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Testimonial Monte Carlo 2014

By September 18, 2014No Comments
Monte Carlo or Bust!  8 – 16 September 2014
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Probably the best Monte Carlo or Bust! Tour we’ve run so far…a great group, fantastic weather and good riding all made for a fabulous trip
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“Hi John & Jen,
Words can’t express the pleasure that I’ve had over the last nine days with Bike Normandy on the Monte Carlo or Bust tour. The riding, on very well selected roads, was as usual superb. The accommodation was first class and the overall organisation was up to your usual high standard. I met a new set of friends on the tour and thoroughly enjoyed their company. I had my most enjoyable ride ever, following Jen for 60km on a continuous set of fast sweepers.
This tour was my 10th visit, and I was presented with a Bike Normandy ‘Been there, done that 10 times’ tee shirt. I’m very proud to have one of these.
Thanks once again for a most enjoyable tour. I look forward to seeing you both next year for the Picos Tour, a weekend ‘Chez Eggleton’ and the Italian Lakes & Swiss Alps tour. You should both be justifiably proud of the fantastic service you give to your customers. Best regards
Ken Cullern, 10th trip, Suzuki GSXR 750
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The Tour starts – not in the Caribbean – but at Le Havre with a stunning sunset the previous night
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We commence with a pre-tour briefing before riding to Honfleur to meet the rest of of the group
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“This was my first Bike Normandy trip, but it certainly won’t be my last. From the moment we got off the ferry we were looked after totally. The routes were stunning, the twisties through the gorges and along the Route Napoleon were just grin-inducing – I loved every dry moment of it. There was a hairy moment in the rain in the steep downhill section to the dam, but the subsequent sun gave me all the confidence I needed. With just 2 years’ riding experience I was apprehensive about it being the ‘twistiest tour ever’, but the marker system worked very well and allowed me to ride alone at my own pace until I came to a marker pointing the way. There were enough breaks for food and fuel each day. The hotels were all good, and some were fantastic, namely Chenonceaux, Le Mont Dore and superlatively Beaugency. Parking for the bikes was mostly secure in hotel car-parks and garages which left us to worry about what to have for dinner rather than their safety. The included dinners were well chosen and we were given top tips on finding our own restaurants for the other nights. The free day in Monte Carlo was fun and perfectly timed as a rest day after 4 full days’ riding.
The tour from my point of view was so easy and straightforward, which is testament to all the research and organisation from John and Jen behind the scenes. The people on the tour, both organisers, helpers and guests, were so welcoming and really made the tour much more enjoyable. We had a lot of laughs and everyone helped each other out when necessary with advice and expertise. Roll on next year for my next tour!
Thank you both so much. It was all fantastic.
P.s. I really don’t count the John/Andy combo sufficing as a penguin sighting!”
Catt Darby, Honda CBF600SA
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Peter Richards, (John), Alan Mason & Bruce Hay come prepared with their “Monte Carlo or Bust!” baseball caps!
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“Arrived home safe and sound after Peter got us lost, right outside the port! We had a nice countryside detour & that’s one of the reasons we go on organised tours – guaranteed to get where we’re going! Thank you all for making the tour a bit special, I really enjoyed it. Jen, and John (who by the way likes Jen!) lay the foundations of a great holiday but the camaraderie of fellow Tourers puts the icing on the cake. Hope our paths cross again in the future on tour. Seriously, sincere thanks to ‘Bike Normandy’ for yet again a faultless and enjoyable tour.”
Bruce Hay (3rd trip), BMW R1200RT
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“I’d just like to say how much I enjoyed the trip and meeting you all.  All the organisation in the world, and there was some, makes for nothing without good company. Thanks to you all for your part in making the trip so good. Finally, of course, thanks to John and Jen for all their hard work in enabling us to have such a good time.”
Alan Mason (2nd trip), Yamaha FJR1300
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Breakfast at Honfleur and then we set off…Peter Wright & Sally Hurman join us in their car (Peter having a bad hip)
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Our thanks go out to John and Jen for organising such a lovely tour, we thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing; great roads, great scenery and as said by many, a great group and we hope to meet many of you again in the future, hopefully on two wheels. Once again thanks to all for such a wonderful experience.”
Peter Wright (6th trip) & Sally Hurman (5th trip) – VW Golf!!
