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Thread: There and Back Again ( Le Mans to Le Mans)

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    Default There and Back Again ( Le Mans to Le Mans)


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    Last Wednesday I went to Le Mans on the Guzzi Le Mans.

    I'd spent the previous weekend setting the points, tappets and balancing the carbs so was fairly confident the bike was running the best it had. Unfortunately the seat pad I was borrowing from Asmethurst got lost in the post so I was going to have to tough that one out.

    Setting off at 5:50 to catch the 8:50 eurotunnel, the bike didn't want to start, repeated thumbing got it running on one cylinder enough to get me running and hopefully would clear after a bit. After a mile though it hadn't so I turned round and headed home.

    Feeling the cylinder heads the right pot was cold, grabbed a plug socket from the garage and whipped the plug out which was wet. Held it to the cylinder head and there was no spark, but it fired up on the left pot. Removed the spark plugged from contact with the cylinder head and immediately got a shock through my thumb, aha powers getting to the plug then Gave it a clean with a bronze brush and managed to get a spark at the plug. I guess it had oiled up a bit when I was setting the carbs up and running on tickover for ages.

    Set off again at about 6:10 bike starting and running fine.

    A12 -M25- M20 bike running fine cruising at about 70-80. I'd stuck one of those throttle wrist rest on to try and help with the heavy Guzzi throttles, waste of time. made using the brake a problem and the ridge caused by the bit wrapped around the bar dug into my palm. That was removed when i stopped to fill up just before the tunnel. Managed to get an earlier train that was loading just as I arrived.

    Into France and head towards a Chambre de hotes south east of Evreux via the backroads avoiding tolls. Managed a couple of hours riding before the rain came. Arrived at 16:00 unfortunately I couldn't check in till 18:00. I was soaked. My Daytona boots had leaked for the first time in 12 years and my Gortex A* gloves had also let water in. Went to the nearest town/hypermarket and brought a small bottle of red wine and a sausage roll for tea.

    The owners turned up just after 6 and I got my bike into the garage below the house and my jacket and gloves drying by the log burner. Ate my sausage roll and drank my wine with the family at the dining table along with a bit of bread and cheese. Went to bed about 20:00 and worked out my fuel consumption (I took a picture of the pump reading and my speedo, no trip) and was asleep by 21:00.
    Wednesday.jpg

    Tomorrow Le Mans.
    Last edited by GuzziPaul; 14-06-19 at 12:06. Reason: Added route

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: There and Back Again ( Le Mans to Le Mans)

    Thursday, off to Le Mans.

    The owners left me on my own in the house with a key to lock up as they set off to work at 8. My boots and gloves where still wet but today it was sunny so tinted visor and leather gloves, with the textile gloves at the top of the panniers to dry off. The drive way out of the garage was too steep to push the bike out so had to start it up for the 10m trip to level ground. I'd checked the oil the night before and it had used about 1/4ltr so that was topped up before starting 9 I took a litre of 20/50 with me.
    Ferrying my gear to the bike was made more interesting by having to avoid the robot vacuum cleaner which was patrolling the front room and occasionally blocking the front door.

    Down to Le Mans via the D928 and D923, route all programmed into my satnav to save having to stop and read a map. I was heading to the https://www.lemans-musee24h.com/ which I thought was a suitable location. Got there in about 2 1/2 hours just over a 100 miles of bendy roads with a bit of dual into Le Mans. Quick look in the museum, there were two Brit BMWs and four Spanish BMW GS's in the car park. The museum is a waste of time for bikers, with only about 10 -15 bikes in it, the rest are some really old french cars, fire engines and 30 or so, proper 24 hour endurance cars. Only spent about 45 minutes there. Had a wee.
    Quick blat around the 24 hour car circuit which is mostly the Mulsanne straight than onto the best ride of the holiday the D25 which I started near Lombron onto the D19 up to just south of Falaise. Nice quiet bendy roads and midweek very few other vehicles. Somewhere along the route I picked up a massive hornet, noticed when I stopped for a leg stretch/bum rest, wedge between the headlight and bikini fairing. I'd hit it from behind so it was facing forward like an evil version of the Spirit of Ecstasy. It was still alive so I left it there as It looked a bit pissed off and I didn't want is stinging me.
    Thursday.JPG
    No chat around the kitchen table tonight, I stayed on a farm in the middle of nowhere tucked up in what looked like a converted hay barn. The bike was in another barn which was lucky as it hammered down with rain that night, which rattled against the bathroom sky light.
    Topped up another 1/4lt of 20/50 after it had settled for an hour or so and planned me cleaning of the bike for when I got home. It was running ok apart from a bit of hunting around the 4k mark which is right around the ignition advance. It's fine below there and once above 5k smooth as well.
    Last edited by GuzziPaul; 14-06-19 at 12:03. Reason: Added route

