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  #1  
Old 16 Feb 2009
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First tour - where should we go?

Hey all,

A friend and I are starting to plan our first tour into Europe, and thinking about where to go. It would be great if you could give us some ideas as a starting point.

Bikes - I have a SV650s, my mate has a Fazer 600

Time - Thinking from 4 - 19 April

From what I can see, there seems to be three types of European trips:

1. Alps - will the passes be closed still?
2. Towards Spain
3. Eastern Europe

What would you recommend? How far do you think we could get before having to turn back?

Any other hints, tips etc?
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  #2  
Old 16 Feb 2009
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Good Luck

Hi

I'm sure you will get plenty of good advice and you will have fun whichever way you go, as you probably need 3 to 5 tours to see a good deal of Europe. I fancy south France - Spain - Morocco - Portugal then back via north France for my next trip.

Depends what you want out of the trip, such as culture, historical sites, mountains, lakes, excitement, such as the Nurbergring or just heading south and dossing about on beaches chatting up birds and drinking .

Whatever you do, start your trip from this place, as it gets you in the travelling mood and all excited for what's round the corner : www.grd.be

Have a good one.

Cheers


Chris

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  #3  
Old 16 Feb 2009
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The route to Morrocco sounds interesting on the bike, but I've already done it Hitchiking.

Wouldn't mind going somewhere via Barcelona, though it's a bit out of the way...
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  #4  
Old 16 Feb 2009
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Guidance

Hi, a very general question but I think in early April it'll be cold enough to be better to head down the Atlantic coast of France, exploring and enjoying as you go. I've heard it can take four days to travel along the Pyrenees from Atlantic to Med. Hey but there's Barcelona. The return trip is an open choice of back through more central parts of France. That could be an incredible trip but I've not checked distances or time. That's up to you. Linzi.
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  #5  
Old 16 Feb 2009
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I agree, it's cold in April. Particularly as you get further east. The route along the Pyrenees sounds great. Even in April the Pyrenees can be quite warm. A lot of the high Alpine passes will still be closed in April. I was there last year and they were, and there's been a lot more snow this year I think.

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  #6  
Old 16 Feb 2009
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Hi Garthunkle. I've toured the Normandy beaches that time of year and if your lucky, as I was, for good weather the clear nights can give you a couple of degrees of frost. I would avoid the mountains and as linzi says follow the coast south. Good food and drink to be had but it's early in the season so if you're camping do your homework first. have a look on this site for some ideas but it's best to phone to make sure.

Campsites and Caravan Parks Open All Year - UK Camp Site Articles (This is the French page)

If I was you I'd decide at the last minute and go where the sun is East maybe better than south on the day. Good luck.
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  #7  
Old 16 Feb 2009
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Dawdle

Hi, when I say go down the coast I'd personally travel and explore Brittany and don't underestimat how much there is to see and experience every few kms along such a general route. I leave it to you but the Dordonge and Auverne plus some volcanic region thereabouts are worth spending quality time enjoying. Linzi.
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  #8  
Old 16 Feb 2009
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My first bike was an SV650S and it was bloody brilliant! Apart from the rust...

Second vote for the Nurburgring - my fave place in the whole world, and the roads around there are superb, especially the B258 through the Ardennes. The whole area is petrolhead heaven. I've been hooked on the place since the moment I first arrived there. If you want to know anything about the ring (where to stay, where to go, what it's like etc), just ask!

My second preference would be to blast down through France, across the top of Italy and into the Balkans. Slovenia, Croatia. Two weeks might be pushing it for that, but if you took a direct route through France and Italy it can be done. Check it on GoogleMaps and compare to the sort of daily mileage you want to do.
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  #9  
Old 16 Feb 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garthunkle View Post
Hey all,

A friend and I are starting to plan our first tour into Europe, and thinking about where to go. It would be great if you could give us some ideas as a starting point.

Bikes - I have a SV650s, my mate has a Fazer 600

Time - Thinking from 4 - 19 April

From what I can see, there seems to be three types of European trips:

1. Alps - will the passes be closed still?
2. Towards Spain
3. Eastern Europe



What would you recommend? How far do you think we could get before having to turn back?

Any other hints, tips etc?
The answer really is - just go anywhere...can I suggest that there are more "types of European trip" than you say.

Eastern Europe is great, but you'll find it cold on the road. You can certainly do it, but the cold on the bike can be wearing. Better go there in warmer times. And it looks as if your bikes may be unfaired? However, it's not too long a journey to Eastern Europe. Spend some time on getting your bikes to carry sufficient camping gear etc. Unless you've done that. I'm assuming for no good reason that you ARE camping.

