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Trip Transport Shipping the vehicle and yourself.
Photo by Mark Newton, Mexican camping

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Mark Newton,
Camping in the Mexican desert



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  #1  
Old 6 Aug 2013
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Uk to Spain.

Me when I go down. I alway's ride down doing the crossing at Dover and either camp or hotel's on the way.

Now the question is. Why take a ferry from Southampton the Spain, or from where ever they leave. Against the ride down from Dover. Cost is one thing. The last time I looked. The ferry from the UK was leavening late at night. Only to drop you off 24 hour's later in Spain. So the first thing you are looking for is a bed for the night. To carry on in the morning.

With an early morning start from Calais. Plan a 400 mile day. Will get you to Poitiers. Another 400 miles the next day. Will get you well in to Spain. By over a hundred mile's. Places you can get to are either Tudela or Burgos. From there Spain is your oyster.

The cost of traveling through France is less than the ferry price. And you are stuck on a boat for a day. You have to buy at their price's. Ride down, you can pick and choice what you buy. A bike trip is a bike trip. Not a boat cruse.

So tell me what way you go. When you travel?
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  #2  
Old 9 Aug 2013
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I agree, we did some sums before our trip last year and chose the ferry to France. But leaving from Eastleigh, we went Portsmouth to Le Havre; we weighed up the cost of the ferry against the ride east to Dover then west again in France.

Midnight boat out, no cabin left us a little tired the next day, but no real problem. Just did a bit of a shorter day.

We didn't have a fixed itinerary; just rode until we were ready to stop and found either a camping municapal or hotel.
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  #3  
Old 9 Aug 2013
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Six of one, half a dozen of the other. I've done both methods. Aiming for Barcelona a few years ago on a Pan, Dover-Calais and first stop at Samur, again down near Flourence, then Barca next afternoon. Cruising at 80mph on the motorways and tolls and two nights hotels.

We've just come back from the World 2CV Meeting in Alcaniz, Spain, where the temps often were 38C. In the 2CV we cruise at 60mph with the roof back. Very little buffeting but the engine is a noisy little thing and doesn't excel in hilly country. My wife refuses to spend two and a half days of French motorways so we caught the Portsmouth-Santander ferry leaving at 1430 and taking 24hrs for the trip. The sailing was excellent and the food and drink great. Typical English prices for food/drink. Cabin minute but hey ho. The fly-in-the-ointment was the cost - £900+ but for two people, a car, a cabin, return, not so bad, and no wear & tear on the car or the passengers.

We spent two days in Santander and visited the incredible Picos de Europa, drove and stopped overnight on the outskirts of Madrid (E32 for a plush room minus breakfast) then on to a white village, Chulilla. After visiting Valencia and the World Meeting the heat caused us to leave a day earlier and head north for San Sebastian, a beautiful seaside resort we'd ridden through on the earlier Pan trip and promised to return to. 10degrees cooler, semi-circular curved beaches, a tremendous old town was hundreds of tapas bars and excellent street entertainers. Spain was great (and my wife was delighted too ;-)
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  #4  
Old 9 Aug 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Narramore View Post
Six of one, half a dozen of the other.
Same here.
Not everyone does this trip in the summer.

I spent a few winters in southern Spain years ago. Never fancied the ride all the way from northern France to Malaga around Christmas time, so shortened it by going Portsmouth-Bilbao. Winter fares aren't so bad. And with hardly any passengers, the boat isn't a bad place to be.

What amazed me is that I did this return trip 3 times in 4 years (flew once with my bicycle), so that's 6 crossings of the Bay of Biscay, and every trip was flat calm like a mill pond.
There are plenty of stories of rough weather on that crossing and I'm the first to go green and worse....
So someone must have been watching the weather for me!
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Old 9 Aug 2013
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I suppose where you are starting from in the UK is a factor. For me, travelling from central Scotland I already have a 500 mile journey just to get to Dover and then two 400 miles days straight after doesn't do it for me :/
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Old 12 Aug 2013
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I've read all the post but am still not convinced that the Bilbao ferry, or any one to Northern Spain is a better idea than the ride down. I can get a roof over my head in Dover for £10/12.50 a night. That will put me on Dover dock at 7.30 in the morning. Hotel's down if I'm on my own is Euros 30. That's two hotel's to get me to Spain. I have a friend in Spain just out side Madrid who will put me up for the night. Then it's one more day to ride, to get me where I need to be. Southern Spain. I don't use toll road's due to the cost. But with a bike if you do use them. Then you can cover more distance and may be, just may be, get to where you are going a day earlier. That's going to save you one night in a hotel. So the money you save on a room you can spend on the toll's. Still leavening you a little extra in your pocket. As I live about 150 mile's from Dover on the east side of the country. The run down is a pice of doddle. Leave my place round 10am to mid day. Get some grub on the way down. Arrive late afternoon. Book in shower and head down. What can be easer?

