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Europe Topics specific to Western and Eastern Europe, from UK to the Russian border, and south-east to Turkey.
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  #1  
Old 26 Oct 2003
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Motorcycling Crete, Greece

Hello,

I am relocating from Florida USA to Crete and I'm brining my Honda Shadow ACE Tourer 1100 with me. I plan on touring the island and ultimately parts of Europe. I sure would appreciate some insight into my upcoming adventure.

Ghost
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  #2  
Old 28 Oct 2003
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Hi Ghost,
The Cretans have a special kind of road surface. It is shiney (and a little slippy ) even when dry and gets very interesting when wet.
Apart from that, it's a great place to ride. Nice bendy roads, lovely views and friendly people.

Have fun.
Richard.
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  #3  
Old 29 Oct 2003
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Thanks Richard! Do yo think I will have any trouble with a large cruiser (600 lbs)?

Ghost
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  #4  
Old 2 Nov 2003
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Alright, I have eyed this forum for several days now and all I hear about is Transalps and African Twins. Being a Yank from the good old USA, I guess I am ignorant to the style of riding that goes on in Europe. I'm still not sure if a Transalp is a motorbike you transverse the Alps on? Or if an African Twin is something Steve Erwin captures during an episode of Crockodile Hunter. Currently, I have an assignment to the island of Crete, arriving in May of 04. While surfing the net in hopes of finding a European group with a similiar Honda class bike interest as mine, I keep stumbling into Transalp and African Twin territory and by the communication activity of sport bike/duel sport topics, it appears I am going to be culture shocked for sure. Since I am allowed to bring my motorbike to Crete, I hope I will be doing a fair share of riding across your beautiful continent. I own a 2000 Honda Shadow ACE Tourer 1100 which weighs over 600 lbs. I have rode it from sea to shining sea across America twice and feel confident it would behave in a foreign country. I just don't want to feel like an outcast. Can anyone tell me if there are any Honda cruiser clubs in Europe, in particular around Greece or Italy. It would also be good to know if I can get parts! Any help would greatly be appreciated. Thanks! Ghostrider
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  #5  
Old 2 Nov 2003
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Here is my talk forum in the USA:

http://pub19.ezboard.com/bhondashadowacetourer

Ghostrider
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  #6  
Old 3 Nov 2003
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I think it depends what type of riding you want to do.

If your looking to ride the alps dragging your knees in the corners your going to want a nimble, sport bike. If your just looking to cruise, carry some luggage and enjoy the scenery, a larger bike will do just fine.

We toured Europe, Greece, Turkey, Alps, Italy, Scotland, Etc this summer on a BMW 1200 LT, loaded with camping gear and I felt it was just too big and awkard. We were comfortable and it was a great bike for us, two up, but if I were to ride one up, I'd go for a lighter bike, so I could take advantage of all those great roads in the Alps.

Those Europeans sure can ride.

Have a great trip.
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  #7  
Old 3 Nov 2003
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Hi Ghost,
I didn't mean to put you off. There are plenty of normal roads in Crete too, and in the rest of Europe. After all, the trucks have to get around somehow. Not that I'm calling your bike a truck. ;o)
If you've ridden coast to coast in the States you'll be fine over here.
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  #8  
Old 4 Nov 2003
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Whew! I'm feeling better already. As much as I would like to do the dual-sport thing, I just can't afford another bike. As for now, I'm just planning to take a few long trips to watch the scenery go by. Man! That picture of Stelvio Pass in the Alps Trip Report by Lumo is mesmerizing. It compeled some friends of mine in the US to take a trip to Europe to meet me there. I can't wait. Thanks for the the info guys, I really appreciate it. Ghost
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  #9  
Old 4 Nov 2003
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Richard,

Good point on the trucks. There certainly has to be good roads for them to get around. Thanks! Hey! When I was in England last, you guys called them Lorries. LOL
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  #10  
Old 11 Nov 2003
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Ghost:

You'll find a few of us here on the HUBB that ride larger 'street' bikes (I ride a ST1100), but most of the participants here seem to favour dual-sport bikes as their weapon of choice.

