Sam1199's Story - "just Popping Out On My Bike" - Something We'd All Love To Do!

Discussion in 'Rideouts & Events' started by El Toro, May 8, 2015.


    Four weeks after a surgeon had taken his knife out of my nuts and another surgeon had cut out two skin cancers from my face, I thought, what better thing to do than head to the sun on a sports bike.

    Let's go to the Spanish MotoGP in Jerez. Nice ride.

    Besides the operations weren't a problem, the anesthetics did their job, it was the stitches that really gave me grief. Ooh sir! Especially when it got cold.

    So I took off with two tiny panniers and a Ducati Panigale S Tricolore. Who needs these BMW GS's to do these kind of trips, much more fun with a Pornygirly.


    The ride down the A3 to Portsmouth was so busy it was enough to make me glad I was leaving the country. Several cars had impaled themselves in the Armco on the northbound carriageway and the southbound was bumper-to-bumper for almost all of it. It was awful. Shouldn't these people still be in work on Friday afternoon? Does the whole of England head to the south coast for the weekend?

    It felt like a rush hour tube train on rubber tyres. Riding a bike or driving a car like that was high risk and no reward. At least it didn't rain.

    I got down to Pompey and followed the signs round to the port without a hitch. Stopping at the booth with the ticket man, I turned off the noise but still couldn't hear him because of the ear plugs. Passport, A4 printout ticket, he checked my mugshot thoroughly, thoroughly checked it was me through my open visor and off I went with more paperwork tucked anywhere it would go. That was the last time my feet touched the ground in Blighty. I was waved past the men that just seem to wave. Waved past the police, waved down my own special empty lane, past the queues of cars, vans, lorries, the lot. This I like, this is why you ride a bike. Queue jumping with official approval, great. Then waved straight onto the dangerously slippy metal ramp and the car deck, more waving, past more cars, down the steep steep yellow ramp into the belly of the ship, turn right and wham, a whole load of bikes already all tied down. I was the last bike on.

    Now there was a reason for this. Despite weeks of planning, map gazing, manufacture of a carbon fibre pannier bracket, new pannier fitting and test riding, modding, fiddling, adjusting of suspension and underwear
    (important given the circumstances), new tyres and invention of a unique chain tension measuring device, at the last minute I went to pick up my insurance documents and where the hell were they? Not in the drawer with the rest of the bike kit. Not with the log book. Not in the bike folder? Blank!

    Who have you got insurance with? Blank!

    It's been almost a year since I took it out and I've never needed it. Where the hell is it? Yes dear I have got cover, yes I'm absolutely sure, but who, where. I know, they emailed it to me. Who emailed to you? Don't know. Total total blank.

    I've never had this before.

    It's time to go. It's ok I built in plenty of time.
    I did... not like me at all.

    I took it out when the last one expired and I have the paperwork for that. Check dates, track back all emails a month around that date and... nothing! It must have gone into the spam box and been deleted months ago. Doh!

    I have no fecking idea who I'm insured with. No email, no old fashioned paperwork.

    Bank statements. Search search search. Nothing there for that kind of figure. Nor the credit card statements.
    Unless you have a bank account that you haven't told me about? No I don't! Don't be silly. Ha ha haa, no I don't.

    I was so preoccupied I didn't even think to ask my wife if she had a bank account that I didn't know about. I'll have to do that, I'll have to ask that pointless question, should be fun.

    Ah here's something on the statement. Yes that's the figure. It's Mc something but that's all it says. It must be a Scottish insurance company, Mc, Mc, with an abbreviation. What Scottish insurance companies do bikes?
    No doesn't ring a bell but that's definitely the transaction, let me have a look.

    McE. Total recall, it's MCE Insurance. Not Scottish at all. Well why is the c printed small? No idea dear, don't care, where's the phone.

    Interminable pre recorded messages valuing my call, I could kill but not down the phone, then at last, yes, Name rank serial number, inside leg measurement, my first pet hamsters date of birth, post code, grannies maiden name, yes, hurray! I exist, it's not just a figment of my imagination. I'm insured!!! Happy days.

