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  #1  
Old 15 Dec 2009
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Thumbs up New User, Trip Planning & Advice etc (Spain)

New user, long time lurker.

I don't know where to start with this one, so I will begin and hopefully end before I get RSI.

Right!

There's me, I have just decided to cash out of my crappy job after being asked to reduce my hours and essentially work for less. It was only 17k a year and was 40 solid hrs a week, often anti social and weekends etc. So, no thanks!

I have .. however .. bereft of any enthusiasm to seek out new civilizations and new crappy jobs, decided to get on my bike and do something 'else'. The rent has lapsed, I am in debt up to my nipples with everyone under the sun, so since I am homeless as of the first of January, its time to hit the tarmac I reckon!

I have about £400 in cash after flogging all my consumer crap on fleabay and scroting a few JSA payments (to convert into Euros), a UK bank account in good standing but with a crappy ATM/foreign transaction fee rate so I aim to use cash mainly, a bike I own thats relatively new (CG125, 08) with a good screen (givi A603), new rubber, a well tuned and maintained battery/engine and a 12v hook up, a good tool kit, tent, my old army issue kit (bivvy, bag, thermals etc etc) and supportive friends/parents/family.

I have decided to head off to Malaga from my base here in the East Midlands. Why Malaga? Why not. Good place to be in winter I hear and the ex pats are pretty thick on the ground so I might have a good prospect of some work, even if its ESOL etc.

So, first long distance trip on a motorcycle ..

Planning!

To begin, the route. Since I am now officially skint, jobless and directionless and bizarrely deleriously happy for the first time in years, I picked a scenic route. Well as scenic as I could having no prior experience of the 'continent' and given its going to be freezing and/or shit in France next month!

Here we go: Derby, UK to Malaga, Spain - Google Maps

Could any veterans or locals please recommend 'must see' additions to the route? As I guestimate it runs to around 2000 miles. At today's petrol prices and my bikes 80+ mpg thats ~£130.

Given that it is winter I am keen to get to the relative 'swelter' of 18 degree Costas ASAP, I am soliciting 'must sees' in Spain, central and southern mainly given the temps this time of year.

The bike is nippy enough and capable of cruising at 60mph all day long fully loaded and returning a good 90 mpg on the highway, but I prefer to avoid major roads and toll roads. I told tom tom to plot my route avoiding autoroutes/motorways, but I will likely go directly down through France on theirs I think and start the 'real trip' at the Pyrenees?

Bike will have a full service (I know it like the back of my hand thankfully), fresh set of tyres, full european breakdown recovery etc and I will have an ipaq with Tom Tom and a Europe map to plan in detail.

I'll stop yabbering ..

Suggestions? Not going is not an option. I am homeless and have a bike and have no ties here, and its time to strike out for somewhere warmer.

I plan to keep a blog/trip diary and take lots of photos of any amusing fungal infections I cultivate etc. I'm also on/off the blower to a magazine editor about some articles.

Any help advice, tips suggestions re: jobs, free camping spots, manly hugs, clean under wear etc you can throw my way would be greatly appreciated.

- Harry

Last edited by Harry Bohun; 16 Dec 2009 at 00:57.
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  #2  
Old 16 Dec 2009
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Hey Harry...

Love your ethos !!

You will be surprised just how little you need on the road and how cheap you can live with forward planning..

Stay away from Hotels, major cities, motorways and I think you will be fine.

Find adventures and places to stay on the way. If you havnt got one, get a cheap £15 from Tesco and use it where possible.

A baguette and cheese will keep your stomach from rumbling and is dirt cheap on the continent.

Happy travels.
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  #3  
Old 16 Dec 2009
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Hi Harry,

I'm sure I'm not the only reader here that is blessed with a good job, a place to live, a family and no debt -- but is still madly envious of your upcoming adventure. You lucky b*##^*.

Love your spirit!

Rob
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  #4  
Old 16 Dec 2009
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Cheers lads.

