Imagine waking up and telling yourself “think I’ll head to North Africa on my motorbike”
That’s what happened this year for an amazing group of people who decided to join Felix, Storm and myself, on what can only be described as a life changing experience.
So the time had come to check in and roll onto the ferry. A faff in itself but a well worth while faff indeed. The bikes are taken deep down into the bowels of the massive ferry and strapped down for their voyage to Santander. Once loading is complete we made our way
We leave the immigration control area and head out to the Moroccan insurance desk and money changing areas, to get the remaining essentials and then we can set off.
The change in culture is recognisable instantly! As we head away from Tangier passing through little villages and towns, the Moroccan life style jumps straight out at you. Everyone’s on a mission of some sort to get somewhere or do something that’s part of their daily routine, while we float past on our trusty steeds on our holidays.
Checked in to our hotel and awaiting our evening meal, we sat out on the balcony high up in the atlas hotel, looking down on the beautiful blue buildings of the blue city below and here we go again ! Sampling Moroccan Amber nectar! Again I feel I should point out that it’s not a beer tour with occasional biking, it’s very much the other way around.
Earlier in the day we met up with our support truck driver Peter Buitelaar. Peter will now follow us in his monster truck and give us peace of mind for the rest of the trip. Peter has spent the best part of his life running KTM off road adventures in the desert, riding Dakar routes and providing support for his clients. Having Peter on this trip as support for our group was a great asset and an honour. His jokes at dinner were also not bad but a sign of a man who had clearly spent a lot of time in the desert…….on his own! (Sorry Peter)
Now the team was complete, we could continue south passing through the imperial city of Meknes on our way to Fez, home for the next 2 nights, to allow us ample time to wander into the bustling Medina and Kashbah.
From Fez we continued south bound, deep into the desert, heading for Er-Rachidia towards our little desert oasis hotel Kasbah Aferdou, riding through some breath taking gorges and unbelievable roads on our way. We had the whole hotel to ourselves and it was just as well, for this evening Felix would celebrate his birthday in a rather fetching traditional Touareg blue dishdash! Like a catwalk model in Paris, New York or Milan the creator of Magellan Motorcycle Tours strutted with style and confidence! (Must have been that Amber nectar stuff again)
The following section of riding would see us go over the Tiz n Tichka pass. One of the worlds most famous roads, the Tiz n Tichka pass is not for the faint hearted. The views are incredible in all directions and the road itself as it twists and turns ahead of you, is a sight to behold in its own right. With on going road works and upgrades being carried out, it makes for interesting viewing when you stop at temporary lights to watch a 30 ton digger perched way up in the hill side push off hundreds of tons of rocks at a time onto the road below for a bulldozer to push off the cliff, allowing you to ride on. Arriving in Marrakesh we parked up and and checked into the Zalagh Kasbah hotel. Here we would spend the next 2 nights relaxing by the huge pool and of course taking the guided tour of the town and exploring all Marrakesh has to offer.
From Marrakesh to Imperial Rabat further north, we make our way to the capital city and back to civilisation in many ways. The more western feel capital city is a modern version of Moroccan society and we spend the evening enjoying a nice meal in a French restaurant in town, after some of that Amber nectar stuff again in the hotel prior to departure. Everyone in the group is thriving at this point because there is so much to discuss from scenery to personal experience along the way. The following morning before departing Rabat for Tangier, some of the group visited the Mausoleum some 300yards away from the hotel.
Heading now for the outskirts of Tangier, this day was about getting as close as possible to the port for our return to Spain the following morning. After arriving at the hotel we discovered Gezza had a leaky spoke or 2 on his mighty KTM 1290. After several unsuccessful attempts to stop the leaks we came to the conclusion that the best outcome was to hook up the trusty airman compressor and keep it topped up until we reached Spain the following morning. Little did we know the naughty little KTM wheel would start dumping air at a far greater pace as time passed. This did however bring with it some hysterical moments. A can of tyre weld went off in Felix’s face, fortunately not sealing off airways, once a second can was applied Gerry was advised to drive at 10mph up and down the road outside the hotel. Gerry done this very well, in fact so well he perhaps didn’t notice the juggernaut and 10 cars behind him, which also had to do 10mph for quite a bit. This was the second puncture that needed attention as Louisa’s bike had a little nail in the tyre, but being a British built Triumph, it was far too polite to be any trouble and with a top up here and there along with some superglue, it managed the rest of the trip like this.
