Northern Spain to northern France

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Six30
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Re: Northern Spain to northern France

#16 Post by Six30 » Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:29 pm

The journey there and back is part of your holiday allow enough time so you can stop where you want for a coffee etc,
Enjoy it :thumb:
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Re: Northern Spain to northern France

#17 Post by Lateralus » Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:40 pm

Some great tips here, thanks guys.
Mawsley wrote:Things I would not like to do again:
1. Sit on a ferry for anything over an hour
2. Ride on autopistas/peages/motorways
3. Compete for some imaginary endurance medal by riding 500miles+ in a day
4. Go caravanning with Jimmy Saville

If I were riding to Limoges I'd go by minor roads, linger in small towns for lunch, take early evenings and drink pastis in market squares, and definitely stop overnight in Tours. I love Tours. I would catch the Chunnel, make it a 2 or 3 day trip and camp because it packs up small and light.

But you are not me, you are you. Do what you want to do and enjoy the experience. :thumb:
1. I quite like ferries, so no problem with a 24hr crossing.
2. Agreed, not interested in a tour of Europe's motorways.
3. Furthest I've gone so far is 200 miles in a day, but I don't really have a concept of what a "reasonable" distance is to aim for.
4. I think I've missed my opportunity for Jim to fix it for me.

I have thought a bit about camping, but it's the amount of extra stuff I'd need to take, even if I ate out, which concerns me really. Plus, if I'm doing relatively big days in the saddle, a hot shower and a comfy bed seems very attractive!
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Re: Northern Spain to northern France

#18 Post by Stu » Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:53 pm

I like my creature comforts after a day in the saddle

Been able to walk around your room naked and have a decent shower is a must :lol:

Breakfast in European hotels is always a winner too 8-)

If you want to get somewhere then hitting the motorways are a good way to get some distance you can easily cover 250 miles a day with a mixture of motorways and back roads

Every time we have gone away we will do motorway for about 100 - 150 miles then come off and enjoy the rest of the ride to get to our first destination after that we usually do around 150 - 200 miles a day at a leisurely pace

We also went away for ten days with only one hotel booked for the first night :shock: we had no plan and went where we wanted and just picked up hotels when we had enough for the day

I would plan your route carefully and book your hotels and make it a holiday rather than a ride to a destination its all good and well clocking the miles but crap if you are missing all the scenery

more importantly make sure your bike is in tip top shape, you have the correct insurance cover (bike and travel) breakdown cover etc etc
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Re: Northern Spain to northern France

#19 Post by Baloo » Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:17 pm

24 hours on the Santander ferry is quite easy to pass TBH. The Pont Aven and the Cap Finistere are cruise ferries, they are not like your normal Dover Calais cross channel.

You board at lunchtime. If you booked a airline seat not a cabin, they are on the top floor next to the swimming pool, I go straight there after boarding and nab a couple of duvets and a pillow from the cupboards at the back of the room. Make myself a bed on the floor at the front of the room, and dump my luggage on it to reserve my space. So much nicer and easier to sleep flat out on the floor than in one of those airline seats, where you will find some other smelly snoring bugger sleeping in the footwell in front of your seat.

Then onto deck and there's enough to see for a couple of hours as you track the south coast, then if the weather's good you can settle down on deck in a deck chair with a book. As you cross over the channel towards the Jersey whales or dolphins might make an appearance which is good entertainment for a while.

Then dinner, book the restaurant, it's pretty good food.

After dinner head for the bar and there's an evening cabaret entertainment on, but I always head for the pile of leathers and helmets in the corner and join the other bikers for beer and chat which I have known last into the early hours, then end up riding into Spain and Portugal in a group ride the next day.

You can sleep on a sofa in the bar, but you won't get peace until 2am, by 3am there's a cleaner running around with a hoover, and by 6am they are preparing for breakfast and you are awoken by the sound of crockery. I found my makeshift bed in the airline seats room much more conducive to sleep.

Coffee, breakfast, gather all your stuff together, read your book for another couple of hours, and it's time to disembark in Santander.

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Re: Northern Spain to northern France

#20 Post by Baloo » Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:21 pm

Camping massively reduces your daily mileage, because you need to be at the campsite by 7pm ish latest to pitch in daylight and then get some food. In the morning you waste an hour just breaking camp and reloading the bike. For what motels cost in France, like IBIS budget, Campanile, etc, it's just not worth it.

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Re: Northern Spain to northern France

#21 Post by Mawsley » Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:23 pm

Stu wrote:...able to walk around ... naked ... is a must
Most French campsites are quite accommodating.
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Re: Northern Spain to northern France

#22 Post by Stu » Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:31 pm

Mawsley wrote:
Stu wrote:...able to walk around ... naked ... is a must
Most French campsites are quite accommodating.

Whatever turns you on :shock:
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Re: Northern Spain to northern France

#23 Post by Mawsley » Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:39 pm

Stu wrote:
Mawsley wrote:
Stu wrote:...able to walk around ... naked ... is a must
Most French campsites are quite accommodating.

Whatever turns you on :shock:
It saves cleaning and drying clothes when I wake up in a ditch surrounded by empty bottles of cheap wine.
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Re: Northern Spain to northern France

#24 Post by Lateralus » Tue Apr 11, 2017 10:13 pm

This is really helpful stuff guys, much appreciated and keep it coming!

