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  #1  
Old 2 Oct 2007
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help with travelling europe and Austria

I am an older person wanting to restart travelling for the first time in Europe.particularly Austria. In the past i have tended to ride solo, happy with my own company but not declining the friendship of other bikers.
What i need help with is the basics
for example will i have to have a big bike to tour.i don't mind traveling slower, in the old days i travelled long distances on old 250 cc bikes in Britain.As i have a smaller bike I'm unsure if it would be up to the long distances European travel might require

what sort of equipment should i take....i hope to camp and more important what sort of gear do you recommend for distance
which are the best maps to use and is a tom tom useful in the travels
if i get to Austria what are the bet places to see.or is there sort of motorcycle handbook you can recommend?
i only have a limited amount of cash so what sort of budget might i need.
Sorry these are so basic to you guys (and gals) out there, but i am a a beginner in European travel.......and as i have said I'm am wanting to restart travel in my older days.
Thanks for your attention and I hope your help
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  #2  
Old 2 Oct 2007
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Do you have much time available for the journey, or are you on a schedule? If you've plenty of time take whatever bike you have/fancy. If time's tight then take a bigger/faster machine for a bit of speedy mile-munching, or take the motorail (try DB Autozug - the motorrail of DeutscheBundesbahn{pardon the spelling...}).Bear it in mind it'll take 1.5/2 days ride to Austria, even on a fast bike.
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  #3  
Old 2 Oct 2007
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thanks fr the comment.i have about a week but can extend it as i work on my own.
As a person i like to meander and take photographs, so speed whilst not to important still needs thought.I am happy to over night stop, but i will ertainly consider the train as it would save strain and allow more time in austria.
Do you reckon travelling in spring or summer is better?
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  #4  
Old 3 Oct 2007
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Oldsomeman

I left bikes in my late teens when I discovered I could do things in the back of a car that I could not do on the back of a bike.

25 years later I tried one again on a whim (bike that is, not back of a car) and it became my first choice transport since, but nothing adventurous in journeys. Staid BMs - K100s and 1100s, RSs and LTs

Until 20 years even later. This year that is.

I bought an F650 Dakar, changed the tyre valve caps to metal ones, put in a Xenon bulb and took it 10,000 miles across Russia then another 4,000 to Gibraltar and around southern Spain. Alone - I prefer it that way, I control what I do. Thinking of Morocco later this year.

I am not crowing - just trying to say (as they say at Nike) JUST DO IT.

If you look for problems they will find you.

PM me if you want a chat about what to take etc. What not to take more like!
Possibly meet - I'll be back in London in 2 weeks time.
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  #5  
Old 3 Oct 2007
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Hi oldsomeman,
My wife and I returned from Europe 12 days ago. We were in Austria and close by for about 2 weeks during August. That was an excellent time to be there for temperatures, but it was raining quite a lot in the mountains to the south west (Dolomites and Grossglockner where we really wanted to look).

We were 2-up on a Honda ST1300 and stayed in budget hotels located using Booking.com online hotel reservations. We found cheap good double-room accommodation in most places. We didn't bother to plan a camping trip as others had told us that many camp grounds could be as expensive as budget places or hostels and there then wasn't the security camping. That all said we found Austria very safe and friendly and people seem to care about their places (everything clean and tidy). Also, by the time we got to Austria, we'd given away hostels as their double-rooms were not cheap (or often available). Dorm beds were quite cheap from memory, if you are a member.

We liked Salzburg more tha Vienna. It was cheaper and smaller. Vienna has some lovely attractions though. We also travelled the backroads around Vienna for 3 days with the annual Pan Gathering based from Altlegbach, covering between 200 and 400 km each of the 3 days. The countryside is beautiful. As above, we didn't venture into the really high country in the south-west due to rain. We'd done a lot of the Swiss passes, so weren't too worried though.

The other place we found excellent was Berchtesgaden and that Bavarian border area of Germany & Austria. We stayed near Bad Reichenhall and travelled to Salzburg and Bechtesgaden from there each day. The Eagles Nest tour was really good.

I think a small bike (250cc) will be fine but if you plan to be loaded up and also use any motorways, you need to be able to do about 120 kph or you may find yourself dicing it with big trucks in the outside lane. May be better to stay on the smaller roads for the slower pace and seeing the countryside.

On equipment, we did a different style of trip to what you seem to be planning; but we personally put a GPS near the top of the list. Our Garmin Zumo 550 was brilliant for helping us negotiate 5 months of travels and especially in the major cities. However for only a week or so I couldn't justify the expense of the unit and the mapping CD (unless you can use it at home and in your car as well).

Hope this helps.
Cheers
John

Last edited by John-DownUnder; 3 Oct 2007 at 02:03.
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Old 3 Oct 2007
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There are companies that will allow you to hire GPS units alternatively, look for a second hand unit on Ebay or similar. Such a unit will probably not have the most up to date mapping loaded on to it but that will not be a major drawback. You will not see a great deal of Austria if you are away for only a week and travelling from England.
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Old 3 Oct 2007
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I find that spring in the Alps tends to be a wet affair, in addition to the cooler temps (even in these days of global warming...) at higher elevations you may need to traverse in the passes you may wish to ride over. Summer is a joy in Austria, with accommodation more likely to be open, too! With your timeframe i'd recommend the train, or as an alternative the French Alps.
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  #8  
Old 3 Oct 2007
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thanks

