Saturday, November 21, 2009

Planning for next summer's trip

So, with winter settling in and rides out a bit few and far between, our attentions have turned to next summer and where we're going to go on a "big trip". We've toyed with North Cape and Cappadocia, but we've all but set our hearts on Morocco. The idea is still embryonic, but we are gathering ideas about where we'd like to go. We'd appreciate any tips or comments about the most picturesque places and nice places to stay. We won't be going off-road or venturing into the dunes, so no tips needed there, thanks!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Keeping warm on the bike

For the purposes of our latest trip up into the Apennines, my base layer consisted of a cotton, polo-neck, long-sleeved top, cashmere and silk leggings and 2 pairs of socks:This was then covered with a 200gsm weight fleece and my trusty buff. My trousers have a water resistant gore tex outer layer with an insulating inner layer for parky days such as this one:
I've found that wearing a wind-stopper makes all the difference, so that goes on next:
Finally my jacket, also made of gore tex that has a removable quilted lining, balaclava and gloves (with a pair of liners in my pocket, just in case):
This might seem like a lot of clothes but you can never underestimate the wind-chill factor on a motorbike. Even on a hot day, it's always fresh up there on the back. I think it's colder for me as a pillion because I don't have the engine just in front of me blasting out warm air. On our first couple of trips on the new bike, I was absolutely freezing, and I was quite warmly dressed even then. With this lot on I was comfortable, even if I did look like the Michelin man when I'd finished!

To the hills!

After enjoying a few days of unseasonably warm autumn weather, today at 11°C it was a little closer to normal autumn temperatures, and since we were heading into the Apennines once again, I knew it could be chilly. On went the full set of warm clothes.
The winding trip up is always a delight and at this time of year the colours take your breath away. Copper beech trees and golden oaks, interspersed with still quite green ash and evergreen carob and vivid red cherry. This year is one of those autumns you get every now and then when the colours are more saturated than normal and going for a ride on days like these is the most fabulous experience in the world.

We wound our way up towards Passo delle Radici at just over 1500m above sea level where it was much warmer than I'd expected. We then continued up to the village of San Pellegrino in Alpe, just inside Tuscany and straddling the borders of the provinces of Modena and Lucca, where we had a hearty lunch of traditional tortelloni filled with spinach and ricotta with a funghi porcini sauce. All finished off with a piece of cake. Yum!

We set off after lunch and had a terrific trip back down again, homeward bound.

km: 178.5
Number of foxes spotted: 1
Number of cormorants spotted: 1 flock
Number of coypu spotted: 1 family group, grazing
Number of cars pulling out in front of us without looking: 1