    And what date are you travelling sir? I'm putting my jacket on we speak. Oh really. Incredulity, laughter. Can you email it to me? Yes sir, you'll have to check your spam box. I know... that I do know. I'll send it right now but it'll take half an hour for it to leave the server. Incredulity. I'll pick it up at Portsmouth. Nice lady, thank you, bye.

    Not only did I build in extra time but I also deliberately over estimated how long it would take to get to Portsmouth. Not like me at all but I did it for Justin and his baggage. I was thinking more like, just in case I had a puncture or just in case there's a traffic jam etc. Not total blank, no evidence, no proof of insurance, delay drama.

    That was why I was the last bike on. There was still 45-55 minutes of car n truck loading till we floated off.

    I was last bike on, first bike off. "Luxury, bloody luxury" as my old man used to say. :)
    #1 El Toro, May 8, 2015
    Last edited: May 8, 2015
    • Like Like x 24
    • Thanks Thanks x 1

    The bike was lashed down so I took myself and the panniers up to my cabin and settled in.

    I booked a table in the restaurant but when I got back to the cabin it was freezing. The heating wasn't working, so I found a crew member and asked for it to be fixed. When the technician arrived he took one look at my Ducati shirt and asked

    C'est votre Panigale?


    Belle moto, belle moto! J'aime bien.

    He had a Kawasaki, a whole biking conversation followed in my schoolboy French. It's amazing what you can understand when you're both interested.

    The heating couldn't be fixed so I transferred to another cabin and went for dinner. As I asked for my reservation the waiter took one look at me and my shirt and said,

    Ducatiii, ah non!

    Ah Oui, I said.

    J'ai a un BMW. We laughed and a whole biking conversation followed.

    I didn't realise it at the time but this Ducati gear would become a constant conversation opener.

    I had dinner and turned in early. Then in the morning what better way to kill time on board than have breakfast. So, fresh Ducati shirt and fresh introductions. Just as I'd finished breakfast along came Barry and struck up a conversation because he'd seen my shirt. He had a Ducati 999 in a van below decks and was off to the MotoGP. Is that your Panigale? Yes. I heard it he said. Big grins and a whole biking conversation followed, in English. He came from a place in Lincolnshire called Stamford. Did I know it? Ha! 10 miles down the road from where most of my family live and I had my wedding reception at The George Hotel in Stamford. What's the chances of a coincidence like that.

    After a while, the man on the opposite table heard the biking talk and joined in the conversation. He came from Wimbledon, about 3 miles from where I live and was going to the MotoGP. What's the chances of that?

    The three of us chatted away the whole trip. Great stuff. Routes exchanged, phone numbers exchanged and plans hatched.

    When the ferry docks in Santander it takes an age to get cars and lorries off so the bikers tend to wait on deck to keep cool. Eventually there's much admiring of bikes on the bike deck and we're allowed off.

    It was a sunny day and I wished I hadn't booked a Hotel an hour along the coast, especially as the ferry arrived an hour early but San Vicente de la Barquera is a lovely harbour with good fish restaurants.

    I'd set the shat nav to 'no motorways' so it was an easy ride down there. Dinner and bed.
    • Like Like x 14
  3. Phew....on my hudl when i started reading, as the image was rendering...having just read a few words I panicked and hit the back button.
    Then I thought he wouldn't put on a picture of that would he...hit forward again.....just a pantigirdle....what a relief.
  4. No but I am still firing on two cylinders, just a cyst. No pictures.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  5. I'd like to see a approximate route map if you have time.
  6. Great writing, love your style. Is that all, I would like to read more.
    Interested in hearing about your chain tension checking device.
    Catch up soon at Box .
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Good stuff! I look forward to reading more.

