Spain on the brain …

After coming to the end of long stressful hours for a significant period at work and needing to take unused holiday my wife says “why don’t you nip off on your bike somewhere?”

I thought that a week’s camping in say Ireland on my 20yr old CBR 600 f4 would be great. However the weather forecast looked very wet for the foreseeable. Hmmm Italy, cheap flight, hire a bike … ? Or take my bike through France to Spain …

So, it needed a back tyre, the brakes were shot (discs) and it needed a top box. That’s atleast 500 quid on a bike that is worth maybe twice that.

What to do? First thing, just book the ferry!! Then I can’t bottle it. Portsmouth to Santander return (I couldn’t be arsed blasting through France just to get to Spain; France was looking wet too). I didn’t realise I had to book a cabin, thinking I could just sleep on a chair; I had already typed in all my details and pressing cancel seemed like a waste of effort. Booked.

Next morning I called in the local triumph dealership to see what second hand bikes they had. Nothing of interest really. However, one of their sales guys got chatting and what a guy. He had been all over. Recently spending 6 weeks touring New Zealand, shipping his own bike over rather than renting; A 1978 Norton Commando if memory serves.

Anyhow, he asks what I had planned. Zaragoza, via a few Pyrenees roads, Valencia, Madrid. Take a little tent. “When you going?”, “In about 2 weeks, end of Feb” I replied. “Are you mad? It’ll be fooking freezing, don’t go near the Pyrenees. Ever been to Picos? ” “Where ?” … “The roads are the best in the world and it won’t be as cold. Don’t wild camp, though, there’s Bears and Wolves” His energy flooded out and the excitement in his eyes was a beautiful thing in retrospect. “Head to Portugal …” We shook hands and he said I should go back in and tell him all about it – maybe I’ll send him the link to this blog too.

I sat at work googling away. Always fancied visiting Santiago de Compostela (I’ll leave the weeks and miles of walking until another time). That’s about as far as I got route wise. I got distracted thinking about bikes.

I thought, 3k would get me a decent bike. However, I wanted something without loads of owners, reliable and soon! So off to Macclesfield. The home of Joy Division and a massive bike showroom, and I lost control. 4 hours later and I am riding a 2018 cb650f home (it already had a top box! Only a sad middle aged man would be excited about a plastic box on his bike). Bitter sweet feelings however. I never got the opportunity to say a proper goodbye to my CBR ☹️

My new friend