17th June 2017


Is it possible to class a day as truly successful if one accidentally rides through the wrong country? Yes folks, I’ve just ridden through Belgium instead of France. <grin> Let me tell you how this happened. My plan for today was to get to Calais, then to ride to Dijon. So, I got to Calais, then set Dijon into my GPS and followed the magenta line. The riding seemed to be going incredibly well and according to my GPS I was going to make Dijon in record time. Unfortunately when I typed Dijon into my GPS it gave me a load of options, and me being me just hit the top one. This happened to be a road in Belgium that included the name Dijon.

Feeling rather sheepish, and with a very important lesson learned, I made my way to France (using my paper map). It wasn’t long before I was revelling in the land of the most beautiful hanging baskets known to man. Every time I visit France I’m overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of it all; that and the space of course.

With such an early start and no breakfast it wasn’t long before I needed to stop for food. I pulled in and made my way into the supermarket. Now, this is where travelling on your own gets difficult. I didn’t have anyone who could look after my stuff so I had to lug my tank bag and crash helmet into the supermarket with me. I wandered around, looked at a few bits, then squeezed past a shop assistant lady who seemed very busy doing something with the huge cheese counter. Unfortunately, my tank bag attaches to my motorbike using 4 very powerful magnets and as I squeezed past her my tank bag attached itself to her leg! I immediately apologised, luckily she laughed. She told me she had had an accident when she was younger and that they had put some kind of metal plate or contraption in her leg. After a bit of tugging we managed to free her leg from the clamp like grasp of the tank bag magnets, no harm done. I apologised again and quickly exited the shop without having bought anything.

Luckily for me there was bakers almost next door so I popped in and tried out my incredibly rusty French. After proudly asking for an apple tart the lady burst out laughing. This did not do my street cred any favours. When she stopped she told me I’d ordered a potato tart. What’s a ‘de terre’ between friends eh?

Other than a few weird Richardisms, today has been a wonderful day; much of it spent wondering how the hell I’ve managed to find myself in such a beautiful place. When I think about many of the choices I’ve made throughout my life I find myself cringing and full of regrets; however, it is the culmination of all those choices that has resulted in me being here at this moment in time. As such, instead of regretting some of my more controversial choices, perhaps I should be proud of them.

Anyway, I’m currently sitting in my tent about 20 miles south of Dijon after riding 735 kilometres, that’s 458 miles! Bloody Eck! No wonder my arse is sore!

Oh, I almost forgot, I made a new friend today. Whilst sitting in the queue to get on the ferry what should ride up behind me but another Honda Transalp! When this happens its mandatory to spent the ferry journey discussing the virtues of motorbikes and travel. 🙂 He said he rides on his own because he doesn’t like to ride fast, he likes to ride far. Excellent!

At this point you’re probably waiting for me to tell you my plan for tomorrow. Well, I don’t have one. I’ll see what I fancy when I wake up. 🙂 Sleep tight people.

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  • Richard, that’s not the way to start a trip but was quite funny. Just wish I’d come with you for a day or so to get you on the right track.

By Richard