Monday, May 20, 2013

Advanced Motorcycle Workshop - Normandy 2013 Day 1

Well it has  taken me a while to get round to it, but here goes......
WHY ? Normandy, well well over ten years ago I was invited to go over to Normandy with a group of friends to have a look at the World War Two sites and we stopped at Normandy Beach Bed and Breakfast in Arromanches Les Bains. A some what quaint place with an armoured car in the court yard and pop up gazebos for the motorcycles.  A lot of things have changed since those early days..

After the legendary breakfast we would head out onto the Normandy roads taking in the sites and also take in some nice roads, in between breaks for drinks, non alcoholic, when riding.  This went on for a few years until I had a though about bringing over a small group of motorcyclists, just to do the roads and add a bit of advanced tuition at the same time.
So in around 2008 we started the Advanced Workshops and every year have made changes and developed the courses.

A selection of photographs from previous trips...
Then we started using video cameras to record all the days riding.......

This brings us up to date with our April 2013 trip, which has now been and gone.
Well the organisation for it started for it way back in the Autumn of 2012, when I had to make sure we had the accommodation available for a group of nine motorcyclists.  Managed to get this sorted, so the next task advertise the trip on the web site and also for the first time on Facebook, where I attracted two riders from London.
Now just a matter of waiting for the ferry times to come out and booking the crossing from Portsmouth to Caen with Brittany Ferries

All the deposits for the ferry and the training in, time for the off.  Well perhaps not that easy......  Do some planning as the riders were coming from Preston, Doncaster, Biddulph, Burton, Tewkesbury, Peterborough and London.  I circulated times to the ferry and having picked up Kevin, Dave, Andy and Clinton enroute down the M6, M5, M40 and A34 we met up with Alison, Sue, Eva-Maria and Barry at Portsmouth.  We all had an uneventful ride down, dry weather and some sun and once in through the booking kiosks, I got a little wound up by the way we were treated by the customs.  We were searched for wait for it, ammunition, guns and knives......  I appreciated they have a job to do, but I ask you.....
Well on the Ferry ; 

The Normandie Express, all motorcycle secured and the up to the resevered lounge for the reclining seats.  Long crossing - 5 hours ish, but a welcome break having just done 240 miles to the ferry port.  I thought of using the Eurotunnel, and then driving down....Works out about the same time, but you are using more fuel and the wear and tear on the motorcycles.  Any way time to get aquainted and admire the sea view..... Well NOT quite - Sea mist all the way across and as we landed in Normandy at 21.30 hrs local time, it was dark and the sea mist had turned to FOG.
We only had a sort 30 minute run to the bed and breakfast, so Sat Nav on and off we went with me leading.  I was very happy I had the Sat Nav as it gave me an idea of where the road went and on occasions had to follow the centre white line.  It was that bad.
Arrived at Adrian's and Karen's to be met with a fantastic buffet, before we headed off to bed ready for the next day's riding.
Day Two to follow.

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