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Our hotel the first night is at Chenonceaux
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“We would just like to say how much we enjoyed our first tour with Bike Normandy – made all the better by all the great people we met and hopefully may meet again on future tours. John & Jen – we realise how hard you both work to ensure we get to ride some fantastic roads , see some stunning scenery and stay in some lovely hotels. Nothing is left to chance as you have researched all aspects to ensure we don’t need to worry about anything except riding our bikes. Thank you all for making it such a wonderful holiday. We will be back.” [since booked on the Rhine in Flames Tour 2015]
Alan & Julie Grieves, Ducati Multistrada
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Tim Hale (van driver on the Tour) and Jen enjoy a swim in the hotel pool
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Just to add my thanks to Jen, John, Tim ‘safety car ‘Hale, and John & Rita. A truly enjoyable experience with a great gang and some wonderful hotels – particularly the Versailles and La Tonnellerie. The riding was exhilarating with some breathtaking scenery and I really appreciate the research you guys put into these trips to maximise the fun. See you again next year !”
Dave Cockburn (2nd trip), Triumph Street Triple R
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Drinks in the courtyard and a few pre-dinner speeches…
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Hi John and Jen, what can I say that hasn’t already been said. A fantastic tour, superb roads, superb hotels, excellent weather and a great group of people. The only downside was having to come home!”
Chris Martin (5th trip), Triumph Thunderbird 900
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Ken Cullern is presented with a “Been there, done it 10 times” T-shirt to mark his 10th trip with us
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Ken says a few words then Tim presents Paul Poulton a.k.a. “Parker” with his official chauffeur’s hat (thanks to Jane Andrews – see Rhine in Flames review)
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Hi Jen & John,
It’s a long way from Glasgow to the Portsmouth ferry and then over to France to join your Monte Carlo tour, but it was worth every hard mile.
Thank you for one of my best holidays and most memorable, you and your team have put together a bike riding experience that I could not fault in any way, accommodation, food and the company were all terrific.
It is my intention to do the Black Forest & the Rhine in Flames trip in 2015, which will only leave seven more trips until I get one of the coveted Bike Normandy tee-shirts!
Could you please thank three members of you team, Rita, John and Tim, they were brilliant in passing on their knowledge about riding and bike craft, you could not buy that experience. My confidence on the bike has gone off the scale and I was quite chuffed when they all said they could see a vast improvement in my riding and bike control by the end of the trip.
Thanks Again”
Andy Wilson, first trip, Piaggio MP3 500
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In anticipation of one of Ken’s famous jokes Tim hands over necessary props – a carrot & a courgette – fortunately he couldn’t find a marrow!
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Dinner is included tonight in the hotel restaurant
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Spotted opposite our hotel…always a morning briefing before we set off
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All the bikes parked up at coffee stop where Catt Darby updates her diary
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Our hotel the second night…Catt with Ian Martin enjoying drinks before dinner
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Alan M, Peter R, Parker, Bruce & Chris Martin…Alan & Julie Grieves
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Andy Goodrick, Andy Wilson, Tim, Ken & Dave Cockburn…John & Rita Gates (our backmarkers) with Sally & Peter
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Dinner this evening is in a local restaurant
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After dinner a few of us vie to get the best shot of the moon
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Chris, Parker, Jen, John, Tim, Alan & Julie stop for a nightcap on the way back to the hotel
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Stunning scenery in the Gorges of the Lot
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We re-group (but what are Pete & Parker doing??) before heading to the Millau Bridge – all the bikes parked up
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The group at the viewing platform (missing John & Rita & John E (who’s still on crutches!))
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Great view of the Bridge
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We cross over the Bridge and then ride through the Gorges of the Tarn
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Pretty coffee stop en-route to Uzes
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Our hotel pool…drinks on the terrace
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Before we walk into the town centre…the French equivalent of Banksy perhaps?
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Uzes town centre (for those who couldn’t find it!!)
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The pool by night…our morning briefing
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Our coffee stop is at the wonderfully bizarre “Pink Pattisserie” – Julie & Rita
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Alan M, Peter R & Bruce…Parker, Chris & Andy W
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Andy G with Dave…Catt with Ian
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We ride along gorgeous tree lined roads in Provence
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Lunch stop before we set off for Villefranche sur Mer
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Andy G (Suzuki GSXR750), Ken (Suzuki GSXR750) & Dave (Triumph Street Triple R)
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Another quaint coffee stop en-route
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The boys relax in the shade but it’s just too hot for Parker!!
