Europe bike-trip this summer - any advice would be highly appreciated - GL1800Riders
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post #1 of 54 (permalink) Old 04-09-2017, 09:55 PM Thread Starter
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Europe bike-trip this summer - any advice would be highly appreciated

Hi all,

I am in the middle of planning my vacation for this summer.
Just me, the wife, the rented Goldwing, as much luggage as we can carry and 2 video cameras.
Celebrating that both me and Mrs are turning the big 5-0 .

Considering to do something like this:
- rent my Goldwing from Marseille - doing 2 days on French riviera, 2 days on Italian Riviera, 1 day crossing Tuscany, 4 days on the seashores of Venice, 4 days crossing the Alps in Switzerland (Stelvio Pass, Lugano, Furka, Geneva) and 2 more days coming back to Marseille thru Provence. All together, about 15 days.

Has anyone done this journey or at least some partial of it in the past?

I am looking for any type of suggestions; like "do this" or "don't do that", or "you have to go see this or that"

Really, from luggage solutions, to booking advices, to must-see travelling points, to shortcuts to best ice cream parlors, to points of contact you might recommend, to GoPro tips and tricks, GPS setups, to riding advices - anything - I am interested in everything you are willing to share.

And I thank you in advance for that !
Rudy

Last edited by RudyDurko; 04-09-2017 at 09:57 PM.
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post #2 of 54 (permalink) Old 04-09-2017, 11:19 PM
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With any luck Bob will see your post and respond in the mean time their web site
http://www.bobkatsjaunt.com/
also
Gene and Neda, they left Toronto, heading for south America, this August will be 5 years ago (you might have run across them since they were your neighbors ) - the wife and I retraced there route though Canada last year, hope to see them in Europe next year.
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...-quit-my-65590
-
You really should go over to Adventure Rider or the Hubb....that is where the folks that make these kind of trips hang out and there is lots of great advice.
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/
http://advrider.com/index.php
-
We I to make a comment, you have not given yourself enough time........that is the reason we have not gone yet and we take a month each summer make a trip.
We did a 3 weeks in Ireland a few years back and it just was not enough time.
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Last edited by bingle50; 04-09-2017 at 11:28 PM.
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post #3 of 54 (permalink) Old 04-10-2017, 04:26 AM
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I went for15 days last September to Italy. Booked a tour with Edelwiess Tours. My first time to Italy. My wife and I were in a Harley Electra Glide. I think for the roads that was to big of a bike unless you rode the expressways. All the roads were fair to good condition.
People were friendly, language was not a problem. Gas stations are a bit to get use to. Most were unattened so a credit card was a must. Food wasn't a issue, and I'm a picky eater lol lots of grilled veggies. We had our laundry done bye the hotel. Made that easy ! Hotels were clean, but very different than here in the States. All were old and no chain hotels . We stayed inside several citys where the streets are one-way and narrow, most were brick streets. It would be a challenge on a wing at slow speeds.
Motorcycles goto the front of the lines at traffic lights or any construction. You split lanes all the time. If your out on a two lane road and come up behind a vechile you pass on the centre line even with on comming traffic. Ya it takes some getting use to but the cars will always give you the room. Parking is hard to find and usually in small areas.
Here's my spot link to the trip
https://spotwalla.com/embed.php?id=1...ult&refresh=no
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post #4 of 54 (permalink) Old 04-10-2017, 07:06 AM
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You're trying to do far too much in your time allocation. Unless you simply like using multi lane roads and zooming to your next location. Europe is full of small, beautiful roads, mountain passes and spectacular scenery. IMO you need to take it at a relaxed pace to fully appreciate it. A credit card makes life easy as it does in most places. If you can get one with no foreign charges that will save you a bit if cost is an issue. Some folk like to have a full plan but we just see where we are, and where we might like to be the next day and use Booking.com or Virago and book somewhere for the following day.

When we're home and speaking to folks about distances they don't understand - we look for about 120-140 maximum per day and travel mostly back roads and see the countryside rather than the roads. These roads are small and narrow in places but delightful. My partner rides her Can-Am Spyder and there have been times where she only just squeezed through but we've never got stuck. Europe is old and many of the villages are ancient and the roads and spaces between buildings were designed only for a donkey and cart. The wing is a big bike for these roads if you're used to mainly highway miles but you'll quickly adapt and will be fine.

Drivers are good with bikes and they're often a talking point too. Italy is nutty and riding the towns can be scary.
Bikers everywhere wave to each other, a low left hand, often with two fingers stuck out. NO, not a V! If you pass someone, stick out your right leg as a friendly gesture.

You didn't say when you are going but the weather can be hot during the summer but pretty chilly up the high passes.

I would stay away from the coastal routes in the holiday areas and holiday times, worth doing a bit of it but very busy, lots of traffic, stop start riding. On the plus side , it's good when you break free and and hit the hills.

Do it by the seat of your pants. Do it slowly and come back again to do the bits you didn't get to. All just IMHO, of course.
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Last edited by JW.; 04-10-2017 at 07:09 AM. Reason: Typo.
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post #5 of 54 (permalink) Old 04-10-2017, 07:44 AM
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I've just remembered a few things you need to know.... Sunday is not a normal day, especially in France, and you may not be able to get fuel or food so grab it wherever you find it available or plan for it on Saturday.

Switzerland has its own currency but the rest of Europe uses the euro. Some shops will accept your euros but you may be charged a premium for it.

