Part 2: Brit abroad Scooter Club Madrid – Ride to Hell |FEATURE
Last week we brought you part one of Doug Turner’s Spanish scooter adventure onboard a Lambretta he’d bought a while back and not had a chance to get home from Spain. Obviously, the easiest solution was to fly out and ride it back…
Will he get back home safely to Cheshire?
Day 3: Conkering Spain
Friday we disrobed the scooters and went off to explore, some 80 miles plus on another “Magical Mystery Tour” of Raul’s. We climbed to the castle above the village to see where they held the reggae fest in 2019, in the auditorium in front of it and then up to one of the highest villages for the local best steak grills in the area. Wind and rain swept roads, conker trees (Balboa) fallen, it seemed like an Amazonian ghost ride. We finally got there, it was closed! The owners were out buying some meat, so plan B, get our own food, open up a local restaurant in the village, invite the owner to join us for loads of great food, local wine and Castaña lager – local homebrew. Carlos was our “cocinero” (cook) for the BBQ. The restaurant was just 100 metres above our digs, so we could freewheel back down afterwards.
After stuffing ourselves it was back to the digs at 4.30 for a siesta, good old-fashioned Spanish style. Unfortunately, I am not Spanish, and Santi is nocturnal, so we stayed up and watched “Spike Island” on my laptop, washed down with more Mahou.
Molino de Agüita
The next bit was an almighty blur, if you are in the area, you have to experience the weird and wonderful El Molino de Agüita (watermill), bar-restaurant, a walkable (ish) distance from the village. We went there for a few drinks, waiting for Vincente and José Luis (JL) to arrive. The décor was “Dali-esque”, I really like the hippy, funky, arty design of this converted water mill, the ambience of young couples and friends and great service. Whilst here we decided to book our final nights meal here.
The Magnificent Seven
Now we were the magnificent seven. We got Vincente and JL to the digs and then back to the Polloza. This is where it became very blurry, very drunk and very loud. I sloped off after two hearty meals, probably two bottles of wine and enough Mahua to fill a couple of crates. I believe I left the guys at about 2.00, three of them reopened the Polloza with the owner, still out till 6.00. Was Saturday going to be written off?
Vincente and JL woke up early, so far Álvaro, Santi and I had already had three ‘first nights’, but I felt we needed fresh air. Carlos and I took Vincente and JL out. JL had a beautifully restored LD and Vincente, a fabricator who had crafted a LD loop and legshields on a Li, this is probably the best example of this I have ever seen, a perfect height and match. We did a small tour and filled up with petrol, we got back to the hotel at 1.00. Everyone was asleep.
We had lunch booked, about an hour and a bit away at 2.30, so everyone up. To say how quiet and peaceful it was, was an understatement. O Pontón, on the River de Viega was our destination. The most elaborate outdoor restaurant and bar you could think of. So isolated it had no telephone coverage and/or WiFi, so credit cards could not be accepted. The menu was not a selection of choice, but how many of you want to eat. Probably my favourite restaurant there, but we were all hungover, I think the most anyone drunk was two small bottles of beer.
Even more food
We got back to the village just in time to shower and go out to eat again. This was not gonna be a late night, due to our rides back the following day. At the Molineta, the table was reserved and the food pre-ordered. All the lads had fresh pulpo (Octopus) and I had chicken. It was the end to a great four days together and I could not thank the guys enough. A couple of beers then back to the digs.
Sunday we were up early, Santi and Vincente sped off to Madrid, Carlos and I, 125 miles to León, JL and Álvaro struggling to get up and Raul comatose.
Carrefour in León is where Carlos and I said our “goodbyes” and ‘then there was one.’ For me 130 miles of ‘A’ roads to Reinosa. This is where the heart and mind were going into overtime. I had been riding with some master Lambretta mechanics and the last time I split an engine if needed was a distant memory. Breaking down was not my main worry, suddenly I had gone 100 km without seeing a petrol station, with just a litre spare with me. I made it to Carrión de Los Condes, still on the route of the Camino de Santiago.
The local old boys were impressed with the Lambretta. Confident, I did the final distance to Reinosa, the Hotel Vejo, where the Club Lambretta d’España held their bi-annual rally last year. So I knew the hotel and area. It was a quiet night all by myself. Lager and steak, then followed the exploits of the red north-west football clubs on social media.
Up early and off to Santander. The last 80 miles, in the rain…all was good, until seven miles before the ferry when the Lambretta seemed to hit a bit of diesel on a roundabout, I kept it up and pulled it to a halt. I made it to the ferry but it was delayed by two hours due to bad weather. So a few drinks in the port, doing my duty by helping elderly couples fill out their passenger location form for entry to the UK. Loads of bikers seemed impressed with my intrepid travels. One pointed out my low back tyre…
Back in Blighty
A night on the boat, ferry breakfast and hit the first petrol station in Plymouth to inflate the tyres and then start my journey. 125 miles to my brother’s in Warminster via the ‘A’ roads. Dinner, bath, Kronenbourg and a great catch up before setting off the next morning. Thanks to everyone from Somerset, Gloucester and Bristol for the offer of a bed.
Remember you’re a Womble
I went ‘A’ roads to Bath, then forwent the advice of Barrie Smith and my brother, I jumped on the M4, M5 and later the M6. On the M5 near Worcester, the worst happened, a rear blow out at just over 55. I think I felt sorry for the lorry driver doing 56 mph behind me and I must thank him. The back was swaying like a shark’s tail when it had just been hooked by a fisherman. I brought it to a halt, kept it up, it was on a four-lane live motorway, right under a camera.
I called the police to help out and close the lane. One went past and pulled into an emergency layby, 100m away. One of the Traffic Officer ‘Wombles’ turned up and put the ‘X’ sign on the matrix, the Worcestershire ‘bizzie’ was great and pushed my Lambretta to the layby so I could change the wheel. Womble closed the lane again so I could pull out safely. Back on the road.
Then tragedy happened again. The spare wheel, (which had a new inner tube) must have got pinched on fitting. Within 40 miles I felt it was going down. I stopped, checked it and carried on. Stopped again and it was nearly deflated. I called the recovery, they offered to take me home. Instead, I got taken to the Classic Scooter Company. Once there, Gary sorted me out with two wheels and Wendy made sure I had a drink. Thanks to them, I could finish the journey.
1500 miles and home
I got home, wifey was pleased to see me safe and sound. I am estimating with Raul’s “Magical Mystery Tours”, I probably completed 1,400–1,500 miles on a standard Lambretta 150 with its 18mm carb and 38mm exhaust. Carrying all my gear and my weight of 94 kgs.
All I changed was the seat and two wheels. Nothing mechanical went wrong in all that journey. Have faith in your classic scooter.
Northern Spain is very cheap and if you can experience it, please try it.
Words and photos: Doug Turner
Doug’s part 2 gallery
The rain doesn’t only fall in Spain, get your waterproofs ready…