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 email@example.com.
Now we would like to introduce Abby and Kevin Birch!
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
Written by Dave and Janet who stayed with Pyrenees Motorcycle Tours earlier this year.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Being a country kid from a small Kentish village my first means of independence was my cycle and I loved it, it meant fun and freedom and a gang of us would always be out and about. So I’m surprised in retrospect I didn’t take to motorcycling at a young age – don’t think my Dad would have approved though. At 17 I had my first beaten up old 1965 mini with a dubious subframe partially attached, well it was only £60 and my 4 wheeled days had begun. It was only when my son in his early teens had a mate with 5 acres of ground and picking him up one afternoon was given a bumpy off road experience that I thought of biking again, it was fun!!
So when my husband (a biker in his teens but moving onto 4 wheels in his early 20’s ) decided in his mid 40’s with a job move to congested Croydon, that the only way to still see each other would be if he purchased a motorbike for his commute.
Wasn’t long before I was pillion on days out at the weekend and apart from the very first mile where he nearly lost me off the back at Staplehurst railway bridge, I was hooked! We holidayed at home and abroad but the bug to ride myself only really came when my 22 year old daughter said she would like to try, so we had a 2 hour experience session on 125cc bikes and booked our CBT’s .
I then purchased a sharing Honda CBF 125cc – aka Mr Pickle – and rode approx 1500 miles on my short work commute to Tunbridge Wells and fun days with friends at weekends .
Phoenix Motorcycles, under the wonderful tutorage of Mark Jaffe, then offered a try a big bike session and all my fears of weight /power /size subsided, it was true what friends has said I did feel safer on the bigger bike. Mod 1 and mod 2 were booked for the cold week of 20th December 2014 and on passing I purchased my Yamaha MT-07 after a wonderful day at the NEC Birmingham Bike show which was great, you could sit on everything all in one place and find the best fit.
So at 53 I became a biker!!
Finally picked “ARNIE“ up over the Christmas holidays and have been riding approx 2 times per week up till now and my first trip abroad is planned in April to Brugge, I would love to think I could join the Morocco fun the lads have enjoyed over the last few winters, we shall see !!!
What a great achievement Christal we hope to see you in the Pyrenees on ‘Arnie’ sometime in the future!
I started riding when I turned 16 (1978), a brand new DT50 followed 6 months later by a brand new Honda CB250N Superdream, it didn’t take me long to add fairing, top box and panniers and I was heading off exploring the UK with my girlfriend, 2 years and 34,000 miles later it gave up the ghost and I realised I needed something that would carry me and a passenger to pastures new in comfort. So in 1982 the Superdream went to auction and with the proceeds together with my life savings, I purchased a gleaming CB750FB.
7 days later, yes 7, I was heading off to the Bol D’or at the Paul Ricard Circuit, not much spending money and no breakdown or travel insurance. What was I thinking. Little did I realise that the experience of that ‘holiday’ was to prove the catalyst to future adventures.
Work, House, Family and other finance commitments saw me back on an old CB250N, which brought the memories flooding back.
In 1994, my newly arrived next door neighbour had a rusty Yamaha XJ600 for sale, I wasn’t on it long as I was knocked off by a young lady who ‘didn’t see me’. The bike wasn’t a right-off and it went off for repair, I got the call to say it was ready but they also had a customer in the shop who wanted to buy it …. SOLD, I screamed over the phone.
The next day I went bike shopping and fell in love with a 1996 Yamaha Thundercat, the first ride out was so exciting that it took me a couple of days to stop shaking, this bike was awesome!
Another ‘incident’ meant I was looking for another bike, it was quickly replaced with a newer Thundercat, the years rolled by and the bikes were replaced, a Yamaha R6 was followed by an ’03 R1 and then an ’05 R1.
The R1 was a superb motorcycle, touring was hard work but I was very happy to continue with it, however, in 2007 all this changed, I was visiting my local motorcycle dealers and stood in the centre of the showroom was a new model FJR1300.
Aged 45 and not getting any younger, it didn’t take me long to come to my senses and agree a deal, so 7 days later I was the proud owner of my first FJR. In the 7 years I have had her, she has never once let me down, even when riding hard over the Pyrenees or even on the odd track day.
She’s a bit overweight, the bike I mean, but on the open road with full luggage and a passenger on the back it all makes perfect sense. I have learnt to handle and respect the weight especially at low speed, I hardly think about it now.
A visit to the Birmingham Bike Show in 2013 and then again in 2014, convinced me that my next bike was going to be the new model FJR, so, by juggling my finances, I managed to scrape enough together to p/x my 2007 FJR for a 2013 Model.
It is sat in the garage right now, unfortunately the weather here at the moment is awful and I just haven’t got the heart to take her out in this until the gritters have stopped putting salt on the roads.
A trip to Germany in April is already booked with some good friends and so is a 2 week trip to the South of France to take in the Bol D’Or at the Paul Ricard Circuit in September, so you see folks at the age of 52 I will have come full circle, even though it has taken me 33 years.
Hopefully there are many more to come.
The past few days have been dominated with cycling events in the Pyrenees. It all started Sunday with the l’Étape du Tour where 13,000 cyclists had registered to ride the 18th stage of Le Tour de France. Jan and Jack who were staying with us had been training to take part, they arrived in Pau at 7am for the early start. Weather conditions on the approach to Col du Tourmalet steadily worsened with rain and cold winds, the temperature dropped down to about 5 degrees, only 8500 crossed the finish line of l’Étape at Hautacam.
Tuesday: Pyrenees Motorcycle Tours did a tour of the route with Andy, Nancy and Will, riding the 145km, from Pau to Hautacam.
Wednesday: We watched Le Tour from St. Beat and then moved onto Bagnéres-de-Luchon.
Thursday: Just a short ride from Vielle-Adour to Cote de Loucrup to watch Stage 18 of Le Tour, this was a category 3 climb over 3.2km.
This week saw an old school friend of Mrs PMT return for her third visit this time with her husband, son, son’s friend and ‘Marvin’. With very mixed weather and the threat of rain each day they were all still keen to get out there and enjoy the three ride outs on the fantastic roads the Pyrenees offers. On their last day Will and Tom (two local lads) joined us for the ride to Col de Menté at a height of 1349m. We would like to thank Will for taking some good action shots of the days ride.
Two new additions to the family for Sharon and Pat. Sharon previously had a Gixer 1100 and now proudly rides a 1050 Speed Triple. Pat has seen the light after a go on Phil’s Tiger and now has one of his own, but the Tiger 1050.
Sharon and Pat stayed with us for a week in 2012, unfortunately Sharon had an off followed by a free ride in a helicopter, being a very determined young lady this didn’t stop her for long. A good friend Ken rode the bike back to the UK after Phil had put it back together, then in 2013 Sharon and Pat returned as they unfinished business.
When Pat arrived in 2012 on his Pan European that he purchased at a bargain price, he had only held his licence for 2 years, now addicted to the joys of motorcycling (with encouragement from Sharon) he is now the proud owner of a Triumph Tiger.
We are looking forward to seeing them sometime soon on their new machines 🙂