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Thread: European Multistrada Meeting 2011

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Cool European Multistrada Meeting 2011

    It was time. Time for hairpins, cheap (and expensive) plonk, nails in tyres and problems at toll booths.

    The summer had been and gone in Scotland and the rain had made itself quite at home in the weeks leading up to the EMM. Just as well I was wearing waterproof textiles then, as the 5 solid hours of rain I had on my way south would have proved problematic for lesser gear.

    By the time I saw a dry road I was on the M6 Toll avoiding the mess of Birmingham. All my hard work polishing the bike wasted, at least the panniers were proven waterproof and the PR3s were in their element.

    With only a minor diversion via the suburbs of Guildford, I arrived at Peter's [coman] place around 5pm, feeling remarkably fresh considering I started my journey at 7am in the morning. After a pub meal, a few pints of fine Sussex ale and a quick chat with Charlie Cox (of BBC MotoGP fame - who frequents Peter's local), it was time to retire to bed as we had another early start.


    Peter's gaff

    After a reasonably easy trip through rush hour M25 traffic we made our way down the M20 to Folkstone where we would be meeting the others at the Channel Tunnel. Having the furthest to travel, imagine our surprise to find out we were the first Multistradas parked in the terminal building. In his excitement Alan [smegol] had missed the turn to the terminal and ended up queing for the train. Dave [drdaveboy] had severe handling problems with his bike and had texted to say he wasn't going to make it. Fortunately Ian [Kirky] and Richard [Fothers] did turn up at the terminal and joined us for a swift coffee before heading to the train.


    Kirky arrives


    Portfolio shot for Kirky in the chunnel

    A trouble free crossing got us to Calais just in time to watch the rain start as the train slowed to a stop. We headed for Reims via the Autoroute and managed to stick together, almost spotting a few French police cars in the nick of time - instead being saved by the plumes of spray from the trucks and cars. By the time we stopped for fuel, the rain had stopped, little did I know it was the last rain I would see for the next 6 days :-)

    After thoroughly confusing the automatic barriers we managed to enter an underground car park with 3 tickets between 5 bikes, park up and partake in the traditional French dish of Pizza. Leaving the car park using 2 tickets for 5 bikes, we made our escape via the back streets of Reims towards more interesting roads to the south.

    The sun made an appearance and we wound our way through Champagne vineyards and wineries in the numerous small towns and villages. Then disaster almost struck... about to turn in to a fairly gentle corner and right at the edge of the road, I failed to spot a deep groove in the tarmac that was slightly wider than my front wheel. As soon as I noticed it I was already in it and steering towards the gravel-strewn gutter... then the gutter ended, leaving me riding along the grass verge at around 65-70mph! To make matters worse I was only a few feet away from a line of bollards and amazingly managed to shut the throttle and keep the bike upright as I navigated the curve on the grass. Apparently it all looked very exciting from behind... I can certainly believe it

    After a quick check the bike was fine, with my nerves the only casualty and we headed on for an hour or so until we stopped at a hotel who were unable or unwilling to serve us coffee. With only an hour until our final destination we took some great back roads to Avallon and our hotel for the night. As you would expect in Avallon, we dined at a round table ;-)


    Like the Beatles, only poorer and less talented


    Avallon hotel

    Next morning we had a quick breakfast in the French style and after some confusion about the cost of the coffee (only tourists drink big coffees with milk so it is consequently much more expensive than a small black coffee), we checked out and continued heading south. After some minor sat nav confusion and a few narrow farm roads we hit the Autoroute to burn through some KMs. Nothing too notable except passing the 'real' Chateauneuf and Fothers disappearing behind us momentarily only to helpfully explain later he was slowing down for a speed camera.


    French breakfast

    The skies were blue as we left the Autoroute ready for our first pass of the trip. Nothing too radical to start with, the road climbed over a small mountain and after a bit of hairpin practice we descended into Versoix - on the banks of lake Geneva - for lunch.


    One of many toll booths


    Coffee stop


    Lake Geneva in the distance


    After a couple of hundred of these, you get better

    Lunch was surprisingly good, especially for Fothers who accidentally ate half my salad as well as his own. To avoid the costly Swiss vignette we retraced our steps to the French border avoiding the motorway. Our route took us through C.E.R.N and close to the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator, which seems to have had a lasting effect on Peter's Garmin.


