The outside of a motorbike engine seen up close near the exhaust

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Let The Chaos Commence

Day 1

By Bogger

Another foreign trip! Where to this time? The French Alps was the chosen destination.

Nige fancied a place Called Tende, high in the French Alps. Tende is about forty miles north of Monte Carlo/Nice. He wanted to explore some of the ‘old military roads’ in the local area. Ok let's do it.

3 C125 cubs are loaded with camping stuff ready for the trip ahead
The gathering begins...

This time we were going to travel later in the year - August in fact. We usually travel in early June. I did a bit of
research, armed with the knowledge of where Nige was booking the campsites. Everything looked ok until the last day of the journey down. I kept looking at the maps on Google earth and pondered. Hmm are we really able to do over 320mls in one day over the Alps on fully laden 125cc bikes? Yes we are, but do we want to?

After a few conversations we shortened the last day by about 80mls. It turned out to be a wise decision. Our new destination was Barcalonnette for no other reason other than it was less mileage.

It was the usual suspects up for the trip. Myself, Nige, Jason, Ash, Fatboy and Black Country Pete. Myself, Fatboy and Pete were on our Honda C125’s, Jason had gone upmarket on a newish Fantic Caballero 125, Ash was on an older Suzuki Address 125 and Nige was aboard a Honda CB125F. Nige felt guilty not taking his Innova engined 12v Cub, but he wanted to see how capable and frugal the CB125F really was.

A red C125 ram packed with luggage
Soichiro Honda would be proud!

On the day of departure I woke to leaden skies and pouring rain. I’d packed and loaded the night before. Okay waterproofs it is then. By the time I was ready I was sweating and felt rather moist underneath the waterproofs. I set off down the M6 towards Dudley and Pete's house. All was going well until J16 and there I was held up for an hour. Filtering, unfortunately, was very difficult.

I arrived at Pete's at 11.30am, we were behind our intended schedule but still ok for time. After a quick brew we were on our way to Wooton Basset to scoop up Fat Boy and head for the Port of Newhaven. Obviously it was still raining but the waterproofs were doing a decent job of keeping the water out. A couple of hours later were at Wooton Basset and decide to fill up.

As it happens Fat Boy is filling up at the same time - how fortuitous! He’s not ready to set off, obviously, so we follow him back to his house for a drink. He’s not got much to sort out, but he does want to adjust and oil his chain. Pete also thinks this is a good idea so sets about checking and oiling his chain as well. What transpires next should have set alarm bells ringing in my head, but I was conscious of the time and the awful weather conditions (yes the rain).

As Pete is sorting his chain he exclaims, in his finest Dudley drawl "Woaaarr me swinging arm nuts loose". As I say this should have had me worried, but we just found the right sized spanner, tightened it up and were on our way.

I think I've mentioned that the weather was grim. Well it was grim all the way down the M4 and the M27. After the M27 we followed the South Coast in an Easterly direction for Newhaven. Thankfully the last hour was in the dry. At Newhaven we fuelled up the bikes and then retired to the Ark Pub for a meal and a pint of Shandy. Ged (Capitano) another C90 mate had ridden up from Brighton for a half hour chat. It was good to see and speak to him again.

The ferry departure time was 11.00 PM. We'd booked cabins so hopefully we could get a bit of sleep on the ferry overnight. As the ferry pulls out of Newhaven it's dark, very, very windy and it’s raining again. The sea was REALLY rough, we were being flung from one side of our bunks to the other. The ferry was pitching and rolling in heavy seas. Sleep did not come easy.

The lads and their small motorcycles are queuing at the ferry in Newhaven
There's a rough night ahead lads.

Less than five hours later we are awakened by our alarms and got ready for our departure. Thankfully the sea was now calm, but it was still raining.

Share your own tale of chaos - click here.

Let The Chaos Commence It's a typical start to a trip and overall things seem to be going well. Except for the weather. And the traffic. And the suspect motorcycles. And the disorganisation.
The Chaos Increases Whilst muppetry and stupidity abound the world needs a hero - in the meantime Bogger will have to do. Fear not brave reader, there is still light at the end of the tunnel. I fear it may be a train coming towards this lot...
More Progress, Less Chaos It's a considerably less chaotic day for Bogger and pals as they make their way south through France. And yet they encounter muppetry on the roads and something's been troubling our heroic author.

