1 Jul 2014

Europe 2014: Day 12 - Eschdorf to London

Today was a day of motorways and covering ground as efficiently as possible—so unfortunately no photographs.

We went for breakfast around 9am and had a chat with the hotel owner who advised us to take it easy when we left as there had been three accidents—two of them fatal—in the past week in the area. A cyclist hit a tree but was not badly injured, another cyclist went off the road into a ravine and a motorcyclist collided with a truck on a bend. Not really what you want to hear before undertaking a 560km journey but good advice nevertheless.

The minor roads in Luxembourg are very narrow with some extremely tight corners and it’s easy to become complacent due to the low volume of traffic. It is absolutely essential to keep to the kerb side when following through the bends so the leaning bike doesn’t place your head into the oncoming lane.

At this time of year there are a lot of ‘sunny weather’ bikers out who are drawn to the beautiful roads in the area but who have limited experience—unfortunately this is a recipe for disaster. I ride year round in all weather on a daily basis and found some of the roads highly technical, so I can’t imagine riding quickly on these roads if it was my first ride since the previous summer. Despite the blanket 90kph speed limit, most of the corners can only be taken safely at speeds between 40 and 60kph.

We entered Belgium only 30 minutes after leaving (Luxembourg is only an hour from top to bottom) and slabbed it to Calais with a stop in Dunkerque to buy some food to eat on the train. The motorways may be boring but they are efficient when covering ground is a priority.

At the Eurotunnel terminal it cost €7 to change my ticket from Friday to today which was the difference between the two fares. Eurotunnel do run a good service, the ticketing is very accommodating. I naughtily went straight through instead of waiting for my slot and again was let onto the next available train saving an hour of waiting—every time I’ve crossed this has happened, I think once the cars are loaded they fill up any remaining space with any motorbikes that are waiting.

I’m aware that I should know better but we both got on the bike just before the train stopped on the UK side—the jostling is very disorienting (the road shouldn’t move!) and I almost had us over, avoiding a fall by the skin of my teeth... lesson learned.

The motorway back to London had fairly light traffic but the city was congested—the last eight miles are an insult on every trip, having to deal with London congestion when tired and so close to home.

Parked safe and sound at home, I was greeted by cheek covered in fur...

Milo’s favourite space for an afternoon snooze—squeezed into the sink.
I don’t doubt for a minute that a cat wouldn’t hesitate to eat your face if you died in your sleep, but alive and breathing, I also don’t doubt that they miss their servants immensely when you go away. He has been following me around all evening like a lost puppy.

I have laundry to do and I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep in my own bed. Tomorrow will be all about sorting out my insurance claim and dropping off the bike with BMW to sort.

I will do a wrap up tomorrow (brain melting now) but a few fun facts for now:

  • Average consumption: 5.5 l/100km or 51mpg (brilliant for a fully loaded 1200cc bike)
  • Highest speed: 187kph/116mph (German autobahn)
  • Overall average speed: 42kph/26mph (including time stopped, for example traffic lights)
  • Moving average speed: 58kph/36mph
  • Distance covered: 3,500km/2,200mi

Europe 2014 quick links

Day 1: London to Sint-Gillis-Waas
Day 2: Sint-Gillis-Waas to Bad Driburg
Day 3: Bad Driburg to Berlin
Day 4: Berlin
Day 5: Berlin to Prague
Day 6: Prague
Day 7: Prague to Wemding
Day 8: Wemding to Ammerschwihr
Day 9: Ammerschwihr
Day 10: Ammerschwihr
Day 11: Ammerschwihr to Eschdorf
Day 12: Eschdorf to London