new member seeking tour route through france/spain
late summer converted back to a road bike,have been off roading in southern spain three times and decided i would love to do a trip from france down through spain to gibralter up through barcelona and back.
places i like to see; the mellin bridge(the new one that links france and spain) mainly scenic routes,but i am open to any suggestions.
as this is my first trip to europe on a bike im a complete novice to this and would also appreciate any information from anyone who could point me in the right direction.
could someone give me an idea of time scale for this(i was thinking 10-14 days)
i will be buying a sat nav before i go-thinking of garmin 550?-also some people have said about tom tom rider 11.tried the garmin out at the bike show last week(its got a off road facility-which would be usefull for trail riding) but no real demos of the tom tom.which do you rate the better one?
one last question,intercom systems,-starcom?
interphone/ this one at the bike show last week.
went to buy this one,this one is wireless,battery lasts for aprox 7hrs
asked the guy on the starcom stand why it needs to be plumbed into the bike? he said that all wireless intercoms would have to much noise interferrance from electrical items on the bike,so i thought stuff that one then,. when i go home looked on the net about interphone and every bugger was raving about them!!!!!!. so now what?
thanks everyone. paul.
Spain is pretty big, so 10 days might be a bit tight. Last year in October I travelled from near Carcasson/France down to Andalucía for he bike meeting of Moto Andalucía. On he way down I took a more westerly route, crossing the border to Portugal near Bejar/Spain and back into Spain after whizzing through the Prtugese Estrela mts and through the Extremadura to Sevilla down to Cadiz. The return trip saw me further east up to Trujillo and then across to Barcelona.
Spain is rather mountainous, thus quite scenic. The main roads are quick, but mostly straight. The secondary roads are a biker's dream, but slow. More my choice.
Depending on whether you are interested in towns: In the southern half the places I enjoyed most were Trujillo, Cadiz, Gibraltar, Ronda, Granada and Cordoba. But to find the interesting stuff you'll have to consult a travel guide...
If you are going to be in Pau, France this hotel is highly recommended. It is used by alot of touring motorcyclist as a day or two base camp.
For detailed maps of Spain looking for short cuts etc etc try this map source. It works like google earth.
http://sigpac.mapa.es/fega/visor/ click on the center and work the controls on the right.
When you say the Mellin Bridge, you don't mean the Millau Viaduct do you?
Well worth going to, although not for the faint hearted. It's not between France and Spain though, it's over the Tarn Valley, but if you were heading through central France and then into Spain you could take it.
You don't say when you're thinking of doing this, but seeing as you're in Wales, I'd look at Brittany Ferries outbound Plymouth - Roscoff and return Santander - Plymouth and let the boat take the strain of the long return journey, unless you're an iron-butt of course. If you've got the cash treat yourself to a cabin on the way back to chill out, relax, read, blog, whatever.
I reckon the two crossings would cost about £180-190, which might seem steep at first, but compare that to taking shorter crossings both ways and the cost of petrol/autoroute tolls, and it more than balances out. Plus you probably get more time in Spain.
A tip for getting a cheap BF cabin which works off season. When you book (either online or on the phone) only book a reclining seat. Arrive at the port good and early, and go into the check-in and ask for a shared cabin. They're not sold online, and not offered on the phone, so they're rarely used. You'll pay for one berth only in a cabin of four, but because few people know (knew?) about this, the odds are pretty well stacked that you'll be on your own (you can always ask if there's anyone else sharing anyway). This means you end up with a spacious outside cabin with porthole for about £4 more than the cost of a slippery reclining seat. usually works out great.
thanks for the replys,didnt know about the shared cabin idea! thanks.
any more suggestions keep em coming, any thoughts on the sat navs??
Can't say about the Tomtom - I'm using the Zumo 550 and am very pleased. The coverage of western Europe is excellent. Every lane and ally was on the map, only some very new roads were missing. Sure saves you a lot of time when riding in foreign regions, esp. when on backroads.
The only time I had problems with the Zumo was when it was pouring for hours. Eventually some moisture crept inbetween the contacts between cradle and Zumo and caused quite a bit of interference :(
France, Spain & a TomTom
Although we live and work in the south of Spain, we drove down through France, Andorra and Spain (to the south coast) a couple of years ago - do it, its absolutely great, but I think that 10 days might be a little tight.
Due South Tour
I used a TomTom Rider 1 and it worked faultlessly, apart from a little operator error in the south of France. ;)
One of the highlights was camping near the Millau Viaduct, doing the visitors center and riding it on a wonderful clear day. :)
I also live in Wales and I will be undertakinga similar journey in 2009.
I have relatives near perpignan in the South of France which i want to visit and then I will be going down as far as just south of Valencia (Calpe). I will be leaving my bike there ( I have a house there) for a month or two while I fly back and then I will fly back out and ride the bike home. This will break the trip up and allow me to enjoy the return as a seperate adventure on a different route once I am refreshed.
I have played about with different routes and i found ViaMichelin: Maps, route planner, route finder, UK maps, European maps, hotel booking, travel guides to be informative. I was advised by my cousin to take the ferry from Weymouth / Bournemouth / Plymouth to Le havre or St Malo and then ride down the west coast of France and then cut across eastwards to meet him and that would put me on the eastern side of spain for a straightforward ride down through Catalunya and onward to valencia.
However if you want to ride the Millau bridge and you also want to get down through France quickly then go to Calais and pick up the E15, this is the Mediterranean Route motorway (it is called various numbers but always prefixed with E15) and goes from the top of France to Gibraltar. This route will take you near the Millau Bridge (or so i have been told).
With the Michelin route planner you select routes for different types of trip, IE scenic, quick, economical etc
Please keep us informed of your plans.
Sat Nav for Europe.
If you need the off road facility, then there is no choice to be made... However, if not, I really cannot stress how good the Tom Tom Rider V2 is, and it comes with the Bluetooth headset as standard. I used mine in europe and it never missed a turn, nor did it have any problems with the rain. I always wear either earplugs or my ipod, depending on my mood, and the volume on the headset is enough to be heard even when using either of the above.
Also, just to put a different spin on things, I would go accross Belgium, south through Germany, Then accross the south of France. Germany is a fantastic biking country, the people are MUCH NICER than the French, and its cheaper!! I know it would take longer, but i think 14 days would be enough, and you wont regret it.
Good luck either way,
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