9 days, 4350 miles, 1 girl, 1 motorbike – Pyrenees and Alps – Part 6
20/06/2016 – day 6 part 2
Cagnes-Sur-Mer – Nice – Col de Turini – Col de la Bonette – Col du Mont-Cenis – Bourg-Saint-Maurice
After I got to Col de la Bonette (previous part HERE), started heading towards Col du Mont-Cenis. Roads were great, almost no traffic at all, perfect weather. At some point stopped in some small town to look at the map and decide where to stop for the night, and book a hotel. Was struggling to get a signal but eventually managed to book a hotel in Bourg-Saint-Maurice.
It was already well in the afternoon and still had quite a long way to go, so I had to get a move on to get to hotel before 10pm. Plus I wasn’t really fancy riding in the mountains after it gets dark. And, as I found out that evening, it’s better to get off the mountain passes before it even starts getting dark. As soon as sun started going down (around 7 or 8 – I would have thought I still have about 2 hours of light until 9 or 10 so why not stay on the bike until then?), but as soon as sun started going down it got cold very quickly. In fact I didn’t really feel cold, it was just not as warm, and there was no sunshine anymore, just the shadow. And the roads were dead, I mean while there was almost no traffic at all earlier on, there were still some passing cars every minute or five (or ten), but at this point there was not a single car for at least half an hour, maybe more, until I got off the mountain pass. And I had no phone signal there, so if I broke down I would be stuck there for don’t know how long. Anyway I didn’t break down, had some electrical issues but I could keep going.
Not far before Col du Mont-Cenis I noticed burning smell coming off my bike. Slowed down and tried to find out where is it coming from but then I could no longer smell it. Small while later could smell it again, but again only for a short while… As I was getting close to Col du Mont-Cenis, i decided to try keep going and stop once I get there and have a look. But once I stopped I could no longer smell it again so I had no idea where to look. Took few pictures and decided to try keep going.
Views were amazing, but it was getting late and I wanted to get to hotel as quickly as I could, so got back on the bike and set off again.
Well, 5 minutes later I had to stop again… Views were breathtaking that I wanted to take another picture, and that burning smell started coming off my bike again… Took a seat off but couldn’t see anything obvious, roughly checked the wires but didn’t see any broken wires, and well, as soon as I stopped the smell went away so I couldn’t get to the source of the problem, so back on the road again.
Short while later there was some small town, so stopped again hoping that I could have a better look at my bike but still, the smell was only coming off every now and then and once I stopped, it went away so I couldn’t find where it’s coming from. So set off once again.
The mountain pass started, was climbing up the hill as the sun was going down. There was no one else, could not see a single car for a long while, the atmosphere seemed ‘dangerous’ but exciting at the same time.
At some point high up on that mountain pass between Col du Mont-Cenis and Bourg-Saint-Maurice there were roadworks and traffic lights, the light was red so I stopped. Waited few minutes, it wasn’t changing and I could see no cars for a long time at least 20 minutes or so, so I decided to not wait any longer and go. In the worst case if there was car coming, it looked like there was enough enough space for both anyway. It took few minutes to get through these roadworks but finally got through them (and there were no coming cars). At this point I saw the highest walls of snow I seen so far, it was amazing to ride in between them.
Once I got down off the pass, stopped for one last pic:
And then just kept going to the hotel, it was only few minutes away. Hotel was called Hotel La Petite Auberge. Luckily I no longer had “burning smell” issues in my bike. When I arrived, there were quite few other bikes parked there, but it was late so I didn’t see anyone around. Walked in, checked in and went to my room. I was really hungry though and there was a restaurant downstairs, so I went to ask what time do they stop serving at (it was around 10pm already). But they were nice and said that it’s ok to order, so ordered an omelette, which was really good.
Went back to my room, looked at the map to see where to go tomorrow, and went to sleep.
And here’s the video (7:06 is where this part starts, everything until then is in my previous post):
The burning problem in my bike seemed to disappear for the rest of this trip, actually I did another trip (7k miles) couple months later and all was fine. But few weeks after my second trip I was at work, and my work mate walked in and said that I left my indicator on, which wasn’t possible as I switched ignition off. Went outside and actually, left indicator was on, it wasn’t flashing, was just still on. Strange. Turned ignition key on, but bike wouldn’t switch on, and indicator wasn’t going off. Tried to disconnect the battery but when I touched battery connections with screwdriver, a smoke started coming off it.
It turned out that under the seat, there was a bolt sticking out the frame, and about 30 wires tied together along the frame, and that bolt went through some of the wires, causing the short. Got the wires taped back together and away from that bolt and all is good.