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  • Gareth Owens

Spain Motorcycle Tour - Day 1 - London to Bilbao



From: London To: Bilbao Via: Portsmouth Distance: 77 miles by road Wednesday 26th August 2015

Up at 05:30 in the morning...ouch.

Double ouch...I had arrived home at midnight, so I've only had about 5 hours sleep.

Triple ouch, I got home at midnight because I'd just flown back to London from New York.

It's early, I'm tired and jet-lagged. But it's OK because I'm excited. It's time to forget about work and head out on another bike tour!

This time Alisa and I are off for a 14 day trip around Spain.

Everything was already packed in advance, with my tiredness and jet lag I'm in no state to remember anything, so we prepared the packing and the bikes before I went on my business trip. Everything is ready to go so at 6:30 a.m. we hit the road.

It's already busy in London, but we head through rush hour traffic knowing we'll be on the open road soon and we haven't far to go by bike today. Out of London and onto the A3 and the heavens open with torrential summer rain, but it's OK, we're on holiday, only a couple more hours of British weather to deal with.

We pull into some services, grab a bite and get our wet weather gear on. I'm knackered, but function well enough on the bike (something I've always seemed to do, perhaps a hangover from my long distance riding days) and I can rest on the ferry.

An hour later and we are in Portsmouth, we arrive early and are the first bikes there, so we head to the terminal to grab a Costa coffee (the only thing open) and warm up. Despite the coffee I fall fast asleep.

An hour so later we join the newly formed queue and soon we're riding down into the lower decks of the Cap Finistere ferry.


Bikes all loaded and locked down ready for a bumpy crossing

Loading the bikes is easy. There are lots of tie down points, and you are given ratchet straps and plastic covered pillows to protect the bike against the straps biting into seats and paintwork when tight. Within a couple of minutes the place is packed with bikes and we are ready to find our cabin. Loading is a lot better than our last experience of bikes and ferries en route to the Isle of Man.

Not so easy is the walk up seven flights of stairs with luggage, helmets and all our bike kit on. We soon crash into our cabin. It's basic and functional, think Ibis on sea. It's a good job that the cabin is OK and I'm ready for a long sleep, as despite its size, the ferry has surprisingly little to do.


Cozy little cabin for the next 24 hours or so

Over the next 24 hours we'll walk the deck, check out the shop, watch a film, eat breakfast, lunch, dinner...sleep. Alisa also hit the spa and got her nails painted to match her Triumph Sprint.

Once we tired of the boat, we get an early night - it was a relatively rough passing, but being so tired we sleep well enough.


A Solent Sea Fort on the way our of Portsmouth

Though the Ferry is a little dull and somewhat pricey, it's also novel and beats blasting all the way through France on the motorway, wear and tear on tyres, brakes and chains, plus lots of petrol - it will be the preferred option if we head this way again.


Some sunshine after rainy London - A sign of things to come?