The Achievable Dream 5-part series - the definitive guide on DVD for planning your motorcycle adventure. Get Ready! covers planning, paperwork, medical and many other topics! "Inspirational and Awesome!" See the trailer here!
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Ladies on the Loose! For the first time ever, a motorcycle travel DVD made for women, by women! These intrepid women share their tips to help you plan your own motorcycle adventure. They also answer the women-only questions, and entertain you with amazing tales from the road! Presented by Lois Pryce, veteran solo traveller through South America and Africa and author of 'Lois on the Loose', and 'Red Tape and White Knuckles.'
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My better half and I have a trip planned for later this year, a long haul tour of Europe.
France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden & Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithunia, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Rep, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, back through Slovenia to Italy, France then Spain with a long stop in Andalucia.
We plan to spend 5 months travelling and then 3 months living in the mountains in Andalucia.
We hope to spend most of our travelling time camping, rather than staying in hotels, from a cost point of view. Once we get to Andalucia, we have accommodation arranged.
We have a few questions about camping security:
Will most camp sites let me keep the bike next to the tent?
How safe is it to leave gear in the tent and go out for the day?
If it is not safe in the tent, what suggestions do you have?
Has anybody kept their gear in train/bus station lockers?
We have previously only done short trips to Europe and have always stayed in hotels, B&Bs, etc.. and left the gear in the room.
My advice would be to stay in camp sites away from cities. Cities is where the trouble brews. I have camped for many years and twice had things stolen: first time in a camp outside Dover, towels and sleeping bags were taken during the day. Second was in Oskarshamn in Sweden, where a side bag of a tank bag was taken during the night. This was attached to the bike, so easy target. The bag was the big loss, as it is no longer made and so irreplaceable.
Another advice: put your tent where it can be seen by other campers. Meet your neighbours, they may well protect your stuff during the day simply by knowing you.
Having said all that, it's probably pretty safe out there.
So far I never had any probs parking my bike next to the tent.´I think the advice re tent neighbours is a very good idea.
Now and then I love camping in the wild - in Romania, Montenegro, France, Germany - whereever. Never had any problems. Of course I always selected the spot carefully so it could not be spotted easily. These were of course only one night stays.
We camped in Europe for a year. In the entire time only one thing was stolen. While we were visiting Paris we had left the bikes in the campground (the one in the park in Paris) and when we came back the valve stem caps off my wife's bike were missing.
Usually the tent didn't have much in the way of valuables when we went sight seeing, locking the laptop and other valuables in the saddlebags.
I found that camping actually felt more secure than hotels because you are right there with the bike, always in sight. The few times we hotelled I was always worried about the bikes. European campgrounds are usually fenced off (as opposed to the North American parks) so there isn't that much opportunity for people to just "walk by" and nick something.
I've camped throughout most of Europe and never felt it was unsafe to leave stuff with the tent.The making friends-with-your-neighbours is a good bit of advise if you are concerned though.I too like to camp wild whenever i can and try to find out of the way unseen places to do this on the principal that if you can't be seen,nobody knows you're there! Otherwise i try to find a municipal camping ground as they're usually about half the price of privately run camps and nearly always have excellent facillities.All allow you to have the bike next to the tent,and some even have changing room style lockers in the main building.Most are short walking distance from the centre of the village/town and despite this are quiet.The manager/manageress is usually friendly and a wealth of local info(where you can get the best bread,things to see,etc...).
One really nice thing about camping in Norway is that you are allowed to camp pretty much everywhere, even on someone elses private property as long as the grounds are not "worked" and as long as you are not a nuisance to the owners... meaning that you can camp outback in a farmers woods without his permission (he is not allowed to refuse you), but not on his front lawn. Stay a few hundred meters away from his house and not in his field and you will be fine, though asking for permission is allways wise, and polite. If you ask for permission they will likely offer you a shower, maybe even a cup of coffee or a meal(people always offer other people coffee in Norway). Hey, if you are lucky they might even have a sauna that you could use.
As for security... if you stay away from tent sites with lots of young interrailers or other broke traveelers, then theft should not be a problem. As for Norway, I'd bet that you are more at risk from having your stuff stolen from other travellers than camp site employees, etc. Still, petty theft occurs everywhere, even at the Vatican (someone even tried to kill the pope, I mean that guy did not want to risk having to wait in line when it was his time to go to hell). In short, you are not safe anywhere, not even at home. As for violence, incidents in the scandinavian countries would either be a freak incident, or as a direct result of you having done something making you really deserve it. As with pretty much anywhere, drunk people are your greatest threat, especially young drunk men, with the risk increasing exponentially the larger the group of drunks are... whether it be theft, violence or destruction of property. If you stay in a camp site full of plastered teens, hooligans or what not, then be wary... if only families, german senior citisens in trailer homes, or peace lovin traveeling geeks that JUST HAVE TO SEE the Van Gogh Museum are around, then sllep outside naked with your rolex sticking out your butt.
But it is the same everywhere, the culprits always go for the easiest or most lucrative target. If you lock your tent and/or luggage with a simple padlock, don't flash your valuables (including booze), etc, then you are less likely to be ripped off than those that are less careful.
Personally I have never had anything stolen anywhere, but I have allways been precautious. Precautious means peace of mind, and a more enjoyable time, even if your stuff never was in any real jeapordy anyways.
Amen to Wheelies Norway chat. I've only felt safer in Japan. Never felt dodgy leaving stuff in campsites etc. I'd say the UK is as bad as anywhere, some of us are right riff-raff. Personally never had anything nicked camping in France, Norway, Slovenia, Austria, Belgium etc. or the UK for that matter but usually reasonably on gaurd.
[This message has been edited by Matt Cartney (edited 13 January 2006).]
*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
I've camped all over europe & morocco, never had anything messed with. What I always do tho, when I'm gonna be out of site of my bike for awhile, or at nite, is put a cover on it. they are cheap, and pack small. If folks cant see whats under it, they usually wont mess with it.
Stayed at a campground outside of Venice (Venezia) and met all of those that camped near me, and like mentioned above, gave me a great feeling of safety and security when I left the tent out for a long day of touristing.
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