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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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Old 31 Jan 2008
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London to Spain

Hello All. I am new to this motorbike game and am planning a trip to Spain from London (Catral just north of Murcia) to see my folks at the end of April. Am going to take my time getting there and camp in France and Spain. Any advice as to any preperations I might need to do or good routes, camp sites etc would be greatly appreciated. Also, how many miles do you think I should aim for in a day. I want to avoid boring motorways if I can.

It's no round the world I know but as i said, I am new to this so will probably forget something very obvious!!!

The bike (BMW F650 GS) is just about due it's 6000 mile service which will be done before setting off so I guess that should help.


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Old 31 Jan 2008
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Keep reading

No worries Dan, just do it (as the ad says).

You can read into the threads in here and get some ideas about routes, places people have stopped at in the past and things to see; in truth, no one knows what you are interested in and what you really, really like to do - keep reading in here and ask specific questions when you are nearer to your personal holy grail.
Try the search facility on the HUBB - use any keyword that you fancy.

Yes, if you have lots of time, stay off the autoroutes and see the countries/meet more local people and it will be cheaper overall - a saving on fuel economy and the toll roads.

The 650GS will give you around 70MPG no matter how you use the throttle.

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Old 31 Jan 2008
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hey Dan

Hiya Dan & to the HUBB!

Spain.. Great Place! but im Biased, I live here!

Keep off of any roads marked AP as in AP7 it stands for "Autovia Peaje" or TOLL ROAD. and Bikes pay the same as Cars! NOT NICE.

When using any Autovia remember the Spanish have a habit of Cutting you off at the last second to take a turning, it is wise and safe to keep in the Left lane when passing Junctions that way you can't be taken out by some Moron who thinks he is a racing driver. I'm not trying to scare you, just give you some safety tips!

Plenty of Camping in Spain.... Loads. Campsites are pretty much Guaranteed to be quiet unless its a Holiday ( Fiesta) or August......in August the WHOLE of Spain is on Holiday. If you get a Campsite with a lot of Spanish families, you will notice that they are noisy! they are a noisy nation... they cant talk, they shout....lol. so take earplugs if you plan on sleeping.

Remember that speeding fines are payable ON THE SPOT! if you have no money on you or no credit card, you Will be driven to a cash machine by the police. its just the way it is.

Drinking & Driving is a no-no here..... limits are getting lower!
see my thread here, a guy went to prison for 3 pints!

Not that I am saying you drink and ride you understand? I try to give these warnings out to everyone who comes here as it is so easy to have a couple and then want to go for a ride.

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Old 31 Jan 2008
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Hi Dan,

I got me a F650GS Dakar it will eat away the miles fully loaded, the French really don't give a monkeys where you park or camp, I stopped over at Garages filled up in the mornings and carried on with a freindly wave from the owners.
I had farmers wave me over to camp in their fields when I was riding near dark, even gave me some eggs for breakfast.
You will love the way the French make a hole for your bike in Traffic, I hated France by car but loved it by bike.

The Spanish are lovely, not as nice as the French were to us but great none the less, ended up camping out on beaches for a few nights, but the rain followed us around Spain to we went to Italy.

So what years your ride, colour, mods where are you located? if you want to check out mine then go here, F650 Ride the World - A journey of Global Proportions I should be re-leaving in the next few weeks. (3rd time this year I've tried to get away)

Ride safe.

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Old 31 Jan 2008
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try ViaMichelin: street map, maps, map UK, route finder, route planner, directions, road map, route map for route planning in europe.
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Old 2 Feb 2008
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Thank you for the advice chaps.

Lee my bike is a 55. silvery blue colour. I am in islington in London. I checked out your site. good luck on your trip. Mine is slightly less adventurous!! Looking forward to it none the less.


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Old 8 Mar 2008
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Hi Dan,

I am very interested to hear how your trip planning is coming along and how your trip itself will go.

I am also planning an almost identical trip as yours, although i am in the very early stages of planning my trip. My trip will be next year 2009.

I have a house in Calpe on the costa blanca, not too far from your destination of Catral (about 150kms i think). I intend to ride down on my bike while my wife and kids will fly down as normal.

I have been allowing in my mind for four to five seperate days of travelling to reach Calpe.

Day 1. South Wales to the ferry port. I have not decided on the ferry port yet but this will depend upon the ultimate route that i decide on. My first night will be spent just a short ride from the french ferry terminal.

Day 2. Onward through france and like you, i want to avoid the motorways. I intend to take the trip fairly leisurely and would assume no more than 200 miles in a day. So another night in France

Day 3. I have a cousin living in the south of France near the Pyrenees on the mediterranean side. I dont know if its possible to reach him on day 3, this is where i hope that your trip may help me with judging the distance covered on the roads etc.

