ARCTIC CIRCLE and BEYOND, Day 15, 16 and coming home

  • Friday 15th & Saturday 16th July 2016 Day 15 & 16  COMING HOME ………..



    It’s been a blast Day 15. Early rise from my resting stop some 1500m up into the Dolomites mountain range, aiming to leave Italy go back through Austria and head for Switzerland. I soon realised why people were directing me to a campsite the previous night, I stopped and pitched my tent smack bang in the middle of the Dolomites National Park!!! Big no no, it’s not allowed and could have got me into some trouble with the Park Authorities, luckily I stopped late just before night fell and left at the crack of dawn. The ride across the Dolomites was a lot tougher than I expected, the mountain roads ain’t the best maintained and the hairpin bends were a big challenge on a big bike, 1st gear turning back on myself made tough going, luckily the brilliant sunshine was at my back so I didn’t have to contend with it blinding me as I turned into another climb or 10% gradient slope. The Dolomites are fantastic place to see and by mid morning the area was full of tourists of all types,looking forward to a nice weekend in the mountains.  The few villages I passed through were like stepping back in time, old quaint Italian cafes and bars bristling with people and the smells of home cooked food made me suffer, I was desperate for some decent food. I stopped to eat at Cortina d’Amprezzo, this very busy location was the end of my time in the Dolomites, but just the start for a lot of others. Now I needed to do some serious mileage to get across to Switzerland through Zurich hopefully before night fall, I was aiming to be back home Sunday afternoon.  Up back into Austria I went aiming for Innsbruck, a region I know well from

    Stunning place but oh so difficult to ride through

    Stunning place but oh so difficult to ride through

    times there Snowboarding, and to my amazement the place looks so different in the summer, from all the snow covered mountains I was familiar with.  The ski lifts were still in use but taking hikers and mountain bikers up to places I’d only ever snowboarded down.  The sunshine made it a glorious day to ride and I pasted through the Switz  Friday evening traffic quite easily and continued riding North passed St Gallen and Zurich heading towards Strasburg.  Once I left Switzerland I seemed to be crossing backwards and forwards between France and Germany continuously as I progressed.

    I passed through Strasburg, the place seems like it’s dogged by Graffiti Artists who seemed to be determined to paint everything that doesn’t move, this surprised me I’d always thought of it as a place of historical importance and culture, and perhaps it is, but not when viewed from the motorway. I was making fantastic progress, weather was good and there was very little traffic on the roads, so I settled for the night just as the Sun was setting, next to a wonderful spot, possibly the most scenic spot I’ve stayed in. Day 16. Saturday morning, up with the sun, this place was so peaceful I could have slept there til noon. But I needed to carry on, I was tired, the last two weeks of riding, poor diet, and sleeping rough was beginning to take a toll. I had one country left to visit, Luxembourg.

    The Saturday morning the roads were empty, I had close to 500 miles left to ride to get home, the riding was so enjoyable, and perhaps the bike had had enough to, the miles flew by, Luxembourg came and went, I didn’t even realise I entered the Country till I passed through back into France.  Then I saw a motorway sign ‘Calais 180 kilometres’, 120 miles in old money, so I cracked on, compared to everything else I’d seen,  Northern France is pretty basic in terms of country side and views, so I keep riding.  Security at the Calais Channel Tunnel was immense, possibly due to the incident in Nice the day before, traffic jams were huge, with queues for miles approaching the Tunnel, luckily on a motorbike I could filter through grab my ticket and board as soon as possible, motorcycles tend to be used to fill gaps on the Cgannel Tunnel trains, I was on and crossing within 45 minutes. And the last 200 miles of the journey up to to the Midlands was just a blur, probably because I was thinking I’m nearly home. BIG BIKE TRIP – THE CONCLUDING BLOG I  had an amazing time during this journey, it has been a great privilege for me to represent SOLIHULL YOUNG CARERS on what has been a very personal dream of mine for a long time. 22 European Countries in 2 weeks 2 days covering 6500 miles through the Arctic Circle and up to Nordkapp, the most Northerly point on Mainland Europe, 1500 miles from the North Pole. I’m tired, very sore and have lost a few pounds along the

    Day 15 North of Strasburg MY FINAL REST STOP How beautiful this was to rest for the night compared to some of my unplanned stops this was luxury and a fitting end to the Journey.

    Day 15 North of Strasburg MY FINAL REST STOP How beautiful this was to rest for the night compared to some of my unplanned stops this was luxury and a fitting end to the Journey.

    way, but I’ve seen some fantastic places, meet some very interesting and strange people en route. I’ve been asked why I didn’t stop longer at some of the locations I visited, and the reason is simple, this was a motorcycling challenge and for me its was all about the riding experience. Motorcyclists, I respect, have told me that what I’ve achieved is amazing, both in terms of locations, distance travelled and time. It was hard work, and at times scary and very daunting ( I’ve purposely omitted to mention the few mishaps and close calls I’ve had because that would upset people), I knew the risks and dangers when I set off, motorcycling is a high risk activity and comes with many challenges, both mentally and physically. For me personally, I don’t think the challenge I’ve completed is nearly as daunting and challenging or mentally or physically as tough as the tasks and responsibilities that the YOUNG CARERS OF SOLIHULL face up to every day. Even though I was Alone and Unsupported during my trip, I wasn’t really. I had Solihull Young Carers supporting me and giving me the drive and commitment I needed to fulfil my dream. To all the Solihull Young Carers out there, who may feel alone and unsupported, SYC is there to support you, and even though I’m not personally involved, I hope my Journey has shown you that there are people who care about what you do ever day, day in day out, and believe you all do the impossible. It’s been one of the greatest pleasures of my life to represent Solihull Young Carers and all the Young Carers out there in Solihull, and I very much thank you all for that opportunity. You will all be pleased to know Suzi came back safe and sound, I don’t think she will ever get on a motorcycle again though, but I believe she’ll be off to Dubai soon to a sunny climate next to a pool, that should put the smile back on her face!!!😊 Before she goes, she’s going to need a good bath and brush, I don’t think Customs will let

    Day16  Tired Sore Hungry and very very smelly!!!!!!!! And that's Suzi, I'm fine promise.

    Day16 Tired Sore Hungry and very very smelly!!!!!!!! And that’s Suzi, I’m fine promise.

    her through looking like a Biker Chick. Good luck to you all and you will always be in my thoughts.

    TTFN SYC and all the Young Carers out there in Solihull.

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