Lexmoto Adventure Club Article

Posted February 26, 2018

Father and Son take a trip of a lifetime!

Having previously undertaken a three-day solo round trip on a Lexmoto Gladiator to France to take a selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower, Mark Thomson had started to plan a European sports bike trip with his father, Paul, but due to unforeseen circumstances, it had to be postponed. Several years later, these plans come to fruition, the trip was on! With one slight difference... the one-litre sports bikes were substituted for scooters.

Owning a Lexmoto himself for years, Mark felt that the sense of comfort, practicality, storage capacity, simplicity and frugality gave him comfort in the Scooters ability to make the trip, so much so, that he surprised his dad on Christmas with a brand new Lexmoto FMS. He had the scooter delivered to dad's town of Teignmouth in Devon and rode down from Birmingham to start the trip along the A303 together rather than meet at Dover.

With the scooters run in and loaded with Lextek Panniers and Tailbag, it was time to set off on the trip that had been years in the making.

Mileage before the trip:
The FMS clocked in at just over 1000km with Paul having run it in for a couple of months around South Devon in preparation, whilst Mark's Gladiator clocked a whopping 11541km!

Day 1 - 30th July

On Saturday morning at 6 am, Mark and Paul set off on their merry adventure, with no Sat-Nav or breakdown cover, and arrived safely at accommodation for the night, the Drum Inn, located a couple of miles from the tunnel in Dover.

Ready to set off | On the train to France | Camp set up
Ready to set off | On the train to France | Camp set up

Day 2 - 31st July

They both caught the train to France and journeyed southbound along A26. After 60 miles they were escorted off the AutoRoute by the police who felt that the scooters had too much weight on them and told them to seek alternative routes, so they did! Arriving in Arras, Mark googled a campsite and found one called La Paille Haute, at which they spent the night.

Day 3/4 - 1st-2nd August

After travelling to San Quentin, they jumped back on the A26 to Reims and then on to the Val De Vesle campsite where they stayed for two nights due to weather conditions.

Day 5 - 3rd August

Continuing on towards Dijon, they camped 50km out of the city at De La Croisee.

On the road | Entering Saint-Quentin | Enjoying home comforts
On the road | Entering Saint-Quentin | Enjoying home comforts

Day 6 - 4th August

The two travellers entered Dijon and stopped at F1 Motel Nord to take shelter from the heavy rain.

Day 7/8 - 5th/6th August

With the weather clearing, they camped at La Colombiere Neydens, just 4km from the Swiss border where they stopped for two nights.

Day 9/10 - 7th/8th August

The day was spent heading towards the Italian border, south of Mont Blanc. The scooters coped remarkably well with the landscape of the Alps, considering the weight on them. Arriving at Campsite Simon Jean Marc in Modane, they stayed for two nights.

Bar Elena in Turin | Enjoying a well deserved drink | Travelling through the Alps
Bar Elena in Turin | Enjoying a well deserved drink | Travelling through the Alps

Day 11 - 9th August

Italy! Mark and Paul travelled through the Cottian Alps on the Col Du Frejus road tunnel to enter into Bardonecchia in Italy. At 2 pm, they stopped to have a couple of beers at Bar Elena in Turin and then proceeded in the direction of Genova on E70. They got off, 90km shy of Genova and camped at a farmhouse called Agriturismo Olivazzi in Quattordio.

Day 12/13 - 10th/11th August - Half Way!

The next day they arrived at Genova and googled another campsite called Villa Doria, just 0.8km from the seafront, after another two nights spent there, they started their journey home.

Day 14 - 12th August

They started to head home and 60km into the journey they gave the scooters an oil a change at the petrol station. 130km later Mark had a sudden loss of power. After changing the spark plug with a spare he had, it was still the same. He noticed that the old plug was black so he suspected that the diaphragm was torn. They were on an AutoRoute with no breakdown cover, so after another quick google to find the nearest campsite, they limped the 5km to Pra-vey Corsa Torino Oulx where they managed to rent a small caravan for 25 Euros per day

Day 15 - 13th August

The day was spent stripping the scooter carb and the as suspected torn diaphragm. They had to wait until Monday to order the part over the phone, but whilst staying there, they celebrated Paul's Birthday which was on the 16th August. He had candles in his pizza and Mark managed to get everybody to sing for him.

The beach in Genova | Stripping the Carb | Birthday Pizza!
The beach in Genova | Stripping the Carb | Birthday Pizza!

Day 20 - 18th August

DHL delivered the part at 1 pm and after fitting it the scooter still wouldn't start. It turned out that the needle that was sent was a different size so he fitted his old one to the new diaphragm and it started.

Day 23 - 21st August

Today is Mark's 45th birthday and now that the scooters have been fixed, they can set off home. They packed the scooters ready and had one last pizza for the road and set off from Oulx at 2.30pm. It is then that they truly put the scooters to the test. They rode all through the night, flat out, and arrived at the tunnel at 3 pm the next day 22nd August. It took them 24.5 hours to ride from Oulx to Calais. Once back in the country, they camped at the Drum Inn again.

One final pizza | The long road home | A couple of souvenirs
One final pizza | The long road home | A couple of souvenirs

Day 25 - 23rd August

The two decided to make a pit stop in Islington, London to see relatives and to kip the nights.

Day 26 - 24th August

Homeward bound, they left London at 2 pm and rode down to Teignmouth, arriving at 7 pm.

Day 30 - 28th August

Mark left Teignmouth to head home to Birmingham, the final leg of his journey. 40 miles outside of Birmingham on the busy M5, his drive belt snapped, luckily he carried his old one for a spare so fitted it on the hard shoulder and was home by 2 pm.

Mark's clock was now registering 15779km
That's a total trip distance of 4238km!

After finishing the trip and having time to reflect, Mark said:
"Overall I can't say enough about these scooters. We attracted a lot of attention by other travellers and locals when noticing the English plates and they all shared the same admiration for these scooters as we do.

The weight we carried on them also was phenomenal. 2x Airbeds, 2x Tents, 2x Tables, 2x Chairs, 2x Sleeping bag's etc.

For convenience I also fitted a 12v accessory adaptor which proved invaluable for the electric pump to blow airbeds and charge my smartphone which served as my Navigation, Language Translator, Google nearest campsites and to even make a brew via the heating element, I bought it off Amazon for a couple of quid from China.

With all that baggage weight, it still almost managed a top speed of 70mph to which I have a photo to prove.

The trip has really been a testament to the potential of these scooters.

I also feel more a sense of personal achievement, although it does pale insignificance of second place to my Father who did the same whilst carrying extra years and health issues.

I really believe this trip wouldn't have been possible without the Scooters."

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