It was nice to wake up to some encouraging words! Believe it or not its a mixed feeling this end of the internerd - I am at once excited, of course, but there is a deep sense of concern and, well, fear too. The unknown. Not just the unknown but the unknown permenantly is a big deal I reckon. Unlike your average trip which has a commensurate beginning, chewey in the middle and largely extremely relieved end etc.

The lack of a BMW and a big gay sponsor's logo, metal tins to put my musty socks in and a whiff of good credit is, believe it or not, the least of my worries. I'd travel light even if I didn't have too .. like ted says. I am only going to Spain at the end of the day, but I am going one way, with no fixed abode and nowt to look forward to at the other end. Its a bit funky but ina good way.

Eh Ted, what am I supposed to buy from Tesco for £15?

And do you get wafers with it?!

- Harry
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  #5  
Old 16 Dec 2009
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Hmm following a chin wag with my old mum this morning I looked up ferries to Spain direct - this came after we looked at the temperatures in Orleans and Poitiers (0c and -1c respectively) and decided that was not looking like a game of soldiers!

Turns out you can get cheap ferries directly to Spain now - Plymouth to Santander was, if you accept a 'chair' not a cabin for 36 hrs, £99.

Can't really beat that, it means cutting 4 days off the trip droning along autoroute, freezing to death and with nothing but a freezing bivvy to look forward to at the end of the day.

France is nice I'm sure, but I'll see it in the summer I reckon!!

So, trip now commences at Santander! Slight but significant change. Tum te tum!
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  #6  
Old 16 Dec 2009
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Good trip, and misses out on that slog through France.

I would have advised NOT following the coast as it as as windy as feck even in the summer. The Forest of Gascony south of Bordeaux get's harvested in strips at 90 degrees to the autoroute! You get blown around a fair bit if the wind is from the West.

If you do gor for it, head towards Mont de Marsan from Bordeaux, then to Dax, Orthez and across to Pampalona. But might be a bit chilly this time of year. But good D and N roads and quiet.

Know most routes through France but only ever dipped a toe into Spain so good luck and keep us updated with the adventure!
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  #7  
Old 16 Dec 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Bohun View Post

Eh Ted, what am I supposed to buy from Tesco for £15?

And do you get wafers with it?!

- Harry
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Bohun View Post
Turns out you can get cheap ferries directly to Spain now - Plymouth to Santander was, if you accept a 'chair' not a cabin for 36 hrs, £99.

A TENT !!!



£99 to Santander ! Fook me thats cheap. It was about £350 when I was looking.
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  #8  
Old 16 Dec 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tedmagnum View Post
A TENT !!!



£99 to Santander ! Fook me thats cheap. It was about £350 when I was looking.
Aha! Well I had my beady eye on one of them Decathalon own-brand Quecheueuaueuuauauachiwawa pop up tents. They had a 1 man self erecting (ooh er) tent on their website for £20. But for some inexplicable reason it has now vanished and been replaced with some utter cock priced at £89. I guess tents aren't in season.

Ebay does have some tho .. but £30. So we'll see how much not having to piss around with guide ropes and thread poles through right angles etc in the dark when you are knackered/cold/wet etc is worth to me. I think it will inevitibly be worth a tenner more. Hehe.

Re: the £350 over night ferry fares - It still is and oddly enough that was what I said to mumsie this morning when she suggested it. I then checked some 'cheap ferries' price comparrison site and got a quote of £250 from P&O. About to give up then, but I tried 23rd December and left it open as to time, one way, seat and got the quote from Brittany Ferries for £100. £85 for the trip and £15 for a seat in the lounge to, you know, lounge on.

I didn't book it, and I dunno why its so cheap, seasonal? Last minute deal? No idea. It was WAY cheaper than anything else so it may not be the case in January when I actually want to go ..

We'll see.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grazoid View Post
Good trip, and misses out on that slog through France.

I would have advised NOT following the coast as it as as windy as feck even in the summer. The Forest of Gascony south of Bordeaux get's harvested in strips at 90 degrees to the autoroute! You get blown around a fair bit if the wind is from the West.

