NB: FUEL!!!!! The biggest unnecessary waste of time is caused by fuel stops. Even more important with 29 people. 1.Let’s not all pull up to fill up at a tiny 2 pump station just because the rider ahead stopped! 2.Apart from big official stops at large service stations (start of day or end of day maybe), use your head and if you need fuel, simply wait outside a station and ensure the next rider stops and marks the station while you fill up. That way, you will not be left behind 1.The person marking should actively wave people through and do not wave people into the station!!! However if YOU see this and need petrol, obviously pull in and fill up. 3.If there is any chance of filling up or topping up without delaying others, take it!! Opposite applies also !!
Documents PassportBike’s Log BookInsuranceLicenceBreakdown Cover/Travel Cover/NHS card List of dealerships for your make of bike– check phone numbers before you go! They’re almost always wrong! Maps Michelin 511 and 534 (optional)Pen + paperItineraryMobile numbers of fellow travellers
Equipment Mobile PhoneCharger and plug adapterSunglassesVisor Cleaner +clothToolsSpare oils/bulbs Puncture KitTread on tyres- enough for 1000 miles!!!Fix any obvious faults with the bike Water Cereal Bars/chocolate etc..
Safety things If you have any medical conditions or other relevant info (in case of accident) - put it in a sealed envelope, name on the envelope and give to Hugh or Paul who will return it unopened to you at the end of the trip Drive on the right Town signs are speed limits! Petrol stops- nightmare! Spacing out Overtaking is allowed- no carve-ups though Non Group bikes –don’t get in the middle of other groups Don’t follow another group! Make sure the bike behind is a smartie before you overtake that car in front!
IMPORTANT- priorité a droite This famous feature of French driving etiquette still causes confusion today despite it being less common than in days gone by. If you are driving along a road, anyone joining that road from your right hand side has priority over you. They don’t have to stop, you do…..even if you are travelling at speed! Things have improved these days because officially the rule no longer applies unless clearly signposted. On the left here, you see the critical sign. If you see this sign, it means that the road you are on has priority, until you see the cancellation sign - the same, but with a black line through it. However the reality is that not every Frenchman (or woman!) follows the new legislation! You will often find that on minor roads ‘priorité à droite’ is still assumed. So again, slow down, keep your eyes wide open and be ready to be courteous (but don’t expect any thanks!). On main N roads you don’t usually need to worry. However we still recommend that if you see someone approaching a road junction from your right, take your foot of the gas a bit and be ready…..just in case. When you see this sign, be careful! It means that the traffic from the right has priority. The side road joining ahead does not have a yield or Stop sign - the Gauloises- holder can drive out in front of you legally. Don’t ignore it. Be as alert as you would be if approaching a roundabout in the UK– prepared to stop, ready to go! The car exiting from the right has priority!!! Futhermore, it can happen that if you're entering or crossing a major road from a minor one, as you wait at the junction, the traffic to your left stops in the carriageway, They are giving you 'priorité à droite', so proceed - but with caution!!
Tunnel thoughts We start at the service station at the Tunnel in Calais at 9am Friday morning– if late, text me +44 7977041950 If crossing on Friday: Aim for Tunnel booths by 6:30am Checking in at Folkestone – insert your credit card - quickest Don’t wait for anyone to gather at terminal – head for the train - some will already be in France Motorcycles are allowed on last- after the cars! All can’t wait at the station if you are late – text if late!
To the Total station I used to think it was an urban myth, but in fact it is possible to be ejected from the Tunnel train in France 2 ways. The normal way off the train is to be sent up the ramp and to the right - see the green line to the Total station ”B” – that’s what normally happens – about 800 metres It can happen that you are sent left at the top of the ramp talking you to the road “A”. If so follow the blue line to get to B (NB There is a Total station between A & B – just beyond A in fact – DO NOT STOP THERE!! NEW: It seems that if you are directed to turn left, you can still sort of ignore theat arrow and turn right anyway. It seems to be just an occasionsl
We leave the Total station together 9am, then it’s either: immediate 92 miles total Motorway A16 for 5 miles (staying bunched) A26 for 87 miles Set trip to ZERO at the Total ststion!! Top up with fuel Fuel at 78.5 MILES (BP Services) “Aire de Baralle” !!!!in this one case - whether you think you need it or not!!!! The Motorway exit will NOT be marked Wait immediately after the péage of Jn. 9 to regroup OR weather permitting The Hucqueliers route taking some “D” roads and joining the A26 farther along at Jn 4 We still leave the M’way at Jn. 9 which will not be marked Still get petrol at the BP Services “Aire de Baralle” Then we won’t have to fill up after lunch and we will save 20 minutes of riding time!
