Sun Aug 5 2007: Disaster in the French Riviera!

Most of today went well.

We're in a small town just south of St. Tropez called Rayol-Canadel-Sur-Mer. Probably here for a couple of days. Because my bike has a flat tire. Because it fell over. While I was riding it. Quite stupid really. Who falls off a bike going straight at 60 km/h? Me, that's who. No heroic get-off rounding a tight corner... I was daydreaming, strayed off to the side of the road (wrong side, narrow road!), tried to get back on, but hit the dreaded edge trap, which put the bike sideways. Slid a bit. Got up, no injuries, bike not good. A Dutch family who were sightseeing on the side of the road ran over, horrified, fearing the worst for me. They helped me right the bike back up, and pushed it over to the side of the road. A guy on an MV Agusta slowed down to see if I was okay. Too bad we couldn't have met under better circumstances! I surveyed the damage. Right turn signal broken off, the Dutch father found it, handed it to me and into the tankbag it went. My windshield was missing bits off the bottom. Right cylinder head scraped to hell, but not leaking oil. Wow those things are made of indestructanium! Right sidecase was bashed in a bit, that was what saved me from a lot of hurt. The worst was a gash on the sidewall of the front tire. Air leaking quite fast, I had to navigate down a twisty road to get back to the main road, the handlebars shaking quite violently above 10 km/h!

Cylinder head has seen better days. I really need an engine guard.

Gear did a wonderful job saving my skin, literally! Not a scratch on me. The guy behind me was nice enough to stop and offer me some water and cell phone assistance.

Sticker should read "Slide the world". Expandable case is kinda bashed in, but rather it, than me

Gash on the sidewall. Anyone got a spare Metzeler Tourance? Apparently, no one in France...

We stopped at the bottom of the hill and tried to figure out what to do. Being Sunday, everything was closed, so we booked into a hotel on that same road I fell off on. I thought maybe tomorrow I could phone the closest BMW dealership that I could find on the GPS, which appeared to be a place called Bavarian Moto in Toulon, 35 kms away. They could perhaps tow the bike and patch it all up for me. The hotel we're staying at, Des Mimosas is not the best-looking place, but being August in the south of France, our choices were quite limited. It's run by an elderly French lady, a younger woman who we at first thought was her grandaughter, but turns out is just hired help. We had a nice dinner and slept quite peacefully that night despite all the excitement of the past few hours.

This hotel was a few kms down the hill from where I fell off. No stars for this establishment.

I'm a bit dissapointed that this will cut a couple of days off our trip and that it was such a stupid avoidable accident. But I'm glad that I escaped unharmed, the textile suit and my right boot really took the brunt of the slide!

I'm not sure anyone will be interested in how the beginning of the day went, seems kind of boring compared to The Incident. We left Marignane fairly late, around noon, having slept in till 10:30AM. The weather was getting quite hot by the time we were on the road, probably 30C. Took the highway past Marseilles up to the hills and stopped for lunch at a town called Duges-Les-Pins. What brought us to this place was a some kind of band playing at a bar, and it seemed quite happening. We stopped at an oyster bar just down the road and saw that same band walking up the street towards us, still playing while they approached our restaurant. Sat around and listened to some music and then headed back down the street for some lunch (I'm allergic to oysters). The bar we went to was quite loud, there was some kind of weekend festival being launched from that place and lots of people dressed in Spanish vacation gear. We watched them march out of the bar, and then had our lunch in relative peace.

Saw this band marching around town, they were quite good

From a kid's point of view

Then this procession marched out from the bar we would have lunch at!

And the whole bar up and left and followed them. Suddenly, we were the only ones in the bar!

Back on the road, we headed down towards the coast again and got a terrific view of the French Riviera coastline. We decided to stop at a beach actually just a couple of kms away from our current hotel and stayed there for a couple of hours soaking up the sunshine of the late afternoon. It was such a perfect day up to that point! We were running late so decided to hotfoot it to where I wanted to start the next day, which was up in the mountains. The GPS led us through this narrow, tight, twisty uphill road, which ultimately led to my downfall (pun intended).

Sweet 1098 in Alice MotoGP colours!

Amazing view of the French Riviera coastline coming down from the hills


Beach at Cavaliere

After dinner, we just walked down to the beach, grabbed a couple of chairs and watched the stars come out against a moonless sky. And that ends this day. Stay tuned for tomorrow's adventure!

Good way to end a pretty eventful day

Fireworks on the beach

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