    Must be something about 1199s bringing out the spirit of adventure - I've just finished reading AntiHeroX's trip reports on and adv.rider - Coast to Coast across the USA on a Panigale, and now round the world on a Panigale. (Thanks to Weeksy on this forum for posting the link here Epic Touring Thread From Bloke In Cali | Ducati Forum
  8. more, more they cried
  9. Yes I'll certainly post that but can't from my iPhone at the moment. I'll post it in a few days when I get back. A record of the route and marking the really good roads is the most useful thing. It's what the blog is all about really.
  10. Thanks, very nice to know someone is enjoying it. Yes there's more to come and I will be posting it up. Long days in the saddle make it hard to keep up with but I've got nothing else to do on the ferry, well except meet other bikers and chat the whole crossing away.
    • Like Like x 3
  11. Certainly not wishing to take anybody away from the Ducati Forum, this is the link for the actual blog I hope it's okay to post this up:
    just popping out on my bike - Blog
  12. I just read you blog, please excuse my ignorance, but I followed a previous blog which e mailed me updates, can I do the same with your ?
  13. Love it, best reading for ages.
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Well thanks very much Steve. I'm amazed. There's plenty more to come. 3rd instalment is posted on the blog. Doesn't look like its up here yet. I have revised 'The ferry' blog entry it's worth reading again, it includes an amusing on board event. (Again just on the blog so far but will be on here).
  15. I
    I don't know I'm afraid. Good idea. I'll try and find out and let you know. Seat's good.
  16. Can't wait to read the rest, I too was at the GP and melting in the grandstand in 45 degree heat. I did feel sorry for those guys in full leathers though, while I was in my shorts........still baking tho....
  17. great stuff Grimmy. It was a great event. More blogs being witten. I don't want to get it out of sequence so I've got to catch up a few early days whereas I have some later stuff already written.
  18. Did anyone ask if they could use it as a rag to clean there Kawasaki ?
    Like the blog Sam, look forward to catching up over a cuppa soon.
    Hope you get back alright tonight.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. The first real day of the trip.

    I swung my leg over The Italian Tart and pulled out of the garage. Rain! Bloody rain! This isn't supposed to arrive till mid afternoon and yesterday was so good. The fish was average because I'd chosen a set meal and now I've got rain instead of a sunny day, this isn't what I booked, I haven't even brought a jumper. Onwards, they predicted only showers.

    I headed up the gorge into the Picos mountains, fantastic. No traffic on the road, I mean nothing, strangely empty, then I came across 2 coaches travelling up the mountain. Easy to nip past even on the short twisties. Then two bikes came down the other way but really not much else on the road. You can go big distances in Spain without seeing anyone else... or a gas station. So I decided not to push it to reserve, that would only leave me around 10 miles. You can easily do double or treble that between stations. Maybe more. I'd rather stop more often then be walking or on the phone trying to get rescued. I resolved that anytime I saw a gas station after I'd done 80 miles I'd pull in and top up the tax mans coffers. So I topped up in the Picos mountains.

    As I was putting my gloves back on and this guy on a Triumph Streetfighter floated by. Huh, an English plate. We waved to each other and I thought, it's nicer to ride with someone else, good idea, I'll catch him up and ride with him. Bad idea.

    Off I went gently trying to catch him up, nothing serious but moving along. Over the crest of a hill and there they were, The Guardia. I got pulled. We saw each other from way off but I knew we'd be chatting. They waved me over but as soon as they realised I was English and touring they backed off. They were really pleasant, one admired The Tart the other stepped out into the road and put to halt the traffic that wasn't coming and waved me on. That's a relief, they didn't ask for my insurance documents.

    Going over the highest point of the Picos there was snow either side of the road, deep snow, right up to the edge of the thankfully dry tarmac. That took me by surprise.

    As I dropped down towards the Duero valley there was more rain but all day I probably saw no more than 20 cars driving on the road, unbelievable compared to England. There were more cars abandoned, well, supposedly parked.
    • Like Like x 1
  20. Route:

    San Vicente

    La Hermida

    CA184 to La Estacion

    Herrera de Pisierga

    Aranda de Duero

    I'll post a map but can't do it from an iPhone right now.