John933
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  #7  
Old 12 Aug 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John933 View Post
What can be easier?John933
Hot shower, own cabin then feet up with a and a massive plate full of french french fries and Boeuf Bourguignon watching the sunset. and let the ship take the strain

Last edited by Bertrand; 12 Aug 2013 at 16:11.
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  #8  
Old 15 Sep 2013
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Originally Posted by fraser2312 View Post
I suppose where you are starting from in the UK is a factor. For me, travelling from central Scotland I already have a 500 mile journey just to get to Dover and then two 400 miles days straight after doesn't do it for me :/
Know where your coming from, we did the trip this May/June this year, Edinburgh to Newhaven then across to Dieppe, rode down to roughly Poiters the day we arrived and we could barely get off the bikes,(although finding out the bar was still opened saved us) , we did plan on seeing a bit of France by way of A-roads but ended up making our way back to the motorway as the weather was GRIM and we wanted to make as much milage as possible in the hope of getting through it,(that didn't happen either).
When we got back we all agreed that next time we would just sail to Santander, alas being the hopeless carefree type I have dicided that actually I will ride through France again as it would be nice to see it without being wrapped in gore-tex
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Old 28 Sep 2013
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I've done the Santander ferry twice. never again. Anyway, France is nice. I must have been through it thirty-six times now and I always like it. In fact, the one thing I miss about my old life now I live in Portugal is riding through France. Great, well-priced places to stay, although the Relais places are dying out, which is a great pity. Reading this thread has made me want to get my bike out and head north!
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  #10  
Old 29 Sep 2013
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bikes & boats

Hi everyone, was on way to Morocco last summer, met up with 2 English bikers on 2 midrange off the roads at spanish petrol station. They had packed bikes & kit into back of old van, taken ferry to santander & were heading off to ride in the sahara. Thought to meself that that was a super idea also cost effective. They leave van parked on camping site in spain and pick it up on way home again. have fun Vince
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Old 29 Sep 2013
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I wouldn't have thought they saved much as the van wouldn't get much to the gallon. Anyway, why not ride all the way? It's more fun.
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Old 3 Oct 2013
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saddle sore.....

Mmmmnnnn haven't a clue, never owned a 4 wheeler. I ride a guzzi norge, took it to Morocco last spring, oke nice & comfortable on the motorways but limited in Morocco. Am looking at buying off road, mid range around the 500 600 cc. But to do a long distance motorway travel to Morocco woooow. I live in Amsterdam & work so time is a prob. So those two bikers used a compromise, thought it was kinda neat. But have to admit I agree 100% with you Algarve, ride is loads more fun. Good luck & have fun in Kuala lumpar later on. Am interested to hear your experiences, also with the shipping, so if you get chance will you post??? Have fun
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Old 3 Oct 2013
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Visited mainland Spain for the 1st time last year & took the ferry option
The point of the trip was to spend 2 weeks in Spain, not a few days in France and only a week in Spain. I don't want to do long days in the saddle these days either.

We were 2 adults with 2 bikes & had the option of riding 2 large cc bikes down through France or taking 2 small cc bikes in a van.
We chose the latter because 2 bikes or 2 bikes in a van didn't make much difference as the price is based mostly on the cabin and season. Compared to riding down or driving through France from the north of England, the ferry worked out at £50 per person extra. Well worth it for me - arrived relaxed and ready to ride + we saw dolphins on the way

Thoroughly enjoyed Spain. I love the mountains of Austria and Italy but Spain may win over them for my next EU trip
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  #14  
Old 3 Oct 2013
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Pricing a ferry journey

Quote:
Originally Posted by pheonix View Post
as the price is based mostly on the cabin and season.
That's the crux of the pricing issue, in addition to the distance factor mentioned earlier (north of Scotland Vs south of England) + other considerations (such as the type of motorcycle in use = the van option).
Then there is the factor of sharing costs - split between a number of people it is hard to beat the cost of running a van with a load of bikes in the back and full sharing of the costs.

For someone driving, say, a 4x4 that does less than 30 MPG the balance of decision making can be quite different from those riding bikes with a 60+ MPG capability.

Fortunately, there is a great deal of choice still in place, especially compared with other popular routes, such as direct UK to Norway.

Having said that, I will always choose to ride before going to sea.
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