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  #1  
Old 9 Jan 2011
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Seeking some advice!

Hi everyone,

I'm new, and very naive, so please be nice! After reading some of the HUBB posts, you all seem like a supportive bunch.

I'm Australian, and am in the early stages of planning a trip to Europe, and from the start, I've been opposed to doing it the standard "tourist" way of public transport between major cities etc etc.

I thought of the idea of touring Europe, at my own pace, on a motorcycle. Enter Horizons Unlimited.

I have read a lot of the introductory information on the HU website but I fully acknowledge my degree of 'newbie' and wanted some opinions from seasoned travellers. Here are my details.

1) I'm 24, female, Australian. I have an Australian as well as an EU Passport (Ireland). I have my full Car Drivers Licence.

2) I plan to begin this trip in March 2012 and travel indefinitely.

3) I have never ridden a motorcycle in my life, nor do I know anything about bikes or the maintenance of them. However, I am of course enthusiastic to ride, practise, and learn the ropes.

4) I'm interested in seeing most of Europe, but not off-road. I like mountains, rolling hills, beaches, small towns, all that sort of jazz.

5) My budget will be about 60 euro per day.

6) I wouldn't want to do more than 250kms a day. For me, being on a bike would be about being able to be right in the environment, experiencing it first hand, and getting around with ease. Not so much about hardcore long-distance.


At the moment I am thinking that the easiest option would be to buy a bike in Australia and ship it to London?

I also am unsure as to whether I should be finding a hostel to stay in every night, or if I should take camping gear with me?


I probably sound very naive about this, and I am, but I'm very excited about this potential idea and just want to know if I'm totally crazy or if it's possible, and if I'm making the right decisions.

Thank you in advance for your replies. I realize I haven't asked much in the way of questions, I'm mostly after your thoughts.

Nicola
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  #2  
Old 9 Jan 2011
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Go for it!

Hi Nicola,

I am no longer active on the HUBB because of selling my bike in the UK before coming over to Australia to study for a few years and find a way to stay over here... but a friend sent me your post. Welcome!

Indefinite travels... now that is the way to do it!!

I got my motorcycle license in London in my mid-20s, bought a bike (which had to be test rode by a friend's boyfriend, because they wouldn't let me take it out, what with being such a newly-licensed rider), and was travelling around Europe and Eastern Europe a few weeks later. I travelled initially with a female friend, but did the bulk of my journey solo.

Your EU passport will make travelling in Europe very easy - so make sure it's in a safe place!

I ensured that I was equipped to travel offroad if need be (I never want to be in a situation that I couldn't go somewhere because of being limited by my bike). I ended up doing very little offroad though, which was fine by me because of my inexperience.

Bike maintenance was a bit of a worry for me because, like you, I also didn't know much at all. I did what I could before travelling to make sure that I could do a basic service on the bike (oil, filter, spark plug change) and knew how to maintain the bike to make sure that it would get me everywhere safely (just chain lubrication, tyre pressures and regular oil checks). I just crossed my fingers and was of the view that I really wasn't going to be anywhere remote enough not to get help if something happened and I needed help. Get your bike serviced and checked before you head off, mentioning to the mechanic that you are setting off on an adventure and are a green, girlie biker (they are usually very helpful and make sure that the bike is looked at properly for you). I had a small tool kit with me, which wasn't really used. If you are sticking to the roads you may not even need to worry about replacement inner tubes (which I had with me all the way and gave them away when I sold the bike).

Your daily budget of 60Euro will be okay if you are thrifty and camp most of the time (eating out can get through a fair whack of that, so organising your own food will make that last a lot longer). I preferred camping because it meant that I could be totally self sufficient. Camp sites can sometimes be a bit removed from the main cities though (or have been completely built over and no longer on the map lol). Are you travelling with a GPS? I used paper maps... and wished regularly for a GPS

Your bike: I would seriously consider buying one over there with the view of selling it before you head back to Aus. I have looked into getting a bike in Australia (many times lol... lots of daydreaming) and there are many more options in London and it will be cheaper (the bike will be cheaper and you won't have to pay shipping = more money for travelling Yay!). Also, distances in Europe are a lot smaller compared to those in Australia, so bikes there tend to have lower mileage and are generally not put through quite as much as their Australian counterparts.

