Four years ago I embarked my first solo mini adventure of riding from Liverpool to Italy. During that trip I meant to ride to Baden-Baden and Nurgburgring too but I never made it (link). At that time I decided that one day I would finish that part of the trip. In August, I finally managed to fulfill that wish to complete such journey.
Taking the advantage of working in London during week days, I oragnised my trip in three parts: Liverpool to London; London to Germany and return at the weekend; London to Liverpool. My first stop at London was the famous Ace Cafe. They welcome people riding on any bikes, however the key theme of the place is cafe racer and rocker though. Travelling on motorway in the UK really tests your stamina especially wearing full leather suit under hot summer days as the average speed often below 40 mph. Seeing the Cafe was a welcoming sign and perfect moment for a well deserved cold soft drink.
After five working days and all the anticipation, I finally set off from London the following Friday early morning via Euro Tunnel to Calais in France, through Belgium to Strotzbüsch in Germany, about 430 miles in total. I chose to ridet this route instead of going through French towns because I wanted to save time and energy to ride over there instead of riding to there. Everything almost perfect apart from my mobile phone stopped connecting to mobile network, no phone calls, no text and no GPS! Well that’s what I call adventure! (It turned out my mobile phone plan didn’t cover the usage in Belgium and Germany!)
After a comfortable night and some great local beer, I was ready to go to the Ring the following morning. Prior to the trip I read online posts and watched videos about visiting the Ring. One of the advices was that when it’s sunny and lots of cars turned up, accidents waiting to happen. I made sure to get my ticket and get on the track as soon as it opened. People who rode 50 laps couldn’t claim he mastered the track, let alone someone like me with limited track experience and track time. I set myself a realistic appraoch to my first lap: good steady pace and look out of fast appraoching cars. The build up at the car park and by the entrace to the track was immense. Once I was on the track, my focus was on speed, line and braking point, of course be aware of your surrounding too. There were lots of fast cars, Ring Taxi and hired track cars on the track. I let them pass on the straight so I could concentrate braking into corners, about 70 of them within a 13 miles long track. Just as I started enjoying my track time, soon my first lap was over. As I was returning to the car park (you must get off the track before re-entering from the gate), I felt more confident and ready for a slighly faster second lap. What I didn’t know was that was also my last lap on the day.
Five minutes after, the track was closed for motorcycle. Ten minutes afterward, the whole track was closed. No official explaination but the sound of an accidetn lurking in my ears as I saw a police car went on the track and later a helicopter came too. I was glad that I made my lap, a group of riders from UK who missed their track time as they spent most of their time talking in the car park instead of going on the track. I waited for 2 hours, they kept telling people it’d open in 30 minutes, no sign of open, I decided to visit the track main stand to kill time and hope the track would re-opeen when I returned sometime later.
There was racing going on the closed circuit of Nurburgring which explained why the main grand stand was full of visitors. The scale and the quality of the facility were tremendouse which made the circuit facilities in the UK look like a car boot sale. A good range of goodies on sale from expensive designer lables to used car parts and toys. I spent good two hours before heading back to the Ring at 5 pm, the track was remained close. While the sun was still up, I rode around the roads neaby and tried to make the best of my time there. Back to the hotel, I celebrated my survivial on the Ring and commemorate the sorrow of unable to do another lap. I guess that’s life, whatever way I saw it, it’s time for a bottle of bubbly! Cheers!
Last day of my mini adventure before heading back to UK was the ride to Baden-Baden, B500 and Strasbourg. B500 has been described as a must ride for bikers. It really lived up for the reputation: smooth tarmac, lots of corners and great scenic views! But it’s a very busy road too, I saw a road accident casualty claimed one badly broken bike. I arrived at Strasbourg mid afternoon, after a quick shower, I visited Petite France, lovely! Back to the hotel, I enjoyed looking at the sunset, listened to smooth jazz with a cold bottle of beer. Tomorrow would be a 500 miles ride, not something I look foward to.
During the ride from Strasbourg back to London, about 510 miles, there was lots of time to wonder especially France motorway was usually traffic free and straight. Is this trip all worthwhile? There are a couple of things I wish turned out differently, but overall I did everything I set out to do. Afterall how do you put a value of one of your dreams? Until next time, dream on!