EuroCis rallye sept.7-sept.12 1998.

The Eurocis rallye is a very unofficial annual event for members (and their friends) of the Compuserve Ride forum. The first one was held in 1996 in the Alsace, the second one (the first one I attended) was near Pinerolo in Italy, and the 1998 event was in Sederon France.

As I wanted to visit the World Superbike races at Assen on sundays I planned to leave on monday morning at an unusual early moment... I had calculated that the shortest route to Sederon would take me over the motorways and peages, and the distance I had to cover was about 1350 km. I wanted to arrive at daylight, so the alarmclock woke me up at 4.30 in the morning. (I was assuming I could average 90kmh during the day).

I had thought about this ride and had decided

  • to wear both leathers and all-weather clothing. Even though it might be too warm part of the day, as I would get tired it would keep the chill out longer. Besides that, it's pretty safe as well.
  • not to exceed 160kmh (100mph). I wanted to get reasonable mileage, a good average speed and not too much fatigue,
  • to bring all luggage in a huge tankbag,
  • take a break every second tankstop.

    Off I was, the weatherforecast being not too good. The roads were quiet so I covered a good distance before having my first coffee in the south of Belgium. Both me and the VFR were quite dirty by now because of the rainshowers we had to endure, but the coffee was excellent. Shortly after I started out again I missed the correct road near Brussels and was caught in morning traffic. Shhiiittt. I turned back and soon was on my way to Luxembourg.

    Pretty soon after Luxembourg the French péages were waiting for us, so from that point to Valence there's not much to tell really. Except that it was a mistake to bring all luggage in one huge tankbag. At 100mph one wants to lean against the wind now and then, but the height of the bag prevented that. On the bright side, the average speed soon rose above 100kmh which was better than I had presumed.

    I left the péage at Valence, and almost wrecked the bike as I was looking at the roadsigns and missed a plastic pole standing by the side of the road. Apparently fatigue had set in after some 1200 km. The roads to Séderon (D93 to Sisteron, then the D946) got smaller and smaller, it started to get dark, the rain set in and the roadsurface got more slippery and covered with gravel. Time to take it easy...

    The hotel wasn't just one building, but a group of linked cottages. Very nice.

    Finally I arrived at the hotel in Séderon and was welcomed by Dave Moore. Most people had already arrived, so I put my stuff on a bed in one of the cottages and went to say hallo to everybody. Many familiar faces, some new, all nice.

    The hotel was run by a lovely and kind lady. The meals she made turned out to be excellent, the beds were OK and there was plenty to drink: a wonderful week lay ahead. I'll tell you about some highlights.

    The people.

    All people gathered were connected to the Compuserve Ride form, be it directly or indirectly. Even though many different characters are involved, some common things are obvious. They all are well trained motorcyclists. Some may be faster than others, but they all are safe and competent riders, riding more than average annual mileages. Even though I normally detest group riding, riding with this group is pure pleasure. Then there's the common interest in booz; after the riding is done some nice drinks in a local pub are common practice. Then there's dinner, and after that some more drinks... and noone seems to get nasty after the drinks, just a bit more sleepy.

    The Mont Ventoux ride.

    The 'fast' group on top of Mt.Ventoux, from left to right:
    John (GB), Kevin (GB), Wim (NL), Britta (D) and David (GB).

    After a glorious breakfast on a just as glorious morning we set out for a tour around the Mont Ventoux. The group was split in two; a group that wanted to do some sports riding, and a group that wanted to tour, take it easy and make some nice pictures. I wanted to join the latter but was instructed by Meggs to join the fast group in which her brother John participated on his tuned up Triumph. Kevin was leading the way on his faithful GS500 Suzuki. The power the GS lacked was compensated by his skill, but he had a tough job going up'hill' anyway. John was riding right behind Kevin so I could enjoy the wonderful sound of his triple roaring up the mountain. Behind me was David on his Bandit 600 and Britta on her rental Kawasaki. The road was excellent, and once above the tree level where there was good sight on what was ahead, the speed was excellent as well. We stopped for a short break on the top (see picture above), but soon were speeding downhill again. As Kevin's brakes started to fade a bit, he waved us by, so John and I passed him and soon were battling on the roads back to the hotel. To say it was thrilling would be an understatement. Coming out of the hairpins accellerating hard the front end of the Honda would shake badly, and John was seen wheelying in my mirrors all the time. We made it safe to the hotel with some blood left in our adrenaline. "Great ride!" we agreed.

    The Gorge du Verdon ride.

    A view from the road to the Canyon.

    This day I definitely wanted to ride slow and enjoy the views. I had been down in the Gorge with my family earlier the same year, so I knew it had to be beautiful from the outside as well. And it was. The road winded all around the Gorge, giving us some very pretty views. It was a pity that so many other tourists (in cars) had had the same idea for the day as it was pretty crowded. Nevertheless, this canyon should not be missed when staying in the region. Take more time than just one day; ride around it, make a hike or a canoe trip down below and enjoy the beauty.

    The friday night farewell dinner.

    Gathered for the last dinner.

    It had been a wonderful week, just as I expected. Time to say goodbye approached, but not before a final celebration. The landlady, who may have had her doubts when this group of motorcyclists had shown up, had also enjoyed our company, and it was decided to have a last dinner, not just with good food, but with music and wine as well. She had invited a friend who would play the guitar and a keyboard and sing us some songs. The food consisted, among other things, of a stew made from the meat of a wild boar. Meggs had noticed a hunter hunting outside the season and had asked him when the season started. He didn't have much to say but offered her a good piece of meat, which was now waiting to be consumed... The music quality ranged from OK to very good, the songs not only sung by the landladies friend but also by the landlady herself and by 'our own' Sally. Several speaches were made, and several drinks were swallowed. As the ride back was scheduled to start early the next morning, we all went to bed at a reasonable time.

    The ride back.

    Before the farewell dinner I had taken the opportunity to fill up with fuel and to gather most of the stuff I had to bring back again. So I dressed up pretty early, had a bite and rode away feeling sorry the end had come. I rode west, a nice ride thru the mountains, to the péage. Long before I reached that, I just had to stop to sit and watch the landscape for the last time. From now on it would just be making miles to get home by nightfall.

    As I was making good progress on the motorways, I decided to take secondary roads from Metz on. A detour thru Luxembourg would be just what I needed to feel happy again. It was to be a nice part of the trip back home, but unfortunately it started to rain heavily just when I left Luxembourg. I re-entered Holland in extreme heavy rain and was rewarded with a speeding ticket as a bonus afterwards. You cannot have it all...