Your travel plans are totally possible! If you can dream it, you can do it

I'm not regularly on the HUBB, but you can absolutely email me if you would like to (michelle underscore underscore clark at hotmail dot com).

Happy travel planning! (so exciting!)

Shells
(thanks to Mick for sending me Nicola's post)
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  #3  
Old 9 Jan 2011
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FIRST thing . Get on a bike ASAP. You will then know if you like it . If like most of us its a big YES, then start your planning and practice on your chosen bike Good luck Jules
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  #4  
Old 9 Jan 2011
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travelling around europe by motorbike on €60 per day will leave you with little change. travelling 250 km, on the average bike, will be almost €20 per day. any daily change from the fuel kitty can be put aside for the tyre and oil/filter changes.

if you have unlimited time, have you thought about cycling ? Europe has a network of cycle routes, spanning the whole continent and touching most capital and major cities. have a look for 'euro velo' on the web. there routes are here:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...f_EuroVelo.png

the good thing about these routes is that they allow follow these rules:

no gradient greater than 6%, sealed for 80% of its length, average less than 1000 motors per day and have shops every 30 kms.

though you need, and shouldn't, only stick to euro velo routes. these are just to give you an idea.

the major plus point for cycling is cost, when you have unlimited time. you could be on the road for a cheap €300. obviously, you could also spend €1000+, but you don't need to. Once you've bought the bike and a couple of bags, that's pretty much it. you just need to keep feeding yourself (which you'd presumably be doing anyway), and the whole of Europe is available at marginal cost. there's no insurance, tax, etc. and you don't need any specialist gear, you can cycle in normal clothes.

having motorbiked around/through europe for the last 15 years I'm bored of how much it costs these days. I've never met a poor motorbiker tourists in europe. Though maybe these days you are a poor biker if you don't have a GPS ?

Conversely, I realised since I started cycling instead, it really is surprising how cheap it is. And how many cyclists I've met who travel huge distances, on a fairly regular basis. the main cost of cycling is time. the main cost of motorbiking is €'s.

cheers,
Doug
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  #5  
Old 9 Jan 2011
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Posts: 612
Go for it.

Hi Nicola, the advice given so far is all good. Cycling yes, but if you're set on a motorbike so be it. The used motorbike market in UK is excellent for seeking a bargain. No question you should buy over here. In a huge seeping generalisation, Japanese bikes are very reliable. In reality, starting knowing nothing about servicing isn't a huge hurdle.
Yep, definitely get some experience on a motorbike at once on private property. You might well love it. You'll discover if you take to the balance and co-ordination needed on the hand and foot controls. These are the same worldwide by the way. About a licence. I suspect an Aussie licence will be OK throughout Europe. To take one here in UK would take a fair few weeks and cost about £1,000 if I'm correct.
Everyone will have their own opinions about risk of travel without experience but I'd say that what you intend to do will bring you a massive sense of achievement.
Check out CouchSurfing - Participate in Creating a Better World, One Couch At A Time and go for it. Lindsay.
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  #6  
Old 9 Jan 2011
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just my thoughts

Hi Nicola..
As I understand you have plenty of time getting it all organized and to gain as much as info as you can. Get your motorbike licence in OZ as soon as possible, it will do in Europe (obtain an international licence when you leave, which is just a fancy translation really). Get some experience on the bike, Melbourne and surroundings has it all, busy city traffic and great backroads!
Roads in Europe are generally fair to good, you´ll quickly get used to driving on the right side (faster than you think). There might be some local differences in driving styles but again with your "Melbourne" background it shouldn´t pose any problems. Compared to Australia, Europe is quite compact and with an average of 250 k´s per day you can cover a lot of Europe and see lots of different things. Petrol will take a bite out of your budget, it is expensive in most European countries so bring some light campinggear so you can safe some money while (wild)camping. And maybe a little stove to cook a simple meal (noodels etc.) You must be able to do it at 60 euros a day (average). I would recommend a (Japanese)bike which is sold in most of European countries, nothing too fancy, go for reliability!
If it is a common bike there will be plenty of servicepoint/spare parts available. For you as an (Irish) Aussie, Britain is the best starting point , get your bike there if you can and sort out all your paperwork there.
Plenty of channel crossings to mainland Europe available, it pays to shop for deals! Most of it common sense really and there are always great tips on this site to get you sorted. Issues like wild-camping or the worries of travelling solo as a female, doing small repairs yourself etc..its all here!
I am happy to give you more info on Europe, I (born in Geelong) live and work with my Dutch wife and children in Amsterdam and done several trips around Europe...