    Fothers planning his salad heist


    Versoix

    After some tedious towns with 30kmh sections, we eventually got to better roads and just as I was entering the first twisties I noticed a lack of headlights behind me. I doubled-back and eventually we found Peter wrestling with a rear brake that was binding. A bit of adjustment with his pliers had the wheel moving freely again and we were off. Another narrow pass over a small mountain and we descended into the last town before rejoining the Autoroute, stopped for coffee and then did another hour on the motorway.




    Kirky attacks

    The mountains were rising around us as we took the exit for the final pass of the day and the last 50km of riding before the EMM hotel. Ascending the Col du Galibier I was concerned by the cold mist... duh, it was just a cloud we were passing through on our way to the top! The Col du Galibier is often the highest point of the Tour de France and the roads were still sporting the graffiti markings on many of the corners.


    Twisty roads a-plenty!


    Parked above the clouds

    Stopping briefly to soak up some mountain air, we descended to the EMM hotel - amazingly for us - still in daylight!


    Mission accomplished!


    View from my balcony wasn't too shabby

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    After a few drinks, a surprisingly tasty meal and a good nights sleep, I awoke ready for more high altitude hairpins. Which was just as well really, since that's what we were going to be doing... First was a morning spent riding some lower passes en route to Jausiers for lunch.





    We arrived at the first restaurant in town that had a large amount of dedicated bike parking. Everything was good until we met the manageress who was a reluctant restaurateur. After much confusion and various different attempts at compromise, she finally insulted Francois to the point of no return and we left, moving to another place just down the road; a very tasty lunch served with a smile soon followed and the group was happy again.



    At 2,802 meters, the Col de la Bonette is the highest road in Europe you can ride your bike on. At that height there is very little growing and the air is appreciably thinner. Due to a GPS mix-up we missed the top loop that climbs to the summit on the first pass. But since we went over the top and down the other side, continuing along the valley floor for a while, we had another crack at it and on the second attempt managed to reach the top! Technology eh!?








    The top - at last!


    View from the top


    Heading back down

    The route back to the hotel eventually took us to the D1091 which is the kind of road you see in car ads and James Bond films - fast sweeping bends with the odd tight corner thrown in and all on good surfaces with great visibility.


    Back and ready for a beer

    After another nice dinner and a few servings of beer it was time for bed ready for Saturday.

  3. #3
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    The previous evening as we were parking up, Peter spotted a nail sticking out of Ian's tyre. He set off with Gigi who was after a new front in search of a tyre fitter.

    A visit to the church of Notre-Dame des Neiges in Alpe d'Huez was first on the agenda, but to get there we navigated a number of narrow twisty roads with the added challenge of large gravel patches to keep your eyes and your mind working.


    You don't want to meet a car coming the other way on this road!






    Peter found God. Thankfully without needing to use his Garmin...!


    Faber stops to sniff the flowers

    A long gravel-strewn descent to the valley floor followed and we continued on some nice twisties that led to a lake where we stopped to regroup.


    Stef from Belgium formulating his top 10 famous Belgians...


    David (booney) poses for a portfolio shot


    Jan (Jantah) amongst the mountains

    Heading over the Col de la Croix de Fer (Pass of the Iron Cross) we stopped for a spot of lunch on the descent. News came through from Ian and it wasn't good. None of the local bike tyre places had a socket to fit the MTS1200 rear wheel, and the nearest Ducati dealer was a few hours away. By the time he'd ridden there, got the tyre fixed and returned the day would be over so he made the decision to start his return journey a day earlier. keeping the speeds lower since he would be riding with his new pointy metal accessory.



    Two suggested routes - a long and a short - had been provided. To maximise potential for confusion we created an extension of the short route using what was described as "a goat track" to arrive at the medium route. In fact, the goat track was a paved road - a little bumpy in places and with some gravel - but nothing too difficult on a Multistrada.


    A bit tougher on a Honda VFR400 though!

