To celebrate the deconfinement Auto-Moto is back in the beautiful region of Normandy, on a motorcycle this time, and in a herd of eight biker friends, more or less seasoned.
Good ideas are sometimes the simplest. Also, barely the date announced by the Prime Minister, it is armed with this maxim that we decided to celebrate the end of confinement with dignity. Together, from Paris to Normandy, on Ascension weekend. Appointment is taken place of the Trocadéro, for a departure under a gloomy sky, from dawn. Well almost. Because if the two-wheeler saves precious minutes in an urban environment, in particular in the Paris region because of the anti-car dictatorship led by Hidalgo, bringing together eight machines and as many “pilots” is not easy. Between Benjamin, applied to patch up the antediluvian Honda Goldwing of 1988 (165,000 km on the clock!) With blows of a chatterton, Grégoire, struggling to fix the retro right of his capricious BMW 850 RT at startup, and the eternal latecomers tasting their coffee while the helmeted and gloved squadron is ready to file the tarmac, the ignition delay is counted in half an hour.
As the capital finally disappears in our mirrors, we attack … the first traffic jams formed on the A13. Obviously, we are not the only ones who want to (re) take the air. In my hands, the handlebars of the new Honda Goldwing, which I dreamed of trying. First observation: the motorbike – which I have not practiced for four years – is a bit like cycling, you can’t forget it. And it is happy. Because sneaking between the cars with a machine weighing nearly 400 kg all full can quickly give you a sweat, even if the incredible ease of the biggest Honda to move at low speed limits apprehension. This is not the case for all the bikers in the running. Once past the ring road, Julien, a Parisian-scooter rider to the end of his gloves, loses his bearings at the controls of his rental Yamaha Tracer 7, which is easily confused with a 125 cm.3, except for its splendid bluish wheels supposed to charm young motorcyclists. All tastes are in nature…
Finally out of the large ribbon more reminiscent of a parking lot than a fast lane, we go from town to town on the smallest wheels possible. Not very exciting, these relief routes take us to Houlgate in just over four hours. At the end of the course, a few bends whet our appetite and awaken the senses of Damien, whose swift BMW 1250 RT rivals the two leading Honda. For my part, I regret the joys of driving a motorcycle. The imposing Goldwing exudes a remarkable ease of use. Full as an egg, the six-cylinder 1,800cm3 126 hp allows you to resume from 1,200 rpm without hiccuping on sixth or seventh reports of the excellent DCT robotic box. And although it does not love an exaggerated angle taking, it reassures thanks to a very healthy cycle part and overpowered braking. Word of leek!
In the rain, we leave the Calvados seaside resort, guided by the regional of the stage, Antoine, a young 45-year-old license (obtained in February), who, proud of his magnificent brand-new BMW F850 GS, holds in front of his wife, children and in-laws, inconsolable at this six-week-old rabbit error. The wet pavement hardly seems to bother David, photographer by trade, the oldest of the troop, and holder of an A license since 1992. At the controls of the Africa Twin manual gearbox, it ignores the water by barely reducing the pace. Confidence probably comes with age… or experience. A little disillusioned by the poor weather, – “In Normandy, the climate is very healthy, for those who endure rubber boots… ”, Said Coluche, we investigate the interminable National 13 in the wheel of the second Antoine of the gang, instigator of this epic, which leads us towards some tourist stages. We thus cross Sainte-Mère-Église, made famous by the D-Day parachutist clinging to the bell tower, Saint-Vast-la-Hougue and the island of Tatihou as a backdrop., known for its oysters tasted in the evening in Valognes, a charming little town renowned for its mansions. 400 km and eight hours of driving later, a good meal and some late-breaking brakes are right in our carcasses, which collapse well before midnight.
Despite the pouring rain, the second day of the road trip promises to be auspicious. After Cherbourg, the sky clears up to let wide rays of sunshine pass over the splendid Route des Caps strewn with mansions and other bourgeois houses along the Cotentin tip towards the Cap de la Hague. Facing the unleashed Channel, there is an air of end of the world. In spite of our many breaks, we finally take a real pleasure in the handlebars of our brélons. In particular at the controls of the very playful Africa Twin, which twirls from curves to turns with great confidence, despite suspensions that are too flexible. If we protest against the complexity of the multiple settings (shock absorbers, engine response, ABS …), the good health of the 1,100 cm twin3 102 hp is enough to make us happy. Head south, towards Granville, under a radiant sun. Smiling under helmets, the less comfortable among us gain confidence, allowing us to form a relatively homogeneous group, in a straight line at least, thus avoiding us to wait for latecomers at many intersections. I take this opportunity to sit on the “old” Goldwing for a few kilometers. Comfort is already proving to be princely and the six-cylinder (1,500 cm3, 100 hp) powerful, but ultra greedy. However, braking is absent. Here, we are talking more about a retarder …
It is under a magnificent light that we then arrive on the outskirts of one of the wonders of the world, Mont Saint Michel, before reaching St Briac via the lovely Cancale teeming with tourists. A small detour through northern Brittany, still dry, before starting the return to the Capital via the very green Perche. The road, long and relatively monotonous, is fortunately brightened up by the many lush forests along our route. On the main roads, the Goldwing makes its arguments. Well sheltered behind the huge electric windshield, the seat comfortably installed and the music muffling the roar of the engine, we enjoy the trip. Too bad, on the other hand, that it is interrupted by too short an autonomy (+/- 300 km depending on the pace), due to a tank of only 21 liters and a relatively high consumption. But with an exceptional engine, unusual sacrifices, first and foremost financial, the Golgwing starting at € 27,900 for the base model and € 42,000 (!) For our fully equipped version. On his rental “moped”, Julien looks grim at the sight of a fast lane. Deprived of any protection, the basic Yamaha makes life difficult for its “pilot”. Whatever, the mood is there, the weather is good and the idea of going to lunch with a butcher friend pushes us to wring the handle a little. Satisfied, the word is weak given the quantities of beef, we drive another good hour towards Pacy-sur-Eure, our last stop, before reaching Paris via the pretty French Vexin, unfortunately flooded by the rain. In the end, we covered 1,300 km on the handlebars of our machines. With only one idea in mind: where and when do we leave?
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