Go for it!
Robert
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  #7  
Old 9 Jan 2011
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saving money on the budget

Good thing to save money on staying except from camping:
* contact the HUBB communities, many people like to help you, meet or let you stay
* become a member of the couchsurf community and check out the helpx.net website, can be a great way to explore countries and get in touch with the locals!

greetz Els
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  #8  
Old 9 Jan 2011
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Hi Nicola

Welcome to the HUBB

I would suggest you get a bike, licence and some experience in Oz before you come to the UK. Don't ship the bike because, as others have said, there are plenty of bargains in the UK.

On a budget of €60 a day, sadly, these days you will have to camp but also remember campsites are only open for a limited season apart from in some southern parts of Spain and Greece.

I met an American couple a few years back who were on an indefinite tour of Europe. They were on their 3rd year but they only travelled in the Summer and found jobs in the wintertime - you may need good language skills if you want to find work outside the UK.

Couch surfing is worth a go.

Good luck with your plans, let us know how you get on.
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  #9  
Old 9 Jan 2011
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Europe

Hello Nicola,

great idea, just go for it, nothing to loose, only to gain and like so many of us here know,memories last forever.
But, doing your homework, usually pays dividends.
Done a lot of travelling, when I was young and pretty, now I am neither.
But even now a days, one can travel overland from Oz to Europe by bike, as to be seen on the HUBB, or public transport.The second option is the cheapest. There is always a public transport system all over the world and on every continent, majority of humans can't afford air tickets or motor vehicles.
Just avoid Afghanistan and go the southern route. All locals travel this way, getting from A to B or C. They all have to look after their cents and pennies and they do. Follow the main stream, as you do at home.
In the late 70 th. I went home from Kabul (Afghanistan) to Nuernberg (Germany). Took me 8 days on 9 different busses to get to Munich, slept one night in a bed in Maschad ( Iran), otherwise always on the bus. Didn't worry me. being your age. The train trip from Munich to Nuernberg, has cost me just as much, as the bus trip from from Kabul to Munich. Don't think, things have changed at lot.
Find a place in Europe, where most people can understand you (english), unless you speak another language. Start in youth hostels, get to know people and work your way up, travellers are always solidaric and helpful, except druggies. Just like in Melbourne.
Establish connections and networks. Learn the ropes and cheap ways of living and travelling, try to find a job and a place. Discover new things, maybe motorbike riding. Just join a club. You will soon find out, if it is the thing for you. In case it is, get your gear like helmet, gloves,boots,outfit aso. from ebay or the local paper, secondhand.Before you get caught on bikes, ride with friends, or people you can trust. When you are on the road, things do not get on always smoothly, be aware. That's the lure of travelling, never boring and often exciting.
To move around central Europe on the cheap, look into Mitfahrer Zentrale on Google. Cheap way of getting from A to B all over Europe, or ask fellow travellers.

Travelling, with an open heart, will always be rewarding, sometimes unforgettable and everlasting.

I wish you, all the luck in this world for your trip.

Cheers Rusty








ansport between major cities etc etc.

I thought of the idea of touring Europe, at my own pace, on a motorcycle. Enter Horizons Unlimited.

I have read a lot of the introductory information on the HU website but I fully acknowledge my degree of 'newbie' and wanted some opinions from seasoned travellers. Here are my details.

1) I'm 24, female, Australian. I have an Australian as well as an EU Passport (Ireland). I have my full Car Drivers Licence.

2) I plan to begin this trip in March 2012 and travel indefinitely.

3) I have never ridden a motorcycle in my life, nor do I know anything about bikes or the maintenance of them. However, I am of course enthusiastic to ride, practise, and learn the ropes.