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The superb hotel pool…Catt, Tim & Jen can’t resist a swim as soon as we arrive
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Drinks on the hotel rooftop terrace with super views over the Med – then stroll into Villefranche our base for two nights
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The next morning the cruise liner “Eclipse” has moored in the bay…a visitor at breakfast
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Today’s the day – Monte Carlo or Bust!   Chris & Parker…Andy W
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Modeled on Jen perhaps????   The casino reflected in the prism
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Really???…Tim tries for the perfect shot
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Catt eyes up her next car outside the casino – will it be a Ferrari or a Maserati ??
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Or a Love Bus!!
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The group outside the Casino -unfortunately due to changes in the entry requirements we couldn’t all go in – but someone did win at the Roulette – see the last night
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Back to Villefranche – the stunning view over the hotel pool to the Med beyond
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Pete finds it’s not so easy on John’s crutches!
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Sunrise over Villefranche
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Our morning briefing – Tim takes the lead for a day
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Chris Martin on his Triumph Thunderbird 900…Andy Wilson on his Piaggio MP3 500
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Andy Goodrick on his Suzuki GSXR750…Alan Mason on his Yamaha FJR1300
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Bruce Hay on his BMW R1200RT…Dave Cockburn on his Triumph Street Triple R
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Ian Martin on his BMW GS1200…(sorry the rest of you were too quick!) We ride through Nice along the Promenade des Anglais
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This morning we ride the famous “Route Napoleon”…Alan M on his FJR
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Twisty enough??   Parker on his Triumph Bonneville SE followed by John & Rita on their Honda Crossdresser!
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Lunch is at stunning Castellane
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The gorgeous scenery in the Gorges de Verdon
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We regroup at the end of the Gorges overlooking the fabulous Lac de Sainte Croix
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Ken with his GSXR750 – the 2nd time he’s done this Tour – see the same photo on last year’s review!
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John & Rita
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Andy W in the distance…the sun setting as we ride to Orange
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Dinner is included in the hotel restaurant
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After dinner a few venture out to see the original Arc de Triomphe…Pete, Catt & Bruce
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A cute arrival at breakfast!
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We then ride through the fantastic Gorges de L’Ardeche…Dave at the Pont D’Arc viewing area
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Pete…Parker & Chris
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Coffee stop at the end of the Gorges
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At lunch stop Parker arrives on his Bonneville…the van arrives later with baguettes, quiches & cream cakes!
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Ian & Catt with her Honda CBF600SA…the van arrives at the hotel in Mont Dore – followed by the car and…
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Dave – who’d been sent in the wrong direction by an uncertain Chris!!!
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Inside our hotel…morning briefing
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At coffee a local wants to acquire Alan’s “Monte Carlo or Bust” baseball cap!!
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And Ken poses next to an ancestor!
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Catt discovers her bike has a puncture…how many does it take to mend a puncture??
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Andy has a novel way to remember which exit to take on the motorway…”Custer’s Last Stand” perhaps?
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The view as we arrive at our last hotel
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Our hotel for the final night…Jen’s the only one to enjoy a swim
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Aperitifs before dinner
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Parker passes round the canapes…a few thank-you speeches
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Sally can’t believe she drew her own name out of the hat as she was the winner of 180 euros from the Roulette in Monte Carlo!
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John with Parker in his chauffeur’s hat…and the boys all wearing their “Monte Carlo or Bust!” baseball caps!!
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Dinner is included on our last night
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As tradition has it, jokes on the last night…Ken “Live at the Apollo” Cullern kicks off the entertainment
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Chris takes a turn, followed by Dave
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Alan’s up next then Andy G helps John with the “Penguin” joke (Catt you finally got to see a penguin!!!)
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Parker is highly amused…Jen also takes a turn
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John G goes next, and then Tim finishes off
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And that’s all folks…our final group photo before we head back to Le Havre.
Thanks to all for making this a really fun tour, great riding & lots of laughs. We hope to see many of you again on future tours. Ride safe, John & Jen.
 

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