Monkey Biking to Cagliari, Sardinia

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Monkey Biking to Cagliari, Sardinia

Post by Wellingborough65 » Wed Feb 17, 2021 5:59 pm

Apologies for the delay in the posting of this trip to Cagliari and back in August 2019. I remember reading Boggers post of his C90 trip to Prague (an excellent write up - very inspirational) and it inspired me to do a trip on a small bike ie my C90 or as time passed get the new Monkey Bike for a decent trip. In the meantime, Ben (BenB, Chimp) and pals did another inspirational trip through Europe in a week on small bikes, this cemented my decision to do a long trip camping some nights and hotels/guest houses other nights.

I decided to take the new Monkey Bike for what could have been up to 4000 miles for reliability after falling in love with the prototype I saw at the NEC show. I anticipated three weeks in total for the trip which included meeting my wife and children in Olbia, Sardinia at the airport and following their hire car down to a villa in Capitano for the middle week. My son expressed an interest in meeting me on my return leg of the trip on his MT-07 which he did in Bologna and we rode back through Slovinia, Croatia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Germany, France ETC. I planned for my solo leg of the trip to Sardinia to travel down through France, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland via four passes (Susten, Grimsel, Furka, Gothard) and into Italy.

I had a rack welded up for me using a combination of a Thai made monkey bike specific rack and an old British 1950s bike rack to get the desired load carrying capacity and a bracket for a fuel can. I changed the rear Shocks for adjustable YSS shocks and installed a USB point for satnav and phone etc. I ran the bike in doing about 800 miles and had its first service done before I set off on August 11th. Sorry about the photos, me and technology do not mix that well, I am having to use my son to help me post this!

Day 1 (Sunday )- I set off on the Sunday around mid day and caught the ferry from Dover to Calais at about 17:00. I rode in to Belgium after docking at Calais and it was getting dark by the time I wanted to stop for the night. I found a field in Hanault and it was too dark to pitch the tent so I crashed out in my sleeping bag in a crop of sweetcorn. Total milage for that day was 225 miles. <br/>

Day 2 (Monday ) - rode down through Luxembourg and back into France to Nancy and stayed in a cheap hotel. Total mileage for the day was 335 miles.

Day 3 (Tuesday) - I rode down near Epinal taking scenic country roads and then took faster routes via Mulhouse into Switzerland via Lake Luzern to Fluelen where I camped for the night. . Had a nice meal in a local restaurant with beer and had a walk into the local village and then crashed out for the night in my tent. total miles for day 257

Day 4 (Wednesday) - I set off to do the four passes, Sustenpass -> Grimsel -> Furka -> Gotthard - What magic scenery and roads! I continued the journey into Italy down via Bellinzona and Locarno to Cannobio on Lake Maggiore where I found a campsite and had a local pizza takeaway. Total miles for the day was 173.

Day 5 (Thursday) - Set off down through Italy and got on the motorway at Arona....(legally speaking I was not supposed to use the motorway) however after speaking to a local biker during a fuel stop in Bellinzona, he informed me as long as it could stay at 90kmh, no one would bother me so I rode down to Genoa on the A26. I spent the afternoon sightseeing in Bogliasco where my wife used to work when we were young! I was booked on the ferry from Livorno to Olbia in Sardinia early on Saturday morning so I was not tight for time now. I looked for a campsite for the night further along the coast in Massa but to no avail, Italy was on holiday and all campsites seemed to be full in this area. Thanks to, I managed to find a room in a really posh hotel in Montecatini - Terme for only £65 including a massive breakfast - bargain! And they let me park the bike in their posh front garden area! Total mileage for the day was 305.

Day 6 (Friday) - An easy day because I wasn't far from Livorno for the ferry on Saturday. I had a day riding round the beautiful tuscan countryside and visiting Lucca and Pisa. The only trouble was that I daren't leave the bike unattended for too long with all the luggage strapped on. That evening I stayed in a beautiful typical Tuscan B&B in the village called Casciana Terme Lari and had a walk and a meal in the local restaurant when some friendly Americans started talking to me and asked me to join them at their table, a very enjoyable evening. Total mileage for the day was 80.