Motorway Section Day 1 Set Tripometer to zero Either –A16 out of Calais for 5 miles (East) - we’ll stay grouped until we get to the A26 –Then A26 and off at Jn 9- Or –Backroads up to join the A26 mortorway at Jn 4 –A26 and off at Jn 9 No Backmarker system on the Motorway NB: GET PETROL AT Aire la Barelle 78 MILES –BP!!! –That will avoid having to fill up after lunch Get off at Junction 9 and wait after péage, in the car park!! Lunch at Auberge de la Foret +44 33 323 97 33 04…?? Coffee Rocroi…Rochehaut, Bouillon Han-sur-Lesse, beer!
Kitty On Friday, someone (usually Graham!) will collect €20 from everyone to pay for coffees and other small items over the 4 days…. This avoids –Delays –Everyone having to pay separately –Fishing for change, 29 people risking leaving a wallet behind etc. –Shortages and irate café owners! It doesn’t cover lunches – just teas/coffees mainly (and Graham’s kids school fees)
Hotel Pay 186 € per person in CASH if sharing (+€45 if in single room). I have asked if we can pay on arrival – to speed things up on Monday when leaving (it’s usually a source of delay). Includes dinner and breakfast for the 3 nights Beers and eating across the street (dinner & breakfast are included in the hotel price)
Sundry We go in and out of Belgium and France several times on the way there– don’t panic! Petrol in France can be tricky on Sundays Fill up whenever you can without causing delays (see Marking System) – not 29 bikes at a 2 pump station –Do it at end of day or at start of day to save time in the mornings! Luxembourg: –petrol fags and booze cheap – but usually means Fritz and his mates queuing! To separate the beds in the hotel from each other typically requires them to be separated from the bed head – they have been damaged in the past so please do so carefully Could you please save your Tunnel hanger ticket with the letter of the alphabet on it – we may need them to jump a queue on a future Wizz! At péage, make sure you are charged tarrif 5 on the LCD display (if not manned, the sensor should detect a motorbike) and either have change or card ready to pay – about 4 Euros. Press the help button and say “ta reef sank see voo play” to get the right tariff It seems that in Belgium and maybe in France, If you enter a town and have a 70Km/h limit on the way in, then a 50, you are released in the same order - ie 50km/h end is not the the GLF – you are entering the other end of the 70 km/h from which you will be separately released into glf-land!
Marking System Be ready to mark a navigation point when you know you are near the front Do not pass the leader thinking he is marking! YELLOW JACKET! Pick a safe spot – often the space vacated by the leader –Point right direction, arm signals, get off bike – do “whatever it takes” to make sure you are safe and visible if possible, as you approach a marking point, acknowledge that you have seen the leader so that he can move on If you see the person who should be marking carrying on, take responsibility and mark! Point clearly in the correct direction (where needed) Be visible to group and to other road users! Be ready to leave a mark point e.g. when you see the person who was marking the previous junction appearing Petrol - get the next rider along to mark the station as you fill up. Don’t delay, as the group moves ultimately at the pace of the slowest. Leader will leave coffee stops before everyone is ready – don’t worry – it helps spacing out people Park where the back marker will see you! (BM- park at back if possible) Back Marker may change – the orange jacket is the key!! Vacate the marking point (ideally) ahead of the back marker but if the back marker has a truck up his backside and can’t slow down to let you in ahead of him, let him go and slot in later – ie use commonsense!! Do not leave your post unless told by phone or by back marker or leader If you go through 2 junctions and see no markers, STOP! THINK! RETRACE! I would prefer to place multiple markers in tricky places rather than lose someone so please understand if “luxurious marking” seems to be being used at times! The leader may sometimes wait with you (or a little way down the road) to allow the next rider to come along – it can get lonely up front sometimes! You may be asked to stop on a straight stretch of road- either to confirm the route or to be an early warning of an upcoming junction
INDICATORS/Overtaking ALWAYS INDICATE EARLY i.e. WHEN PLANNING TO OVERTAKE a GROUP BIKE (not as you do it!) MAKE SURE HE/SHE HAS SEEN IT! –Think of an overtake of a Group member as a polite, negotiated “swapping of places” –Be aware you might be overtaken at any time! –NO CHEAP OVERTAKES!! SPACE OUT FROM EACH OTHER – either by overtaking or by allowing the other person to move well ahead, say as you exit a town. Overtaking is allowed to: –avoid boredom, – to let everyone travel at his/her own pace –to avoid the “nothing will be overtaking me today” syndrome to cause rear observation to get lazy
And finally... Ride within your limits It’s a marathon, not a sprint Be safe Stop if tired Never feel pressurised to do anything Enjoy! Have a great 4 days! NEW!!! If you get lost or separated, ASAP, text Hugh on +44 7977 041 950 (or call Paul Farmer on +447970 624624) and say where you are so we can decide next action. If late in the day, you might simply opt to sat nav back to the hotel, but if early in the day, you will want to rejoin the group etc. etc….