I’ve wanted to go to this event, organised by Southsiders MC, from the first time I heard about it in 2012. I’d planned to go last year, however, due to work commitments I wasn’t able to. So this year, nothing was going to stop me. My wife & I had ridden down to the South of France last year on our 1976 R60 and yes, it was fine & lots of fun, however, two up & a full load I found it struggled a little. So we decided to ride the 1000 mile round trip to Biarritz on the BMW RT1100. We’d planned to take 3 days to get there, so we could take in some of the sights & enjoy a few leisurely mornings & lunches.
Our first stop was Alencon, a sleepy Cathedral town, very picturesque. The second day was hot, in the 30’s, so we skipped onto the motorway for a few miles to cool down and get a few miles under our belt. Our second stop over was Angoulême, a really beautiful Medieval town surrounded by a rampart. We arranged to meet Ian Solley of Sons of Democracy MC on the Thursday morning at Langon, South of Bordeaux and ride the last 100 miles together. The road to meet him was stunning, sweeping roads amongst vine yards and chateaux’s. After meeting Ian we agreed to go through the Landes de Gascogne Regional Natural Park, a vast pine forest with roads that went on forever and ever.
We arrived in Biarritz mid afternoon. There was no doubt we were in the right place, gangs of bikes were roaring around the town and parked up at every space available. The buzz was incredible, complete sensory overload! It reminded me of the Isle of Wight Scooter Rally, but simply a different tribe. We headed up to the lighthouse, the main meeting point, to peruse the stalls, check out the wheels & catch up with friends. We then headed up to the Art Ride exhibition and finished off with a nice meal and a few vin rouges! Saturday was the Punks Peak Race, high above the clouds in the mountains of Spain. We had no idea where we were going, however, we tagged on to a small group of riders and simply followed them. The mountain road full of hair pin bends and vista’s to die for was epic, although my wife wouldn’t agree as she was screaming ‘slow down’ most of the time! In my defence, I was trying to keep up with the group as not get lost! The race consisted of 32 riders over a 800 meter sprint. The race was started in true Southsiders style, live ammunition! They’d laid on a barbecue and beers which was well received. It was pretty bonkers when you thought about the thousands of people who’d ridden to watch the race. Bikes lined the road & fields as far as the eye could see! I just wish I’d had my scooter, I’d have loved to have given the big wheeled brigade a run for their money!
Saturday was spent wandering around and exploring Biarritz and in the evening we went to the final night party. Awards were given for the surfing competition and best bikes. A speech by the Southsiders was given to rouse the crowd into true camaraderie spirit and drinks flowed. The Pioneers played a perfect set to end the event. The following morning we headed off to catch the ferry from Santander. We rode the motorway which in fact was pretty good, a mix of coast line, trees, sweeping curves and tunnels. 26 hours was killed on the ferry with good conversation, plenty of sleeping and moaning about the poor wifi. A quick blast along from Portsmouth to Hasting’s and we were home.
All in all a brilliant week, spent with friends in the sun surrounded by amazing bikes in a beautiful location. What more could you ask for, roll on 2015.