Day 2 – Lille to Arlon

Today has been wet. Damned wet. Ordinarily, I can cope with a bit of rain on the bike; I ride a big motorcycle with a lovely screen and plenty of weather protection. I usually wear waterproof textiles and good boots and gloves. On this trip though, not so much…

For this trip, Claire and I chose kit that was optimised for the great weather we’re expecting on the Adriatic coast. Knox armoured baselayers, Draggin’ Kevlar hoodies and Moto Girl armoured jeans. The sort of kit you can stay cool and safe in when it’s properly hot. Unfortunately, Late April in Wallonia is pretty much guaranteed to be properly wet.

We’re not so dim as to have skipped on the waterproofs though – we picked up some amazing Scott packable rain gear at Motolegends before we left and to be fair, they’ve been amazing. But the combination of the rain and the serious wind that whips across the land in these parts conspired to chill us right down. The monkey bikes have no weather protection at all and even at 70kph, there is enough wind chill to be really noticeable.

Our day started on the 6th floor of a car park in the centre of Lille, where we did a bit of bike fettling. My taillight had self-destructed, with the bracket coming apart and the bulb being reduced to fine particles of glass. I managed to bodge it back together and as we’re carrying spare bulbs, it was a fairly easy fix.

Claire’s exhaust heat shield is hanging on by a single bolt, having also suffered from the road vibes, so we’ve used some twisted coat hanger wire to hold it on at the back end. It ain’t pretty, but it works.

Getting out of the car park involved a fairly terrifying decent down what seemed very much like a flattened out spiral staircase made out of slippery concrete. We made it, but I was a bit dizzy by the time I got to the guy on the barrier – who did a massive double take when he saw the bikes.

There’s been quite a lot of that so far. People look at us like we’re some kind of charity event – me up front with my shopping basket and my flags, followed by Claire in her bright red helmet, both of us way too big for our stupid little motorcycles.

But we managed to smash out over 150 miles today and have ended up in a quite nice apartment hotel in Arlon, just outside Luxembourg. Neither of us fancied going out for dinner, so once I’d warmed up in a hot shower, I hit up the Aldi over the road for baguettes, asparagus, hummus and virgin mojitos. We West Londoners totally know how to live it up.

Anyway, here’s a little video I put together from the helmet cam footage on our Sena 10C Pro Bluetooth systems. I’m loving the way that we can chat to each other as we ride and record that as part of the footage so you can hear our conversation. It’s surprisingly clear and once I’ve cut it all together (all done on an iPhone with LumaFusion) I’m rather pleased with how it looks and sounds.

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