and happy year of riding.

 

 

Riding empty roads in Wales!

We’re in March, so you have to ask is it winter or spring?  It has been difficult to tell here in the UK of late with snow, ice and gales lashing our shores in the last week or so and as a result there has certainly been a reduced presence of motorbikes on our roads.  With a “weather window” presenting itself yesterday we decided it was about time to get some much needed miles under our belts, particularly as our first tour starts in just over 5 weeks (lets hope the snow has gone by then!!!).

One of our Versys 1000’s still needs to achieve the first service mileage so it was a double green ride-out for us and within no time of setting off heads were turning at the sound and sight of two motorbikes – they were either pleased (like us), to hear the Kawasaki engine noise or more likely thought we were a bit mad……. particularly as the temperatures never really rose much above 4 or 5 degrees for the majority of the day!  As our day progressed we did cross paths with around ten other motorcyclists who were keen to enjoy the dry roads.

Naturally, as can be seen here, we collected our fair share of road dust and it has to be said road salt which we are well aware puts many motorcyclists off taking their bikes out at this time of year, but a good rinse off at the end of the ride soon sorted that out 🙂

Jan rides with handlebar muffs at this time of year which are easy to fit and with the heated grips on low make for a very comfortable ride.  These particular ones are Oxford and fit well on the Versys albeit a slight adjustment had to be made whereby the original handguards have had to be removed – again an easy enough process.

As we headed into the Snowdonia National Park there was evidence of the snowfall experienced last week, but not as significant as we had expected.  There had clearly been a lot of drifting snow, one thing to be mindful of is to look out for running water across the roads as the snow thaws and particularly on the higher ground we kept a close watch on the temperature being mindful that some of the areas not exposed to much sunshine could have been icy.  Other than that the roads were dry and an added bonus were that they were empty of traffic 🙂   We called in at Llangynog for a warming brew before riding over the Berwyn Mountains, lunch at Trawsfynydd lake and with an afternoon stop at A&D Motorcycles in Denbigh we covered just shy of 200 miles.  The scenery was, as ever in Snowdonia, stunning, with the peak of Snowdon just under some cloud as we rode past, however, the surrounding landscape was given all the more clarity in the crisp air.

With the first of our tours starting next month and one of them being based in North Wales there is much to look forward to – we’re just hoping that the roads in April in Snowdonia will be as dry and as empty as we enjoyed yesterday 🙂