Day 4. From my cousin ??? into Spain and down toward catalunya somewhere south of Barcelona.

Day 5. Straight on the A7 / AP7 (the only motorway that i intend to use) to Calpe. This would be a long day with about 400 kms to cover, but all on motorway.

I have a Brand new XL 650 V6 Transalp, 2007 model. I bought the bike in Nov 2007 and i have not been on a bike for ten years so I am rebuilding my confidence and skills in preparation for this trip and hopefully many more similar trips in the future.

One option that i have thought of to make the return Journey more interesting would be to ride to Santander or Bilbao for the ferry to Portsmouth or Plymouth.

I am new to this, so any advice or tips on this trip in particular would be appreciated.


'Never worry about things that YOU cant change'
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Old 22 Mar 2008
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I did it!

Hello Dan, hope you are well.

In 2005 I did a very similar trip to what your planning. I had passed my test in 2003 and bought myself a Suzuki SV650S. I quickly got fed up with the Sunday runs to the seaside and decided I wanted to do something a bit more adventurous without scaring the s*it out of myself altogether!

It so happenened that a few months earlier I had rekindled a friendship from many years previous with a couple who had since moved to Torrevieja, just south of Alicante. So to me that was the perfect first "big" trip and my planning started. I took a ferry from Rosslare to Roscoff in Brittany, then made my way down the west coast of France. I stopped off in Pontivy, La Rochelle, Bordeaux and Lourdes along the way. To say this part of France is beautiful would be a tremendous understatement, and the respect given to bikers on the road is nothing short of remarkable. I absolutely loved France. I then made my way across the Pyrenees and stayed in a very remote part of Northern Spain (can't remember the name of the village, but it was fabulous) for a couple of days. I then made my way down through central Spain before turning eastwards towards Alicante. I think that for me I did the trip perfectly, insofar as I avoided most of the tourist areas as I wanted to see the real people and places in France and Spain.

My accomodation was mostly hotels along the way. They were easy to find, offered secure parking for the bike and weren't at all expensive. Overall I had an absolute blast of a time. I loved every minute of it. I've been touring in Europe a few times since then and have always enjoyed it immensely, but that first trip will stay with me forever (partly for reasons that I can't mention here.....but it did involve 2 tasty French girls in the town of Poitiers!!). You'll have an amazing trip Dan, just get on with it and don't let the nerves get to you!!


"Life is too short to drink cheap wine!"
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Old 22 Mar 2008
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You say your bike is due a service that you will have done before you leave.
Garage labour rates are generally cheaper in France than UK. It might save you a bob or two to have it done in France - and give you a chance to explore a city while they do it.

Having said that - it is a BMW and I find their costs to be unnecessarily high wherever you go including, to my knowlwdge and cost UK, Russia and Spain. Yet a little man in a village bike repair shop in Spain changed both sprockets and chain on my F650 Dakar (which involved removing the swinging arm, for an 18 Euro labour charge, after I had paid well over GBP120 for the parts at the BMW dealership in the nearest city.

After having travelled the quite long distances necessary to find a BMW Motorrad dealer, I really resent having to pay the many pounds within their prices to include a free machine dispensed coffee and assisting the upkeep of a white marble, smoked glass and stainless steel palace full of smartly dressed, under occupied, 'executives' whose main talent seem to be to avoid eye contact and generally want little to do with 'service' customers.
Other makes have helpful knowledgeable mechanics and spares in practically every village in the World, who seem to do competant work and be very content with far less money.

Any signs of a rant would be correct!
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Old 23 Mar 2008
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Goodness Tony.......

......that sounds like a MONSTER rant!! I take it you've been shafted by someone recently?? Having said that, I reckon you are just saying what a lot of people think. Labour charges in the UK are obscene to the point of being almost criminal. It's the old saying....."at least Dick Turpin had the decency to wear a mask."

However, here's a brief story that warmed my heart a little bit.......Lasy year I was in Germany and Holland on my 2003 Triumph Trophy 1200. Out of the blue the bike packed up. I had to have roadside recovery and repatriation for myself and the bike (courtesy of Carole Nash Insurance!!). When I got the bike to my local Triumph dealer it was confirmed that a bearing had shattered somewhere in the engine and had pretty much wrecked everything around it. The upshot was that I needed a new engine as there were too many components that had been damaged to make it viable to use replacement parts. With the help of the dealer, Triumph agreed to provide new crankcases and a new crankshaft totally free of charge. I had to pay for the rest at a cost of £1200 (which included £800 of labour!!!), but it was the difference between having my bike as good as new and scrapping the whole machine. Yes, franchised dealers do know how to charge........but in this instance their input was invaluable. A local mechanic would never have been able to convince Triumph to help.


"Life is too short to drink cheap wine!"
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