A Journey Half-Done by Ric McNally

Welcome to Thoughts from the Road. Have you ever been on motorcycle tour that got cut short? Would you ride the same route again to ‘complete’ it? Here’s Ric McNally on a journey half-done…

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Thoughts From the Road is a corner on Mad or Nomad for motorcycle travellers to share short columns from their experiences travelling the world. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments and join the discussion.

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By Ric McNally

Motorcycle tourer and traveller

Ric is an all season, all weather rider with 13 years experience riding throughout Britain and Europe. He’s an avid motorcycle tourer and regularly camps on his bike tours. He’s always up for a few miles, a tour and a coffee with those as equally passionate about the ride. 

You can follow Ric’s adventures here: 

More from Ric on Mad or Nomad:

An Incomplete Motorcycle Tour

A motorcycle trip can be an exhilarating adventure, offering a unique way to experience the world. For us, a two-person, two-bike journey to the stunning island of Corsica promised the thrill of the open road, the beauty of untouched landscapes, and the allure of Mediterranean charm. Setting off from the heart of Yorkshire, we embarked on a journey that would lead us through the toll roads of France, across the sea, and into the rugged mountains of Corsica.

Our continental adventure began as we navigated the intricate web of France’s toll roads. The smooth, well-maintained highways made for easy riding, allowing us to cover significant ground quickly. Despite the occasional toll booth interruptions, the journey was marked by scenic vistas of the French countryside with rolling hills and quaint villages dotting the landscape. Each mile brought us closer to the Mediterranean coast, where the next phase of our journey waited.

We arrived at the bustling port of Toulon where we boarded the 14-hour ferry to Ajaccio, Corsica’s vibrant capital. The ferry ride itself was an experience, with the vast expanse of the sea stretching out in all directions. As we watched the coastline of France fade into the horizon, escorted by a port patrol boat, anticipation built for the adventures that awaited us on the island. The long ferry ride was a welcome respite and allowed us to prepare for the next leg of our journey.

In Ajaccio we were greeted by the island’s unique blend of French and Italian influences evident in its architecture and cuisine. The road from Ajaccio to Calvi took us through the heart of Corsica’s mountainous terrain. Each bend in the road revealed breathtaking views from steep cliffs plunging into the azure sea to dense forests clinging to the slopes and tiny villages perched precariously on hillsides. Riding through this landscape was like stepping into a different world where nature’s beauty reigned supreme.

We made it to Calvi and planned on using our accommodation as a base camp to further explore the island. However, our journey hit an unexpected snag. One of our motorcycles developed an electrical issue, forcing us to halt our riding for a day and a half. Whilst awaiting a new battery and mechanical advice, we felt somewhat stranded in Calvi. Although, there are much worse places to pass the time than this beautiful town with rich blue bays and a towering citadel. During this downtime we explored the town, mingled with locals and savoured Corsican hospitality. While this pause in riding offered its own charms, we longed to get back on the bikes.

When the bike was finally repaired (temporarily) we resumed our riding with a renewed sense of urgency. However, the freedom to explore was no longer on our side as the mechanical issue had meant we were riding on risk of exacerbating the original fault – and we had to make the difficult decision to cut our ride short. As we rode back to the port, a sense of loss hung over us. The roads of Corsica, with their endless curves and stunning vistas, seemed to beckon us to explore further, yet we were left with the hollow satisfaction of an incomplete journey. 

Corsica’s beauty, however, left an indelible mark on our souls. Each bend in the road offered a new marvel and each village a new story. Though we didn’t complete our planned route, the island’s rugged charm and breathtaking views had captured our hearts. As we boarded the ferry back to the mainland, we knew that this was not the end but merely a pause in our Corsican adventure. The longing to return, to conquer the roads we had missed, would drive us back to this Mediterranean gem someday – our hearts forever intertwined with the winding roads and stunning landscapes of Corsica.

Curiously, having completed many tours before this, I find a person has a quiet sense of pride and satisfaction when you achieve a planned route and have experienced all you had set out to experience. Yet, we were left longing, as if we had missed out on what was truly on offer for bikers in Corsica. And it makes me wonder how many others lament the conclusion of a journey half-done…

Ric McNally

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1 thought on “A Journey Half-Done by Ric McNally”

  1. Good post fella. I cant say i have had this happen to myself but my tours are usually a lot shorter and I have not had a bike break down. Saying that I can imagine the frustration and would want to return myself. I now fancy a visit to Corsica. Cheers

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