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  #1  
Old 9 May 2012
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Basic Europe questions

My 500th post! Go me.

My daughter and I will be taking a short road trip to France and Germany soon. It won't be an 'adventure' in the off-road sense, but it might be in several other ways (her first bike trip). I'd like to keep to the legalities for this one.

I know France has a helmet law (not that I wouldn't wear one) and is headlights-on. Also compulsory spare bulb kit on board. I think the compulsory hi-viz thing and restrictions on older bikes have been postponed to 2013, but not sure. I'm guessing the same for Germany. I'll be carrying bulbs and all the usual documents (V5, insurance, MoT).

Anything else I have left out? Thanks for any suggestions.
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Old 10 May 2012
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The bulb thing is a bit of a hit and miss. As some car's mostly new one's. You can't change the bulb's unless you take of most of the front of the car. Some have sealed beam's so no way can you get at the bulb's. If a bulb's goes tit's up on you. The chance's are you will be able to buy one near by. So I don't carry them never have been asked. I do carry a set of brake pad's. If I've not put on a new set before I leave. A breath alcohol kit. Can buy them in most garage's in France. About 2 euros.
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Old 10 May 2012
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You're right about the high-viz being put off until 2013, or forgotten about now Sarkozy has gone. Breath test kit is a requirement from July but there's a grace period until November during which it's and advisory rather than a fine. One thing that's been law for years but never seems to be applied to visitors is the requirement for four reflective stickers on your helmet.
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Old 10 May 2012
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I always keep the MOT with my passport not with the bike docs. For some reason the V5 and insurance always pass inspection but the MOT receipt isn't understood so causes doubt.

Andy
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  #5  
Old 10 May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackDogZulu View Post
My 500th post! Go me.

My daughter and I will be taking a short road trip to France and Germany soon. It won't be an 'adventure' in the off-road sense, but it might be in several other ways (her first bike trip).

Two key words here - 'daughter' and 'first'.
One thing missing - how old she is.

I've done a lot of trips with my daughter as pillion, the first when she was about 15. (Although she'd been on the back for local dad's-taxi-trips for years).

To S of France and Spain. Then Portugal on another trip and then getting really out of hand with Moscow, Istanbul and beyond.
On a Ducati and Aprilia.

I'm sure you'll get all the up-to-date road-legal stuff, but there's an aspect that needs close planning if you've not aready got it 110% under control.....
Luggage.

My daughter's a walking clothes-horse/mannequin. Always has been always will.
And I took no account of this on trip No.1. To find she'd packed clothes for everything from daytime to glittering evening balls.
And hair-dryers and heaven knows what else are heavy.....

It was a lot of stress. I couldn't figure out why the bike felt so heavy until I saw, on day 2 or so, what she'd crammed and levered into her share of the panniers. Too late by then, but looking back maybe I should have forced her to jettison a load of it.

Trip No. 2 (hilly parts of Portugal) - she'd found a way of squeezing even more stuff in, ignoring the problems we had on trip No.1

Make sure you've got good control of what gets loaded.

My only consolation - I'm pretty sure I learned a lot about handling an overloaded bike on tricky mountain roads on those trips.
Every cloud and all that......

And travelling with your daughter is g-r-e-a-t.
(Especially when you book into a youth hostel, my daughter doing the talking, and the guy behind the counter says "and this is your boyfriend..."
Never saw her get so angry so quickly!)

Have a good trip.
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  #6  
Old 10 May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John933 View Post
The bulb thing is a bit of a hit and miss. I do carry a set of brake pad's. If I've not put on a new set before I leave. A breath alcohol kit. Can buy them in most garage's in France. About 2 euros.
John933
I have the bulbs and they pack small, so no problem there. Didn't know about the breath alcohol kit, though. Thanks for the tip. New pads on the front last week, and rears checked and good for another 3k or so. Good point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tourider View Post
You're right about the high-viz being put off until 2013, or forgotten about now Sarkozy has gone. Breath test kit is a requirement from July but there's a grace period until November during which it's and advisory rather than a fine. One thing that's been law for years but never seems to be applied to visitors is the requirement for four reflective stickers on your helmet.
Good news about the hi-viz. And funnily enough I have some reflective stickers on the helmet (black, showing up as white). My commute on unlit back roads makes me keen to be seen

Quote:
Originally Posted by Threewheelbonnie View Post
I always keep the MOT with my passport not with the bike docs. For some reason the V5 and insurance always pass inspection but the MOT receipt isn't understood so causes doubt.
I've never had to show any docs while abroad, but I would imagine the MoT is the least obvious to a non-GB official. Insurance and 'carte grise' are pretty universal. Good idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by McCrankpin View Post
Two key words here - 'daughter' and 'first'.
One thing missing - how old she is.
... but there's an aspect that needs close planning if you've not aready got it 110% under control.....
Luggage.

And travelling with your daughter is g-r-e-a-t.
(Especially when you book into a youth hostel, my daughter doing the talking, and the guy behind the counter says "and this is your boyfriend..."
Never saw her get so angry so quickly!)