Reader's Comments

Upt'North ¹ said :-
Sounds like the perfect start to a bike trip, rain, wind and bumpy seas. Very Woolerumnal.
Those bikes look like badly wrapped kebabs.
When does his rear end fall off!
24/04/2024 09:38:32 UTC
ROD¹ said :-
I admire people that undertake these trips on small capacity motorcycles, but is it a tour, or is it an endurance test?
I am looking forward to the next episode.
24/04/2024 11:18:21 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Admire, or feel sorry for ROD?

I recall a conversation with a drag rider - "I spend an absolute fortune trying to spend less time doing that which I love doing". Is it not right to say that if you love motorcycling and the riding of a motorcycle then surely the best motorcycle is a slow one? Why do 100 miles in say 2 hours when you could do it in 3?

Plus - when you really think about it - yes Bogger and pals would not get as far as a "big" bike in an allotted amount of time, but is there really all that much difference? With speed limits and traffic I'm sure the difference is way less than most folks imagine.

Anyhow, Bogger does these silly things so we don't have to. Just enjoy the ride from the comfort of your own home. I'm just praying Sharon and I don't face the same rough seas on our 20-something hour crossing to Spain.
25/04/2024 08:02:33 UTC
Bogger said :-
Upt, just keep reading.

25/04/2024 08:59:41 UTC
ROD¹ said :-
Ren, This is why I admire (maybe envy) riders who enjoy travelling with little power. Its the light weight, and doing mega mpg.

I know I am in a minority as a motorcyclist, as most people make this statement which I do not understand.
" It's more fun riding a slow bike fast, than riding a fast bike slow."

For myself it's not about how fast you go, but I like the feeling of always having effortless power on tap. I do not enjoy thrashing three shades out of a bike.
I have also found that if you use all of the small bikes power the mpg drops dramatically which for myself defeats the object.
Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy low powered bikes on the lanes and b roads, but I prefer a larger bike for riding distance even if I do not cover the roads any faster.
25/04/2024 09:42:34 UTC
nab301 said :-
Interesting , the C125's appear to have tubeless tyres which may be handy.

Ren , could I take the opportunity to unreservedly aplogise for anything I may have said here re overloading your bike(s)...

25/04/2024 15:48:41 UTC
Bogger said :-
Yes, tubeless tyres on the C125. Much better than tubed tyres. They're not overloaded, we are just making the best use of the available space.

25/04/2024 20:19:40 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I have to admit there's a certain something about knowing there's a great deal of "ooomph" in the right hand, it can be rather a lot of fun ROD - even if we seldom get to use it. The most powerful bike I've owned was the Fazer 600 @ 94bhp, which by some standards is still not really powerful. I always found the bike straining at the leash, feeling underused and frustrating anywhere other than the widest and most open roads. And then I'd be worried about my licence.

Anyhoo my 500 is suiting my needs presently. I fancy a Beemer, there's some nice Guzzis out there, Bogger keeps on tempting me with scooters and seeing these C125s loaded and ready to go draws me in. And yet my miserly ways and lack of garage space keeps my money in my wallet. Presently there's nothing out there that's making my heart ache, causes pain from yearning or driving me wild with desire. Inspiration will come when it's good and ready.

nab301 - SEE! It's not just me.
26/04/2024 07:36:01 UTC
nab301 said :-
I agree with all the comments especially re the effortless power on tap , very useful on a long motorway type climb with a stiff headwind ( What headwind?) However I find myself using the large capacity bike less and less. It's probably influenced by costs and tank range, petrol locally is heading back to €2 euro per litre and the big bike does 16 km per litre when cruising while the 125 can manage nearly 50km per litre with he other bikes managing at least 30 to 32 km per litre.
With the 125 though, I refuse to hold it on the throttle stop for extended periods so have marked the twistgrip and limit it to 1/2 throttle when "cruising" for extended periods. Nigel