If you do gor for it, head towards Mont de Marsan from Bordeaux, then to Dax, Orthez and across to Pampalona. But might be a bit chilly this time of year. But good D and N roads and quiet.

Know most routes through France but only ever dipped a toe into Spain so good luck and keep us updated with the adventure!
Ahhh many thanks for the heads up. Cross winds are a real issue on my plucky little CG. It just doesnt cope with them at all. I'll definitely avoid the autoroute there then and look in to the detour .. if I can't reproduce the cheap ferry ticket lark in the new year!
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  #9  
Old 28 Dec 2009
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Update on the Decathlon pop up tents ..

Decathlon - Touring Tents - Tents and Shelters - HIKING GEAR - Hiking/Climbing/ Nordic Skiing

£19.99 and proper UV and water proofing.

Best I found in terms of value ..

They are a bit heavy at 2.4kg compared to a traditional 2 pole one man tent (1.5kg) and they are an awkward size/shape packed but personally the last thing I want to do is piss around with poles after a day's riding.
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  #10  
Old 28 Dec 2009
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You might want to check these guys out also. I recently bought a winter bag from them.

Gelert Eiger 2 Tent online - World of Camping

at £20 they seem reasonably priced.

Many french camping car enthusiasts overwinter in Morocco due to low costs, but I don't know the cost of the ferries involved.

You are right about the temperatures around Poitiers, but note in Jan/Feb -10 or -12c is not at all uncommon.
I went for a ride Sunday, but after 30 miles was chilled. So your plan to ferry it to Santander is a good one. If you HAVE to use some other route, you may find the overnight ferry from Newhaven for about £50. Is by no means luxurious but will be warmer than camping and drop you on the road in the morning. I regard sub zero camping as a test of survival , you really need good gear for it. It may be wiser to cough up for a cheap hotel the first night. Also take a big Routier truck stop 4 course lunch at about 9-12 Euros. It will help keep you warm. The trick is to survive, without that your trip will be a failure.
There is not much that is more miserable than being kept awake all night by the cold.
You might be able to find a removal lorry that is going to Spain not full to collect some returning Brit. Maybe you could negotiate a price to be ported in the lorry some or all the way to Spain? Might be worth a few phone calls. Even an individual traveling back to his foreign home with a trailer or small truck big van? Try looking through here.
AngloINFO France. Everything for expats living in or moving to France or here
AngloINFO Spain. Everything for expats living in or moving to Spain
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  #11  
Old 20 Jan 2010
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Advice for CG125

Hi Harry,

With my CG125 I have changed the gearing to a higher ratio; first I changed the front sprocket from a 14t to a 15t which improved it a bit; then I changed the rear sprocket from a 41t to a 34t. The bike is probably overgeared, but I like it. On the open road, it will now cruise at 50mph @ 5200rpm which is much more civilised than before (it sounds right). Only problem is it's lacking in torque so will not pull up much of an incline in top gear. NB different cg models have different primary redn ratios
Also, chain slaps on something (probably swing arm) because sprocket is smaller but has never come off or caused me any problems in a couple hundred miles.


Other tips: travel light on a CG
Make sure your valve clearances are OK before you leave; you don't want to burn a valve as you will be working your engine very hard.
Use 10W/40 semi-synthetic oil and you may be able to get away with a 2,000 mile change interval. The cg only holds a very small amount of oil (800ml) so you must keep an eye on the level. Consider cleaning out your centrifugal oil filter afore ye go ( you could change the clutch springs while you are there and maybe the plates if they are worn) (special tool needed to do plates)

Happy travels!
Ben
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  #12  
Old 25 Jan 2010
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This might be useful:

The Ultimate Pyrenees Route. Specially for Brits - ADVrider

Good luck Harry!
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  #13  
Old 5 Feb 2010
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Hi Harry

I don't know if you're gone already. If so We are on your route to spain (Tours) so if you looking for a warm place (and a cold ).
send a PM if you want

take care on the road
Laurent
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  #14  
Old 17 Mar 2010
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Dude!
did you sort you trip out yet?
blag it all the way
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