Well I collected my beautiful new Yamaha MT10SP last week in the Midlands from Alf England and I then rode her home to Amalfi. You need a day to ride through France and then another to cover Italy, on a bike you MUST take yer time and allow for weather, tiredness, traffic and all of the other factors that can influence the ride.
I was very lucky with the weather, in the UK it was mainly warm and dry and I only hit a couple of wet patches going from the Midlands across to Cambridge. Then on the Friday I headed up to Nottingham to see family so I then set off from Nottingham at midday Saturday down to Dover and hopped onto the P and O ferry for Calais. I love the ferry as much as I don’t like the tunnel, I always buy an open ticket with P and O and I find their service excellent. The open ticket includes a seat in the Business Lounge with free tea, coffee and newspapers, happy days!
So in the afternoon I arrived in France and I headed into Calais to fill up the bike at the local Supermarket and I then headed south on the wonderful French motorway system. Luckily I have the new European Telepass so I do not even need to stop at the Pay Stations, great for the motorcyclist as it saves removing gloves and then searching for tickets and or cash or credit cards.
I stopped at Reims where I had booked a night at the excellent Ibis Budget at Thillois, I have stayed many times and the area has eveything you need for a good meal, beer and rest and the hotel car park is secure! I find that a gentle start to a long trip is always a good idea as you need to get to know the bike, so a long slog is never a good idea for the first day.
From Reims early the next morning I rode south in increasingly warm weather and the French motorways are sooooo good you can generally cruise at whatever speed you choose. This bike has cruise control so I selected 140km/h to (hopefully) stay out of trouble and headed south towards Chamonix. When I got nearer the information signs showed a waiting time of one hour for the Mont Blanc tunnel so I decided not to stop for lunch as I had planned, instead I overtook the hundreds of cars in the queue and I got through the tunnel quickly, they charge an extortionate 32 Euro for the bike compared to about 45 for my van!!
So I was in Italy and so I could increase my cruising speed as the Italian police are more lenient and in general anything up to 160km/h seems to be ok, so I headed to a lovely hotel I know in Biella for the night as I was starting to feel quite tired. The Hotel Europa is in the city centre but very quiet and comfortable with an excellent eating house very nearby.
The next day was a gentle ride south down the motorway, I stopped for lunch in Orte with an old mate and then from Orte down to Amalfi where I arrived at about 4pm, tired but very very happy!! The bike returned an overall 16.5 km/litre (46mpg) which is great, the only problem is the range as she only has 16 litres of petrol so this means a stop every 180/200 kms when she runs onto reserve. WHAT a great bike, total ride was about 2400km. A few pics follow: