Picos, Pyrenees & Volcanoes Tour 29 June – 6 July 2015

A fantastic tour with a great bunch of people...sunshine throughout and Heather - our most innovative marker ever!

A fantastic tour with a great bunch of people…glorious sunshine every day and Heather – our most innovative marker ever!

We start the Tour in Santander

We start the Tour in Santander

Where after a short briefing we set off

Where after a short briefing we set off

“What a great biking holiday. My second tour with Bike Normandy and my first time in the Picos de Europa and the Spanish and French Pyrenees and the routes chosen were mind blowing. What made this tour doubly enjoyable for me was the great group of people on this tour. That’s all of you lot. I couldn’t have asked for a friendlier group of fellow bikers – even though when on the bike I mostly saw you from a long way behind as you disappeared over the horizon. But then I’m used to that!” David Craxton, 2nd trip, Honda Deauville

“Just to let you know that Kieron, me and the 5 Sausages arrived home safely!..I seem to have got a reputation for shopping – just cannot think why?!!! I am sorry to report that I am still hunting for those elusive cherries!  At least we all enjoyed a few at the top of the mountain. We both thoroughly enjoyed yet another amazing tour with you all and are really pleased to have made the leader board at last!  As usual John and Jen’s tour routes provided us with superb, twisty roads, flowing bends, magnificent scenery, fabulous hotels, wonderful food and brilliant company to share it all with. We have made some lovely friends and cannot wait until our next tour to meet up with them all again. John and Jen, you are amazing hosts and thanks for organising everything so well.  We felt we were just one part of a big happy, biking family…looking forward to keeping in touch with you all and will, at some point sort my photos out – although Jen, you did a brilliant job of summarising all our exploits! P.S.  Perhaps you could organise a cold chilled box in the back of the van in readiness for my further purchases next year!!!!! Best wishes to all”                                                                  Sharron & Kieron Haines, 3rd trip, BMW K1600GTL

The bikes parked up at lunch

The bikes parked up at lunch

The prettiest lunch stop

The prettiest lunch stop

“John and Jen, thanks again to you both…I really enjoy your tours and this one was no exception, in fact I have to say despite the issues in the first days, it is the best so far…

This tour for me delivered everything I expected.  It makes a big change for me to join a tour and to just turn up and ride my bike.  You showed us some of the best roads in Spain and France, spectacular views and scenery, and I loved every second.  The hotels were fantastic and to go the whole week without a drop of rain was even better, even the extreme heat didn’t faze me. This was my third trip with BN and I will be back for more next year (if you are not fully booked).  Thanks again to both of you for a wonderful holiday.”

Paul Butler, 3rd trip, Suzuki Hayabusa

Steve K's BMW (!) overheats in the Picos

Steve K’s BMW (!) overheats in the Picos

We all enjoy a beer at the hotel

We all enjoy a beer at the hotel

“Hi John & Jen, I thoroughly enjoyed the tour even though I missed 2 days! I will have to return to do the Pyrenees another time” Steve King, 2nd trip, overheating BMW K1200S!!!!

“Hi everyone … many thanks for a wonderful and memorable holiday.  As always John and Jen never let us down.” Steve & Kirsty Eaton, 4th trip, BMW S1000XR

The fabulous view from our hotel

The fabulous view from our hotel

“Dear John & Jen, just to say thanks again for a great holiday! Glad to hear that John was not badly hurt…some people will do anything to stay in an air conditioned van! I think it was great how everybody pulled together when situations went a bit awry and it made me feel very proud to be with such a great group of people. Thank you all!” Martin Clist, 2nd trip, Triumph Street Triple RX

Steve finally arrives with backmarkers Terry & Fran

Steve finally arrives with backmarkers Terry & Fran

Sharron enjoys a huge Gin & Tonic

Sharron enjoys a huge Gin & Tonic

“Ian and I had such a fab time, as they say all good things must come to and end unfortunately. I cried saying goodbye to you all at the petrol station and again when I was on the ferry although that was mainly down to relief of getting the ferry as Phillips managed to get us lost 3 times on that one journey – no marker system you see!! We’ve been wearing our BN t-shirt/vest with pride over the weekend, promoting it around not so sunny Exmouth!.. Anyway we hope that we will see you all again as some stage on various tours.”                     Heather & Ian Phillips, 1st trip, Suzuki GSX650F

Time for drinks before dinner

Time for drinks before dinner

The wind-up spider (2011 Tour) is still going strong!

The wind-up spider (2011 Tour) is still going strong!

“Thank you John and Jen for another great tour with Bike Normandy – lovely roads, scenery and accommodation but, as always, the company makes it the fun, supportive experience we so value. An incident ridden tour but the resilience and optimism of John and Jen rubs off on everyone and folks rise to the occasion in solidarity. Our own problems with the bike were, and continue to be exasperating, but our overall remembrance of the street party welcome at Rocamadour, and the care shown on the rest of the tour, will carry us forward to our next trip. See you next summer!”                                                                                                         Terry (8th trip) & Fran (6th trip) Stanfield, Triumph Sprint

Dinner together our first night

Dinner together our first night

Our hotel in the Picos Mountains

Our hotel in the Picos Mountains

Always a morning briefing before setting off

Always a morning briefing before setting off

Heading into the Picos de Europa Mountains

Heading into the Picos de Europa Mountains

Fantastic roads & scenery

Fantastic roads & scenery

Steve's BMW overheats again so recovery is called

Steve’s BMW overheats again so recovery is called

The chicks came to investigate the broken-down BMW!

The chicks came to see the broken-down BMW!

Paul on top of Fuente De

Paul on top of Fuente De

Kirsty on top of Fuente De

Kirsty on top of Fuente De

Most of the group on Fuente De

Most of the group take the cable car up Fuente De

Steve E, Marian & Dave stayed at the bottom

Steve E, Marian & Dave stayed at the bottom

Terry's Triumph won't start - breakdown is called!

Terry’s Triumph won’t start – breakdown is called!

Stunning views as we leave the Picos

Super views as we leave the Picos

We all end up in the same tapas bar in Logrono

We all end up in the same tapas bar in Logrono

Stunning lake as we head towards the Pyrenees

Stunning lake as we head towards the Pyrenees

Lunch in the Pyrenees

Lunch in the Pyrenees

Where David C discovers a puncture!

Where David C discovers a puncture!

Mark with Martin

Mark with Martin

Ian & Heather with Steve & Kirsty

Ian & Heather with Steve & Kirsty

Watch out for the locals !

Watch out for the locals !

Not pictured - the barking sheep dog !

Not pictured – the barking sheep dog !

Meet the horses on top of the Col

Meet the horses on top of the Col

More fab scenery

More fab scenery

Lovely little foal

Lovely little foal

The ponies take great interest in the bikes

The ponies take great interest in the bikes

Steve & Kirsty

Steve & Kirsty

The pony inspects the Trike

The pony inspects the Trike

Kieron runs to rescue David's Pan European

Kieron runs to rescue David’s Honda Deauville

The three ponies were rocking the bike!

The three ponies were rocking the bike!

Paul decides to move his Hayabusa !

Paul decides to move his Hayabusa !

Enjoy ice-creams & cherries on the Col

Enjoy ice-creams & cherries on the Col

The Group on the Col D'Aubisque - missing Terry, Fran & Steve K

The Group on the Col D’Aubisque – missing Terry, Fran & Steve K

Kirsty points out the Bike Normandy sticker !

Kirsty points out the Bike Normandy sticker !

Jen leading on the Street Triple R

Jen leading on the Street Triple R

Martin follows on his Street Triple RX

Martin follows on his Street Triple RX

Paul on his Suzuki Hayabusa

Paul on his Suzuki Hayabusa

Ian & Heather on their Suzuki GSR

Ian & Heather on their Suzuki GSX650F

Steve F on his Moto Guzzi Griso

Steve F on his Moto Guzzi Griso

Steve & Kirsty on their BMW R1000

Steve & Kirsty on their BMW S1000XR

Mark on his Honda VFR

Mark on his Honda VFR800

Kieron & Sharron on their BMW K1600

Kieron & Sharron on their BMW K1600GTL

David C on his Pan European

David C on his Honda Deauville

David & Marian on their Yamaha Trike

David & Marian on their Yamaha Midnight Star

Martin thinks John needs a hug!

At Lourdes, Martin thinks John needs a hug!

Matching shirts and party twizzlers!

Matching shirts and party twizzlers!

See the nightly procession

See the nightly procession

Many fewer than in previous years

Many fewer than in previous years

At the morning briefing Sharron realises she has lost her cherries!!

Sharron realises she has lost her cherries!!

Kirsty rubs the Knob on John's shoulder !

Kirsty rubs the Knob on John’s shoulder !

Sharron & Kirsty cool down in 34 degree heat!

Sharron & Kirsty cool down in 34 degree heat!

Our next stop is at Rocamadour

Our next stop is at Rocamadour

The group still minus Terry, Fran & Steve K

The group still minus Terry, Fran & Steve K

Our hotel is down in the old medieval town

Our hotel is down in the old medieval town

Dinner is included in the hotel restaurant

Dinner is included in the hotel restaurant

Kirsty crawls under the table for a cig

Kirsty crawls under the table for a cig

More matching shirts !

Dave & Kieron with more matching shirts !

The welcome committee await Terry & Fran !

The welcome committee await Terry & Fran !

At last! After 360 miles they arrive!

At last! After 360 miles they arrive!

They rejoin the group after 3 days in Santander!

They rejoin the group after 3 days in Santander!

And then the fun & games start

With the route on his back Terry parks up

With the route on his back Terry parks up

 

John whispers to Sharron...

John whispers to Sharron…

who passes it on to Kieron...

who passes it on to Kieron…

who passes it on to Mark...

who passes it on to Mark…

who corners Martin!..

who corners Martin!..

who corners Kirsty...

who corners Kirsty…

who doesn't seem to mind!!!

who doesn’t seem to mind!!!

Kirsty passes it on to Heather...

