Blast from the past #9 - Recharge

Somewhere in Northern France, heading southwards towards the (final) Horizons Unlimited Mountain Madness in 2011.  Probably a bit too long a morning getting away from the Channel, especially for Sarah who hadn't been riding much in the weeks before jumping into several-hundred-mile days on the bike.  Time to stop and recharge.

Blast from the past #4 - Travelling light

It's June 2008, somewhere just south of Calais, on the way to watch a friend race with BEMSEE during one of their occasional overseas excursions to the Croix-en-Ternois circuit.  A Friday afternoon dash away from work, down the motorway to the Channel Tunnel and then out into the French countryside.  The first time I had taken a motorcycle onto foreign soil, a heady mix of freedom, apprehension and excitement.

I'm travelling light - forget your big-bore 'adventure' bikes and shiny metal panniers, let's take a screaming 400cc race-rep to watch others of its kind actually being raced.  My (then brand new) Kriega R35, stuffed with a sleeping bag and a change of clothes, the US-10 piggybacked onto it to hold my camera gear.  Add a waterproof oversuit bungeed to the pillion seat, and a thoroughly inadequate map taped to the fuel tank, and let's go.

Blast from the past #1

As if trying to stick to one regular blogging project wasn't likely to be difficult enough, I thought I'd try for another one - unearthing some interesting memories from the tens of thousands of photos lurking on my hard drive, and giving them a bit of fresh air.

It's July 2005, and the end of a whirlwind couple of weeks in which we'd both graduated from university, signed the tenancy agreement on a new house a hundred and fifty miles away where Sarah already had a job offer lined up.  I'd been to a job interview on the Monday, been offered the job on the Tuesday (over the phone, while stood outside Bath Abbey waiting for Sarah to come out of her graduation ceremony), then got on a ferry to France on the Thursday to spend a month touring round Western Europe.  This was probably Friday or Saturday.  We're camped at St. Germain-les-Belles, just south of Limoges, in central France, a site which had been a stopping point en route to the Mediterranean for family holidays throughout my childhood.

The vehicle is my parents' Volkswagen T25 Caravelle, which they bought new in 1989, and in which they took my sister and I on several of those holidays in the early nineties (before 'upgrading' to a caravan).  Over the next four weeks it would carry us into Northern Spain, across to Barcelona, around the Mediterranean coast into Italy, across country to Venice, northwards into Austria then Bavaria, then back home across Germany and France.  Sadly this trip proved to be its last hurrah - it suffered a terminal engine failure six months later and has been quietly rotting in the back of a barn at my parents' place ever since.