It was now time for us all to leave Morocco behind and head back to Spain. We set off very early for our 8am crossing. Through customs we went and down into the ferry terminal, ready to board the ship. Once aboard we caught up on some shut eye and enjoyed a little nibble and coffee in the ships cafeteria.
Santander here we come! This was a day that I’m sure unexpectedly knocked the socks well and truly off the whole group. Given that some of the group had ridden the Picos before and knew what lay ahead in terms of riding experiences, I don’t think any of us could have anticipated an October heat wave or the virtually empty roads all the way through the Picos. The Picos is without doubt for me, one of the top 5 riding roads in the world. The road layout looks like it was drawn by an angry child with a crayon and the views are off the charts in any direction. We had a stellar riding day, soaking up the sun and cutting through the curves, taking photos, videos and stopping off to repeatedly tell each other how incredible the day was. The drone was launched and caught some incredible footage and we made the most of every inch of the road along the way.
We all arrived in Santander feeling higher than a kite. Once checked in at the ferry terminal, we cleared customs and proceeded to board the ferry for the final part of an exceptional journey.
It’s worth mentioning at this point that we had an accident during the trip early on in Morocco. A rider who misjudged a corner in Morocco unfortunately lost control of his machine and ended up in the ditch beside the road. Felix, myself, Storm and Peter our support truck driver attended to Michael at the side of the road. Michael rejoined the group in Rabat later in the trip. We have a set procedure for rider support in the event of an accident and up until now we have never had to use it. We were very proud to deliver that procedure to the letter and ensure Michaels ongoing treatment was a success and Michael himself felt the level of service he received was beyond the call of duty. It is our absolute mission to deliver the best levels of customer care as well as a biking holiday that exceeds your expectations. We all as a group wish Michael the very best for the future and look forward to welcoming him back next year to complete the tour.
This years Morocco trip from a guides perspective, was a fantastic experience. That is only made possible by the group of people who come with us on these adventures. To each and every one of you, Felix, Storm and myself are eternally grateful. You all were fantastic and made for such a fun trip. We hope to ride with you all again soon and wish you the very best in the future. If we can be of any assistance, please feel free to get in touch, it would be great to hear from you.
Stephen and Irene Keher.
Stephen was a fountain of knowledge throughout the trip. Most of that knowledge was Irene’s, but he passed it on well. As Stephen zig zagged his way through the desert, he would occasionally pass us on his stunning Triumph Trophy and end up at the hotel in evening under the guidance of his Tom Tom! But if we are honest! Mostly Irene’s guidance.
Derek Griffiths and Bev Fitzsimmons
War of the roses meets the Isle of Man TT. Again behind every strong BMW XR riding man, there is a stronger little dare devil woman. Providing endless evening entertainment with their vocal disapproval of one an other, it would have been a different trip without you both. Just do what your told Derek and everything will be fine. Oh and don’t mention the Japanese lady anymore for a longer life span.
A man made of indestructible stuff and only too willing to put it to the test! When Conrad bought his BMW GSA, he bought into the indestructible reputation which comes with a GS! So much so that when Conrad had completed a days riding, he wouldn’t think twice about throwing it down to the ground. At 81 + vat years old Conrad truly can do as he wishes with his bike, we think he’s earned the right!
Stuart and Vanessa Scarfe
Stuart rides his triumph explorer very well! But Vanessa (A.K.A Velma from scooby do) rides her Honda CB 500 just a little bit better (that’s a fiver you owe me)Stuart being a man who invented the wheel obviously had the sat nav fitted to his bike and Vanessa would follow behind. This led to a very funny comment at a coffee stop when Vanessa was asked what kind of Nav she was using and her response was “him, him in there, yeah that’s right my sat nav needs to go for a wee”
Michael unfortunately took flight on his ducati! But Michael was on a biking holiday and nothing was going to ruin that, so Michael bought a lovely ducati red wheelchair and returned gracefully to 2 wheels in no time at all. Michael discovered a new hidden talent for impersonations on this trip. Any time the doctor touched his foot, he belted out the perfect chewbacca tones! Rrrrooooooooooooowwwwww!
