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  #1  
Old 22 Dec 2012
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Hungary/Slovenia/Northern Italy. Advice needed

I have the opportunity to join a group on a Tour de Cols next Sept 2013 Starting in Hungary, taking in Slovenia and ending in Northern Italy 7 days later. Av mileage 200 per day.

As I haven't done this sort of thing before, or even visited that part of the world, I'm looking for some input about that part of the world, especially what road surfaces are like ( I believe there are a lot of cobbled roads in parts), and whether a 62 year old not 100% fit man should even attempt this sort of time bound journey. I will be travelling solo on a BMW 650 twin.

Useful advice and hints welcome.
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Old 22 Dec 2012
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Go For It.

Don't hesitate to go. The region you are looking at is beautiful, the roads are by-en-large better than Britain and your mileage seems reasonable. 62 is no age, I led a tour a couple of years back to Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina with an 83 year old in the party, he lapped it up.
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Old 23 Dec 2012
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You are going to love Slovenia and Nth Italy. I spent a fees day there last year and will ge going back to explore further. Slovenia was fantastic.
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  #4  
Old 23 Dec 2012
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I also am 62 and not not very fit but 4 years ago rode UK to Romania and back taking in most of E. Europe and Northern Italy with pillion and full luggage. Had no problems. Earlier this year, again with pillion and full luggage rode from UK to Turkey (see www.oldfartsonabike.blogspot.com.au ). Each time on an oldish bike bought in England. Going back again in 2013 to do an OzAlps 5 country tour of the Alps.

I'd certainly do it if I were you - in fact I am doing it!
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Old 23 Dec 2012
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First of all, I would be very surprised if anyone could think that 62 was " old"....

Secondly, as was already said: You'll find that roads around here are mostly perfect, there are a few mountain passes with short stretches of cobbly bits still left, but by and large mountain roads have been pretty much totally rebuilt (in Slovenia in particular) , over the last decade or so and are in wonderful condition.

I'd really question the whole deal about going on a tour, but to each his own. In any case being independent shouldn't be a problem at all. In Slovenia and Hungary you'll find private accomodation pretty much in every village, and comunication in English ( german might be better in Hungary) , shouldn't be much of a problem. Same goes for Italy, there are "Pensioni", and Bed and Breakfasts pretty much everywhere and as long as you don't come in mid-august, there isn't much to worry about. Feel free to PM me if I can be of any help, and feel free to drop by for a or 2... ( although wine is far more popular and better in all this part of europe)
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Old 23 Dec 2012
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Agree with all of the above, great roads,great places to visit and stay in and you have just the bike for the job.

Enjoy.

Dave,
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Old 23 Dec 2012
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Hello!

Writing directly from Slovenia. I'm glad to hear, that you are coming in this part of Europe. I honestly think, you will really like and enjoy the nature, culture and people in all three countries. Here is really a lot to see. Don't worry about the conditions, all the roads (talking for Slovenia), which are the most popular for driving are in good condition and there will be no problem to drive it.

If you need some informations about nice spots, good roads with nice panoramas on the Alps, some infos about accomodations in the cities or villages, I will be more than happy to answer your questions. Just send me a PM, or write to my email: nejcDOTtrpin@yahoo.co.uk


Ofcourse, if I will be at home in Slovenia at that time, you are invited for a in Ljubljana.

Best wishes!
Nejc
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Old 24 Dec 2012
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Thanks everyone for all your replies, this gives me confidence. The tour is actually an organised group who do this sort of thing every year in different parts of Europe and have prebooked accommodation etc. I have been offered a cancellation place.

I would just to like thank you all for some nice sensible replies from experienced and regional members. I put the same question on another forum geared to my make of motorcyle, and all I got was the armchair idiots!
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Old 24 Dec 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pongo View Post
...Starting in Hungary, taking in Slovenia and ending in Northern Italy... ...what road surfaces are like...
My experience is that the roads in all three of the regions you have mentioned are generally first-class in every respect, certainly equal to the quality of similar roads in France.

Slovenian roads are almost on par with Swiss roads, at least, any of the roads built in Slovenia since the country became independent are on par with Swiss roads.

You might find the occasional cobblestone road in Northern Italy, but only in the same type of circumstances (in the town square, in a historic village, etc.) that you would also find a cobblestone road in small town France.

Northern Italy - the 'South Tyrol' and Dolomite regions - is delightful. Culturally it resembles Austria far more than the rest of Italy. It is clean, well kept, has a functioning economy, etc. Very Teutonic, except that you can order spaghetti at the restaurants. The mountain roads there are delightful, and not as heavily travelled as the mountain roads in France or Switzerland.

