New Hosts for PMT

Dear all

It is with mixed emotions we announce that we have sold Pyrenees Motorcycle Tours (house and business etc) to Abby and Kevin Birch who will take over from us on 1 March 2016.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has stayed with and made our time hosting the B&B and tours such a memorable and happy experience. It has been a pleasure meeting so many interesting and diverse bikers, many of whom we can truly call friends.

Before we are too old we thought we should have another adventure, this time on the other side of the world, New Zealand!

Keen bikers Abby and Kevin have had many years experience touring Europe and especially the Pyrenees, having stayed with us many times over the six years we have been operating in Vielle-Adour. We feel sure that PMT is in safe hands and will continue to provide good value accommodation and service in this part of South West France. For those of you who have made a booking and paid deposits, all of these payments have been forwarded onto Abby and Kevin and all bookings will be honoured.

If you would like to keep in touch our email address is belindaandphil@hotmail.co.uk.

Now we would like to introduce Abby and Kevin Birch!

Your new hosts for PMT Abby, Kevin and Ed

Your new hosts for PMT Abby, Kevin and Ed

Firstly we would like to say a huge thank you to Phil and Belinda for their vision and hospitality over the years at Pyrenees Motorcycle Tours, we have big shoes to fill! We have always loved staying with them and we hope to be able to continue to offer the same relaxed atmosphere they have lovingly created.

We are very excited about taking over PMT as we are both mad keen bikers, even biking to Venice on our honeymoon. Although we have travelled extensively around Europe we love it here in the Pyrenees and found ourselves returning over and over.

After we had our son Edward we wanted continue to keep our petrol heads entertained so we started looking for a B&B to call home where we could welcome bikers. When we heard about Phil and Belinda’s new adventure there wasn’t a comparison and we jumped at the chance.

We are very much looking forward to welcoming those who have already booked for this year and we hope to meet many more of you in the future.

Abby, Kevin and Ed

Rebuilding the VFR (again)

On my way to Toulouse at 7am last November, I unexpectedly found myself sliding down the road, luckily the bike went first followed closely by me, no other vehicles were involved.  Once I was back on my feet a quick phone call to ‘mission control’, who was still tucked up in bed, resulted in car and trailer arriving toute suite.

Honda VFR

Unexpected parking in the ditch

Honda VFR off roading

Not built for off roading …..

Unable to push the bike out of the ditch, so Belinda towed it out while I kept it upright.

Naked Honda VFR

Naked Honda VFR, time for some ebay action!

Back in the workshop nothing that couldn’t be repaired with a tin of filler, a few cans of paint, mud guard and side panel.

New and repaired plastics

Taking advantage of some good weather to dry the paint.

Warming by the woodburner

Warming by the woodburner, for that baked finish :)

Honda VFR Pyrenees Motorcycle Tours

Colour matched panels!

Honda VFR Hourquette d'Ancizan 1564m

Looking all shiny and new, not bad for 100k miles.

 

Do you have trouble with Hairpins?

Written by Dave and Janet who stayed with Pyrenees Motorcycle Tours earlier this year.

Dave and Janet on Col d'Aspin with their white BMW 1600GT

Dave and Janet on Col d’Aspin with their white BMW 1600GT

The main reason for our visit was to see if Phil could iron out the problems I sometimes have getting the bike round very tight uphill hairpin bends in the cols resulting in drifting over to the wrong side of the road. Having just bought a BMW 1600 GT I was very anxious to try and sort out this problem before our trip to Corsica.

Riding the beutiful Col d'Azet with snow capped mountains, does it get any better!

Riding the beutiful Col d’Azet with snow capped mountains, does it get any better!

Well, what a success! Not only was Phil able to quickly assess the problem and explain what I needed to do but, just as importantly, we were able to spend all day practicing on the trickiest cols in gorgeous scenery until I got it right. Phil’s enthusiasm to sort out my problem was infectious and gave me a lot of confidence.

Next stop Col de Menté for a spot of lunch.  Best lunch stop - mushroom omelette, salad and chips and watch the vultures circling the high mountains

Next stop Col de Mente for a spot of lunch – best lunch stop mushroom omelette, salad and chips watching vultures circling the high mountains

Col de Menté hairpins, if you need practice this a great route for it.