Day 7 (Saturday) - I Had to leave early at 5am for the 30 mile ride for the ferry from Livorno which was leaving at 7am. I boarded the ferry and arrived in Olbia at about 2pm but had 3 hours to kill before I met my family at the airport. On their arrival, my lovely wife (my wifes words, not mine!) followed me in her hire car to an agri turismo in Loiri Porto San Paolo which I would thoroughly recommend. They are clean, cheap places often in converted farm buildings for tourists to stay and this particular one had a restaurant attached as well. Total mileage for the day was 50 miles.

Day 8 (Sunday) - We set off for Cagliari in the south of the island arriving at the place we were staying for a week later in the afternoon. I parked the bike up on the balcony and there it stayed until the following saturday morning. Total mileage for the day was 178.

Day 9 - 14 (Monday - Saturday) - Spent the week with the family.

Day 14 (Saturday) - As we were leaving to drive back to Olbia, the owner of the villa showed up and asked me which way we were going back and then advised me to take the scenic route on the S125 all the way back to Olbia which we then did. What a road, probably one of the best roads I’ve ever ridden. Quite a few Italians seem to think so as well, some ferraris and italian registered Caterhams obviously out enjoying themselves! We arrived in Olbia and my wife returned the hire car and they caught their flight back home. I made my way to the ferry for a 22:00 night crossing back to Livorno. Total mileage for the day was 176 miles.

Day 15 (Sunday) - I rode from Livorno to Santomato near Pistoia to meet my son Ollie on his MT-07 and he had ridden down through the alps and arrived a couple of days before meeting me (he had had a mooch around Pisa and Lucca and ridden up to the ferrari museum in Modena) and we set off in the direction of Bologna on the SS64 stopping in a layby to do an oil change on my Monkey bike. We carried on going through Bologna, Ferrara bypassing Venice up to Pordenone where we found a B&B on We had bought gnocchi and other bits so we had a bit of a concoction for dinner in the tiny kitchen that folded out of a cupboard! Total mileage for the day was 290 miles.

Day 16 (Monday) - We left Pordenone and set off for Slovenia hoping to arrive in Croatia but only got as far as Raka that day. We rode via Udine and crossed the border into Slovenia at Gorizia and then rode via Ljubljana, stopping numerous to take in the scenery; sticking to country roads on the satnav. We arrived in Raka and found a very nice guest house and unloaded the bikes. In the evening we rode into the local village and found a nice bar and had two meals and plenty of beer - all for about £22.!! Total mileage for that day was 149 miles.

Day 17 (Tuesday) - We set off in the direction of Croatia and rode via Zagreb riding up through Hungary following the Satnav trying to stay away from motorways, but unfortunately almost ending up in Austria. We had to ride on the motorway to make up time to get into Bratislava, Slovakia for that evening in a pre-booked hotel. We arrived after dark - so this was quite a long day. Some of the road surfaces in Bratislava are amazing. The undulations throw you all over the road! A supermarket sandwich was the evening meal. Total mileage for that day was 301 miles.

Day 18 (Wednesday) - We were intent on having an easier day today so took the motorway to Prague (Cech republic) via Brno. It was a nice easy meander up to Prague and we found an old Monastery near the centre of Prague that had been converted into a hotel. The receptionist gave us the keys to the very large gates of the walled churchyard next door to park the bikes for the night. That evening we took a tram down to the Charles Bridge and did the ‘touristy’ walks and had a really nice - what I suppose was a Czech meal - of dumplings and beef. Total mileage for the day was 215 miles.

Day 19 (Thursday) - We left Prague heading for the German border with the intention of staying in Colditz castle (which is also a Youth Hostel now) for the night. Again this was a nice easy day and we took scenic routes after crossing into Germany ending up in Colditz castle at about 3pm in the afternoon. We spent the rest of the afternoon mooching around the town of Colditz and booked a guided tour for the following morning. We went to a local bar for a nice typically German pork meal that evening. I was inspired to visit Colditz after Boggers brilliant write-up of his visit with his pals! Total mileage for that day 157 miles.