So then, current outline plan:
Tues 15th Aug - 17.15 sailing from Portsmouth with an airline seat booked. Parents live near Newbury, so can easily head there Monday night and have a leisurely start to the trip.
Weds 16th - arrive Santander 18.15, then ride to Pamplona or somewhere. Stay in cheap hotel/Airbnb. Longish ride for the evening, but I'll have done nothing else all day and it would be good to finish up near the mountains.
Thurs 17th - Sun 20th - explore the Pyrenees and make way to Limousin region.
Sun 20th - Thurs 24th - explore local area with wife, do nice family stuff.
Fri 25th - Mon 28th - make way home via Chunnel or Calais-Dover ferry, hopefully with 2 overnight stops in France and very possibly aiming to get home on the Sunday evening, leaving all day bank holiday Monday to recover.

It'll only leave me with 2 days' annual leave until Christmas, but for a decent tour I think I can cope with that!

Will look at route planning in more detail over the coming weeks, assuming this is the plan which proceeds, and can put a deposit on the ferry imminently. I like the idea of stopping when I've had enough and chancing it on the accommodation, but to keep costs down I think pre-booking is the only option.

No-one else fancy joining in? :mrgreen:
Mawsley wrote:
Sun Jul 23, 2017 8:47 pm
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Hoggs wrote:
Sun Jul 23, 2017 9:07 pm
I may have to begrudgingly agree.

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Re: Northern Spain to northern France

#25 Post by rennie » Tue Apr 11, 2017 10:34 pm

We did 500 miles a day on motorways/toll roads,
it is a bit of a drag but there's a strange sort of masochistic pleasure in it, I would do it again :lol:

we stayed in Formule1's, a bit too basic for me I wouldn't use them again (they're quite cheap though).

It also depends what you're going to do when you get there and how long before you ride back.

We did 3 days bike, 9 days pool/bar/pool/bar :cheers: , 3 days bike
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Re: Northern Spain to northern France

#26 Post by Baloo » Tue Apr 11, 2017 10:40 pm

rennie wrote:We did 500 miles a day on motorways/toll roads,
it is a bit of a drag but there's a strange sort of masochistic pleasure in it, I would do it again :lol:
That's hard work. Because I stop every hour, that would be 6 legs of one hour each, with stops at motorway services in between. Overall with an hour for lunch it would take about 9 hours.

I much prefer taking 12-14 hours, but riding country roads and having more interesting town centre stops.

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Re: Northern Spain to northern France

#27 Post by Gerontious » Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:07 pm

If it were me.. after Pamplona.. i would have the greatest pleasure in crossing the mountains from south to North.. and as its my first ever tour. (ok it isnt.. but lets pretend). I would prefer to stay at an english owned place. you maybe pay a little extra.. but theres local knowledge which is always worth a lot. maybe more if you dont speak much french. (or spanish)

as an example.. This place. http://www.fontaines-escot.com is 110 miles from Pamplona.. but you can easily double that by taking a scenic route.

They mention bikers.. which is always a good thing.
Our property is the perfect holiday destination for:
Motorbikers and cyclists looking for a campbase near the famous cols
A quick check and they have their cheapest room available.. arr: 17/8 dep: 20/8 will set you back £128 so.. £42 per night. double bed and breakfast.

a day out begins with this view: https://goo.gl/maps/Xp6dmwDf3Z72

up that little lane from the hotel... then 'which way today?

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Re: Northern Spain to northern France

#28 Post by Lateralus » Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:27 pm

That place looks great, certainly for one night at least. I speak bad Spanish and slightly worse French - enough to muddle through as a tourist, but not enough for a detailed discussion about touring and routes!
Mawsley wrote:
Sun Jul 23, 2017 8:47 pm
red is a great colour.
Hoggs wrote:
Sun Jul 23, 2017 9:07 pm
I may have to begrudgingly agree.

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Re: Northern Spain to northern France

#29 Post by Lateralus » Sun Apr 16, 2017 11:35 pm

Ferry out from Portsmouth to Santander booked for 15th Aug! Now the overly-detailed trip planning can start in earnest! :mrgreen:
Mawsley wrote:
Sun Jul 23, 2017 8:47 pm
red is a great colour.
Hoggs wrote:
Sun Jul 23, 2017 9:07 pm
I may have to begrudgingly agree.

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Re: Northern Spain to northern France

#30 Post by Noodles » Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:38 am

I did a trip in June this year, down to Santander 1- way and Chunnell return (always have a cabin though if you can stetch to it ... so much better) and I then did the fairly short trip over to the French side to a nice town called Pau (about 160 miles) and then the day after to an even nicer place called Albi (about another 170 miles) ... I did this leg via sat nav and avoiding tolls and motorways and it was fantastic, lovely roads with the snow capped Pyrinees as the back drop and Albi is very nice.
I then legged it down to Sth of France so not relevent for you ... however on your way back to Northern France try and slip Troyes in there as its a really nice town.
My only other advice is whilst camping is ok its also a right faff and even more so if its very hot ... I did two weeks and all on airbnb and never paid more than £30 and met some lovely people along the way.
I did a couple of long days i.e. 500 miles but they were not the enjoyable days as much as when it was less than 300 with nice coffee stops along the way.
I have also done Pamplona, a place called Burgos and also a place called Salamanca whist in Spain on other trips but that was always having the ferry return so giving more time for hanging around the great roads of Picos.
I think many of us have made mistakes by trying to cram to many miles and places into too shorter time ... but its all fun, now if its lots of places then its lots of holidays booked, short on time then I do fewer miles but spend longer in fewer places if that makes sense?
Whatever you do you will have a blast ... makes me itchy to go again just reading this thread haha!

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