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Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Trip to Belgium and France – Prologue

Just getting the last things ready for my trip to Belgium and France on the Skorpion. A group of six of us are going to the Bikers' Classics event at Spa in Belgium, then heading down to the French Alps.

Format will be similar to last year's trip and I'll try and update my blog as I go along. Probably can't post from the ferry, so Day 1 (Thursday) will consist of riding from my house to Hull. This is the same journey I made last year, so can reuse the map

When it comes to packing for holidays, some people take FAR too much stuff with them. After all, Belgium and France have shops so there's no need to take things that I can buy there. My Skorpion has 40 litre Hepco panniers and a 40 litre topbox, and that's more than enough luggage space.

I'm not going to write a long detailed packing list but what I intend taking is:

Paperwork: Passport, licence, insurance, registration document, copies of ferry and hotel booking, and phrase books (French and Dutch/Flemish). Maps.

Clothes: Bike clothing I'll be wearing, so: 1 pair of zip off trousers (so they can become shorts ), 1 pair of training shoes, a fleece jacket, a hat, and a light waterproof jacket for walking about.
For 'daily clothes', I take some old t shirts, socks and underpants and discard them as I wear them. I'll only take enough for about 4 or 5 days and buy replacements in supermarkets on the way, see last year's post.

Electrical things: Satellite navigator, cameras (still and video), phone, and netbook (to update blog). Mains leads and French to British mains adaptor.

Others: Toilet bag, spare keys, Swiss army knife, small rucksack, luggage elastics, U lock and cable lock (to lock helmet to bike), sunglasses, credit card, and bank card (works in French machines and petrol stations). First aid kit and Factor 50 sunblock (after last year's experience!)

Tools: Enough spanners to tighten anything likely to come loose, Allen (hex) keys, tubeless repair kit, pump, cable repair kit, a few spare bulbs and fuses, pliers, screwdriver, cable ties and duct tape (for on the road repairs), and a multimeter.

Anything else I need I can buy on the way.

Before I leave the house I put all the things I'll need on the ferry (trousers, shoes, toilet bag, change of clothes) into the rucksack, so that's all I have to carry up from the ferry car deck. (I've seen people struggling up the narrow staircases carrying panniers.

This is the approximate route we'll be taking:

Once we get to the Alps, this is the kind of road I intend riding on.

Col du Chaussy

In keeping with last year's trip, I'll try and think of a song that sums up each day. Sing along now, 'We're all going on a summer holiday.....'


  1. Excellent. Now that I know that you will be taking all that stuff I won't have to bother. Means more room in the panniers for booze!

    (please note: I mean the maps and spares etc. and not the old t-shirts and socks of which I have enough of my own so won't be asking to borrow yours once you're done with them)

    1. This could start a new concept in 'eco-holidays' where you recycle clothes by wearing each others!
      Why are you taking booze on holiday? Afraid you won't be able to get a 'proper pint' abroad?

    2. Norman

      I'll draw the line ref the underwear but if you're size 9 socks I'll have them after you.

    3. You could give them a quick wash then tie them to your bar ends so they dry as you ride along!