I want to tour

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I want to tour

Post  thundercatCHRIS on Sun Apr 20 2014, 01:28

Basically I am in the middle of getting my LGV liceince and i want to just get away. Away from the stress and just ride around europe.

I am looking for any hints and tips to ridding abroad. Also i would like some company.

Please could you please leave me some useful websites and some gear/mods that will be useful to while out in the wilderness.

Thanks in advance.
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Tips for Abroad

Post  Dogsbody on Wed Apr 23 2014, 17:44

I'm no expert but gear wise I rate the Jofama panniers and a tank bag (the magnetic type) Oxford or similar.
Sat Nav, I would class as essential but in conjunction with maps.
Over night ferry from Harwich is ideal for me, as after a 200 mile journey to the coast you have to sleep somewhere, plus you hit the continent first thing in the morning.
Assen of course is a good destination for the TT.
The Alps, Susten Pass, Furka Pass and Grimsel Pass can all be linked up, with Interlaken being an ideal base to camp.
Normandy area is interesting for the D-day thing.
And ear plugs in case any campsite is noisy !
Hope that's some help.
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Re: I want to tour

Post  thundercatCHRIS on Wed Apr 23 2014, 23:11

Thanks.

I was thinking of a sat nav and a 12v charger on the bike. Also i was thinking some soft side paniers, a bag on the rear seat and a tank bag with all the vitals in.

My main plan of the route was to go over to France down the coast to some of the D-day sites and then I basically get lost for 2 weeks.
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Re: I want to tour

Post  SteveCat on Thu Apr 24 2014, 00:09

Have been over a few times, but by no means an expert.

Euro medical and bike recovery cover, the former you can get an EHIC card, the latter probably with your bike insurance.
If you don't parlez, possibly plan your stop overs. I found hotels/motels to be very over priced and the place I stayed at supposedly understood English, but didn't. I had planned my trip there to stop at the worst place I could imagine, Mc Donalds  - at least  knew there would be a loo and something I could recognise . They have self serve terminals which have English as an option.
I planned my fuel stops to be at a supermarket, Carrefour, most are pay at pump and accept UK cards. If you can get a credit card with no service fees on international transactions.

Turn your phone off!!  or at least limit the roaming fees, I know Vodaphone have a package worth looking at - others may have similar - I know Virgin mobile don't.
Stay off the Autoroute if you can, they do their job but boring motorways which cost not only at the tolls but at the pump, can't get 93 RON without ethanol, the E10 free stuff is really expensive.

Read up on the rules of the road etc on a site like the AA.
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Re: I want to tour

Post  thundercatCHRIS on Thu Apr 24 2014, 00:14

WOW. I did think it would be a little easier than that sounds.
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Re: I want to tour

Post  SteveCat on Thu Apr 24 2014, 10:06

Sorry, did go at it a bit like a bull in china shop - a little research before you head off may save you money, I'd rather use the money in the tank than pay my bank or mobile provider.
When I said Credit card, I should have said a bank card, some banks and building societies offer no fee Debit Cards.

Here's a :2:to the AA regarding France.
Don't worry about the stickers needed on your lid, that's an old law. I've also not bothered about the breathalysers.

A [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]to a post for finding Petrol Prices and station locations in France.
If you don't know, France pretty much shuts down on a Sunday, supermarkets are closed as do some pay at kiosk/shop petrol stations.
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Re: I want to tour

Post  mrfrance on Thu Apr 24 2014, 11:47

I think you've scared him Steve....

Excellent advice though Very Happy
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Re: I want to tour

Post  SteveCat on Thu Apr 24 2014, 12:21

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:I think you've scared him Steve....

Oops, soz  stars
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Re: I want to tour

Post  bobh on Thu Apr 24 2014, 22:39

If you can, get a Nationwide card. That doesn't load the exchange rate for purchases in Euros. Saga also do one, but I guess you don't qualify for one of those yet (lucky you!) You can also get pre-payment cards from some FX dealers like CaxtonFX, which can be the cheapest way of getting cash out of an ATM. More info at [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

If you don't speak the language, you're probably better off in the Germanic-speaking areas (Flemish Belgium, Holland, Germany etc., where English is widely spoken). But it really is worth learning a few key phrases in the local language, like asking for a room. Obviously some open questions might lead to an incomprehensible answer, so try to keep it to ones with a yes/no answer!

At the risk of being denounced as a Luddite, DON'T use a satnav, or at least only use it to get you somewhere if you get lost or you're in a hurry. I've had too many instances like this one - these two guys, on sports bikes, were arguing over whose satnav was correct and whether the farm track it had led them up would take them to their destination (Cochem, on the Mosel river, as it happens). Needless to say, it didn't, and in fact turned into rutted mud after a couple of hundred metres.

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You'll note that the fourth member of the party is expressing his disapproval in the time-honoured way - though I'm not sure that hi-viz is really a good look for that activity.

So - get some decent maps. In France the IGN series of regional maps at 1:200,000 scale are pretty good, and easy to carry on a bike compared to a full road atlas. Available at most newsagents (e.g. Maison de la Presse) or big supermarkets. And look out for signposts - something that seems to be turning into a lost art.

The last time I took out recovery insurance for a bike for Europe I shopped around and got it a lot cheaper than my insurance company were quoting. Though if you're with Carole Nash it comes as standard. Some of the recovery people won't touch vehicles over 10 or 12 years old.

A few years ago I did a guide to riding in France for some friends who were off touring there for the first time. It's a fairly large Word document. Is there some way of posting it so it can be linked to, in the same way as I use Photobucket for pictures? I could put it on a Google drive, but I'm not sure how accessible that would be.
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Re: I want to tour

Post  BlueZed on Fri Apr 25 2014, 19:18

Think I mentioned it before somewhere on here but if you're looking for relatively cheap accommodation with decent standards and usually an English speaker available then look at Youth Hostels. I've stayed in many on bike trips but also with the family and they've all been really good for what you pay for them.

Also, while I think it's very good to be prepared for every eventuality I don't think you need to go into as much detail as suggested here... Just pick the bits important for you to feel comfortable and just go out there and ride. A lot of the most memorable things on trips like that happen when something goes slightly wrong and you need to get help from the locals. Even with no language skills I've never had any problems getting help in France, Italy, Croatia or the Czech Republic.

And if your route takes you to Bavaria or Southern Germany in general then give me a shout. Maybe we can put you up for a night on the sofa  wink thumb up
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Re: I want to tour

Post  Marine Boy on Tue May 06 2014, 18:14

Check out photos from some of my recent Cat Tours in Europe, they'll give you a flavour for what fun it can be. Wise words indeed above. Guest houses/B&B can be expensive. We're using mobile homes now, self catering with someone who can cook (my mate Ady) they're great value for money depending on when you go. We have to use the Channel Tunnel to Calais as one lad gets so sick on the ferry can't sail (lightweight) £54 return for a bike on the tunnel and 35 minutes.

Entitled "V2 Tour" (rocket) tour this year Northwest France + Ypres + Agincourt. May 19th to 23rd - can't ********* wait!!!!!

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It's now the 24th May and I've just got back from the V2 Tour. Here's the link to the photos...... [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
That's me below with the yellow sliders.

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