Col de Menté hairpins, if you need practice this a great route for it.

I feel so much less anxious about our trip to Corsica now and I can start to enjoy the bike even more than I do already. I don’t feel at all intimidated about its size and weight any more.

Dave and Janet making the descent from Col de Menté.

Dave and Janet making the descent from Col de Menté.

So thank you both again for not only a lovely day’s riding but for leaving me with skills that can be put to good use in the future.

Davy’s biking story

Started out biking in 1975 at the age of 16 and bought a new red Yamaha FS1E Fizzy costing a whole £200. I used this to get to work and to hang about with my mates on their mopeds. Didn’t get any rider training so I learned as I went along, needless to say I fell off on the first day and bent my pedals. Fell off it a few times trying to go faster and used to scrape the pedals going round the bends.

Yamaha FS1E fizzy

Yamaha FS1E Fizzy

After a year I traded Fizzy in for my much loved brand new blue Suzuki GT250 1976 model costing £550. I got £150 for the fizzy which isn’t bad. I wrote the GT off the first winter. I had it only 6 months as I used it rain hail or snow. Hit ice on a bend at about 60 and low sided it causing it to be a financial write off but I bought it off the insurance company for £40 and replaced most of the damaged parts with second hand stuff. The insurance cleared my finance on it so really I got the bike cheap in the end.

Suzuki GT250 1976

Suzuki GT250 1976

Tuned the GT as per Motorcycle Mechanics mag , raising the exhaust ports and lowering the inlets plus a carb rejet. The bike was a lot quicker now. Used to run it on a Castrol R mix oh what a lovely smell. Done a few track days on it at Knockhill when I used to Marshall up there. We would be allowed on at night before the race day. One time I went on track it was a bit wet and I went round going faster every lap gaining confidence in the wet, but on the last lap I entered the first right called Duffus corner at 70 and scraped the foot peg too much and the rear lost grip and off I went. No injuries apart from cuts and bruises but the bike lost its clocks and front brake reservoir and throttle broke. I got it home after the racing next day with a set of mole grips on the throttle cable and just a back brake. Brilliant times no pain no gain.

I kept the GT for 3 years and it had done 40K miles really loved the bike still know the reg NSD411P wish I still had it. I traded it in for a new wine coloured Yamaha RD400 1979 model. Nice bike very torquey and quick. Only had it a year as I passed my car test and bought a car and got married. That was the end of biking for a while. The big Stork delivered 3 Kids to my door and Davy grew up.

I bought an old RD250 and done that up but sold it on after it was finished.

I eventually came back to biking in 2001 after a 20 year fast and bought a new 2001 Yamaha Thundercat in blue.

Yamaha Thundercat

Yamaha Thundercat

Well was I shocked how quick these 600s are. Handling, brakes and how well the tyres gripped in the dry and more so the wet was quite a pleasant surprise compared to my 2 stroke days.

After 9 months and 3000miles with the Cat I went into the Yamaha dealer to get a new back tyre, well I got a new back tyre but it was attached to a new 2002 Black Fazer 1000. That was the end of the Cat.

Yamaha  Fazer 1000

Yamaha Fazer 1000

I had my 02 Fazer for 4 years and done 25k miles but the job front was poor so I sold it to my mate. I was bikeless for about a year while I found another job and got the pennies back in the bank. I picked up an old Yamaha 600 diversion for £250 and gave it some TLC and traded it in for another Fazer 1000 2005 model in silver with the black engine.

Had the this Fazer about a year and then I caught my eye on a black 2009 Hayabusa so traded the Fazer in for it. The Busa was a great bike very fast, handled well and ate back tyres like they were going out of fashion.

Suzuki Hayabusa

Suzuki Hayabusa

I kept the Busa for 3 years and 18k miles and decided to get a smoking jacket and slippers and calm down so I bought a new grey/black 2014 BMW R1200GS. It was a totally different riding style to the Busa very comfortable and relaxing.

