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French trip time

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French trip time
Started at 10:35am on the 7th June, 2018 by Balf
Balf Subject: French trip time
Hello, I am after some advice. I have a 350 1991 Indian bullet and am planning a trip from near Bergerac in France to Cherbourg. Avoiding motorways the Michelin planner makes it 682kM and a journey time of 13H 30M. I have never made a journey of more than 2hrs before and am planning to make the trip over three days with a passenger. Any advice? Thanks
Posted: 10:35am 7th June, 2018
Jamesy Subject: French trip time
As with any motorcycle journey the bike is serviced ie. Oil checked,chain tensions ok,tyres ok etc.Toolkit ready to rock and carry a spare inner tube and spark plug.Have a nice journey.
Posted: 11:43am 7th June, 2018
rustygman Subject: French trip time
Hi Balf, aside from the mechanical advice you will get here i would vouch for stopping frequently and having a break. 2 up on a 350 is going to be slow and cosy as you probably already know. I would stop every hour and don't be tempted to push on. Have a smoke and a coffee. Happy days. (Ignore the smoking advice).
Posted: 08:24pm 7th June, 2018
Scalyback Subject: French trip time
A gel cushion for your bum!
Posted: 12:46am 8th June, 2018
AndyMc Subject: French trip time
I found a throttle rocker very useful. It allows you to release your grip a bit on the throttle and stops your hand aching. A poor man's cruise control. Available for about £5 on eBay.
Posted: 09:58am 8th June, 2018
Mark M Subject: French trip time
French motorways are well provided with regular stopping points called 'Aires' if I recall. These have the usual toilet facilities and often but not always, have cafe type places which are usually open long hours. They are not normally part of big chains like the atrocious dumps on Uk M'ways (there are exceptions, hi Gloucester and Tebay!) and are often family run. I'm not so sure about the Routes National type roads you may use though, so check. One other thing, if you put a toolkit together actually test it on the bike, for instance you can pick a good spark plug spanner but find when you use it in anger you can't get a good turn on it between the cylinder head fins and a spanner that is short enough to go in the toolroll might not be long enough to easily undo the rear wheel nut!

REgards, Mark
Posted: 10:32am 8th June, 2018
Count Johnny Subject: French trip time
All of the above plus take some DIY control cable stuff (inner cable and solderless nipples) with you.

When we rode from Bavaria to Biarritz (~1800k) a couple of years ago, we did it over 4 quite long days with stops every 100 miles, or so, for fuel and fags.
Posted: 04:55am 11th June, 2018
stinkwheel Subject: French trip time
Cycle shorts for one thing, can't have too much padding.

Stay hydrated. You won't notice yourself dehydrating in a hot country but you'll finish like a prune if you don't drink plenty. It will cut your attention span and increase your chances of cramp.

Also don't be afraid of motorways. If there's one that's going to cut out a long stretch, get on it. Motorways are designed for traffic doing differing speeds. Your 350 bullet 2-up will be doing roughly the same speed as an HGV, this means you will be passed/passing very infrequently. I usually find I land up with the same one for mile after mile. They generally pass me uphills, I generally pass them back again down the other side.

I took mine down to Cirencester from Carlisle last weekend, 260 miles, motorway all the way on the way down which took 4 1/2 hours. Cut across to Wales and came up the A49 on the way back, added an extra hour and a half.

I've done a longer journey on a very heavily laden 350 bullet in a oner. Tooke it from Ijmunden to Leipzig. That was mostly motorway/autobahn (E40). Even stopped to repair a puncture at around Kessel.

So the bike will do it no problem. Your backside on the other hand, I will leave to your own discretion. I personally find 150 miles in one go is a manageable daily mileage if you're doing a protracted tour. Any further and you really feel it the next day. So you're pretty much bang-on with doing that journey over 3 days.

Don't assume you'll get the right grade oil in a service station, you'll have an idea how much your bike uses but I wouldn't set out on that journey without at least half a litre on-hand.
Posted: 04:42pm 11th June, 2018
Balf Subject: French trip time
Thank you all for your advice - it'a all on board and I'll add it to the tool kit!
Posted: 10:52am 17th June, 2018
Aethelric Subject: French trip time
I used to travel with one of those leather spanish decanters filled with water strapped to the top of my tank bag. The inside is some sort of plastic and the outside is leather. You fill it up then completely soak the outside. As you travel the water in the leather evaporates keeping the the drinking water inside nice and cool. And its easy to get a drink without even dismounting. (Not recommended for when you are driving though).
Posted: 11:36am 17th June, 2018
garry Subject: French trip time
Balf, have family just outside Bergerac ( lilande), may see you on the enfield, when we are over in France again. good luck with the trip
Posted: 02:09pm 17th June, 2018
Balf Subject: French trip time
Gary, I am actually near Villereal in Lot et Garonne 1/2 Hr south of Bergerac but am moving to Wales soon! Hence the trip...
Posted: 09:50am 18th June, 2018
Super45 Subject: French trip time
I did a similar distanced journey over 3 days ( 1st was from warkwiskshire to portsmouth and the 8 hours crossing to caen ) on jap bikes some years ago down to Nontron and back via Caen, Le mans, Tours, Ch√Ętellerault and Limoges if you do 50 miles a day your doing well and that route has plenty of cafes and road side stops to make it easy enough and you may even get to ride down the mulsane straight at lemans like we did. In the additoon to the above mentions odds and sods and servicing I's suggest some form of a multi tool, break down insurance and some spare brake and clutch levers (sadly we needed them on our trip) gaffer tape and spare fuses, Oh and a jumper, I didnt pack one and needed one when near the coast as it got a bit chilly
Posted: 01:53pm 18th June, 2018
Alan R Subject: French trip time
A reflective , foldable breakdown triangle ??.............
Posted: 06:56pm 18th June, 2018
Balf Subject: French trip time
Hello, Just an update and thank you to all who posted. Arrived safely in Somerset with only two problems with the bike. Back light lens fell off somewhere in France - if anyone finds it please return it! The pip on the end of the clutch cable fell off due to solder failure. It was fitted in August 2015 and decided to give up at 9 o'clock on the third day. I managed to crimp it back on and it lasted the rest of the trip - bit of a panic! 592 Miles, maximum speed 50 M/Hr @64 Miles/Gallon 250mL engine oil.
Posted: 12:01pm 16th September, 2018
p Subject: French trip time
Hi balf, glad to read about your trip and that it went well. Noticed you were going to Wales but ended up in Somerset, yes, mine pulls a bit to the left too! I'm in France at the moment, will look out for your rear light....!
Posted: 07:12pm 17th September, 2018

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