26/04/2024 16:10:08 UTC
ROD¹ said :-
Nigel, With cost being a big factor, and keeping the 125 throttle openings to a minimum, maybe we should all look at electric bicycles???
27/04/2024 09:49:29 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I reckon perhaps in my lifetime we will see the day when electric bicycles are the only option ROD.
29/04/2024 07:58:01 UTC
nab301 said :-
Rod , I don't know , I did a lot of long distance cycling in the mid 90's for a short period but electric assisted bicycles are quite expensive , and difficult to insure for theft in my part of the world and lets be honest I'm a petrol head at heart. Also, camping and cycling wouldn't be my thing and our very own Ren has difficulty charging his phone when touring on the motorcycle , how would he manage to recharge his bicycle!
Joking aside , I reckon that using the likes of the 125 and (restricted) CBR500 my overall petrol consumption has reduced by at least 50% compared to 10yrs ago ,if that happened on a global scale for all vehicles who knows? Cycling however increased my energy consumption ( more food required..) , increased power consumption ( more laundry , more showering)endless punctures , tyres and tubes required !
30/04/2024 15:05:16 UTC
ROD¹ said :-
Nigel, You have convinced me that electric assisted bicycles are not the answer.
However it seems that Ren is spending more and more time in lodges and caravans, so charging the bike and his other electronics would not be a problem.
30/04/2024 22:12:22 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Ooooooh harsh! I'll have you know it's all Sharon's fault this luxury I've had to endure. Yes, that's it, I'll blame her.

For thousands of years the horse was the only alternative to walking. The horse is now plaything for those with the money and space to keep them. Steam became the de facto method of moving people and things for what, a little over 100 years? This has now become the realm of enthusiasts again with the space and money to keep them, or to join in groups to afford the space and money to keep them.

It seems inevitable that one day the petrol powered motorcycle will join the realm of things from the past only owned by enthusiasts - I'd argue we're there already in this country at least. Eventually they'll be rare things kept in museums and by groups of enthusiasts with the space and the money to run them around private land. How far away that time is I don't know, but I'm sure it's closer than we think. The age of steam was coming to an end in my early years.

I don't mind bicycles but they're definitely not as much fun as a motorcycle.
01/05/2024 08:37:27 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Ed, what about the camels and the cows, there's always been alternatives.
The whole subject of EV's is complicated don't ya thunk.
Electric bicycles are a complete nonsense. Folks buy them that already own non electric bicycles, may even still have them covered in dust in the shed. Afterall that's where most bikes end up. So let's use up the worlds resources making crap no one needs. Then let's use electricity to charge them.
ICE will be around for a good while yet as will ice too, despite the rants on the Beeb.
It'll be a brave and probably stupid politician, actually they are more likely just to be stupid, who finally stabs ICE vehicles through their heart with the sword of ecology.
I can report with some certainty that the North Sea is not flowing up the Till Valley just yet.
01/05/2024 09:40:35 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Just you wait Upt'! It won't be long now before it's "Wooler-On-Sea", even though the internet tells me you're 61m or 200 feet above sea level. Think of all the benefits, that there London Village will be gone along with all the politicians.

I'm presently working on a super battery. It uses regular water but seawater will do. It's small, about the size of a motorcycle battery. It'll have a capacity of 500 kwh, enough for around 800 miles range in a car and easily 1200 miles on a bike. It can be recharged in under 3 minutes using a small solar panel.

Development is going well. I have an motorcycle battery case and a set of old jump leads. This being Greater Manchester I have plenty of water. I just need to figure out how it's going to work. I'm looking for investors in this groundbreaking "disruptor" venture. I'm valuing my company at $3.6 billion dollars. Any takers?
02/05/2024 08:17:46 UTC
nab301 said :-
I'll give you $10 Ren , like bitcoin it'll be worth a million in a couple of years...

@Rod ROD¹ said :-
Nigel, You have convinced me that electric assisted bicycles are not the answer."

Glad to have helped...
02/05/2024 16:19:08 UTC

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