your spanish shop
Supporting appealmobile on his world travels

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

800 Kilometres in 48 Hours by Moped

This was supposed to be a gentle ride from Follonica to Vienna.
But after missing my flight the week previous I arrived in Pisa with three days to travel to Southern Germany, to a point on the Vienna Nurnberg motorway.
I was meeting a friend who was returning from Vienna with a van, who would transport me and the bike to England.

I arrived in Pisa too late to get a train to Grosseto so had to sleep outside the terminal building and get the train to Follonica the following morning.
It was a hot day when I arrived there and as I couldn't establish contact with Franco I spent a couple of hours on the beach. Franco eventually called and came to meet me, but instead of going straight back to the bike we finished up back on the beach.
At last I was reunited with the bike and after loading up I realised I had been invited to go to Cecina and meet up with the other members of the Roadrunners at a festival up there.
At first I was a bit anxious at not getting underway but adjusted to the idea of spending the evening with the other lads.

The Roadrunners

It turned out great and me and the other bikers eventually finished up playing five a side football against the local youngstewrs for a couple of hours.
The people there were fantastic. Warm and friendly.
We got back late and I turned in as I needed to leave early the next day. Unfortunately the shutters were closed and I woke thinking it was still dark out. When I eventually decided to leave the couch, I discovered it was nearly mid-day.
I had two days to cover 900 kilometers on my little 50cc that has a top speed of 60km/hr. It was going to be a tough ride, especially as I had to travel the hills of Tuscany and then the Brenner Pass.
A quick stop for cash and then fuel and I was off to Volterra. It was another wonderful sunny day and it was a wonderful ride over the golden hills of Toscana. It was non stop riding and it wasn't long before I reached Firenza.
I was riding without a map and I was hoping to branch out towards Prato and follow the road up to Bologna from there, but I finished up in the same area I had inhabited a month ago when I was camped in Florence.
A last look at Tuscany till next year
It took a while to find the route out of Firenxa and the road climbed the hills to the North.
It was non stop riding except for the fuel stops, but I eventually gave in and stopped for a beer midaway between Firenza and Bologna.
It was a short stop and I realised I hadn't eaten that day so grabbed a ham roll and was off again.
Bologna was my original staging post before my ride was delayed so I knew I had to progress further before I stopped, so I set Verona as my stop for the night.
I reached Bologna and needing a toilet break headed for ther station. As always finding a route out of a city is a nightmare as they only sign post the autostrada, but I had a mental picture of needing to be north west of the city on exit. I had also written some towns down on the route on a piece of paper stuck on my fairing.
The biggest problem riding in Italy is the lack of attendants at petrol stations. They are all automatic and do not accept my card. My tank holds only six and a half euros of fuel so I have to wait till nearly empty before filling up and I have to be sure I have a five euro note in my wallet at all times.
On this occasion I hadn't ensured I had a fiver and finished up north of Bologna without fuel. My luck was in as I ran out in the countryside near a house. There were two young lads walking out side and the eldest who was Romanian fetched me a litre of petrol from his fathers garage. He didn't want to take any mmoney from me but as I insisted he let me give it to his younger brother. He was a really nice lad and after a short conversation about mopeds I left to find the Verona road.
I had to stop for another beer to get directions from a local and it turned out I was within 2 kms of the route I wanted.
It was now dark and I still had another 135 kilometers to travel.
I was racing along on a fairly straight and flat route, but fatigue was catching up and when I spotted a bar in a small village I pulled in for a couple of beers and a chat with the locals who all showed an interest in the bike and my story.
When I told them I needed to arrive in Austria the following day, they told me it was impossible. I knew I still had 580 kms to travel and although I need to stop and sleep I continued to Verona arriving just after 2 am.
I found a quiet road and after a few cigarettes I was bedded down and asleep.
I was up early but was in need of fuel and more importantly oil. It was Sunday and I knew there wouldn't be a petrol station with an attendant until later. Nonetheless I set off for the Brenner pass, but after only five kilometers I ran out of fuel. I squeezed what was left of my two stroke oil into the five euros of fuel and rode slowly to the next station where I found an attendant and a litre of the oil.
I was off and onwards to the Brenner Pass.
The mountains behind Innsbruck
I stopped for fuel again but the cash nachine I got money from only gave me a fifty euro note so I had to find a bar to change the note which entailed another beer. It was uphill all the way and I was riding the engine hard and some thirty fourty kilometers from the dummit the engine started to lose a bit of power and was sounding quite rough. I continued with tension in my shoulders and kneck wondering if I was going to reach the summit. I did and I stopped to let the engine cool while I recharged the phone and had a couple of beers and a sandwich.
It was cold up there and the weather had changed. I added my trousers over my shorts and set off down to Innsbruck, fourty kilometers further on. Downhill the engine didn't seem so bad , but as soon as I hit the force ten wind howling down the valley and into my fave the engine started labouring again and the noise of the problem was getting louder.
There was nothing else to do but to continue.
The rain started and I was having trouble reading sign posts with the rain on my glasses. I was riding alongside the Innsbruch - Salzburg autobahn without realising that the autobahn does a sharp left to join up with the Munich Salzburg autobahn. After stooping for fuel I managed to do a U-yurn in a small town 10kms further on and arrive back where I started. I was fortunate to have spotted a truck stop on the way into the town or I wouldn't have known I was going in the opposite direstion in the rain and the dark.
I stopped and had a coffee and a helpful Spanish wagon driver loaned me his map. I realised I was no nearer Salzbur than I was after a couple of hours riding but did see that I was only 150 kms grom Passau which was on the route of my friend.
While standing outside the cafe I was approached by three Slovakians who I thought were truck drivers, but who turned out to be sleeping in their cars. They were pestering me to buy them a beer, which I couldn't do due to no money. They started giving me a hard time about it so I left the shelter of the truck stop to find a bed area for the night. By now it was chucking it down and although I only rode for one kilometer I was soaked through. My leggings had finally given up on me and my trousers were soaked through.
I slept and was up at seven to ride the 150kms to meet my friend.
It was going ok until I turned onto the Passau road with 100kms still to ride, when the engine died on me.
I struggled to get it going and finally reached a small village where it stopped completely.
I then found I had squashed the screen of my phone, but a small shop came to my rescue and allowed me to use their phone with my sim to make contact with my friend.
Four hours later my friend arrived. We loaded the bike and I was back in England the following day with the bike

1 comment:

Miniman said...

Nice one Harry great read. I cant wait to join you. You do know I am mad dont you ?