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    Default Re: There and Back Again ( Le Mans to Le Mans)

    Friday back to Essex.
    it had been raining all night and was still raining when I got up. I'd managed to get my gloves dry on a heater I found in the bathroom, so it was back to textile gloves and a clear visor for the trip home. This was to be the longest day in the saddle of the three days.
    It was mostly twisty roads apart from crossing the Sein at Hornfluer/Le Harvre. Because of the D Day commemorations there were long queues over the A29 bridge which was down to a single lane. There were a lots of groups of old Army vehicles WWII bikes on trailers and motorcycle police who had been manning the events I assume, travelling in packs of about 10 or 20. Approach one of the toll plazas there was a queue of about a mile long. I started filtering just as one of the police bike conveys came up, initially they were riding two abreast bet one the que started they formed a single column and with blue lights flashing split the lanes right to the front of the queue. I let them by then tagged along at the back until we got to the toll booth. they opened up another lane for them and they went through. I stopped and paid my 70c 9 which was a bit of a pain with wet gloves and money in an inside pocket.
    Back onto the twist roads it was no longer raining it was dry enough to take my waterproofs off. I have a pair of North Face Gore Tex walking trousers with full length zips which make it very easy to take on and off without having to remove your boots.
    Friday.JPG
    Arrived at the tunnel about an hour early than booked and managed to get onto an earlier train. Phoned home to let them know and was told it was hammering with rain With the bike on the train on it's centre stand I spent the time with my foot on the stand holding it steady as it gentle rocked as the train rocked over the points or whatever. Waterproof on and starting to heat up until the doors opened and I could get moving onto the M20 (avoid London bound if you can due to Operation Brock and the 50mph limit). Rain started about 10 miles in and continued all the way home.

    The usual queues for the Dartford crossing on a friday (back to J3) and no handy bike cops to tag onto but back home just before 7. Jacket on the back of a chair to drip dry gloves and boots abandoned in the utility room. Everything smells damp and petrolly.
    Saturday. Jacket and gloves on the line, boot in the sun. Nip to Halfords to by some MUC OFF. Initial bike clean including jet was of the wheels. Then tank off, seat off, remove Hornet from headlight, fairing of and back wheel out and exhausts off for a deep clean.

    Lessons learnt.
    Miles done 930 door to door
    Average fuel consumption for the trip 32 mpg which is crap and I'm going to take 1/4 of the mixture screw and considering fitting Sachse electronic ignition.
    Even in the rain you can have an enjoyable (later) ride.
    It hurts my hips trying to get my knee down on left hand roundabouts.
    My wrists hurt more than my arse which was a surprise.
    A throttle wrist rest is a waste of time.
    Apart from the first 20 minutes the bike started and ran fine despite all the rain.
    I've probably done my average yearly mileage on the Guzzi in 3 days.
    Some french drivers still think they can pull out onto a main road without looking.
    The Le Mans museum is not really worth it unless you like the cars.
    Chambre de Hotes are a good alternative to camping and good value.
    30 years ago I rode to St. Tropez on Le Mans I couldn't do it now (although I might) once I've forgotten about the pain of this trip.
    A dry bag strapped to the seat is better than leaky panniers that rub on paintwork.
    Much of the route was planned using https://www.bestbikingroads.com/moto...ads/map/europe although some people version of a good route is not always the same as mine. What might be comfy on a GS is not the same on a 42 year old bike with twin shocks (admittedly top of the range Hagons).
    Last edited by GuzziPaul; 14-06-19 at 14:50.

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