Patsy rides ginge! ginge is her pet name for her mighty KTM 1190! I’m not sure if the bike came in bright orange or if it ended up that colour burning up after re entry to the earths atmosphere after she goes supersonic! An IAM qualified observer, Patsy can get where she needs to be faster than a time traveling Delorean!
Pete has only been riding since December, but boy does he do it well. Petes on a mega tour and there’s one thing that will keep Peter safe on his travels! It’s not his kit or helmet, it’s not his Triumph explorer! It’s his manly beard! A beard so fine it earned him the nickname chuck Norris. After being bitten by a snake in the desert, after many days of writhing agony and despair, the snake finally died!
Paul and Nene Tarr
Sat upon their mighty GS, floating along like a cruise missile that’s been filled with shell optimax , these 2 superstars make it all look easy. If it runs on petrol and goes really fast paul will most likely have driven it! If it’s elegance in abundance then Nene has no rival. Each evening Nene looks like a movie star in a string of elegant evening wear, which actually now explains why paul had the same shirt on for 20 days! Claim a pannier man!
Lou rode her Triumph explorer for most of the trip with a nail in her rear tyre. I think when I relayed this information to her, the positive adventurer in her picked out the key words and changed the meaning to nailed it! From that day on that’s exactly what happened! Ride like the wind to the next stop………..nailed it! Think I’ll nail my tyre!
Sophisticated, stylish and a man with a fantastic vocabulary and the means to use it! A.K.A Gezza by the group! Gezza likes to ride his monster KTM 1290 in a fashion that tests the local constabularies patience. Referred to as a hooligan on a previous trip, I believe this to be a misrepresentation of the man! I’d refer to him as The Man……The Machine……
That majestic white swan on a BMW RT reputation Mike earned on the Harz tour earlier this year has vanished! On this trip we had “I fought the law and the law won” Mike! Discarding police advice, Mike decided to ride his bike just how Mike wished! Which I guess he did like a majestic white swan…….with blue lights behind it!
Davids Ducati Multistrada arrived in Spain with tyres that were somewhat legally questionable. By that I mean bald as a bald thing on a bald day but balder! Did David care? Of course not because David was on a Magellan Motorcycle Tour and finding a pair of tyres for a Ducati multistrada in Spain was easy! Because Felix did it! David took the opportunity to run the new rubber in like a red arrow on Spain’s fabulous A roads(good lad)
Our Dutch support truck driver and I shared a great drive to Fez to collect Michael and return him to Rabat. On this trip we assassinated many European politicians, and well pretty much solved the worlds issues. We may need some guns to complete this task and some diplomatic immunity but rest assured the world will be a better place for it……..we think!
Behind every great Magellan Motorcycle Tours owner, stands a great B movie Alfred! The ongoing joke with Felix and his old man is that they are a B movie batman and Alfred. There’s nothing B movie about you David! A class act all the way and endless fountain of knowledge, the only thing I wouldn’t do for you is clean out your bat cave after the worst case of tagine tummy in history!
The little rock in the back ground, that keeps a caring eye on all of us. A nurse by trade and a superstar by nature Storm floats in and out when needed and gives another layer of support to all of us. Called into duty when Michaels accident occurred, she clearly used all her nursing powers to see him through. This obviously took a lot of energy from her as she snored like a deep sleeping camel for the rest of the trip!………..and continues to do so to this day!
The man who makes it all possible! When the B movie batman story came out, it took me back to a trip we did which finished with a final nights stay in France. Unknown to Felix at the time he would undo himself that evening by explaining to me that the batman movie which was out at the time had a funny French translation. Batman in France was not immune to an attempt to make it more French by giving it the translated name………….FLYING BALD MOUSE MAN! I’ll take Alfred any day!
Billy Byfield (myself)
Well given that I’m writing this myself, I can say things like, handsome, muscular, great hair, terrific jokes, fantastic! Amazing! But I guess there’s no point ruining it now! So to keep the story short, I was the tubby guy with the funny accent and the grey hair who insisted on telling you the weather every day!
Thank you all for a trip we will never forget.
Billy and Storm.