The Achievable Dream 5-part series - the definitive guide on DVD for planning your motorcycle adventure. Get Ready! covers planning, paperwork, medical and many other topics! "Inspirational and Awesome!" See the trailer here!
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So you've done it - got inspired, planned your trip, packed your stuff and you're on the road! This section is about staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure. And crossing borders, war zones or oceans!
On the Road! is 5.5 hours of the tips and advice you need to cross borders, break down language barriers, overcome culture shock, ship the bike and deal with breakdowns and emergencies."Just makes me want to pack up and go!" See the trailer here!
Tire Changing!Grant demystifies the black art of Tire Changing and Repair to help you STAY on the road! "Very informative and practical." See the trailer here!
Ladies on the Loose! For the first time ever, a motorcycle travel DVD made for women, by women! These intrepid women share their tips to help you plan your own motorcycle adventure. They also answer the women-only questions, and entertain you with amazing tales from the road! Presented by Lois Pryce, veteran solo traveller through South America and Africa and author of 'Lois on the Loose', and 'Red Tape and White Knuckles.'
"It has me all fired up to go out on my own adventure!" See the trailer here!
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I've been worrying my pretty little head with getting the bike ready for a trip to Europe in the next couple of weeks and it's just ocurred to me that I still haven't even considered basic things like where to stay. Can anybody recommend Youth Hostels for instance? They used to be cheap and basic and, just as important for me, you don't have to be a youth to stay there (I was, a long time ago- does that count?)
Also, finding somewhere to leave the bike overnight is a worry, how do others manage?
Not stayed in youth hostels ever but we always use a quality chain & padl;ock when abroad. You can also thread the chain through your jacket sleeves & helmet to lock them to the bike if you want to walkabout on a nice day.
Better safe than sorry!
Where are you going?
[This message has been edited by Steve Pickford (edited 17 February 2005).]
Yes! YHA is the way to go in many places. It's not as cheap any more as what it used to be. Some of the big hostels resemble more Hotels.
We try to avoid the big cities. In the country there isn't much worry about the bike being interfered with and it's usually cheaper.
In France look out for green round signs with a red rooster in a yellow window, labelled Gîte d'Etape. These are private accommodations. Standards and prices vary widely. In remote areas start looking early for somewhere to stay. We've had difficulties finding a place out of season with many being closed.
In Italy it's called Agriturismo.
Where are you going? Central France is under snow and the motorway through the Massif Central was closed a few days ago.
Salut from Southern France, the bikers' paradise,
very much in mind, you very helpfully mentioned the area in reply to previous query of mine in the 'Where to go' topic. In fact a lot of people were extremely helpful in their replies.
As regards security and overnight parking, well, I was thinking that taking my old 1982 RS banger might be safer than getting one of the 11xx GS BMWs. The thing is, who'd give it a second glance, it only me that thinks it's still a belter, and it could be that even I'm just a tad biassed! Still after you mentioned it, I'll be getting a decent chain. Actually, I've still got the original BMW steel cable lock: can that be any good by today's standards, I wonder?
Another question I should have asked was, any suggestions as to how to get there by ferry? I live in North Wales and don't really want to go to Dover or the South East because I'd rather stay away from London and the famed M25, so I was thinking of the routes from the South West- Plymouth or thereabouts to LeHavre, or thereabouts. Any suggestions? Prior booking necessary? Cheap fares?
Hey, I thought I'd just seen you writing from a journey in a far-away-place, still keeping in touch, then? Just seen your response, and am very keen on the Ardeche area, especially following your previous reply back in Oct. or thereabouts.
I'm just popping out, I'll write later this evening when I get back
"In France look out for green round signs with a red rooster in a yellow window, labelled Gîte d'Etape."
Would you say that it's a good idea to head for a specific hostel/gîte/guesthouse at the end of a tiring day in the saddle or are there enough places with the rooster signs you mention? The thought of trying to find a particular acommodation after dark on my own and on a bike fills me with dread. I never could follow directions either in Welsh or English so it's going to be a real battle to do so in French. Mind, my wife won't be there to do the navigation this time, that should help. (Only joking, Dearest)
Dumb question #73: Francs, D.marks, Lira now all gone, or are they still side-by-side with the Euro?.
Dumb question #74: Credit cards accepted everywhere, Western Europe?
Personally, I avoid having to find accommodation after dark. You often won't even see the signs...
Whether or not there will be enough places to stay depends on where you are and when. Out of season they are often closed (in the case of gîtes, private accom., there simply isn't anybody home) and during the school hols places are often full, especially on weekends. So, normally my advice would be to phone ahead, at least for a YH or a hotel. The problem with gîtes is that there is no freely available list of them, they sell the lists. And then the owners often speak French or French. No hope for a Welshman!
A 73: only € are now accepted. The old currencies are long gone, albeit they persist in people's heads...
A 74: yes, but not in gîtes, they are private accom. Do YOU take plastic?
Oh, and on Sundays make sure to fill the tank in good time in a largish city: the only pumps open elsewhere are automatic and they take only - wait for it - FRENCH plastic! If you run out look for a supermarket with automatic pumps, wait until somebody arrives and try to get them to fill your tank with their plastic and pay them in cash. Dto. in Switzerland.
Salut from Southern France, the bikers' paradise,
In Switzerland, the youth hostels are excellent, there is an extensive network of them, and you don't have to be a youth. Their website is : http://www.youthhostel.ch/ . I have often stayed at them, and been quite satisfied. Some take credit cards, but it is best not to assume they all will.
In France, as has been mentioned, the Gite is a good choice. These are not youth hostels per se, they are privately operated. In general, you will find rooms with 2, 3, or 4 beds (you can rent a room for yourself if you want), and an evening meal is served, as well as breakfast. Because the chef needs to know how many guests to plan the meal for, it's best to get there before it is too late in the day. Plan on paying cash. Security for the moto at both the Swiss Youth Hostels and the Gite in France is generally excellent.
About credit cards - you can use them everywhere (Western and Central Europe) for fuel purchases. For food and shelter, if you go high end, sure, everyone takes them, as you work towards the more economical offerings on the scale (simple restaurants, hostels, Gite), plan on paying cash.
Be sure you have a PIN for your credit card. In many countries, such as Switzerland, this is now essential to use the credit card for fuel purchases. Try out the PIN at home to make sure it works OK before you leave (for example, make a small cash withdrawal at a bank machine).
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