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first night in france



first night in france, originally uploaded by Big Al!.

We’re in france! What a day. 30 degree heat, bright sunshine, blue sky. Beautiful scenery, loads of bikers out with their friendly but nonchalant gallic biker wave, much cooler than a northern england nod, and right now i have a cold beer in my hand. It won’t last long! And then we’ll be on to the wine i picked up at the last petrol stop. A few teething problems like sat nav being a bit rubbish and brake levers falling off, so nothing all that important really. Back hurts. 639 miles in two days, over 13 hours of riding. But it’s not raining, we’re still going, we’re further on than planned, and we have a €2 bottle of wine from a petrol station, and a campsite by a river all to ourselves. Nice!

camped by a lake



camped by a lake, originally uploaded by Big Al!.

Camped by a lake. Not even really sure where. Lots of miles today. Incredible weather, 35 degrees plus. Fantastic roads. Now eating camembert and drinking red wine (one litre for 1.25 euro). Another really good day. 952 miles total. Even saw a frenchman pooing at the side of the road. Dave asks, "are you sure he was french?" Who else would do that! Now going to watch dave try to cook burgers on a camp stove….

drama on the stelvio!



drama on the stelvio!, originally uploaded by Big Al!.

Dave dropped his bike at the top of the stelvio. He’s fine, but the bike won’t go into gear. Tried various things at the side of the road at 7000 feet, no joy, so then a freewheel ride back down to bormio, where we now await the return of bobo at bobomoto. Called dave lambeth, if reckons maybe a bent gear selector shaft, so we could be stuck here now for days. And it was all going so well!

delay



delay, originally uploaded by Big Al!.

Somehow i convinced myself we were ahead of schedule last night, but now i realise that we were in fact only just on schedule. So as we sit here with dave’s bike broken (again), now getting behind schedule, i’m realising that we will need to cut some corners off the route and go a more direct way to make up some time. Our mileage targets are too ambitious, and it’s hard work doing so much time on the bike every day. So were going to cut the corner into the balkans, aiming directly for the top corner of croatia. It will cost more using the motorways, but we have to stay on schedule for the visas. Still a long way to go, but as long as this bloke can fix dave’s bike, we have a good chance.