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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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  #1  
Old 31 Mar 2009
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Advice on routes from Bilbao to UK

Hi all,
Haven't ridden abroad before but have booked a ferry to Bilbao in early July. Riding two up with my son and planning to camp en-route. Have no idea of where to go but have got two weeks to have fun and enjoy the company of my boy. Looking to avoid motorways and enjoy the ride and the scenery! Mountains would be good. No preferences as to countries, although as mountains appeal a route which makes the most of the passes is important. Don't want to take on too much and feel rushed, although the ride is more important than the destination. Been riding road and motocross for over 30 years so can cope with most terrain! Just looking for a bit of advice on possible routes (bearing in mind time constraint of two weeks including crossings). A few pointers on practicalities like paperwork also would be a great help. Riding a dl1000 v-strom, using TomTom rider. Any advice and tips would be most appreciated.

Thanks
Cliff
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  #2  
Old 31 Mar 2009
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Advice on Riding in Spain

Hi Cliff,

First off, welcome to the Hubb! You're sure to get plenty of great information and advice on riding in Spain, much of it people who live there but i guess i'll get things rolling with the basics!

Firstly, you'll have an absolutely brilliant time and given you're experience you really do have nothing to worry about. The main difference you'll find is that the roads in Europe are much better, in the countryside you'll often have them all to yourself, the scenery and food will be superb, the weather is reliable and car drivers will show you alot more respect than you're used to in the UK.

You're legally required to take certain bits and pieces with you but none of it takes up any room so don't worry. The Missus and I tend to take the following kit when we ride around Europe:

- Your driving license (i don't think you need the paper bit these days but might as well take it)
- Vehicle registration document
- certificate of motor insurance
- European health insurance card (what was the E111) you'll need to send off for it)
-a GB sticker if you haven't got the GB/Euro mark on your reg plate
-technically you're supposed to have spare bulbs (Halfords do kits)
-a puncture repair kit - i think. (can anyone else confirm?)
-green card insurance for european riding (probably part of your policy but they'll want you to inform them to validate it)

Other than that I'd say you're approach is spot on - Avoid motorways. We tend to use minor roads only, have the vaguest of plans and tend to know the rough idea we're heading (ie south!) and then just decide when we get to a junction whether we should go left or right. You'll always find places to stay so don't worry about that. Just try not to plan too much!

If you're after good roads check out the following site:

BestBikingRoads.com Motorcycle Travel, Motorcycle Touring, Motorcycle Routes, Motorcycle Roads, Motorcycle GPS, GPS Motorcycle Rides, Motorbike Roads

Have a great trip!
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  #3  
Old 31 Mar 2009
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Thanks Bob?
Yes I agree it's quite nice not to be too tied to a route or schedule. Going with the flow usually throws up some nice surprises! Helpfully Carole Nash now include European insurance and breakdown cover so I think I've almost got your list covered. Obviously can get maps but I am a bit unsure as to how many miles I can expect to cover in a day in the mountains. If I get pushed I suppose I can revert to motorways. Anyway thank you for the welcome and the information.
Cliff
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  #4  
Old 1 Apr 2009
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Hi Cliff - I don't have my European maps in front of me (I'm in the USA at the moment!), but if you are getting the ferry to Bilbao, then might I suggest heading inland about 50 miles, then west towards Leon (if you look at a map of the region, you'll see any number of excellent minor/mountain roads) - the scenery there is very alpinesque, with virtually no traffic and stunning roads!

If you fancied a bit of coastline, then the northern Spanish coast is far less 'spoilt' than the costas, and you could even dip into northern Portugal which has some utterly fantastic biking roads - truly!

Alternatively, you could head south east from Bilbao and follow the Pyrenees to the Costa (Blanca I think) and visit the Catalan region, and Barcelona - again, fantastic riding, lovely scenery, great food!

xxx

ps. I recommend the Michelin regional series of maps, they have a lot of campsites marked and plenty of information for route planning - the whiter and twistier the roads, the better x
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  #5  
Old 1 Apr 2009
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Cliff,
If you head south on the N625, then east towards Pamplona and pick up the N240 east towards Jaca, after Jaca head north to a town called Broto.
Broto is very small but has a river running through the middle and nice waterfall, plus a very good place to make camp ( good cheapish hotel in the middle) say hello to Maria for me if she's still there.
All around this area are cracking roads and fantastic views.
Have Fun, you'll love it, don't beat yourself up to much about what to take, we only ever have two days worth of clothes, no spares and no tools other than whats under the seat.

Cheers
Pete
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  #6  
Old 1 Apr 2009
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Hi Cliff,

In France the rule now for all road users, is Fluorescent vest, either yellow or orange, one can get at any fuel station or supermarket in France.

It has to be carried on the bike, one for each user. If in a situation it needs to be put on, as one deals with the situation.

Coppers might decide to check now and then, saves a 90€ fine, if they're stashed on the bike nicely.

I wore mine all along my trip through france and spain, It was my first long trip and I wanted to be cautious. Saw an english rider with a fluorescent band across his chest and waist, It was effective, without being over the top like the vest I was wearing. lol. But anyway, safety first, I say.



Gilet and Triangle is obligatory in each véhicule
Equip yourself now.

(The Triangle is only for cars).

Have a ball.
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  #7  
Old 1 Apr 2009
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Cliff - sounds like you're going to have a wonderful trip!

Everyone else has hit you up with the list of docs you need - the only thing I'd add is that you do need your paper counter-part, I got knocked up for it in Spain last time I went and got fined for not having it with me.

When I rode down to Morocco through France and Spain I planned the route through Spain to the letter - had a great time - on the way back I just picked a place I thought I may like to see, put it in the tom tom and hit 'avoid motorways' - had an even better time! Seriously you've got a very handy piece of kit there that will take you on some routes you'd have never thought of - well worth a day 'off-route' to just enjoy places you'd otherwise never see.

m
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