Kirsty passes it on to Heather…

who passes it on to Steve...

who passes it on to Steve…

who passes it on to Paul but by now is nothing like the original joke!!

who passes it on to Paul but by now is nothing like the original joke!!

So John has to start over again by telling Marian

So John has to start the joke all over again by telling Marian

who tells Ian...

who tells Ian…

who tells Terry...

who tells Terry…

who just can't stop laughing...

who completely cracks up…

but eventually passes it on to Steve F

but eventually passes it on to Steve F

David C escaped, Dave B and Jen managed to avoid being caught!!  We were all in stitches and have not laughed so much in ages!

After 3 days in Bilbao Steve K arrives at 1.00am!

After 3 days in Bilbao Steve K arrives at 1.00am!

All present & correct in the morning

All present & correct in the morning

Another lovely day

Another lovely day

Terry & Fran back as "backmarkers"!

Terry & Fran back as “backmarkers”!

Coffee stop in the shade

Coffee stop in the shade

Before we head into the Volcanic region

Before we head into the Volcanic region

On top of the Puy Mary

On top of the Puy Mary

Bikes parked up at the top

Bikes parked up at the top

Lunch stop

Lunch stop

Our next stop in the heart of the Volcanoes

Our next stop in the heart of the Volcanoes

Dinner is included

Dinner is included

Peach. Champagne & Blue Curacao cocktails

Peach. Champagne & Blue Curacao cocktails

Dinner is in the new Bistro

Dinner is in the new Bistro

Still with sunlight streaming in

Still with sunlight streaming in

Ice lollies all round

Ice lollies all round

A free day to wander round the town

A free day to wander round the town

Wander down to the market

Stroll down to the market

john samples the local sausage

John samples the local sausage

As does Kieron

As does Kieron

Sharron buys sausages...

Sharron buys sausages…

then macaroons...

then macaroons…

then jewellery...

then jewellery…and it didn’t stop there!!

Kirsty buys a hat...

Kirsty buys a hat…

But then thinks about turning brunette...

But then thinks about turning brunette…

as does "rock-god" Kieron !!

as does “rock-god” Kieron !!

no comment !!

No comment !!

we all know he's a qualified poser!!

We all know he’s a qualified poser!!

Drinks & afternoon desserts!

Drinks & afternoon desserts!

Drinks in the hotel lounge

Drinks in the hotel lounge

Terry & Mark ride to the Puy de Dome

Terry & Mark ride to the Puy de Dome

Super views from the top

Super views from the top

Make sure you take the train up though !!

Make sure you take the train up though !!

Most of us dine together

Most of us dine together

Enjoy local specialities

Enjoy local specialities

Fab desserts

Fab desserts

Selfie with dessert !

Selfie with dessert !

Live music in the park

Live music in the park

The whole group !

The whole group !

Afternoon coffee stop

Afternoon coffee stop

Kieron thinks he's a morris dancer!

Kieron thinks he’s a morris dancer!

Drinks before dinner

Drinks before dinner

Dinner is included our last night

Dinner is included

Our final evening together

Our final evening together

John says a few "thank-you's" after dinner

John says a few “thank-you’s” after dinner

And presents a helicopter to Mark!!

And presents a helicopter to Mark!!

Paul says some kind words and presents some gifts...

Paul says some kind words and presents gifts…

John gets a first-aid kit!!

John gets a first-aid kit!!

Fran wrote a poem "No Rocamadour duck...*uck!!"

Fran wrote a poem “No Rocamadour duck…F*ck!!”

Fran’s poem in full:

Without an alarm we can remain calm,

With an alarm we were fucked!

No mountains or col

and then worst of all,

we missed out on the Rocamadour duck – FUCK!

How did Fran know it was a marrow??

How did Fran know it was a marrow??

Kirsty takes a turn

Kirsty takes a turn

Following John’s accident (thanks to a diesel spill) on day two we really appreciated everybody’s patience, help and assistance in ensuring the Tour carried on…Paul for leading the group until lunch, Steve F and David C for riding as back-markers, Kirsty & Sharron for manning the van. Fortunately John wasn’t too badly hurt and rejoined the group that night. In view of his performance in tumbling down the road, the group had their own presentation on the last night…

Marks for artistic impression - SEVEN !!

Marks for artistic impression – SEVEN !!

Performance - a TEN!!!

Execution – a TEN!!!

Mark and his helicopter with Ian whose T-shirt won't let Mark forget!!

Mark and his helicopter with Ian whose T-shirt won’t let Mark forget he didn’t see three of them !!

The group on our last morning

The group on our last morning

We wave goodbye to Ian & Heather who leave for Roscoff

We wave goodbye to Ian & Heather who leave for Roscoff

Ian at home cleaning his Suzuki !

Now back at home Ian spends all day cleaning his Suzuki !

After lunch back at the BN ranch the rest of the group depart from Caen

After lunch back at the BN ranch the rest of the group depart from Caen

Despite John’s accident, two breakdowns, a puncture, Jen riding with a broken gear lever and at times sweltering heat (unlike last year!) this tour was made such a success by the fantastic group of people taking part. We look forward to seeing many of you again on future trips. Ride safe, John & Jen.