France can be quirky and there will be things you wonder why about - it's just French! One of these you definitely need to know...there is a road sign you will see frequently and it's a yellow diamond, it indicates that the priority for traffic entering the main road is as you know it, ie. it gives way to you on the main road, BUT, you will come across the yellow diamond with a black diagonal bar across it and in these areas YOU must give way to traffic entering from the right. It takes a bit of getting used to and can be very confusing at junctions of multiple roads. It used to be getting uncommon in all but the small towns but it is being re-introduced as a traffic calming measure because it's so confusing to everyone, including the french, they too are forced to take special care! So, if you come to a junction and there is a car hovering on your left and you wonder what on earth it is waiting for, it's you, you have priority!... It's just french!!
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Last edited by JW.; 04-10-2017 at 07:47 AM.
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post #6 of 54 (permalink) Old 04-10-2017, 03:10 PM
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Better off with a smaller bike

I've done two trips to Italy including Tuscany, Alps, Stelvio Pass, Grossglockner Pass, etc. I would suggest a BMW GS 1200 or similar size. Italy is a totally different type of riding environment than the US. On one trip, riding two up, we rented a BMW 1150 RT, and on the other trip a BMW 1200 GS. My wife far preferred riding as a passenger on the GS but suppose it might be that the seat was more her style. The tournantes (sp) are difficult to negotiate on the big bike like a Goldwing. Not saying that you can't but am saying it is more suited for the sport bikes like the BMW's. Good luck. We did our own tour, not a Edelweiss tour. Stayed in B&B's which were great!
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post #7 of 54 (permalink) Old 04-10-2017, 04:39 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you Bingle50
Much appreciated your feedback
For sure I will follow up thoroughly with those links you sent me. As I said, any info, tips, advice, sharing past experiences will help plan for a better, smoother ride.
I would like to ask you - how did you managed to get your riding gear thru the airport check-in ? I don't want to load up a suitcase only with these - because they are quite heavy, and would not leave room for other stuff. How did you take your helmets? Cargo luggage or just in your hand as carry-on? Or even better - as you....hat ?
Thanks again for taking time to reply to me.
Rudy
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post #8 of 54 (permalink) Old 04-10-2017, 04:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you MichiganWing,
I am sure I can manage the language barrier, and food topic. I might struggle a bit with the one-way topics, but, ultimately I will have to rely on the GPS. I was supposed to get a 2015 GL with the latest - most updated GPS records. So I guess it will be one of those situations when I don't have any other option but to rely on technology.
I looked-up some of the options from booking.com, and found some nice day/rental options along my tour.
Did you have any problems with parking the bike overnight? Any headaches with people trying to open your saddlebags or vandalizing parts off form your bike?
I will try to bool locations with parking options, but in case I stop over the day to get into a restaurant or park in a parking lot and go by foot to visit the city..... I am a bit worried about that.
By the way - bikes have to pay for parking in Italy ... say if I want to stop in Cinqueterre, or Pisa and go by foot to the sites?

Thanks
Rudy
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post #9 of 54 (permalink) Old 04-10-2017, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you JW
Much appreciated you took your time and wrote so many important advices.
At the factory where I work they have a summer shutdown - so there is no other option for my vacation's time-frame but the first 3 weeks of August.
I know - it will be the busiest time of the year.
And I know from some of my friends who were in the French riviera last year - they were able to make an average 25 km/hr on a good run, riding strictly on coastal roads. I intended to do as you said - a bit of coastal ride in between major cities, and if I don't want to explore those towns - I will just head for the hills and take the scenic routes.
With the European road signs and regulations I am quite familiar - I lived in Europe for about 30+years, so I shall manage.
I just didn't know how to manage it from the perspective of a motorcycle rider, who is on its own.
The advice regarding Sunday might not being able to get gas - is priceless.
I was teasing with the idea of carrying an extra canister of 10-20L spare, attached to my luggage - just in case. I hope I will not get fined if the police asks me what is that. With all these ugly events happening all over the place, I don't want to be mistaken with somebody carrying...God forbid, ...explosives.
Anyhow, I hope I will get a good run.
Did you have difficulty matching the road with what your GPS is telling you?
I know that the GPS has this algorithm that you can avoid highways and toll roads, but won't tell you which road is more scenic, or less crowded, etc. I'm not sure what experience you have with your Goldwing's GPS - but mine is pretty straightforward, would take me from point A to B, without any advice as to which way to go to see a more scenic road, or least amount of traffic. I know there are GPS units that can do that - but not my GL's.
Thank you again for taking the time and your willingness to help out.
All the best
Rudy
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post #10 of 54 (permalink) Old 04-10-2017, 05:11 PM
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I do emphasize the foreign currency charge that most credit cards have. You can get good cards that do not charge that fee if you just look around. Also prior to leaving let the credit card issuer know that you will be travelling in Europe. A back up card is not a bad idea either. Don't forget your passport! If possible get an international drivers license, you don't have to have it but it might help. Check with your insurance company about coverage--probably part of the rental but you might still want your company as a backup.

It does help to have some local currency in your pocket, you can usually exchange funds a the first bank upon entering a country or leaving one.

The roads in Austria that lead to the Alps are great, I would avoid the large roadways as much as possible. The back roads are where the people live and the countryside is great. Big cities and tourist areas are usually not great places to ride a motorcycle, due to heavy traffic.

I do understand the comments above about preferring a BMW 1200 GS to a Wing. When I was there, I rented a BMW1100Rt and enjoyed it but wished I had been on my Wing most of the time. The Wing can do really well in slow movements if you know what you are doing. I was all excited about riding the RT and after the first day, I missed my Wing. And I was solo with my wife on a Shadow.

As noted filtering/lane splitting is accepted there, but exercise good judgement!

Naturally it helps if you can speak the local language but if you can't there is usually someone under the age of 30 nearby who speaks good English.

And enjoy the local food, it is usually excellent. And don't be afraid to just point at the menu and make a choice even if you can't read it. I had several excellent dinners and did not even know what I ordered till it arrived. I did avoid snails in France!
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