May 05, 2004

Oh no, no milk!

When we got to France last Saturday it was closed! All the shops, all the petrol stations and most of the bars closed Saturday lunch time for the whole weekend! When we got to our little house we had to survive on what we had left in the cupboards until Sunday morning when the shop in the village opened for a couple of hours. Not too bad we had plenty of Vodka.

Whilst we managed to solve the milk, bread and butter problem on the Sunday morning we were seriously stuck for petrol as all the petrol stations were shut. It's 393 miles from home to our house in Brittany and I'd planned to fill up for the return trip at the supermarket when we did some shopping. There are 24 hour pumps that you can use bank cards in, but only French bank cards work, that's ok we've got a French bank account and a French card! Problem solved! Well it would have been if I knew the PIN number :-(

Fortunately a fellow Pan rider came to our rescue. As we were planning a ride round to see if we could find a petrol station that was manned. We knew that the services on the Autoroute (Motorway, Freeway) would be open but the nearest services that we knew of was a long journey (100 miles round trip). As we stood in the village square a an English voice asked how we were getting on with the bike. He'd got an 1100 and was curious about the 13'. As it turned out our guess that the motorway services would be manned was correct, but he saved all that riding about by offering to use his card and we could give him the cash. So a 100 mile search turned out to be a short ride with a fellow Pan rider (after he'd watched the World Super Bikes on the tv). An English neighbour in france and a Pan owner to boot.

Petrol problem solved, easy. I must remember the PIN number next time!

Many thanks to Brian? See you again after your visit to America.

Our return journey had a little excitement too. As we left the ferry at Portsmouth it was pouring down with rain. I wasn't happy with a four hour ride in the rain, fortunately the rain eased off after half an hour.

As the rain eased off my speed increased, then the front wheel slipped on a bitumen strip covering a traffic flow sensor. Another reason why speed cameras are a bad idea. This was quite scary, the front wheel kicked violently, we were doing 70(ish) on a curve at the time! Only on a Pan can you be relaxed about this sort of thing (after your heart's stopped racing). When we stopped for a coffee a bit later I turned up the preload on the rear suspension. This helped keep the front wheel more planted. It's a good point, try get a feel for the way the bike handles with different loads and suspension settings and ensure you've set it right before you start your journey. On Sunday's ride we were only lightly loaded so the suspension was a bit too soft as I hadn't set it back harder as we reloaded the bike for the journey home.

On the journey home I refilled the tank at the services about 50 miles short of Caen. When we got home we had an indicated 236 miles since the fill up and not even indicating reserve yet! This mpg was achieved two up and fully loaded at UK motorway speeds (70++ mph). Excellent! This would mean a tank full to empty range of over 270 miles.

Another 700 miles of fun due after we've been to the BMF show and got Katrine a new waterproof suit. Her's was shreaded at the knees by the wind on our way home!

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