July 31, 2003

Trip to France

Aah, France. Long, clear, empty winding roads, cheap petrol, fine weather, good food and wine, what could be better? Just got back from a trip to the west coast on the ST, covered just over 1000 miles in two weeks, maybe not much to a hardcore Pan rider, but plenty for me to enjoy. As ever, the Pan was faultless throughout, never missing a beat, sitting comfortably at 100 mph most of the way down there, plus a few runs up to Bordeaux, one of which topped 120 mph chasing in vain after my buddy on his Hayabusa. Still it was fun, if a little reckless.

I discovered that the ST1100 panniers are the perfect size for 1.5 litre drinks bottles, you can get 4 of them in the outer side of the panniers, it probably way exceeds Honda's recommended weight limit, but I had no problems. The girl at the hypermarket checkout must have wondered how we were going to get a trolley load of shopping back on our bikes, but it all fitted neatly into the ST. However, I found packing clothes, even with the pannier liners, is not as efficient as soft throwovers, which have that extra "squeezeability" factor.

The trip back was marred by torrential rain for most of the way, even the great fairing of the ST didnt keep it off and my waterproof gear started to let the water in after 3 hours riding. Only when we stopped at St Malo and I saw the state of my 'Busa riding buddy did I realise that the fairing had done its job well. I still felt quite fresh and was considerably drier and warmer than he was, plus my luggage was dry! The Busa may look nice and go like a rocket, but the ST has all the "real world" speed you need, the comfort, the protection, the luggage, not to mention the tank range, and I'd choose the ST every time.

Back to the daily commute and a weekend rideouts for now, maybe a trip to the UK later this year, and the bike is rapidly approaching its 28k mile service so I'll let you know how that goes. She's long overdue a bit of spit and polish too, so if we get a nice weekend I might get the cleaning stuff out. Then again, if we're going to get a nice weekend it'd be a shame not to go for a ride really.......

Safe riding

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