Last weekend Sarah and I took the Multistrada and travelled home. The schedule was as follows:
- Thursday @ 11pm: Leave Haarlem, head towards Calais (337km)
- Friday @ 3am: Get the Euro Tunnel from Calais to Folkestone, head towards Holyhead (590km)
- Friday @ 10am: Get the ferry from Holyhead to Dublin
We knew it was going to be difficult, but we saw it as an experiment on how much we could cope when travelling on the motorcycle.
The first part of the trip to Calais was fine. It was definitely cold (3°C, wind chill at 120kph = -6°C) but our heated gloves helped. The tank on the Multistrada isn’t big (though it is twice the size of our old 749), combined with the not-so-great-for-travelling MPG (around 35MPG), we had to stop a few times for a fill up. We eventually made the train which was super simple to board. Just drive right on. There was hardly anyone on it.
We managed to get a quick nap, though at 35 minutes per crossing, we didn’t have much time.
Our iPad Mini GPS unit.
When we arrived in England, things started to get a little more difficult. It had started to rain and although the windshield stopped all the rain from hitting me and Sarah, it didn’t help the coldness. Add the fact it was now 4am and still pitch black outside. Not a lot of fun.
Around 6am the sun started to rise and the tiredness was leaving my body. It was still incredibly cold, but bearable.
Arriving at the ferry was a great feeling. The 6 hours of motorway to Holyhead sucked. We went straight into the ferry, got a huge breakfast, and sleep the entire sailing (3 hours).
As you can see, the bike was absolutely filthy. I guess this is what motorways and rain do to you.
Once we got to Dublin the weather was fantastic. It was about 10°C outside, the skies were clear, and all the Irish were running around with their shorts and t-shirts on. It was great after riding in freezing weather all night. We made the short trip to Sarah’s parents and parked the bike. The 3 hour ‘nap’ really helped up get through the day. Though it was getting difficult to keep our eyes open around 10pm..
After seeing most of our families, it was time to head home on Monday morning. After the experience of the outward trip, we decided to take a later train so we could take the B roads across Wales.
- Monday @ 8am: Get the ferry from Dublin to Holyhead
- Monday @ 11am: Arrive in Holyhead and head to Folkestone, taking B roads across Wales
- Monday @ 8pm: Get the Euro tunnel to Calais, head towards Haarlem
- Tuesday @ 2am: Home!
Driving across Wales was wonderful. After all the motorway driving we had done, B roads were fantastic. The Multistrada had also passed the 2500km maintenance period, so revving obnoxiously along the way helped. Wales is a very pretty country.
We found a little café outside Welshpool and grabbed lunch there.
We spent almost 6 hours in Wales, the same time it would have taken us to make the whole trip to Folkestone, but we both agreed that it was worth it.
Unfortunately it was back to motorways, and a lot of traffic near Folkestone. There was road works and we were stuck in stop-start traffic for almost an hour. And with panniers on the bike I was struggling to lane-share. It was horrible. At least it wasn’t too cold..
Which wasn’t the case when we arrived in Calais. It was fucking freezing on the last stretch. The dials said it was 2°C outside, but it felt more like -10 going 130 on motorways. It was horrible. But thankfully, at 2am, without any problems, we arrived home.
Over 2000km total.
What we have learnt
As I said at the start, we knew this wasn’t going to be the most fun ever, but it was going to allow us to learn a few things about the bike, and travelling with it. The most important things are, in no specific order:
- No night time driving. Riding in the cold is not great, but seeing things around you makes it worth while. When it is dark outside, it is utterly pointless.
- Stay away from motorways. When we go away again, we will never take motorways both ways. They are no fun. Just like the dark, it is pointless, and does not allow you to absorb anything.
- We can easily handle 6 hours on the bike at a time. Sure, there are a few stops in between for petrol, but the Multistrada is a very comfortable bikeNow the trip is over, I can’t wait for the next!