But who wants to do long road miles when it's not warm? - you say you like climbing, so why not go to Les Gorges du Verdon in France and camp, climb and ride there. Also go to Les Gorges du Tarn - terrific biking country, and climbing too. Great food, wine and nice people. Check through HU for cheap/good/free camping accommodation en route. If you're observant you'll find free wild/discreet camping around Les Gorges...if freebies interest you. If you want to pay for a campsite, I suggest you go to "Camping Municipales" - very nice campgrounds run by the local communities/villages and cheaper and better than the commercial ones. You won't have to shit in the woods like me on my freebies. Or you can find on the Web a few MotoCampings in France -try them en route too.

Then shift to Los Picos de Europa in Northern Spain for more of the same, but different - the people are good too.

Get The Rough Guide for these two fantastic countries and be ready for a lifetime of visiting there. Motocampingfrance

Ride safe -don't get caught!

PS you speak of going "into Europe" as if you were outside of it. You're European too!! Ah les Rosbeefs!!!!

Last edited by Caminando; 16 Feb 2009 at 22:39.
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  #10  
Old 16 Feb 2009
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Depends really what the trip is about. If you just want to ride lots of miles on interesting roads then you are probably taking a bit of a risk with the weather in early April and it rules out a lot of mountain roads in both the Alps and the Pyrenees.

If you want to see places enjoy the sights, food etc. then as others have suggested a route taking in the Atlantic coast (Pornic, Les Sables d'Ollone, La Rochelle, Bordeaux) down to Bairritz, then depending on the weather, either go up into the Pyrenees or cross into Spain at the coast and visit Pamplona, Sarragoza and Barcelona then cross back into france and visit Perpignan, Montpellier, Millau (Bridge) and back via Paris. Stick to reasonably sized towns for your overnight stops as a lot of rural France (don't know about Spain) is shut until the Summer.
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  #11  
Old 16 Feb 2009
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Thanks for all the advice - v. helpful.

Sounds like the French coast to Spain is the way forward then. Think I might leave the Alps till the summer when the weather is better and I have more experience - and thus get more out of it.

I think this trip is going to be a mix of biking as well as exploring, so don't want to be on the bike all day, every day.

Don't mind about camping, but think it might be more fun going down the hostel route, meeting people our age etc.
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  #12  
Old 16 Feb 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by todderz View Post
Second vote for the Nurburgring - my fave place in the whole world, and the roads around there are superb, especially the B258 through the Ardennes. The whole area is petrolhead heaven. I've been hooked on the place since the moment I first arrived there. If you want to know anything about the ring (where to stay, where to go, what it's like etc), just ask!
3rd vote here.

The 'Ring is a must see for any petrolhead. The whole area is like a ghost town when it's shut so if you're not camping, I'd stay in the hostel at Cochem which is maybe half an hour away, along a fantastic country road but roads like this are fairly easy to find in the Eifel/Mosel/Hunsruck area anyway. Take a torch if you go into town at night as it's a very dark walk back.

Anyway, don't plan it to death. Decide where you'll stay the first night and decide where next when you wake in the morning. Enjoy.
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  #13  
Old 16 Feb 2009
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Originally Posted by garthunkle View Post
Thanks for all the advice - v. helpful.

Sounds like the French coast to Spain is the way forward then. Think I might leave the Alps till the summer when the weather is better and I have more experience - and thus get more out of it.

I think this trip is going to be a mix of biking as well as exploring, so don't want to be on the bike all day, every day.

Don't mind about camping, but think it might be more fun going down the hostel route, meeting people our age etc.
Hostels - great. I specially recommend the hostel (auberge de jeunesse) at wonderful Chartres. Near the fire station.

Bring big chains for your bike as usual. Chain it to something.
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  #14  
Old 16 Feb 2009
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Hi, if you are visiting the 'Ring' , Koblenz is definately worth a visit. Where the Rhine and the Mosel meet. It will be cold touring in April and i would suggest using the many Hostels in Europe which is also a great way to meet people. Andy
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  #15  
Old 16 Feb 2009
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Hi, if you are visiting the 'Ring' , Koblenz is definately worth a visit. Where the Rhine and the Mosel meet. It will be cold touring in April and i would suggest using the many Hostels in Europe which is also a great way to meet people. Andy
Good luck with your Black Sea trip BTW, Andy. Some Turkish guys did it a couple of years ago. It's on HU somewhere. Paulo was the bloke.

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