    The final section of the route was back over the Col du Galbier, although this time we stopped to take a few photos of each other:










    Yours truly, taken by Greg





    David Cobbold wasn't able to make the EMM, but he did send something along in his place - a number of cases of wine with tasting notes! With French assistance we worked our way through the different wines and retired to the dining room with the wine that was left. It was obviously good stuff because half way through dinner an inter-table napkin fight started.

    With black stares from the staff bringing an end to hostilities, we headed for the bar, and sampled the local spirit - Chartreuse - and the rest is a hazy memory.

  4. #4
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    We said our goodbyes on Sunday morning. Fothers and I were heading in the same direction - the wrong one as it turns out - so we decided to travel together for a while. After realising our schoolboy routing error, we got back on track and were soon heading north. He took the exit for Strasbourg and I continued up to Saarbrucken, finishing the last hour of my journey on some minor roads. The 33c heat meant I finally had to capitulate and remove my jacket liner.

    On Monday I took in Germany, Belgium and Holland via motorway and with the temperature still in 30c+ territory, made numerous stops for liquids. 100mph cruising on the autobahn was pleasant on the MTS1200. Even with high speed running my fuel consumption was averaging around the 48mpg mark. I made it to the ferry port in good time and was confused to find far more bikes than cars, that is, until I heard someone mention the MotoGP at Assen...


    Coffee in IJmuiden, before checking in for the ferry


    More bikes than cars


    An extremely dehydrated miloVanMultistrada


    North Shields slighty cooler than the continent


    Weather improving nicely by Coldstream

    After leaving the ferry I took the scenic route through the borders, popping in to see DB on the way. My rear tyre was looking a little sad after 2 days of motorway speeds and by this time it was moving all over the place every time there was a marking or a change in the tarmac. Sure enough, after a dry and uneventful ride back to Carnoustie, it was down to the wear bars.

    A big thanks to everyone who organised the EMM, and to all the participants who make it such good fun. Until the next time... in Portugal??

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  6. #5
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    Excellent pics, thanks!

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  8. #6
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    looks like a brilliant trip Miles and fabby pics again - thnx
    Old enough to know better.... young enough to not give a s**t

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  10. #7
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    Great write up Miles - and some scary looking roads

    Old enough to know better, young enough not to care

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  12. #8
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    Nice one Miles - great photo's as ever.

    Top 10 Belgians;

    Plastic Bertrand
    Tin Tin
    Snowy
    Captain Haddock
    Thomson Twins (counts as 2)
    Professor Calculus
    Georges Remi
    Eddy Merckx
    Axel Merckx

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  14. #9
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    Nice one Miles looked like a stunning trip and brill weather p.s where did your mate Kirky get that screen on his 1200 i like that

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  16. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by the hunter View Post
    Nice one Miles looked like a stunning trip and brill weather p.s where did your mate Kirky get that screen on his 1200 i like that
    It's from here Steve:

    http://www.7jurock.com/store/index.p...&productId=339

    I took Kirky's bike up one of the passes and with that short screen and his MIVV pipe it certainly encouraged you to behave like a bit of a hooligan.

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  18. #11
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    great pics !!

    how did you protect your photographing hardware against rain, dust etc.? what kind of bag do you use?

  19. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by petzi View Post
    great pics !!

    how did you protect your photographing hardware against rain, dust etc.? what kind of bag do you use?
    I used a Kreiga US20 tailpack. Fits nicely on the pillion sear, is waterproof and easy to open and close fairly quickly without needing a key. I just take it off the bike (it comes with a shoulder strap) if stopping anywhere the bike is out of my sight.

  20. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by miloVanMultistrada View Post
    It's from here Steve:

    http://www.7jurock.com/store/index.p...&productId=339

    I took Kirky's bike up one of the passes and with that short screen and his MIVV pipe it certainly encouraged you to behave like a bit of a hooligan.
    cheers Miles I bet it did seen the youtube of that pipe sounds mental

  21. #14
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    Hugely impressive!
    Well done and a great trip report to boot.
    That switchback photo is awsome.

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  23. #15
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    Does the MIVV pipe require mapping?
    It looks formidable!

  24. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ukmongoose View Post
    Does the MIVV pipe require mapping?
    It looks formidable!
    No, it seems to work fine with the standard fuel map. The bike I rode hadn't had the mapping touched and it was fine.

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