I wouldn't have any concerns about taking my ST1100 to Crete for vacation purposes (meaning, to visit for 2 or 3 weeks), but if I was going to move there and live there for any length of time at all, I would dump the big street bike and get something a heck of a lot smaller and lighter.

The whole island is only 250 km (150 miles) long, and averages about 35 km (20 miles) wide. So, you really don't need the speed, power, endurance that a big bike gives you. In the cities, for example the capital Iraklion, traffic moves slowly and roads are crowded. A big bike will be a PITA, you can't split lanes with it very easily. Out in the country, there's not much need, nor much opportunity, to go fast. And after you have bought a few tankfuls of fuel at about USD 4 or 5 per gallon, you'll sure wish you had a smaller bike.

The locals all ride scooters, most especially in the cities. Heck, the COPS ride 125cc bikes, does that suggest something?

Bottom line - you can take the 1100 there, no problems, but it's not the ideal machine for the island. You would have more fun and a lot less grief with something in the 500cc or less size range.

So far as touring the rest of Europe - it's going to cost you a fair hunk to get your bike to anywhere you would want to start off from (e.g Northern Italy) - no way you would want to try to ride from mainland Greece to Western Europe, through nice spots like Kosevo, Albania, Macedonia, unless you have some prior experience touring in eastern Europe, and some skill in languages other than English. If you are unilingual English and have never ridden outside of the USA, then you would probably be best to leave your own bike behind in Crete, hop a plane to Bavaria, and rent a bike there for a week or two - the cost won't be much more than what it would cost you to ship and ride your own machine from Crete to Bavaria and back.

Hope this gives you a perspective.

PanEuropean
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  #11  
Old 12 Nov 2003
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Thank You PanEuropean! Yes this does give me better perspective. I might purchase a smaller bike when I get to Crete. As for a longer journey, how about riding up through Italy vs the Balkens? I would like to transverse the Alps into Germany. Ghost
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  #12  
Old 13 Nov 2003
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Well, I don't personally care much for Italy, but that's just my opinion. I think it is too densely populated, and too expensive for what it is. Also, there are some security (theft and honesty) problems there.

If you could find a way to get from Greece to Croatia, then ride up through Croatia, that would be just superb. Croatia is one of my favourite places to ride. Nice country, nice people, very beautiful, not expensive, good climate. There's another post going on right now in this forum about how to get from Greece to Croatia.

Don't rule out the possibility of air freight from Iraklion to Europe - Iraklion is a fairly big airport, also gets a lot of charter flights, which are the best ones to get cheap air freight rates on for bulky cargo like motos. Worth checking it out, though you might not have much choice in what your destination in Europe is (might wind up being the UK or something like that). Go sniffing around the freight forwarders at the airport once you get there.

PanEuropean
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  #13  
Old 27 Nov 2003
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We did the trip that PanEuropean suggested about a year ago. We came south through the Dolomites to Venice then down Croatia to Dubrovnik. From there an overnight ferry took us to Bari and a short ride on the autostrada took us to Brindisi where we hopped on an 8 hour ferry ride to Igoumenitsa. There to Athens for overnight ferry to Crete. It is do-able and enjoyable but we took 18 days to get from Venice to Crete.

As to the initial question about a cruiser, they certainly aren't as popular in Europe as in North America but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy riding one there.

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  #14  
Old 29 Nov 2003
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Wow! What a trip. I plotted your travels on a map. I might consider that route coming back from Germany. What are the Dolomites? Is that part of the Alps?

Ghost
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  #15  
Old 29 Nov 2003
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Dolomites are a range of mountains in northern Italy, extending north towards Austria.

Should have been there in September but a gearbox problem meant we did'nt have time. Meant to be very beautiful, especially the Tyrol region, strong German influence, inc. the language, even though it's still in Italy.

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