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TRAVEL Hints and Tips Post your TIPS to travellers - all the interesting little tidbits you learned on the road about packing, where to get stuff, and how to cope with problems. Please make sure the subject describes the tip clearly!
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  #1  
Old 18 Apr 2008
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Beginners trip from UK?

Here's a question for all you seasoned RTW riders.

What would you recomend for a first time trip from the UK - just to see if the long trek is for you???

I'd love to do a trip round the coast of the Med. Something like UK - France, Spain/Portugal, Italy, etc,etc and back via Morocco and Gibraltar and back through Spain, France.

This isn't a trip for a beginner so I want to get some experience - not too far but still far enough.

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Old 19 Apr 2008
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Leeds is a bit of a treck in itself for some of us!

Seriously, I like your Round the Med idea. I believe it is not fully possible with closed borders in some areas.

Set yourself a target.

What about following a coast line as closely as physically possible?

This ensures bad, loose or no tracks, beaches, remote areas etc. yet never too far from civilisation. Say Gib to Venice or Greece - that covers huge mileages, varied terrain and peoples (St Tropez 'folk' are as different from village fisherman around the Gulf of Taranto as you could get!
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Old 19 Apr 2008
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Wouldn't call myself seasoned but would recommend a trip I did a couple of years ago.
France etc. across the alps to Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia (especially Sarajevo), southern Italy, Sicily, France and back home.
Places were different enough to be 'exotic', roads varied from good to non existent, after Slovenia English was minimal, food could be as adventurous as you liked, it was easy to get away from the well trodden routes and find something for yourself. Also, for a first trip insurance etc. is easy and borders are straighforward.
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Old 19 Apr 2008
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I thought borders might be an issue - with the EU spreading further East there won't be many borders left!!!

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  #5  
Old 19 Apr 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony P View Post
Leeds is a bit of a treck in itself for some of us!

Seriously, I like your Round the Med idea. I believe it is not fully possible with closed borders in some areas.

Set yourself a target.

What about following a coast line as closely as physically possible?

This ensures bad, loose or no tracks, beaches, remote areas etc. yet never too far from civilisation. Say Gib to Venice or Greece - that covers huge mileages, varied terrain and peoples (St Tropez 'folk' are as different from village fisherman around the Gulf of Taranto as you could get!
Wouldn't reccomend Leeds, way too dodgy I know people in my local who can steal wheels and radios from MOVING cars

How about a loop round the Baltic? Did it in two weeks in 2004. You have a choice of all tarmac or bits of gravel and can either go through Russia for a bit of visa/border experience or get the ferry and stay 100% in EU/EFTA countries.

Andy
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Old 19 Apr 2008
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Originally Posted by Threewheelbonnie View Post
Wouldn't reccomend Leeds, way too dodgy I know people in my local who can steal wheels and radios from MOVING cars
No kidding, when I rode to Hull (via KZ) from Sheffield I left my bike chained to a fence in Turkmenistan for a week, it was fine. Got back to the UK and some theiving git tried to nick it then just torched it instead.

Don't worry about experience Tom, just get out there and go - even on a RTW by the time you have left the security of Europe you will probably have enough experience to make it the rest of the way
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Old 19 Apr 2008
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RTW, it's like rowing the Atlantic. The first two weeks are all the practice you need. Just go!

Seriously, Have a trip around Scandinavia for a few weeks. All the scenery you can eat and great camping. You can make it as adventurous as you like. Gravel roads, wild camping, swimming in lakes. A wonderful place.
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Old 19 Apr 2008
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Hey you lot!!!

Leeds ain't that bad - actually it probably is and I've just got used to it

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Old 19 Apr 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tenere Tom View Post
Here's a question for all you seasoned RTW riders.

What would you recomend for a first time trip from the UK - just to see if the long trek is for you???

I'd love to do a trip round the coast of the Med. Something like UK - France, Spain/Portugal, Italy, etc,etc and back via Morocco and Gibraltar and back through Spain, France.

This isn't a trip for a beginner so I want to get some experience - not too far but still far enough.

Tom
As a sampler, take a 5 day trip from plymouth to roscoff and back. use the time to circle brittany. Excellent uncluttered roads. stick to teh 'D' roads if possible, but there are no peages in brittany, all free.
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Old 20 Apr 2008
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Apart from bike related stuff - what hazards are you likely to come across???
I don't want to sound green but are robberies and attacks uncommon???

Tom
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Old 20 Apr 2008
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Originally Posted by Tenere Tom View Post
Apart from bike related stuff - what hazards are you likely to come across???
I don't want to sound green but are robberies and attacks uncommon???

Tom
Tom,
Once you get out of Leeds you'll be fine!


Seriously, no idea what you are doing about accommodation: in France, a lot of the hotels have good lockup facilities for bikes and are aware of local possibilities for crime.
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Old 20 Apr 2008
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To see whether you can hack a long trek your checkout trip ideally needs to be

- out of your comfort zone
- with a language you don't know
- with road signs in a different script (Arabic, cyrillic, greek)
- a radically different culture
- without ready access to a dealer network
- where getting spares to you would be challenging

France, Spain/Portugal, Italy hit maybe only one, or at the most two, of the above.

You really need to be out of the EU.

Central Turkey, far Eastern Europe, or Morocco/Western Sahara (especially if you don't speak French) would meet most of the points.
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  #13  
Old 20 Apr 2008
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Wink UK is OK

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Cullis View Post
- out of your comfort zone
- with a language you don't know
- with road signs in a different script (Arabic, cyrillic, greek)
- a radically different culture
- without ready access to a dealer network
- where getting spares to you would be challenging

.
Tim,
Wales pushes most of those buttons! Bits of Bradford also, and it is just along the road from Leeds - perfect.
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Old 21 Apr 2008
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If you want a quick trip then I'd go the Plymouth - Roscoff route too, tour round Brittany (Iw ould say that I live here), but then down the Atlantic coast of France, over the Pyrenees and into Spain, then get the ferry back from Santander to Plymouth and home. OK so it's all still in Europe but it'll give you variations in geography and climate (it's pouring here in Northern Brittany for instance but a friend who lives 40kms south of me has just told me they're sat in the garden in the sun in shorts).

You could of course even make it some form of pilgimage and make St John de Compostella your destination, that way there's a real sense of it being a "trip" and I think they even give you a pilgims' badge when you get there.

Accomodation could vary from b&b "chambre d'hôtes" in France or campsites or cheap overnight hotels like Formule 1 or wildcamping, or couch-surfing.
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Old 21 Apr 2008
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Thanks for all your suggestions and ideas.

I'm sure that when I get on the road to where ever it will all fall into place.
I quite fancy doing a bit of camping and a little wild cooking (maybe in the style of the Hairy Bikers). Like most of you I don't want to be going to tourist hotspots - quite the opposite, meeting local people in their own enviornment and trying the local cuisine. Even as close as France or Spain I'm sure there are plenty of treats to be had and many miles of rewarding roads.

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