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Ladies on the Loose! For the first time ever, a motorcycle travel DVD made for women, by women! These intrepid women share their tips to help you plan your own motorcycle adventure. They also answer the women-only questions, and entertain you with amazing tales from the road! Presented by Lois Pryce, veteran solo traveller through South America and Africa and author of 'Lois on the Loose', and 'Red Tape and White Knuckles.'
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Barcelona Pat and self are trying to arrange a meet some time this month, perhaps with a view to firming up a New Team for the HUBB Pyrennean extravaganza. I'm easy timewqise but Mr P isn't, so he's suggesting the last weekend in March.
He's in Barcelona - yeah yeah, we guessed that! - whereas I'm based in the pre-Pyrenees north of Lleida (that's south-west of Andorra to those wiith Europe maps), at least until Easter.
Bearing in mind the season I think a cruise at fairly low altitudes is best for planning purposes - it'll still be snowy up in the mountains proper - and in many respects the riding is better in the limestone regions to the south of the granite belt.
So, starting from west to east (I would say that wouldn't I!)
Meet at Can Pere (Pete's caff) in Camarasa for breakfast before riding the amazing C13 crossing of the Sierra de Montsec,
then on to Tremp and points east over the Col de Boixols to Col de Nargo,
then, depending on the weather, type of bikes, etc. on towards Berga either via Gosol (home of Picasso briefly and stunning access to the southern slopes of the Sierra de Cadi, which most pople cross via the tunnel - poor fools!) or swinging south via Solsona
east of Berga is beginning to be off my patch and I may also have to head home to the city of Tarragona and get back to work, so I'm not too wild about heading yet further east as I'd have to pass right through Bareclona - yeugh!
Sounds like a plan. I'm in - Sat 27th or Sun 28th - whatever best suits all.
Will be interesting to ride over snowy mountains with my tractor-like intruder! g-g-skid, g-g-skid!
Crossed the Aragonese Pyrenees last summer fully-loaded with touring gear, and that scared the bee-jesus out of me. On the downhill section, I was passed by a cyclist on a touring bike. Made me feel a right plonker - until I decided that the bike was nicked, and he was just making a quick getaway. Felt better after that.
Just time for a quick ride now before the Wales / France 6 Nations game.
OK, if we meet at Pete's caff and then follow the C13 all the way up to the Port de Bonaigue - that's beyond Esterri d'Aneu - you'll almost certainly drive through lots of dazzling snow. Furthermore, they tell you all the way back at La Pobla de Segur* whether you need snow chains of or not - so let's have your anecdotes about riding with them fitted - ha ha -
Slightly more seriously - we could do this, leave Spain at the Val d'Aran and then run along the north slopes in France and come back into Spain at Puigcerda, going via St Girons and Foix. But it's going to be a long, hard ride and I think, very seriously for once, that the weather would have to be absolutely perfect for safetty, especially as we have to be in the big bad cities in time for beddy-byes and - worse perhaps - Monday morning!
OK, let's wait and see!
* otherwise from there we'd cross the Col de Perves (please don't we've heard it all before!) and go to the Val d'Aran via the Vielha tunnel - which is pretty boring and VERYcold!
Sounds a very do-able route, but I would prefer waiting until after the melt. Perhaps we can peg that for sometime in May?
Been checking out the map for your original route - and I think that looks really good. I've done some of it by car (when heading to Port de Compte skiing) and done some by bike (when I went to Manresa area for a ride and got lost, basically).
Not sure how long it will take me to get to Camarasa (I guess that will depend on the time I get up - lol) - but a late breakfast to start the day sounds like a plan.
Still easy on whether we do this sat or sun.
The weather forecast for the weekend here is looking great (NB that's the long range, however!). I have to be somewhere else on Sunday though, so how about we go for the meet on Saturday?
I'll be returning to Tremp rather than Tarragona as I had originally thought, so the route planning can be more up for grabs. Nor will I be heavily laden, but I now have my knobbly tyres fitted so scratching will have to be to a minimum!
Barcelona Pat and I found each other easily and began by riding over the Sierra de Montsec (below) between Camarasa and Tremp, then eastwards to cross into the Segre valley via the Coll de Boixols.
After a fuel stop at Coll de Nargo (the pitiful tank of the BMW X-bikes are at fault here ) and a short but very horrible traverse along the hateful C14 road to Andorra we headed east again along another wibbly-wobbly section over the Coll de Jou and on to Sant Laurenç de Morunys and onwards toward Berga.
These sections were idea for my Beemer's lythe build and agile handling (in contrast to its owner's!) but I was bit concerned that Pat would have a hard time of it on his lowridin' Suzuki VL800. I nedn't have worried, however, as he was in my mirror coming out of every bend with an ever widening grin on his boat race!
Tummies were rumbling before we got to Berga, however, and we stopped for lunch at the La Cantina restaurant right near the head of the River Coll de Jeau valley. The restaurant comes recommended for my taste for quirkiness and Pat's gastronomic expertise - there is a wide range of very traditional Cataln dishes on offer and in retrospect it was a shame neither of us were up to the more substantial treats, each having a lengthy journey home.
Finally we decided not to press on over yet another tortuous pass to Berga itself but headed to Solsona - going back down to St Lorenç and 'discovering' a new road that didn't appear on our maps: in fact even though the road appears on my excellent local on-line maps it is labelled as 's/n', i.e. without number!
In fact the route heads due south from St Lorenç following the all new Llosa del Cavall reservoir. The road is sublime - at least on a quiet pre-Easter holiday weekend - as it follows the sinuous valley through virgin territory, but it would be a nightmare of frustration in the summer and in the week as there's no overtaking in for about 15 kms and a blanket 50Km/h limit . I lost sight of Pat as he lagged behind drinking in the scenery while his bike g-a-lugged along in that long legged, Vee-twin way of it. I recent had a sit upon low slung Harely Sportster - and found it a thoroughly horrid experence, no offence intended - but by the end of the day I was envious of Pat's mount, especially his non-numb bum
Solsona was a surprise - a textile town with some splendid modernist architecture merging with the medieval centre. After a final cup of coffe we went our seperate ways, Pat home to Barcelona via the Montserrat and me back to the Pyrenees heading westwards directly into the setting sun
Good write up - and thanks again Simon for sporting the eagle feathers and acting as scout for the day, as we wound through them there hills. A really good day out, and as you say, some top notch roads too.
I've just finished loading up, and will be heading north in the early am, hopefully trying to get through the cloud cover into some lovely French sunshine. Forcast looks really good in north Europe for the next few days so fingers crossed. Back in 10 days or so.
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