August 04, 2003

France Twice

We've just come back from our second trip to France. The first time we went through the tunnel, this time we used Brittany Ferries. Both methods worked well, but I prefer the tunnel. Do you think we could start a campaign to get another one dug to get to Brittany direct?

As you'd expect the Pan performed excellently, with the addition of the new Givi Maxia top box we've more than enough luggage space. I'd read reports of the handling being upset with a fully loaded top box, well we never experienced it, despite exceeding the 'recommended maximum speed' for the fully laden top box (very briefly officer!)

It's getting closer to new rear tyre time, it's looking a bit flattened in the middle. Unless anyone can offer a better suggestion I'm going to stick with the BT020 the same as it came with. Only another 800 miles and it's second service time too oh, the expense of it all! They'll probably get done together at the end of the month.

The 4000 mile service cost about £125 (I can't remember the exact amount) and only a couple of months later the next service is looming. You'd have thought Mr Honda could have sorted a bit more mileage between services. The Pan's a touring bike, miles is what it's supposed to do.

As Mike and Craig seem to regularly ride in France it can't just be me that finds riding over there more pleasureable than in the UK. I don't think it's just that 'I'm on holiday' either. There are too many things that make French roads better. Here's my list in no particular order.

No GATSOs, never saw any speed cameras in nearly 2000 miles.

Excellent road surfaces, only found a short section of resurfacing gravel and that was on a very, very minor road.

The other drivers seem more bike aware.

Motorway speed limit is higher. Why not 80 in the UK Mr Blair?

Motorway and dual carriageway lane discipline is much better, no middle lane dawdling.

The only thing I had difficulty with was the traffic light sequence, they go straight to green from red, there's no 'on you marks' amber.

As far as the Pan goes. These two trips really confirmed that long distance touring is what it's for. Two up for nearly 1000 miles in a week and we had an excellent time. Even when it rained our enthusiasm to go for a ride didn't fade.

Oh, after trying Normandy and Brittany, we prefer Brittany it's much prettier. Normandy is a little flat.

I hope we get over there again before the summers out.

Tomorrow I've got to remove my insect collection, I could be at it for a while!

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