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The Magnificent Burgman 400 Tour:
London — Torrevieja Spain — London

written by Rod Slade

You are welcome to send pictures and a story of your favorite (or worse) biking trip to be published on my site. The first one to send a story is Rod Slade from United Kingdom.

Touring in Europe with a Suzuki Burgman 400

A ‘Pan Euro’ trip 2003, with my Grandson Lee

by Rod Slade, UK

In 2002 we made the trip on a Honda CN 250 via ferry to St Malo France – with a stop overnight in La Rochelle – Onward to Pamplona Spain. The next day to Madrid, stopped overnight – then on to Torrevieja – Costa Blanco. It was an adventure but so many miles on a 250cc was a bit painful.

image003This year we travelled on my wonderful Burgman 400. It sat on 90 to 100 mph all the way there and back. The only problems were the exhaust dropping off. I had a new tyre fitted 2 weeks before the trip and the bolts were not tightened after fitting the tyre! And the buffeting wind ripped off my Givi screen on the way back (see the picture on the right).


DAY ONE
We decided to go Dover Calais on the hovercraft – ride to Paris and stay a night and a day. — A great day! *


*= for more info see the "Outward journey log" on this page


Touring in Europe with a Suzuki Burgman 400Touring in Europe with a Suzuki Burgman 400

Touring in Europe with a Suzuki Burgman 400Touring in Europe with a Suzuki Burgman 400Touring in Europe with a Suzuki Burgman 400

Touring in Europe with a Suzuki Burgman 400
We visited most sights and were very lucky to see a special ‘Titanic Relics Exhibition in the science museum.

On the night of the second day we put the bike on the Paris – Narbonne overnight ‘Motorail’ and travelled in a sleeper cabin. Never again! No sleep, it was a nightmare journey.*
The next journey from Narbonne to Barcelona was an adventure in itself, we took a very small road through the mountain forest the D118.


Touring in Europe with a Suzuki Burgman 400Touring in Europe with a Suzuki Burgman 400

We were so very lucky in this forest mountain, when a boulder the size of a bulls head,
careered down the mountain, crashed across the road – no more than 12 feet in front of
us – then it plunged down the deep ravine on the other side of the road! *

Just after this the exhaust came apart. We had it fixed at a great little motorbike shop in ‘Borge Madame’ the Spanish border town. After it was fixed, we carried on to Barcelona. *


*= for more info see the "Outward journey log" on this page






DAY THREE
The next day we took the ‘autopiste’ to Valencia, stayed in a great hotel; the Consul del mare – it even had a whirlpool hot tub in our room with a sauna and swimming pool on
the ground floor.

The next morning early, we left for Torrevieja.
We had a very bad experience as we arrived : I couldn’t get by bearings so we stopped at a phone box to make a call. As I was finishing on the phone, a shortish man came up to us and showing his open wallet (he had his thumb over whatever was in the wallet) and announced that he was a ‘capitan’ of the plain clothed police and he was looking for drugs counterfeit money & travellers cheques… I showed him passports, money and travel cheques but he was still going on about what he could do to us as a police ‘capitan’. He was pretending to talk to the station on his mobile phone throughout, but it didn’t seem right.

I smelled a rat, but as I had my 11yr old grandson with me, and he obviously had a
colleague sat in a van 200 yards away, I was limited as to reactions. Eventually the only
thing I could think of was to say "I have nothing more to say to you until there are two
uniformed police officers present". When I said that he lost interest and said we could go.
beware of these people when travelling in Europe. It was a con-man!

Rod Slade

 






Daily travel log — Outward  Touring in Europe with a Suzuki Burgman 400 Pan Euro 2003

Check

Day

Amount needed

Air for Tyres 10/7

8 psi in rear tyre
Water OK  
Oil OK  
Petrol OK  


Date

Journey

Time

Notes

8/7/03

London

 

07:30

Good journey, thin cloud cover — not to hot for travel. Hovercraft on time.

Miles

 

379

Dover

 

09:15

Paris

 

16:45

Got LOST! Followed river — found hotel. Saw about 8 fighter aircraft escorting two bigger planes (one of them was an awacs radar) only at about 2000 feet.

Saw all of the ”sights” — Went to science museum — also visited the Titanic special Expo. + Passed Stade de France.

Hotel Eiffel Rive Gauche Small hotel in nice back streets, but no elbow room. (no room to swing a cat!) Man broke bike backrest!

9/7

Paris 22:45

 

By

Train

Miles

 

 

347

Narbonne 07:30

 

Sleeper cabin: NEVER again. Wasted hours - booking bike in — then having to go to a different station for passenger train?

 

At station, get coach again to another station — wasted 1 + half hrs.

Took D118 small mountain road across Pyrenees (sign said ”road closed at night”?!) Hmm. Journey through a very strange place — Lord of the Rings war country — The mountain was over our heads in places, had to duck to get past.. A Troll hurled a boulder down the mountain at us, it was the size of a cows head and rumbled down the mountain, across the road not 15 feet in front of us- and crashed into the ravine!