BMW R1200 GS

BMW R1200 GS

I decided to go on a tour of Europe with it and this is how I met Phil and Belinda. I stayed with them in September 2014 and did a few ride outs with Phil and his outlaw mates, only joking a nice bunch of guys they are. Phil took me on so many brilliant routes, every day was fantastic and I can’t thank him enough for that. Sadly on one of our days out the GS fell off its side stand and broke the clutch lever and it suffered a few scrapes here and there but it was still rideable. Thankfully it didn’t fall into Phil’s Tiger or Wills GS.

So I am off to Phil and Belinda’s again September 2016, not on the GS as I got rid of the smoking jacket and slippers and I chucked it in for a new red 2015 BMW S1000R Sport in April as I found I grew to dislike the GS due to the agricultural way it ran plus I had some issues with it like smoking heavily on cold starts and surging below 50 which BM could not sort out so it was time to part company.

BMW S1000R Sport

BMW S1000R Sport

The S1000R is a very nice bike not as comfortable as the GS but not uncomfortable. Its mighty quick, agile and  handles very well and brakes are dynamite. Looking forward to trying it out in the Cols next year.

Savoury Croissants make a great starter or light lunch

4 Croissants
200g mushrooms sliced
200g lardons
Onion thinly sliced 
2 garlic gloves chopped
3tbsp crème fraîche

Add enough olive oil or butter to a pan to gently fry the onions, add the lardons, mushrooms and garlic and fry until the lardons start to brown, stir in the crème fraîche and bring to a simmer, add salt and pepper to taste.  Fill the sliced croissants and bake for 5-10 mins in the oven at 200 degrees. Serve with a small side salad.

Savoury croissant makes a great starter or light lunch

Savoury croissant makes a great starter or light lunch

Great way of using up left over croissant 🙂

Petit déjeuner chez Védére Café

This morning we paid a second visit to the Védére café for breakfast – coffee and cake.  The tea/coffee room is a converted railway carriage with many original features and period photos of the area and has a wonderful view of the Pyrenees.  The biscuit/cake factory and café are next to the old railway line that ran from Tarbes to Bagneres de Bigorre and they even have a diesel locomotive sitting on rails next to the track, which is still intact.

If you are looking for somewhere to have a snack and sample the delicious cakes and biscuits they make in the factory next door they are open most days of the week.  Biscuiterie Védére 423, route de la Gare, 65200 Montgaillard

Coffee and cake only 5€ - bargain :)

Coffee and cake only 5€ – bargain :)

Mr PMT relaxing in the railway carriage after his breakfast

Mr PMT relaxing in the railway carriage after his breakfast

Telephone in the railway carriage

Telephone in the railway carriage

The railway carriage that has been converted into a tea/coffee room with views of the Pyrenees

The railway carriage that has been converted into a tea/coffee room with views of the Pyrenees

Someone has left their suit case!

Someone has left their suit case!

Is Col du Tourmalet open yet?

Today we rode from Pyrenees Motorcycle Tours in Vielle-Adour to the Col du Tourmalet via La Mongie.  As you can see from the photos there is still lots of snow in the high mountains, the road was clear to the top but its still not possible to go down the other side into Bareges, we will keep you posted on this.

Snow on Col du Tourmalet

Snow on Col du Tourmalet

Snow on Col du Tourmalet

Snow on Col du Tourmalet

Mr PMT concentrating on the Honda VFR 750

Mr PMT concentrating on the Honda VFR 750

Plenty of riders out today, this group were from Lyon in France

Plenty of riders out today, this group were from Lyon in France

Looking down in Bareges from the Col du Tourmalet

Looking down in Bareges from the Col du Tourmalet

There are three people skiing in this photo!

There are three people skiing in this photo!

More bikers on their way up the Col du Tourmalet

More bikers on their way up the Col du Tourmalet

Bikers taking advantage of the beautiful weather on the Col du Tourmalet

Bikers taking advantage of the beautiful weather on the Col du Tourmalet

Montgaillard Enduro 2015

Sunday 5th April saw the 22nd Ronde des Puyolles which is a enduro type course of nearly 100km set in the foothills of the Pyrenees and organised by Montgaillard Club du Moto 65.  In typically French fashion there is a full meal with wine at midday and a second shorter course for those with enough energy in the afternoon.  This was Mr PMT’s third attempt at taking part in an enduro event and he was helped and encouraged by his good friend Keith who was riding a GasGas 300.

