Well, who on earth would ride 1400 ish kms to meet a mate in Lyon (France), stay one full day and then ride back?? At the end of October and early November?? With awful weather and cold and rain and and and??? Well yes, I did!!!!
Here was the plan. Brian the Barnes would ride my new (old) Yamaha FZ1 down from good ol’ Bedrock through the Channel Tunnel to Lyon, I would head up from Amalfi to Lyon with my trusty Yamaha FJR1300 and we would stay 2 nights in the lovely old Hotel Mercure (Chateau Perrache) and then head home again having swapped bikes. We had agreed that this was the last possible weekend this year cos the weather was closing in fast, the biggest problem was mine cos I had to cross from Italy into France and that generally means crossing the Alps. Gulp, very high and thus potentially very cold indeed.
Like all great plans, it kind of worked too!! As an official old rider I broke my journeys into gentle daily 600 km rides. Day one I left my garage in Tramonti and headed north on the motorway until I got to Firenze and then turned left towards the coast, as I had booked a room in the lovely Hotel Eden in Viareggio. Luckily I had great weather and Viareggio is lovely and classic. A quick nosh and then an early night for me!
The following day was rather less wonderful as the weather was truly awful and remained awful for the entire trip! I left Viareggio at about 9am and rode the long way round past Monte Carlo (to avoid the highest parts) arriving in lovely Lyon at about 4pm, 800 kms of medium to heavy rain later!! Was I looking and feeling like a drowned rat??? Yes. Luckily the receptionist took pity on us and allowed us to park the 2 bikes in their garage under the hotel, and I think that we were not charged for that!!! Barnes arrived only about 40 minutes after me, we ate dinner in the hotel and then fell into our beds more or less dead, he too had loads of rain on his trip.
In our hotel rooms we could then hang everything up to dry while the next day we headed out on foot to explore the lovely city, we had lovely weather and even some sun for most of the day!!! Amazing. The city is well worth exploring with loads of stunning classic buildings, then in the evening we met loads of folks dressed up for Halloween (which I have never really understood, but any excuse for a party I guess).
The next day we woke up to more rain!! We headed out from the garage after breakfast and Brian headed north and I headed south, having swapped bikes. I managed to get my feet wet when I hit a puddle in the city which was really deep!!! Then I filled the bike with fuel and took the motorway south. I had decided to risk the cold by crossing into Italy through the Frejus Tunnel which saved me about 200 km and cost me 38 Euro and some severe cold, but not too bad. Having returned into Italy I then headed for Genova and then Cecina in Tuscany to stay the night, and yes as last time it never stopped raining!!! The bike ran faultlessly.
I left Cecina at 0830 the next morning and headed down the lovely Aurelia to Roma, across the horrible GRA and then down the motorway Roma Napoli and I parked up in Amalfi at about 4pm, luckily the weather was kind with no rain for once!!!
My total ride was 1400 km north and 1250 south so 2650 total over 4 days and as usual, Yamaha bikes do not let you down and they also consume ZERO oil. Amazing bikes and great trip!!! Thanks Brian!