Breakdown at border town of Borg-Madame. Lee met a great American guy, Manny, Very kind, helpful, chatty. Translated brilliant with the Spanish mechanic. He was a great guy too.

10/7

Narbonne

 

 

 

09:15

 

Miles

 

243

Carcassonne

 

 

 

?

 

Spain border

 

 

 

12:45

 

Barcelona

 

19:00

Hotel - Miramar – Badalona Got lost! Good hotel — big room + good service. — Go out of the front door straight into the sea!

11/7

Barcelona

 

10:30

Lee's backpack burst — lost everything down the motorway! Nothing very important except the present Lee bought for his Mum.

Miles

221

Valencia

 

17:15

Hotel – Consul Del Mar BEST ever hotel. All the luxuries.. +

12/7

Valencia

 

10:00

At a phone box a man stopped us, said he was an plain clothed police ”capitan”, asked us about money, travellers cheques drugs and documents. I believe he was a con man. Went away when we asked for another uniformed police man present.

Miles

 

239

Torrevieja

Surprise… Got Lost! Had to phone Chalkie three times.

 

17:00






Daily travel log — Return  Touring in Europe with a Suzuki Burgman 400 Pan Euro 2003

Check

Day

Amount needed

Air for Tyres

OK

 

Water

OK

 

Oil

24-25/7

24th = 40ml & 25th = 200ml

Petrol

Lots!

 


Date

Journey

Time

Notes

23/7

Torrevieja

11:00

On my own now. Missed Lee's moaning.
Only 20 miles into journey the front screen gave way at 100 mph with the force of the wind & buffeting passing lorrys. Wind made it difficult to drive — nearly blowing me off the road.

MILES

 

417

Barcelona

18:30

Hotel Miramar Still good hotel but given a much smaller room, but ok.

24/7

Barcelona

12:30

The wind got worse around Perpignan. Now glad travelling on own — dangerous. Spent 6 hrs waiting around after bike check in. What a waste of time!?

MILES

258

Narbonne

 

18:00

MILES

 

347

Train departs Narbonne

At 22:45

On

Train

NEVER again on this train — No left luggage at the passenger train station — carrying luggage around for hours.

Can check bike in up to

 

Over

Awful journey, no A/con — too hot — very uncomfortable: NO SLEEP! Never again.

19:00. Dep. 22:45

 

Night

Sleeper cabin on train

25/7

Arrive Paris

 

07:20

Very lost in Paris — went on wrong road, signs are bad — only ”port” names off the perific— No road nos. no destinations just ”port” exits. Had to go fast, but arrived on time — ferry 1 hr late leaving! Travelled through wind & rain.

MILES

 

383

Paris (depart)

 

10:00

Calais

 

14:30

HOVERSPEED DEPARTS CALAIS AT 15:30 (DUE - 14:30…………)

Dover BST

 

17:10

Again, glad on my own, weather awful — pouring with rain, a gale force wind over the hills out of Dover - & the clouds were so low it was like dense fog.! Dangerous. Weather cleared eventually, but traffic on M25 was awful — a car park! Went through the middle...

 

ISLEWORTH

 

18:45

 






Details of Rod's Burgman custom modifications For Euro Touring



All pictures sent by Rob Slade.

All pictures sent by Rob Slade.
(1) MALOSSI MULTIVAR 2000
Mail order or fitting www.taffspeed.co.uk
See the Dyno graph on the left
All pictures sent by Rob Slade. (2) BOLT ON EYE HOOKS                                        www.bikeit.co.uk has a good catalogue but does not sell direct to the public.
Get from www.slickbiker.com
All pictures sent by Rob Slade. (3) CARGO NET
Also get from www.slickbiker.com
  (4) SENSOR - ROAD TEMP. GAUGE (ice on road?)
From MAPLINwww.maplin.co.uk
All pictures sent by Rob Slade. (5) COLD BAG & FIRST AID KIT
From Halfords www.halfords.com
All pictures sent by Rob Slade. (6) HOMEMADE BACKREST
See the instruction page on the left and the list of suppliers at the end of this story
  (7) CAR SUNSHADE
Stops the sun from making it difficult to see the instruments
  (8) Homemade GPS :-)
A holder for maps — 2 X A5 sheets of Perspex, with two bulldog clips to fix on the bracket

Rod's suppliers for the home made backrest:

Surfboard Foam

Polyurethane foam – 100kgm3 (cut to spec)
Boatshed Ltd (Homeblown) - Tris ( a very enthusiastic guy)
Email: info@homeblown.co.uk Tel: 01209 314446

Fibreglass
ABL (STEVENS) Resin & Glass – Jeff Brown ( a very helpful guy)
Email: enquiries@resin-supplies.co.uk - Tel: 01270 766685

Adhesives
Araldite is without doubt the greatest!

Padding & Vinyl
Edgware Rubber & Trim (Bushey Herts) – Steve ( bit odd, but ok) Tel:020 8950 4694.
If you cant get a reply, try ‘YELL’ .com to find a local ‘Auto upholstery’ Company. 

Matt Black Paint spray
Halfords.


Good Luck!
Rod Slade
rodsladeathome@btopenworld.com




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