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Dangerous Curves

Bike Normandy 2016: Day 0 (05/05)

Bike Normandy fills up quickly these days, so Howard and I jumped on a trip with two spare places, despite some trepidation about sharing with eight strangers who all knew each other (spoiler: it was fine).

We'd booked a Thursday evening crossing from Newhaven to Dieppe. I took the whole day off, and was outside at half past eight in the morning washing my bike. Then I strolled down the road to vote. The polling station, a church in its everyday life, was offering free coffee and cakes, so I had a second breakfast before returning to polish my bike, which had dried in the already glorious sunshine.

Next on the agenda was a ride to Alton, where some friends from the scooter forum were having a lunch meet. I enjoyed a chat and a sausage sandwich, and was eventually joined by Howard for the journey to the port.

While I waited, I'd been enjoying the Chinooks flying out of nearby Odiham. Soon after we hit the A31, I was delighted by two fighters - Tornadoes? - travelling overhead, banking steeply.

As we approached Newhaven, the traffic grew heavy so we had to filter. There was no sign of the port, and we were coming close to the 45-minutes-before-sailing cutoff for checkin. As I uncharacteristically whizzed over a level crossing whose lights had started to flash, I spotted a sign and pulled in to the port entrance. Howard, however, was still intently filtering and hadn't observed my disappearance. I decided it was better to stick where I was than pursue him through the rush hour, and soon he had returned and we were through passport control.

Eight other motorbikes were already parked below decks, and I surmised correctly that this was the rest of our party. Bikes were secured by riding into a chock, which lifts up and forward to secure the front wheel (and terrifies me every time). Bike held, I dismounted, failed to put the sidestand down, and the bike promptly fell over.

It hit Howard's, and I had a horrible vision of all ten going down like dominoes, but luckily this didn't happen. The only damage was to my windscreen, which somehow popped off and could not be refitted by the combined efforts of me, Howard, a ferry employee, and a bloke in a Jeep with a toolkit.

"Non," the ferry man said eventually. "Dead." I would ride around without it all weekend; good thing the weather was warm and it didn't rain.

We located the group of bikers without difficulty and introduced ourselves, then settled down for the four-hour crossing. At the other end we sat-naved to our budget F1 Hotel, arriving shortly before midnight to a smiling welcome from the receptionist.
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Comments

For some reason I never pictured as a biker chick haha
The guy who answered the phone when I called my breakdown service out to a puncture a few weeks ago was obviously surprised when I said it was a bike and not a car, then he felt the need to apologise!
I guess it is the nature to assume thanks to stereotyping. Mind you surely phoning in a flat is indication of bike not a car though...
Probably not, these days! (mind you, I've never changed a car tyre)
If i hadn't found a red version of my car after I crashed it I would have bought a car where the spare was extra... which I think is a disgrace.
Those spacesaver wheels look very scary to me...though you see plenty of people driving round on them perfectly happily for years afterwards...
If I had got the new car I would have to have bought one of those.
Wait.... you went to France? Remember, they drive on the RIGHT side of the road. ;)

Did someone say Tornadoes? :D

Edited at 2016-05-10 04:59 pm (UTC)
There will be at least one occasion per trip when I get all confused about which way everyone is driving!
Yikes! Be careful if you're in a country that drives the other way than what you're used to. :)

Trust me, if i ever went to a left-driving country, i'd probably do the same thing. DX
I guess now you have a convertible! (If you can find a way to convert it back…)
I'm sure my friendly local bike guy will fix it tomorrow morning. I hope so, anyway; I'm getting pretty wet!
Aw! Rather a pain the windshield came a cropper, but I imagine that's not quite as costly a part as for a car. (Or is it?)

I'm baffled why F1 haven't expanded into the UK, given accommodation costs in the UK are painfully high - FSM knows, I'd be much happier being a tourist in the UK if I weren't always looking at £50+ per night just for somewhere to sleep, unless you go with hostel dorms or somesuch. F1, meanwhile, is something like, what, £25 for the room, usually good for 2-3 people? (Admittedly, usually located in less than scenic parts of town)
Yes - it's far cheaper to holiday abroad. We're spending a week in Scotland in September and hotel costs are ridiculous.

My friendly local mechanic fixed the screen for free!