Have a good trip.
Should have said - she's 24 and medium-to-high maintenance. Her only bike experience so far has been a 200-mile all-day run round mid-Wales, which she loved. She's dead keen.

My solution to the luggage problem (which I had foreseen, oh yes): I have a large top-box and some throw-over panniers. One pannier will be for bike stuff (chain lube, spare oil, locks and so on) and one for me. I am going to visit her soon (she's about 100 miles away from me) and I am taking the top-box with me and leaving it there. She can fill it as she pleases but no more than that. Dad will have the final say if it gets to more than 4 tonnes.

I was thinking of using B&Bs but it could be expensive, as I am sure she won't want to share, and the French don't seem to like single rooms. Perhaps YHs could be an alternative. I'm looking forward to the envious glances, as she is petite, blonde and - if I say so myself - really cute. God knows where she got that from.

Thanks to all for your thoughts. Have to say I am getting pretty excited about it.
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Old 20 May 2012
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living in france at the moment.
the french dont understand the MOT because there is no MOT(controle technique) on motorbikes in france. as for the breath test i've never had or seen one here and i'm a truck driver so would of been supplied with one if it was law.
you DO need to carry a hi-viz vest though. you dont have to wear it but it's if you are broken down at the side of the road it makes you visible. have a nice trip.
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Old 24 May 2012
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Originally Posted by kevinhancock750 View Post
you DO need to carry a hi-viz vest though. you dont have to wear it but it's if you are broken down at the side of the road it makes you visible. have a nice trip.
I didn't realise the 'carry a vest' rule applied to bikes as well as cars. Makes sense, though, and no hardship to carry a couple.

Supplementary question - how important is it to carry the V5? I have always done this in the past and never needed it. However, I seem to have lost the V5 for this bike. I have time to get a duplicate (25GBP)before I go - is it really essential, or just a 'nice to have'?
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  #9  
Old 24 May 2012
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V5c

I have not been asked for the V5c while travelling on the continent, but I suggest it would happen if you are involved in an accident or are stopped by the police for any other reason.

All the blue ones are being swopped for a new red one, at no charge to us, so if you lost a blue one then just wait for the new red version to arrive in the mail.
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Old 24 May 2012
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I would get one. I've had to show it twice in 20 years. Police check points in both cases, one looking for an escaped prisoner (which included a CRS machine gun nest set up at the roadside!) the other for no obvious reason I could detect. The plod was bored, so looking for anything that wasn't just a local ID card. Passport, license, V5, insurance and away in 10 minutes. The old UK driving license with no photo didn't impress.

Get done for speeding or pulled for a blown lamp without a full set of documents and they'll go to town.

Andy
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  #11  
Old 24 May 2012
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OK, convinced!

I can't help having a paper licence (being an old git) and I am certainly not giving that up just for the convenience of a few forrin coppers. But I will get a new V5. I need it for June, so I can't wait for a new one to magically turn up.

As with umbrellas, carrying one means you probably won't need it

Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 25 May 2012
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personally i'd carry one....
only once been stopped here and my papers were in my campervan 20 miles away! he was'nt happy but let me go.
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Old 25 May 2012
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Don't think there is any of this nonsense about Hi-Viz being compulsory in Germany, but it may be sensible to carry a Hi-Viz waistcoat for each of you, in case you breakdown.

Likewise, set of spare bulbs would not be mandatory in Germany for a bike (I think) but I would carry a set on a longer trip, to save being pulled by plod and any further complications. You should be able to buy new bulbs at supermarkets, garages, etc. but if you get stopped by plod, they may stop you continuing your journey until you fix the problem.

Non 'E' Certified mods like Xenon Gas Discharge lamps are illegal in Germany and plod do stop and fine offenders.

I would consider some form of Breakdown Recovery Insurance for accidents, etc. Perhaps AA, etc. if your travel insurance/UK insurance doesn't cover this.

A Green Card I think is free and valid for 5 years and proves you have insurance.

Yes, carry the relevant documents V5, Driving Licence, Insurance. MOT is probably optional as I am not required to carry the MOT/TÜV document - all computerised I guess, plus in Germany, you get a sticker for the number plate to indicate you are in date with TÜV and Emissions Test.

Germany is a bit behind the times and Credit Cards are not so widely accepted in Germany, but EC Cards are OK.

Grey Beard
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Old 25 May 2012
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Now ordered. I can't believe how simple that was - a 2 minute phone call to DVLA and a payment of £25. Should be with me in 3-5 working days, in good time for departure.

That'll teach me to lose things

Thanks to everyone for the input.
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Old 25 May 2012
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Thanks Grey beard - our posts crossed.

Good info for Germany, thanks - it looks as though the trip will be more Deutsch than Francais in the end. I will carry the hi-viz tabards anyway, very little room/weight and could be useful in a breakdown.

Breakdown insurance? Hmmm. I am in the RAC and can get insurance from them for about £50 for the trip, but it only covers actual breakdowns and not recovery after accidents, damage caused by theft/vandalism etc. That seems a lot of money for a lmited service. I'll check out my own insurers, otherwise I think I will take the chance.
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