Adam Hutchinson - Europe on a Scooter

There I was... in Tarifa, Spain. The southernmost point of Europe and within sight of Africa. It was 35 degrees, and I was fresh off the plane leaving behind a cold winter in the South Island of New Zealand. Through a supportive sales manager at Yamaha NZ, I was able to secure a new 50cc Yamaha Jog R on arrival that could handle this European Odyssey scooter mission from Spain to Denmark, arriving in time for my University exchange in Copenhagen.

Earlier that year, I'd completed a similar trip the length of New Zealand. Perhaps a little naive, I'd decided to buy a Eurpoe Road map upon arrival and choose a route at random. Heading north from Tarifa, I found myself climbing mountains at 5-10kms per hour.

That would have got me to Denmark in about six months - so I decided to take the flatter Mediterranean route through Spain and southern France. It wasn't a bad move in the end, as I found myself passing golden beaches where I'd spend the hot afternoon.

The weather changed as soon as I hit the French Alps where I found myself without wet weather gear and stranded, due to the torrential rain, in a mountain town with a population of 4000.

After three days of being soaked and with a flattie (puncture) that no-one could fix, I put a can of silicon tyre filler in the tyre and, at the first sign of a break in the weather, I took off to the next biggest town, about 40 kilometres away, where I bought the coolest ever one-piece suit, complete with an oversized waist belt buckle.

I covered my gear in rubbish bags and made my way through Switzerland where I found myself illegally on the autobahn, at peak traffic and stranded on the wrong side of a two-lane exit and needing to cross it.

I waited for the smallest of gaps for 10 minutes and hooned across to the barrage of tooting and screaming. In desperate need of some peace and quiet, I got off that highway at the next possible exit and set up camp next to a lake.

I crossed into Northern France, the beautiful Luxembourg and onto Belgium where I figured out that motorbike riders thank people by putting their leg out.

On the few times a car was slow enough to pass, I tried this greeting. I almost lost my jandal.

Then it was on through the Netherlands, where I discovered he wasn't meant to be on the roads with my little Yamaha and he had to share the cycle paths.

Before too long, though, I somehow found myself back on the highway. With cars tooting and people looking in their rear vision mirrors, I knew I was in the wrong. But when a couple of highway patrol bikes drove past in the opposite direction and signalled me to stop I knew I was in trouble.

So now I became a fugitive, fleeing the law at top speed - about 55kmph.

I kept riding and took the next exit, knowing they had to ride about three kilometres back to cross the barrier, and I hid behind a petrol station.

Taking more care with my route, I crossed through Germany and finally into Denmark, which was in the middle of the hay-making season.

Not only did my WW2 pilot goggles look incredibly bad, they served a purpose of keeping the dust out. Finally, I reached Skagen, where the sandy point of Denmark drops into the ocean with the final odometer reading of 5180 kilometres. It had taken me just under three weeks, and with a tan that could have only been from an undersized leather jacket, I started my studies to the odd looks of fellow students.

A FEW STATISTICS:

Biggest riding day-14 1/2 hours, 475 kms
Average Speed- 55 kms/hr
Total weight carried-95 kgs
Friendliest drivers-France . No joke!
Best roads to ride on ... Switzerland
Total punctures 7



Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Services and get your HU $15 discount!

 

Member login

Are you an Overland Adventure Traveller?

Does the smell of spices wafting through the air make you think of Zanzibar, a cacophony of honking horns is Cairo, or a swirl of brilliantly patterned clothing Guatemala? Then this is the site for you!
Hosted by Grant and Susan Johnson, RTW 1987-1998

HU DVD Spring Special!

Buy the Achievable Dream Collectors Set and get Road Heroes Part 1 Free!

Achievable Dream - The Whole Enchilada!

Cooped up indoors in crap weather? Binge watch over 20 hours of inspiring, informative and entertaining stories and tips from 150 travellers! Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to order them both and use Coupon Code 'BoxSet+' on your order when you checkout.

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

Vote now for the 2015 HU Calendar winners!

Books

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.