Rotten weather, loneliness and sleep deprivation are nothing to Instagram adventure rider Alvaro Pangea because all add to the story and his memories.
He braved all three as he left his native Spain to go in search of the perfect risotto along France’s south coast to Italy.
It was a trip of finding equilibrium in extremes – 50% mountain road, 50% on coast, with rain, sun, snow and more rain. Old friends and new people to get to know. Laughter and tears, heat and cold, all bundled up in 995 miles of adventure with a Street Scrambler born for freedom and fun.
Here are his ‘escape from the humdrum’ notes.
1 Wild Barcelona
This big city welcomed me as expected… with chaos. I’m used to smaller cities and it took me a while to get into the vibe of a crazy one. Luckily, crossing the Parque Natural de Sant Llorenç del Munt i l’Obac I sought and found the calm I needed. I met other riders there and thanks to them my trip couldn’t have started better.
2 Garrotxa’s volcanic zone
On a ride, you never know the next time you’ll be able to eat, so I usually have a king’s breakfast for all-day energy. Riding was a blast: the volcanic area of La Garrotxa had an incredible twisty road to Cap de Creus, the easternmost point of Spain. I then crossed the border to France for the second night of the adventure.
3 Between the Mediterranean and Pyrenees
Morning in Port-Vendres. I woke really early and saw the arrival of the fishing boats at the port: a moment of everyday life not to be missed. I got the distinct feeling walking around this fascinating old port that it has found an agreeable equilibrium. It wasn’t glitzy or trendy and probably wasn’t even a place to be seen, but it was beautiful to witness the contrast to the Cote d’Azur. One of the highlights was the medieval castles of the Languedoc region.
4 Calm after the storm
My day started in the heart of the historic centre of Narbonne, and it didn’t start well.
I didn’t get a wink of sleep because of a thunderstorm and exhausted, I took the highway to Montpellier under a few light rain showers. I went by the highway to save three hours but endured dark skies rather than the big blue of the coast.
The warmth of a good friend, Jean Michel, welcomed me and within minutes we were recalling a previous ride through Morocco when we’d had no idea of what we would do the next day.
5 Never alone
Honestly, I couldn’t take photos. I just wanted to reach the destination. In the face of orange weather warnings I beat my distance target. It’s true that when you’re on your motorcycle you might be the only one on your seat, but you’re never alone. I really appreciated the people who helped me along the way. Riding provides a sense of community and connectedness so, luckily, even though the day was bad, there were lots of reasons to keep riding.
6 Off-road sunset
After more than 620 miles, where the last 370 were in heavy rain, I tried to convince myself that the water was gone. Before arriving in Cannes I turned inland towards Cassis to see one of the Calanques – a series of rocky cliffs and bays. The sunset there helped make my day because I also had all the fun of scrambling in warmth and enjoying my bike’s impeccable off-road capabilities.
7 What next?
My last day was as the previous ones should have been. I took the coastal and mountain roads along the Col de Braus. The great weather was ideal for taking pictures and I was impressed a Monaco that embraces luxury. I decided to sleep in Italy as I had to take the ferry to Barcelona the next afternoon. I love Italian food and in San Remo I couldn’t have asked for a better risotto. It was delicious; the perfect end but left me wanting to explore Italy even more.
It was a heavy and blessed experience because riding alone means freedom, never being bored, resting if I feel like it, feeding myself as I like, thinking and pottering. I’m never lonely as long as I’m doing what I love and that’s why I share my trips with other people and motorcycle lovers. On a bike you’re never alone.