thanks folks for your helpful replies..i had intended to get a 250cc, but in conversation with others it seems a bigger bike is better, if only to keep up with traffic.
i hall have to look at what is available, but with limited budget i would prefer a reliable tourer as verses a fast bike.
I do have a small smattering of mechanics having spent my early years playing with British big bikes and tending their needs.However what i want is to enjoy the holiday, not spend it playing with mechanics at the road side. however old bikes do tend to be worn
once again folks thanks for all your advice.
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  #9  
Old 3 Oct 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldsomeman View Post
I am an older person wanting to restart travelling for the first time in Europe.particularly Austria. In the past i have tended to ride solo, happy with my own company but not declining the friendship of other bikers.
What i need help with is the basics
for example will i have to have a big bike to tour.i don't mind traveling slower, in the old days i travelled long distances on old 250 cc bikes in Britain.As i have a smaller bike I'm unsure if it would be up to the long distances European travel might require

what sort of equipment should i take....i hope to camp and more important what sort of gear do you recommend for distance
which are the best maps to use and is a tom tom useful in the travels
if i get to Austria what are the bet places to see.or is there sort of motorcycle handbook you can recommend?
i only have a limited amount of cash so what sort of budget might i need.
Sorry these are so basic to you guys (and gals) out there, but i am a a beginner in European travel.......and as i have said I'm am wanting to restart travel in my older days.
Thanks for your attention and I hope your help
Hi oldsomeman,
It's been touched on already; 250cc is OK, but not for motorways and the like IMO - take the byways of Europe but this will slow your progress, of course. Therefore, I hope you mean to spend a week in, say, Austria and not a week in getting there and back.
Have a read of the multitude of posts in here ("which bike" thread for instance) and you will find loads of discussion about the relative merits of big bikes versus small bikes - there is quite a bit about 250cc; do a search for any key words that appeal to you.

Camping: works fine for me. Lots of info in here about loading up bikes, what is useful and what is not so useful etc etc. Cheap hotels, such as Formule 1 are very useful en route to save erecting camp each and every day while making your way to some area of interest, Austria or wherever.

Maps: Michelin are as good as any other. You don't need a GPS - nice to have for Europe, so depends if you want such technology.

Budget: My attitude to this is try it; turn around and come home when you want to save a bit of cash and then go again when you are ready.

I suggest that you do some reading into the threads in here and then come back with specific further questions when you have refined your plans.

Cheers,
__________________
Dave
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  #10  
Old 10 Oct 2007
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Hi, new member here. I did my first trip into Europe last month. I went alone and was also on a pretty tight budget. The opinion I'm giving here is very much from a novices point of view.

The bike I took was a 2001 Kawasaki ZX6-R. Not exactly the ideal touring machine but not as extreme as the current supersports 600's. I took the Newcastle to Amsterdam ferry and typical bikes also travelling were Honda Pan-Europeans, Triumph Sprint's, BMW GS's, Honda VFR's, etc. One lad on a BMW K1200GT though I was mad for taking a 600cc sports bike but I found it fine. I took my own ratchet straps and most other bikers are more than happy to give a little advice on strapping it down.

If you're passing through Germany, not all the autobahns are unrestricted but I found a lot of drivers disregard the limits posted. I was cruising at around 100mph and still had Mercedes Sprinters passing me. Big Merc's and BMW's own the roads there.

Just before I went, I got a new phone (Nokia N73), installed Tomtom Navigator on it and I already had a GPS receiver that I bought on eBay. Probably the cheapest and most compact way of getting GPS on a bike. I also took a handheld computer with the same software on it as a back up. However, with me, anything that can go wrong, will go wrong so I took a map and compass too. I also bought a cigar lighter style socket on eBay to charge my phone and GPS receiver. However, it arrived just before I left so was installed in the car park of a youth hostel and fell apart due to poor quality connectors. Basically comes down to my poor preparation and not ordering the thing sooner.

I considered taking a tent but with youth hostels charging 15 to 25 euro's per night, many including breakfast, you might decide it's not worth the hassle if you're only going for a week. My inexperience in riding a fully loaded up bike made me decide to leave the tent at home, but it was very much a last minute decision. BTW, from Amsterdam, I got as far as Trier on my 1st day which included getting lost somewhere near Cologne and a quick visit to the Nurburgring. A good piece of advice I read before I went was to be realistic in the distance you can ride in a day.

As for luggage, I took an Oxford 1st time tank bag, a set of soft panniers from Motorcycle Helmets | Motorcycle Clothing, Boots, Leathers, Gloves, Jackets | Motorbike Accessory Parts and a small rucksack. I took a basic tool kit, chain lube, 1st aid kit, hi-vis vest and spare set of bulbs. The headlamp converters I bought were rubbish so resorted to black gaffa tape just to look like I'd made an effort.

I'm definitely got the bug for touring and will be going again next year. Probably Portsmouth to Santander and ride over the Pyrenees, south of France, Monaco, visit people I met last year while touring northern Italy by car and back up through Austria, Germany and Holland.

Last edited by craig76; 26 Jul 2009 at 00:53. Reason: incorrect link to website
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  #11  
Old 9 Nov 2007
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I've been to Austria few times over the years and it was a "break" when I taught near Brno to go to Austria to hear someone speak English and get English newspapers once in a while...

On those visits and subsequently, I used the Youth Hostels a lot and have stayed on a few that have been marvellous, more latterly with my wife who doesn't so camping or dorms and that have double rooms and even en-suites for the more diserning xheapskate...

Austria has two associations so have alook at Home | Jugendherbergswerk or ÖJHV - OEJHV - Österreichischer Jugendherbergsverband, AYHA - Austrian Youth Hostel Association.

Although I have been on modern bikes and curenly have a 1999 1150GS, I have been twice on my 1977 Suzuki GT750A.

The latter proves you can tour on anything, you simply need to tailor your days and expectations to the bike!
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