To Barcelona

I don't mean to keep banging on about the pleasures of biking in dry, bright weather - but it's a compulsion, I'm afraid! Even sitting here recording our journey I'm just aching to be back on the bike and on my way - and I know for sure that Lorraine feels the same.

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As much-travelled as we are it's still great to wake up in a different country - especially a warm, sunny and dry country - and we took our final view of the beautiful chateau under the blue skies of Chinon as we made our early morning start for Montaubon.

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Reaching our next staging post meant we'd still be four long, hot hours from Barcelona, so after some discussion we decided it would be prudent to take on extra fluids, just in case there was a drought (or something similar) on the next leg of our journey.

We were in no great hurry but we still made plenty of good progress, avoiding the toll roads whenever possible, enjoying the limitless views and the fantastic freedom of riding through France; but our freedom seemed jeopardised when we were pulled over by the cops at Luzenac!


All the horror stories of huge fines and bike confiscations raced through my mind as we were directed off the road and into a compound. It looked as if they were pulling in every two-wheeler that passed their way, regardless of speed, sports bike or cruiser!

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As I parked up, internally I was running speed checks and reviewing our course for cunningly concealed radar sites that I might have missed. Nothing! Then we were all herded into a nearby marquee (to get shouted at, as I supposed).

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But there wasn't any shouting. Instead we were given free coffees and croissants while the officers expressed to us their concerns regarding the number of biker casualties, recorded during previous years, on the roads that we were about to travel. Next, they gave us each a leaflet with flags and words on it, asked us to read it before we left the village, wished us a safe journey - and sent us on our way.

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At strategic points along our route groups of police officers stood at the roadside, some of them smiling, sometimes pointing and laughing, and very often waving as we passed. We nodded, we waved at them in return and, most importantly, we remembered and respected their message.

What a brilliant bit of policing that was.