Day 20 (Friday) - We had a brilliant guided tour of the whole of Colditz Castle by a very knowledgeable German lady - what can I say - this was the “Icing on top of the cake”. It was so very interesting and I cannot recommend this enough! - if anyone is in the area - You must do the Colditz guided tour!. We were on the tour until Midday; quite a few Brits accompanying us on the tour. We escaped from Colditz at about 1300 and made our way on the motorway to Heringen near Bad hersfeld where we found a campsite for the night. Again another concoction of supermarket bought food for an evening meal and plenty of beer. Ollie noticed my rack had developed a slight lean that afternoon and i examined it but couldn't see anything wrong.(After we got home I removed the rack and found it had snapped across one of the steel supports) . Total mileage for the day was 148 miles.

Day 21 (Saturday) - We packed up the tents and set off for Kohblenz to my brother-in-laws house arriving at approximately 5pm and went out to a restaurant for Schweinshaxe, a typical german meal - very nice and filling and lots of nice german beer on draught! Maximilians restaurant is famous for its schweinshaxe and toilets on the walls in the gents to puke up in! Total mileage for the day was 165 miles.

Day 22 (Sunday) - After goodbyes from my brother and sister in-law, we departed from Koblenz. We had already bought open return ferry tickets from Calais as we did not know a definite day or time that we may arrive for the ferry back to Dover. This was going to be the longest day of the trip and it was getting cooler so we had to don waterproofs and all the warmer gear. The snag we hit that day was the monkey bikes oil level had dropped just below the minimum but I could not find anywhere open that sold 10W40 motorcycle oil. In the end I just rode it to Calais and home and it was fine. We arrived in Calais at the ferry terminal and guess what… the awkward french woman on the kiosk said there was not enough room for us on two bikes to get on the next ferry or even the following one, we had to wait nearly four hours to get on a ferry. So much for an open return, don't think I’ll bother with that again! Eventually arrived back in England at 10:00pm UK time and thrashed it back home to Northamptonshire. Total mileage for the day was 489 miles and a sore bum, even through the sheepskin covered seat!

Just to say, I am delighted with the monkey bike and its reliability and the weight it took with all the camping kit, tools and locks etc. I didn't weigh the luggage but it too was too heavy to carry any distance by myself. Ollie had followed behind me the whole way back from Italy occasionally getting bored by the lower speeds and blasting past me making me wish I had an extra 10mph for motorways etc. My motorway speeds averaged about 58mph so trucks did come past me which was a bit scary sometimes. All in all a great trip and I look forward to the next trip once we are allowed out to play again!

Total mileage for trip was- 3696 miles

I have put some images on Flickr, if you copy the link below you should be able to see them.

Many thanks again for the advice and Inspiration from Bogger, BenB and Chimp.

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Re: Monkey Biking to Cagliari, Sardinia

Post by 125erCrazy » Wed Feb 17, 2021 9:45 pm

A great write up and lovely way to spend a while during a curfew enforced evening.

Thanks for sharing & taking the time to write

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Re: Monkey Biking to Cagliari, Sardinia

Post by Bogger » Thu Feb 18, 2021 4:11 am

Brilliant. Well done that man . Just a shocking thought :o . I've actually inspired some one to do something :shock: . Doing long distance on a small bike is fantastic fun. Yes, a challenge, but fun. In 2018 three of us went to Corsica on 125 s. Utterly brilliant trip and the scenery and roads on Corsica were the best I've ever ridden. I've got half way through the write up on that. But then lost my images and video files :cry:
Croatia was to of been the destination last year. But that went down the pan for obvious reasons.
Any road up. Keep up the good work.


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Re: Monkey Biking to Cagliari, Sardinia

Post by SYPAN » Sun Feb 28, 2021 11:09 pm

Excellent write up of your trip. Thank you for brightening up a boring locked up evening.

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Re: Monkey Biking to Cagliari, Sardinia

Post by BenB » Mon Mar 01, 2021 4:39 pm

Just found this. Lots of places I've enjoyed and a few I'd love to see.

Hope you're well!

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