4) I'm interested in seeing most of Europe, but not off-road. I like mountains, rolling hills, beaches, small towns, all that sort of jazz.

5) My budget will be about 60 euro per day.

6) I wouldn't want to do more than 250kms a day. For me, being on a bike would be about being able to be right in the environment, experiencing it first hand, and getting around with ease. Not so much about hardcore long-distance.


At the moment I am thinking that the easiest option would be to buy a bike in Australia and ship it to London?

I also am unsure as to whether I should be finding a hostel to stay in every night, or if I should take camping gear with me?


I probably sound very naive about this, and I am, but I'm very excited about this potential idea and just want to know if I'm totally crazy or if it's possible, and if I'm making the right decisions.

Thank you in advance for your replies. I realize I haven't asked much in the way of questions, I'm mostly after your thoughts.

Nicola[/QUOTE]
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  #10  
Old 10 Jan 2011
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Melbourne, AUS
Posts: 74
Thank you - and some further questions.

Thank you all who have replied so far! You are all truly wonderful. I was not expecting such a positive response.

I will definitely get on a bike ASAP. It doesn't cost a fortune here to get a licence and my housemate has a bike himself, so I'll at least be able to find out how I like it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shells View Post
Your bike: I would seriously consider buying one over there with the view of selling it before you head back to Aus.
My biggest question from your responses is regarding this matter. I have an Irish Passport, however I will have no fixed address in London. I have read many warnings against buying a vehicle once overseas (though I acknowledge that my passport probably makes a difference) - but regardless, I will have no legal residence. What is your advice about buying a bike in London under these circumstances?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DougieB View Post
if you have unlimited time, have you thought about cycling ? Europe has a network of cycle routes, spanning the whole continent and touching most capital and major cities.
Yes - in fact, the idea came from an initial idea of pushbike cycling around Europe. I ended up considering motorcycling more for a couple of reasons. I wanted to be able to move on quickly out of places that made me feel uncomfortable or unsafe (being 24 and female). Also, my partner is a 'casual' biker has expressed excitement at the idea of possibly joining me!

Thank you all for the links to CouchSurfing. Has anyone had experience with the network?

Cheers (very much!)

Nicola
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  #11  
Old 10 Jan 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicola_a View Post

3) I have never ridden a motorcycle in my life, nor do I know anything about bikes or the maintenance of them. However, I am of course enthusiastic to ride, practise, and learn the ropes.
Nicola

If this is true.....sign up for a motorcycle safety course. Its the best place to start. Then, when you get your bike, your in training mode. Ride when its cold, hot, wet, wet and hot, wet and cold. The DVD series is a hoot.

daryl
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  #12  
Old 10 Jan 2011
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Edinburgh
Posts: 761
I agree, time in saddle is the most important thing. and just go and do it..!

if you make Edinburgh (which you really should do) post/email and I'm sure a few of us can show you around the place.

cheers,
Doug
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  #13  
Old 11 Jan 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicola_a
What is your advice about buying a bike in London under these circumstances?
As she says.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chica diabla
Contact the HUBB communities, many people like to help you, meet or let you stay.
These are the people who will help you on the ground. They can keep an eye out for likely bikes in advance and make sure that you're not ripped off. If you're lucky (like I was!) the local community will give you all the support and advice you need.

Go for it!

Regards, Mick
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  #14  
Old 11 Jan 2011
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: istanbul
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Dear Friends,

We would like to invite you and your adventure group to our club local while you are in istanbul, and have friendly talks about adventures and welcome drinks.

You can easily contact us if you meet a problem while you are in Turkey.
(In case of lost or injured in forests or hardly reachable parts.)

Also you can check up or repair your motors if needed, using tools in our closed garage free. Or box it here for delivery by cargo back to your country.

Wish you all the best.

Best Wishes

zeki avar
İstanbul Bisiklet Motosiklet
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  #15  
Old 14 Jan 2011
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Welcome to HU and hopefully welcome to Europe at some time, I can only agree with just about all the advice and encouragement given and add for more inspiration from another female motorcycle traveller check out
Where's Tiffany | Tiffany Coates Travels the World
Bon voyage
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