Monday, September 24, 2012

2nd Annual Royal Enfield Madrid Road Trip 2012

The Royal Enfield friends from around the Madrid area held our Road Trip this year on Saturday September 22, 2012. Our goal was to ride the back roads around the perimeter of the Comunidad de Madrid, some 450 km in total, through the incredibly wide range of landscapes the center of Spain has to offer. We started at 9:00 am in the historic downtown Plaza de Santa Ana in Madrid, with a line-up and T-shirts thanks to Emilio Mazarías and his lovely wife Ruby. And a café con porras in a bar nearby, of course.
 The bikes lines up: RE classics, old 4-speed cast iron machines, new EFI Classics and a really nice red Electra (mine hahahaha).

There were 10 of us for the trip from Madrid. Pedro Gómez, Javier Ortiz and Juan Manuel on their black 500cc EFI Classics; Santi on his beautifully restored Bullet chrome, David on his turquoise Classic with the enormous brown leather cases; and some new people: Nacho on his brand new chrome cafe racer Clubman, Txema looking dapper on his Classic chrome, Paco on his old 4-speed Indian Bullet, George on his cafe racer, and yours truly on the Red Bullet Electra. A handsome group we were.
 There must have been a hell of a party here that night:


 Even Happy the dog turned out for a peek at these great bikes:

Alfonso came to see us off with his gorgeous Harley:

By 10 am we were on the road. The bikes sang their "po-po-po-po" smoothly and behaved admirably. The only non Royal Enfield was a new Ductch friend from the cafe Racer Obsession club, on an old Yamaha cafe racer that fit in perfectly.
The first part took us through flat roads through the open fields of near San Martín de la Vega, then into the industrial belt suburbs across the south of Madrid, and back into the open fields, this time the extensive vineyards around Navalcarnero, where we stopped in the main square, the Plaza de Segovia.

Then on to Aldea del Fresno and Chapinería, where we waited to regroup (a few took an "unscheduled turn" and had to be brought back to the fold).

Chapinería. Church with stork nest

The temperatures began to warm in the bright early autumn light, perfect conditions for a long ride. Up we went towards the mountains in the north, across the foothills, past the NASA tracking station in Robledo de Chavela.:

This road through pine forests and groves of scrub oak, winding strips of well-paved back roads curving gently to a fro is a paradise for motorcycle enthusiasts and perfect for our Royal Enfield Bullets. At 70 or 80 kph my Bullet happily gripped the asphalt  as we leaned into the wonderful curves.
This beautiful rugged landscape gets better and better as we climbed the foothills of the Central Mountains. Up to the Cruz Verde mountain pass, where there are a couple bars where ALL the bikers in Spain go to see and be seen. The Royal Enfields make quite a splash among the knowledgeable bikers and today was no different.
But we had a lot of mountain driving to cover before lunch, up we went into the mountain passes. With its open mesh, my summer jacket started to feel too lightweight for the chilly air at 1700m, by 1800 m it was pretty cold. Luckily coming down the far side, by 1600 m it warmed up again nicely and we made it to the restaurant we had reserved in Lozoya just 30 minutes behind schedule.
We were met at the restaurant by George's girlfriend Lourdes, and by David on his new red Classic, a friend of his on a bright yellow HD, and our old pal Guillermo, who was on a photo shoot for a commercial that morning and caught up as fast as he could (somehow he got there in time for the appetizers, wouldn't you know).

Lunch was very very good. Plates full of huge crisp torreznos, just fried and still hot. Pulpo a feira, boiled octopus in Galician style. Boletus croquettes as big as hens eggs. Plates of grilled shrimp brushed with sea salt and olive oil.Green salad. Then came the main course: roast suckling lamb slow cooked in a traditional wood-fired clay oven. This all we washed down with a glass of decent rose wine and abundant bottles of mineral water (we were driving, after all).

My stomach is growling just remembering it all.

I had fun talking to the new people at one end. I can't help but notice that these Royal Enfield people are 1) Different; 2) Kind and 3) Fascinating.

Lunch ended with the appropriate dessert (bread pudding) and coffee (café cortado--a shot of espresso with just a tiny dash of warm milk to "cut" the bitterness).

We also took advantage of the opportunity to present Emilio and Ruby with an engraved plaque as a token of our appreciation and affection. You should be able to see it hanging in the shop right away!

We continued our journey down out of the mountains and into the broad river valleys of the east. In one valley near Alcalá de Henares, Pedro Gomez, who as a youth was champion of Spain in karting what we called "go-karts") had us pull over to see the track he raced on as a teen.

The sun was low; we arrived at Ambite by sunset and decided to take some pretty roads in towards Madrid, leaving off the last 50 km of the route for another day. Some headed home, others of us headed to Emilio's shop for a victory drink in the tavern across the street.
My rear end was red and sore but it was well worth it.
If you are a classic biker or Bulleteer and will be in Madrid, this year we'll be taking a ride around every month. Just let me know!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Call to Bullets!

Bulleteers from all over Spain (and beyond) are welcome to join the II Annual Madrid Road Trip this SATURDAY, SEPT. 22, 2012.
We'll be leaving from the PLAZA SANTA ANA in Madrid (at the top of Calle Huertas). Meeting time: 8:30 am. We'll be riding clockwise around the Comunidad de Madrid, starting in the south and stopping for lunch at CASA PAULINO in LOZOYA around 2:00pm. The total trip may be as much as 450 km.

Everyone is invited to join us! No registration fee needed.