Mr PMT leaving HQ to take part in the 22nd Ronde Des Puyolles - Enduro at Montgalliard

Mr PMT leaving HQ to take part in the 22nd Ronde Des Puyolles – Enduro at Montgalliard

Over 150 clean bikes lined up ready for the action to start at 9am

Over 150 clean bikes lined up ready for the action to start at 9am

Jerry cans filled with fuel that will be taken to the half way point in the mountains.

Jerry cans filled with fuel that will be taken to the half way point in the mountains.

On the starting blocks (Keith far left no. 25), 5 bikes set off at timed intervals.

On the starting blocks (Keith far left no. 25), 5 bikes set off at timed intervals.

Most riders carry a camel pack on their backs consuming around 2 litre of water in a morning session in cool conditions.

Most riders carry a camel pack on their backs consuming around 2 litre of water in a morning session in cool conditions.

And they are off ......

And they are off …… (Mr PMT no. 13)

Refuelling for bikes and riders, on offer for all riders hotdogs, slices of pork washed down with red or rosé wine (water was available on request ).

Refuelling for bikes and riders, on offer for all riders hotdogs, slices of pork washed down with red or rosé wine (water was available on request ).

Not so clean now!  After 96km off road in all terrains.

Not so clean now! After 96km off road in all terrains.

Back wheel caked in mud!

Back wheel caked in mud!

Mr PMT was number 13, lucky for him this year as he completed his first local enduro - yippee!!!!!

Mr PMT was number 13, lucky for him this year as he completed his first local enduro – yippee!!!!!

Mr PMT was soooooo pleased to have succeeded this time ………….  Keith was keen to do the afternoon session but his partner Mr PMT was absolutely knackered.  Lunch took care of a couple of hours and the pair were then invited back to the village hall by the club for another meal later that evening which was a great honour and good fun.

First ‘ride-out’ for 2015

The end of the second week in March saw our first guest, Mike was with us for three days and unluckily for him the weather changed dramatically for the worse the day he arrived.  We set off on the first morning in steady rain but were fortunate enough to see the sun come out in the late afternoon and we even spotted a patch of dry road!

Mike with his Kawasaki ER6 on the Col du Soulor

Mike with his Kawasaki ER6 on the Col du Soulor

The next day we were joined by Keith on his Yamaha XT660 and Will on his BMW GS1200 it was a better start and we set off in sunshine albeit pretty cold.  Not knowing if Col de Peyresourde was passable on two wheels we elected to go around it but did do Col de Portillon dropping into Spain at Bossost where we stopped for lunch and some warming cups of coffee.  The next stage of the trip did not go as planned, thought we would try Col de Menté which was fine up to the top but we then encountered snow for 200m and a few patches beyond.

Snow on Col de Menté

Snow on Col de Menté

Mike just stopped to put his gloves on!

Mike just stopped to put his gloves on!

 

Chocolate Sweet Potato Brownies

This is an alternative recipe for Chocolate Brownies, don’t be put off by seeing the main ingredient is sweet potatoes, they are delicious and a healthy alternative!

600g sweet potatoes
14 Medjool dates, pitted
80g ground almonds
100g wholemeal flour
8 tablespoons coco powder
3 tablespoons honey
Pinch salt
Chocolate brownies cooling

Chocolate brownies cooling

  • Heat over to 180 degrees
  • Peel sweet potatoes and cook until soft, either steam or boil
  • Put into a food processor with the dates and blend until smooth
  • Add remaining ingredients and mix well
  • Put the mixture in a dish that has been lined with grease proof paper
  • Cook for about 30 mins or until a sharp knife comes out of the mixture clean
  • Allow to cool before cutting into bite size portions
Brownies ready to served at a lunch time dinner with friends in Vielle-Adour

Brownies ready to served at a lunch time dinner with friends in Vielle-Adour

This is based on a recipe from Deliciously Ella – I had to substitute some of ingredients as required by Ella as they are not available in the local supermarket in France.