Once again, Rodi Motor Services organized last September the ‘Rodibook’ challenge. At this edition riders had to discover over 700 km through different mountain ports mostly in Catalonia (Spain) and, partly, the south of France.
The 5th edition has gathered 700 riders from all over Spain and other European countries such as Andorra, France and Portugal.
How does Rodibook work?
Departing from Vielha, the whole trip is run with a roadbook and a passport in order to get the checkpoints validated. The route is announced to the participants during the verification process. Therefore, there is no option to prepare the tour in advance. You might say: how old-fashioned! No, it is not. The point of this event is to discover new places by surprise only having the indications of the roadbook.
In our case, to be able to use the roadbook provided by the organisation, we were equipped with a VectorNote. This A5 device is equipped with 3 leds (for night navigation) and very easy to fix and remove from the bike using a ram-mount. It is also waterproof and we were able to check its reliability making the experience easy and enjoyable.
1st Stage: Vielha-Castell de Mur
Before starting the adventure, we stopped to refuel our tanks in order not to have any surprises on route. Our bikes do not have large fuel tanks: 17 litres for the Kawasaki z800, and 19 litres the Yamaha FZ6. The excitement did not wait and just leaving from Vielha we headed south to Benabarre. There, we diverted to a secondary road to Tremp, where we bumped into the first beautiful landscapes after sunrise. To say that the asphalt was pretty damaged with stretches and sand. Afterwards, we reached Castell de Mur, the first checkpoint on route.
2nd Stage: Castell de Mur-Ermita Aguilar de Basella
Continuing with this exciting adventure, we went through even worse roads until reaching Ermita Aguilar de Basella, the second checkpoint. There, we stopped to have breakfast. The organisation provided us with a sandwich and water. We did not stay long because the adventure was long and we must took advantage of the first hours of the day when our bodies were still fresh.
3rd Stage: Ermita Aguilar de Basella-Berga
We continued winding through the countryside and enjoying the landscapes that this part of Catalonia was showing us. Along the way, we bumped into the Monument to Le Tour de France which was built in 2009 according to the stage Barcelona-Ordino Arcalís (Andorra). Quick stop to take some photos and, let’s go! 🙂 The road that headed us to the following checkpoint had some signs missed, so quite a lot of people got lost. Fortunately, we took the right diversion that allowed us to arrive to the third checkpoint located at Berga Resort The Mountain and Wellness camp site. At that moment, it was almost midday and it was time for lunch. Rodi motor services prepared us a great meal there in order to recover energies. In our case, we had the chance to share table with our friends from motoTaller, a specialised magazine for motorbike dealers and garages.
4th Stage: Berga-Els Portals
After 1 hour stop for lunch, we had a quick restart for a sooner stop after a few kilometres. The organisation offered us free coffee at this checkpoint, located at the Petrol station ‘Petromiralles‘ near the C-16 motorway, in Cercs, Barcelona. So, we drank the coffee quickly and continued our way to the next point.
5th Stage: Els Portals-Ribes de Freser
Continuing our adventure, we continued towards Ribes de Freser where we realised that the sky was getting darker: rain and storm was approaching. A few kilometres before reaching Ribes de Freser, started to rain heavily. We were lucky because we were just a minute far from a petrol station. Time to refuel our tanks and and put on the raincoat. Once we finally arrived to Ribes de Freser, we passed our fifth checkpoint. From there, some bikers decided to get back to Vielha and avoid the part of the route that went through French territory. It was not our case, though 🙂
6th Stage: Ribes de Freser-Mas Guardiole “Montboló”
From there we headed Coll de Jou (video), Coll d’Ares, Col de la Seille, … The thing was that driving the Kawasaki z800 and the Yamaha FZ6 with this heavy weather conditions was hard, and we were forced to slow down. The track was paved with concrete and did not filter lot of water. After departing Vielha early that morning, this was the first serious problem (for security reasons, obviously) and the schedule that we had planned was delayed because of this.
Once we arrived to Prats-de-Molló, already in French territory, we got stopped by another incident: there was a Catalonia ‘pro-independence’ manifestation. We were stopped by the French gendarmerie for about 20 minutes. It was fine for us because it allowed us time to talk with other riders. After the pause, we continued towards Montboló. It was fun because there was a large group of bikers that continually overtook us. Later on, they stopped or got the wrong way. And this time, it was not an exception! 🙂 In the village of Amélie-les-Bains-Palalda, we had to take a junction to ‘climb’ to the penultimate checkpoint of this great adventure. Well, we were after them and we warned them using our horn because, once again, they were going in the wrong way. From that moment until we finally reached the checkpoint, all of them followed us. Once we got to Montboló, we got our passport validated and were able to see the Mediterranean sea!! Awesome!!
7th Stage: Mas Guardiole “Montboló”-Martinet “La Bruna hostel”
After reaching Montboló and see the Mediterranean sea, we had a great feeling in our body that cannot be described with just words. We got that far!! In our case, we could almost decide whether to go home in Barcelona (less than 3 hours) or continue our adventure with the roadbook. Obviously, we had no doubt in our minds. We were enjoying like children! So we rided again on our z800 & FZ6 and continued the roadbook because there were still some mountain ports to go through.
8th Stage: Martinet “La Bruna hostel”-Vielha
On our way to Puigcerda (Catalonia, ES) by the road that comes from Perpignan (France), the night started to fall. In fact, it was there in Puigcerda when it got completely dark. In front of us there was still 2 mountain ports to go through before getting finally to Vielha: Port del Cantó and Port de la Bonaigua. It was in this last port where we had to see the consequences of some traffic accidents. A crash between a car and a motorcycle (hopefully without further damage). Driving at night is hard and difficult not only because the road is darker. There are lots of wild animals such as rabbits, hares, wild pigs, bears … We were super cautious because in the middle of nature, we already know that at night some animals get out to “hunt” and, sometimes, they pass through the roads.
Finally, we arrived to Vielha after a 17 hour ride on the bike !! Completely knackered but VERY HAPPY !! Rodibook 2016 achieved !!!
By the way, we have been lucky and we were catched by the official video Rodibook 2016 –> minute 2:42!!! hahaha
In addition, we also prepared our own video also available in our YouTube channel:
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