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#2 – At the beginning of an Australian road trip…

DUNDEE 2018, we quickly explained it to you. Today, we return to the why and how of this long australian road trip scheduled for early October. Let's go ?

The motorcycle and me, the beginnings

Monday April 14, 2014. I am on my hospital bed with two broken vertebrae. The operation is scheduled for this afternoon. The surgeon enters the room to check on me, and I “grimace” every time I move…” It's almost finished » she said to me, the pain will be “very manageable” after…! Think about what you will be able to do again! Practically a normal life! Be positive! she says. A patient with a smile is so much better before an operation! I smile at his words, and really wish for an end to this ordeal that I have been suffering since the end of January. Me who “was” a Rider (I won’t be able to anymore…) and who fell very (VERY!) often, I never broke anything…

This last Sunday in January, my stairs got the better of me... I missed the last step and found myself a few meters lower, on my back, unable to move! Firefighters, Samu, hospital etc… Moments to forget…

The journey of the cripples is a logical continuation: physiotherapist (3 times a week), osteopath to put the body back on straight. Yes, my whole body had compensated to limit the pain… “ You need to rebuild your back muscles to help your spine » the surgeon told me following her operating report. Swim on your back as often as possible, and if you do it right, you can “almost!” » return to a normal life.

A bad for a good ?

It's true, I was very lucky: the bone marrow was not affected. It could have been more serious... In the meantime, I'm finishing the week in my chair and recovering from this operation. FLO takes the nurse's hat and helps me move. She takes great care… the first days! Since you are seated, take the opportunity to work on your code, she told me!

Indeed, at almost 50 years old, I had registered for a motorcycle license at the start of the year, and I had the obligation to retake the code… Course put on hold since the accident. “ Your subscription to the Internet platform is ending soon... So get on with it! »

I admit she wasn't wrong!

The revelation

Between two coding sessions, I'm looking for some motorcycle blogs on driving licenses but also those combining motorcycles and travel... I come across the transam2011 blog. This blog is a revelation for me! Sitting in my armchair, I said to my wife one evening: “ If I can return to a normal life, one day, we will do like them!« . « Get your license first » she said to me, with all her natural logic!

So I passed my code, and after a summer at the physiotherapist for 3 sessions per week, thanks to him I was able to start my training!

The bike is small (ER6) and my 94 meter makes it difficult to balance... I'm bent in half! The nervous and muscular tension mean that an hour is long but also very painful... I have to cut regularly to relax and rest my back. Olivier, my motorcycle teacher, almost as tall as me, gives me some tips and advice to anticipate the problems of adults.

Little by little, I am progressing. I manage to complete the tests... The grid is validated in October and the driving is planned for the end of the year. Finally, it was in January 2015 that the license was in hand (passage of traffic under the sun but on a snowy road!). That’s 1 year exactly after my accident…

The choice of my faithful steed

It's time for me to plan ahead and change my steed (my horse will have a sweet retirement at home). Like many, I ask myself the question: which motorcycle to choose?

Always having in my mind the journey of Laurent DOZIAS and his wife, the GS Aventure sits at the top of my wishes. With 50 brushes, we can copy like the kids! However, the price of this great horse is important, and quite naturally I moved towards more financially accessible motorcycles. It is therefore towards a Varadero 1000 that my research is carried out. At the time, I liked the look! I'm also trying my brother-in-law's TIGER 800: if I'm delighted with this three-cylinder solo, although a little tight for my size, in a duo, with my size, it's not possible! Flo has always liked being a passenger (that's my luck) and there will almost always be two of us on the bike... So out with the TIGER.

With his experience, my brother-in-law tells me that the GS would be perfect for me! “ She has all the qualities you are looking for, but has 2 flaws«  he told me :

  1. His price !
  2. It's the best-selling motorcycle in France, not very original in terms of looks and you come across it on every street corner!

For this second point, I really “don’t care”. And for her premier fault, Flo tells me that we might only have one. We're 50 years old, we both almost went through it (she had a stroke in June 2014), so let's live and have fun!
If this is the bike we need, then this is the one you need to get!

It will be a GSA Air!

With this discharge, I go through the ads in Le Bon Coin in search of that rare gem. I found my Belle quite quickly: she’s a GSA air from 2013. THE latest air model (with proven reliability). It has 8,500 km and has some additional equipment... I send a message to its owner: it is available! We agree to an appointment at home for delivery… In fact, our salesman did not want me to bring it back! In winter and in the dark, it's too dangerous for a young license, he told me ! He will very kindly drop it off at home… Nice!

She is Splendid!

First turns of the wheels

The next day, it was with apprehension but also a certain enthusiasm that I took my first spins... If indeed its weight, when stationary, impresses me, as soon as we roll, it is all lightness that the beast is moving!

A few weeks of getting started (solo) and it's as a duo that we're going to have a weekend by the sea. Flo being a very good passenger, I don't feel her and her support is "exceptional". She is far from being a sandbag! You just have to be extra vigilant when stopping: stop signs, red lights, etc. Always anticipate where you are going to set foot, as the beast is so high...

