"Biker" for me usually means motorbiking, though I also have a Marin mountain-bike...

My current motorbikes are a CBR600RR and a CBR600RW, both from Honda.

Previously I have owned: Honda VF750F, Yamaha FJ600, Suzuki GSX750EX, Yamaha FJ750, Yamaha XJ900, Kawasaki Z750 and I passed my riding test on my Kawasaki KH250.

See also my Motorbiking web links

Postcard of my photos of my bike ride to the Corniche des Cévennes, May 2012

 The Corniche des Cévennes is a classic route made popular in the nineteen twenties when motorsport was being defined. The Corniche is not particularly high but its outline can be recognised on the skyline from across the Rhône valley or the Ardèche or Mont Ventoux.

Riding out from Marseille on a fine May morning across the Camargue with a pause at Nîmes. Pentecost means corrida (bull-fights) in the Roman amphitheatre, with stalls outside grilling selling tauro-burgers, those are burgers of bull steak, though maybe not fresh meat from the arena as the bulls and the toreadors are aren’t meant to be killed... these days. But a bit of reality about what an amphitheatre would have smelt like in Roman times during the Games.

Read more: Corniche des Cévennes - May 2012

Crosthwaite filling station cafe

A new biker halt just off the A66 at Keswick in the north Lake District. Previously a filling station in a useful location although there is another filling station still operating in Keswick.

Controversial with the locals but a friendly operation in a sunny spot. Seems to be becoming popular with the local bikers, particularly for weekend afternoons. An up and coming biker halt.

The hill behind is Lattrigg, 368m, an easy and popular hike with great views of Derwent Water and Skiddaw.

Brands Hatch motorbike track day - April 2012

Not sure why this outing with the motorbike club didn't work for me but a few sessions on the club circuit at Brands didn't catch my interest at all. Disappointed but glad I've done a track day at last and glad it was well-organised and safe enough but I'm not thinking of booking on any more track sessions any time soon.

I'm told the addictive buzz comes from being competitive but it didn't hook me at all. The adrenaline rush of riding at full speed didn't get me either: much less impression of speed out there on the track. It wasn't a surprise there are riders hugely more experienced at the track style of riding than I am, that happens in any sport. What did surprise me was that I didn't find where the fun came in amongst the rules on how to ride safely and advice on how to ride fast in the specialist closed environment of a track.

The experience reminded me of how I felt about school and college running: I used to love running competitively but only cross-country running: running nearly four times round an athletics track (1500m) just bored me senseless.

What I do get out of biking is the freedom and adventure. The sales motto of the first bike shop I was involved with was "We sell freedom", meaning the freedom of the open road. That bike shop serviced the Kawasaki KH250 that I learnt and passed my test with and then sold me a Z750 twin, that would have been the bike that I last took to Brands Hatch, as a spectator.

Great to watch the superbike and motoGP stars battling it out on the race tracks, though there must be a high degree of obsession to get to be that perfect.

My biking Everests remain the mountain passes like the col de la Bonette. Challenging and thrilling.

But I enjoyed taking my camera for a walk around Druids and Brands Hatch pit lane. The last camera I took there was a Pentax MX (35mm film camera) with a 500mm catadioptric lens with which I netted shots of Barry Sheene etc. Brands Hatch has changed track layout since then and built plenty of new facilities.

Postcard of my photos a sporty bike ride round the lower Verdon lakes in Provence.

A fine spring dawn in Marseille got me up for a sporty ride around the lakes of the lower Verdon: the Lac de Greoux and the Lac de Sainte Croix, in Provence.

First a stop at the Café du Midi in Peyrolles whilst my bike was being serviced. Saturday is market day and people were happy to chat in the spring sunshine. My friend Pascal from Marseille joined me and we enjoyed the roads through Vinon and Greoux and on to toasted goats cheese salads in a cafe at Esparron sur Verdon, which is on a calanque of the Lac de Greoux.

I rode on around the Lac de Sainte Croix, long clear roads and not a lot of traffic about so lots of opportunity for throttle-on/throttle-off riding style with cornering sitting on either edge of the seat or hanging off. Oh and back for grilled red tuna for dinner at the Rowing Club de Marseille. Fantastic view of the Vieux Port but it's not quite as posh as it sounds.

And a flight back to Gatwick that was completely clear of cloud all the way from the Mediterranean to the English Channel. Great views of the Alps all the way over to Mont Blanc and even the Jungfraujoch far away in the Bernese Oberland.

Photo postcard of the Étang de Berre between Martigues and Marseille in Provence

Last weekend in January and - taking advantage of a lucky break in the winter weather in Provence - an opportunity for a quick spin on my RR of the tour of the Étang de Berre, the lagoon adjoining the oil refineries constructed to process oil bought by France from Iraq.

The area is a geological melting pot with numerous different types of rock; consequently the road is both interesting and challenging to motorbikes, there are sections of autoroute, including the Caronte viaduct over Martigues, ordinary N roads (route Nationale) and a very interesting section of particularly troubled geology between Istres and St Chamas where the road twists on under the shade of low pine trees along the shoreline of a thin isthmus. Both exciting to ride and pleasing to the eyes.

Read more: Étang de Berre - January 2012



En route from Marseille to the Alps

I'm riding light for a week on the mountain roads of the Alps. No laptop, although I do have my SLR camera but photos will have to wait till I'm back in Marseille..

I left Marseille for a long ride north via the Col de la Croix Haute (1179 m.) to Saint-Gervais under Mont Blanc. A bit of rain towards the end of the day which cleaned the Provence dust off my white leathers and boots but didn't soak me through.

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