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Mallory Park

Bike Normandy 2016: Day 2 (07/05)

It's not easy to get twelve bikes rolling in the morning, particularly when there was home-made Calvados the night before and someone (not me) has left their ignition on and flattened the battery.

Eventually we were all on the road, having been cautioned that it was Le Mans weekend and the police were likely to be more interested than usual in misbehaving motorcyclists.

The weather continued to be glorious, and after a coffee stop we headed for a riverside restaurant familiar from previous visits. I recognised and liked the route to the river, which went from winding and sun-dappled roads to very narrow, twisty downhills as we approached our destination.

The riverside was busy with families and dogs, but there’s always room to park a motorbike, or even twelve. John had phoned ahead and reserved a table on the decking outside, overlooking the river. After lunch, Howard and I had a quick go on one of the yellow pedaloes before we set off again, working our way carefully out of the busy town and hitting the empty country roads with glee.

There was some excitement at the final coffee stop, when a couple of riders misinterpreted Howard’s marking and went sailing past the car park. Howard set off in pursuit, but on the wrong side of the road, so Jen set off after him. Soon everyone was safely sorted out and returned.

It was getting late in the day, we were tired, and dinner would need to be cooked on our return. But we had yet to do The Triangle: three stretches of excellent road, one of which is Howard’s favourite, a fast section of long straights and favourable bends known in Bike Normandy circles as The Racetrack.

The executive decision was that we would do two sections of the route, omitting The Racetrack. The first leg was fast, with plenty of opportunities to feel as if you’re leaning all the way over when in reality it’s a pathetic amount. At the end of it I found Howard marking a roundabout and looking pleased with himself. We did the home stretch in convoy, riding through woodland and stopping to admire the tank at the side of the road.

I was pleased to note at the end of the day that my Bridgestone T30s were at last showing signs of wear towards the outer edges.

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That sounds very enjoyable indeed.

Does "marking" have a special meaning in this context, e.g. "marking a roundabout"?
Perhaps it marks a stop. :S
It does - it's a way of organising a group so you don't have to keep everyone in sight all the time. Whenever you come to a junction, the rider behind the leader stays behind and points the way, until the last rider, who always stays at the back, comes along:

I never knew they did that sort of a thing.... interesting.
Do groups like yours organise in advance who takes what so that there's at least one of each of the infrequently-needed things as well as one each of the common/mandatory things? A set of motorcycle jump leads feels like something worth one person having, or maybe that's just my experience of planning the inventory for D&D advantures speaking. (-8 ("OK. I'll take the 10' pole, but only if you take the storm lantern, the garlic and the caltrop-proof overshoes.")

The wrong side of the road can be nasty. I know a motorcyclist who went to the Nurburgring. They blatted around it at ridiculous speeds for a couple of laps and somehow survived… only to leave onto the left-hand side of the public highway outside and into a head-on collision. Fortunately, I "know" rather than "knew" such a motorcyclist, but it was a close-run thing. /-8

Meanwhile, if your objective was to scrub the edges of your tyres, wouldn't it be simpler to visit Milton Keynes rather than Normandy? :-p
Need to do some French roundabouts as well as English ones, to get both sides even :)

Working out which side of the road you should be on is particularly nasty if you've emerged from a one-way system, or even when you set off after lunch, so I can see exactly how that would happen - ow.

The kind of organisation you describe would be very sensible and useful, and thus it's not usually done :) For a very long-distance trip, or one to a less first-world destination, I suspect there would be more such planning involved.
Sounds like a great event. I wonder if it would be possible, and feasable, to arrange a similar thing with fly-ins at various airports around the UK and Europe? Although it would probably be expensive in practice.
I know glider people do that sort of thing as a rally...