Spring is sunny. So we go out every Monday for a daytime walk and gradually expand our geographic scope. A few short weekends from time to time allow us to test the suitcases and baggage management... (That: should I take it or not...?) Building on this beginning of experience, we are organizing our premier road trip for this summer: going down to see our Son in Auvergne!

And first road trip!

This premier 1,800 km road trip will call for others, as the happiness is shared by Flo and me! We have invested in intercoms (Scala rider q1), and it is a pleasure to share and exchange “with our noses in the air”. The smells are very present when you ride a motorbike, it is a real pleasure to smell the undergrowth, the freshly cut grass or even the dry wheat just before the harvest. However, be careful of wasps, butterflies, flies and other insects that come like kamikazes and crash against the visor!

The following year, we returned to Auvergne but rather than heading due north, we opted for the lateral route (Clermont-Ferrand / Bordeaux) and the ascent of the entire Atlantic as close as possible to the sea, then to the left, the Southern Brittany and the great loop via the Crozon peninsula to reach Mont-Saint-Michel via the north coast. I opted for the small roads closer to the sea, and at every turn, the landscapes are magnificent! For the evening stops, a small guest room awaits us. We are always very well received there! Even if they are not specialized in “motorbike reception” like some, the fact of taking your time and traveling through their region on the small roads is greatly appreciated…

These road trips lead me to travel more than 10,000 km per year. And it is towards new horizons that I am looking now…

An idea in mind

I miss the paths! Since my accident, I can no longer ride a horse. The bridleways, the small grassy paths, the climbs of embankments or the obstacles, I must have forgotten… Except that!

I always have in mind the Transam2011 by Laurent DOZIAS and the story of their adventures over a year and a half. Story by his wife, moreover, since she is the one who writes, and very well. In this story, the mastery of off-road is mentioned because road surfaces are not always macadam... Novice in this area, I am therefore looking for a way to understand the driving techniques specific to off-road.

Luck, chance or the alignment of the planets mean that my BMW dealership (BOXER EVASION in Ronchin) invites me to a presentation given by ERIC MASSET DU BIEST, followed by a cocktail and the presentation of the very latest 2017 models of the GS series. Eric was invited to this evening to introduce us to T3, his company which organizes his trips, but also and exclusively, his brand new structure: the TRAVEL PARK!

The travel park

TRAVEL PARK defines itself as a travel school which aims to introduce future pilots to off-road and long-distance motorcycle trips… Bingo! No more searching.

At the end of her presentation, Flo approaches Eric and says to him: “ I have my husband who has lots of questions to ask you! Do you have 2 minutes? » So I find myself face to face with the man who appeared as a guest on “Sept à quatre”, Harry Roselmak's show on a Sunday evening on TF1.

Novice, I ask my little questions about piloting off-road that I find a posteriori stupid and stupid! But Eric responds with complacency and simplicity. A few verbal formulas of which he has the secret, punctuate his words... I take in their eyes and ears. I'm won over! The next day, my registration was validated for the 1st TRAVEL PARK training session, the last weekend of April 2017!

The Australian road trip, the famous

During this training session, I explained to him my motorcycle travel plans which will take place when I retire... Since our last trip to Australia (our daughter went to live there for 1 year), I know that I will go back there by motorbike…

Australia? he told me, " i'm preparing a road trip to Australia in October November 2018 for T3's 20th anniversary! Don't wait until you retire, life is too short! Do it with us! 

Back home, I talk to Flo about it and she doesn't say yes... but not no, either. The summer passes, and in September, Eric sends me a Newsletter officially launching this organization for the 20th anniversary of his agency... I am enthusiastic when reading the presentation of this Australian road trip: 30 days, 8,000 km with more than 70% of tracks, departure on October 15, 2018 and return on November 10… No travel in convoy: everyone manages their stage as they wish. On-site technical and medical assistance. For a premier big Australian road trip, to the Antipodes, this support is reassuring and it gives us a year to prepare everything…

There you have it, the die is cast. This initially distant project became reality one evening in September 2017! I propose to share this journey with you here through the blog #EnjoyTheRide. Motoblouz offered to take you with me through my photos and my stories…

Reading contract 😉

Please bear with me, I am not a writer and even less a photographer. But I just want to share this DUNDEE 2018 with you… If, through these future lines, you escape from your daily life or say to yourself “ after all, why not me! » the mission will be accomplished. Remember, the important thing is not the destination (whether near or far), but the road that leads there!

Want to share this adventure with us? Follow us ! On the Motoblouz blog, on our site, on Facebook Dundee 2018. See you soon for the next post!

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Florence and Hubert

Both, at fifty plus interests, live life with passion. What do we look for in our travels? The wonder! You know: that little light that lights up in your eyes at one moment or another... and when you can also share it, isn't it even more beautiful?

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