Michael

PS: Don't overpack or overdress for the journey. I rode through that area in September of 2011 and didn't encounter a single day when the temperature was below 28°C. Do some careful research on weather history (average temperatures) before you leave - you might be surprised by how warm it typically is in those areas in September... including all the way to the last day of September.
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Old 24 Dec 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pongo View Post
The tour is actually an organised group who do this sort of thing every year in different parts of Europe and have prebooked accommodation etc. I have been offered a cancellation place.
If you do have any issues when on this trip, they will probably be related to the "group tour" aspect, including getting on with the rest of the riders and/or the (apparent) pressure to stay on schedule each and every day.
Also, who you share a room with (if you don't know the group very well, or even if you do!).
Also, how the trip is organised, who rides together (in pairs say) or how you stay linked up etc etc.
There are lots of human factors, but that can make it interesting if you like "people watching".
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Old 24 Dec 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pongo View Post
Thanks everyone for all your replies, this gives me confidence. The tour is actually an organised group who do this sort of thing every year in different parts of Europe and have prebooked accommodation etc. I have been offered a cancellation place.

I would just to like thank you all for some nice sensible replies from experienced and regional members. I put the same question on another forum geared to my make of motorcyle, and all I got was the armchair idiots!
Theres no age issue.No need to worry about confidence. Where you're going is interesting. You'll like it. The mileage each day is sensible. A paying tour in a group is an expensive option to spoil a great trip IMO. But everyone's different. Enjoy.
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Old 25 Dec 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Treffen View Post
A paying tour in a group is an expensive option to spoil a great trip IMO.
Hi Treffen:

Well, perhaps for you and I - in my case, I usually ride solo in Europe for about a month or so every year, and have been doing this every summer for about 10 years now - but for someone who is new to our form of recreation, such as Pongo, I think that making the first tour as part of an organized group is a great idea.

The group tour looks after a number of logistical issues that can cause a bit of concern for someone on their first tour, such as where to stay, where to park the bikes, what happens if there is a mechanical problem, do I really have to carry all my kit on the moto, etc., etc.

Go for it, Pongo. And, for what it's worth, 62 years of age is nothing, I'm 58 and I didn't buy my first large touring moto until I was 48. I expect that you will find other riders in their 60s in the group you are riding with. Age is not significant for motorcycle touring, because we don't have to pedal the things...

Michael
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Old 25 Dec 2012
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Thanks Michael, some 'boosting' advice. I got pulled into this by a long standing friend (76) who does these tours every year with the same mixed vehicle group of people ( 50 of them), but now in a 3 wheel special ( not a bike). I came back to biking after a 30 year absence, and it's been a little difficult as I now have a handicap following some surgery,and this will be a real test for me. I managed to get out camping in the Pyrenees in Sept, which went O.K., but that was at my own chosen speed. This is a bit different I think, as it will be in company, so I will feel a bit more at ease. There is just the small matter of getting from Home to the starting point (1500kms) in three days, doing the 1200km tour in 7 days, and the 1000km return in another 3 days. I need to get fit again!!
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  #14  
Old 25 Dec 2012
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Pongo:

Just some food for thought:

You might want to investigate the cost of shipping the bike (by truck or rail) to somewhere near the starting point of the tour, rather than riding it 1,500 km's in 3 days to join up with the tour.

The reason I suggest this is because there are two very different forms of movement involved in motorcycle touring: 'transit' vs. 'touring'. Transit, to me anyway, consists of riding long distances from A to B and then C, etc. without the intention to take it easy and smell the flowers along the way, the only objective being to cover the distance. I can cope with 'transit', but honestly, it's tiring and it is no fun. It kind of ranks together with 'riding in the rain' so far as enjoyment is concerned.

If you do three days of 'transit' before starting the organized tour, I think you might be kind of tired of even seeing the motorcycle on the day that the tour starts, and wishing you could take a couple of days off and just relax. The transit home at the end of the tour will be less of a concern, it is a shorter distance, fewer km's per day (333 vs. 500), and you will be more at ease on the bike after having done the tour (which appears to have a fairly pleasant and relaxed pace - less than 200 km's per day).

It's not particularly expensive to ship a bike by truck or rail - you just strap the thing down on a pallet (with the side-stand deployed, providing a three-point base), in a similar manner to how you would secure it on a ferry or a train. It's possible that you could find a commercial carrier (a trucking company) or a moving company that could transport the bike for you for not much more than the cost of the fuel, hotel, and tolls you would pay if you rode it to the start of the tour.

Michael
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