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Old 09-21-2012, 08:22 AM   #1
missjen OP
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Question Riding in europe next few weeks. .

Hi All. . .
I'm planning to jump on my bike in southern uk early to mid next week and head over to europe for a few weeks riding before the winter sets in and am wondering if anyone out there might want to join me for any of my trip? very very loose plan, based on where i have friends to visit. . . but hoping to head through france. into spain, prob do some germany and maybe head through poland(?) into the ukraine to see friends in kiev. . . (prob before heading south if i do it. . .)
have any of you been through eastern europe at all and could you give me any advice esp re safety and border crossings in the region? i am solo female rider used to covering long distances alone in australia and new zealand, but have not travelled at all in eastern europe. . . all advice and suggestions would be greatly appreciated, and if anyone might be out on the road in the next few weeks perhaps i'll see you there to compare notes over a cold beer!
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Old 09-21-2012, 09:41 AM   #2
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Border crossings on your route are gone except for UK -> mainland Europe and Poland/Slovakia -> Ukraine. Entering Ukraine might take a little bit of time and be sure to have proper insurance coverage for Ukraine. All the countries you mention are easy to travel in using the usual precautions. In Ukraine, there might be some cops trying to earn some extra cash, but that's about it.

What might be a little problem is this thing called winter. The route you mention would at least take 6 weeks and this brings you to the beginning of November, where pass roads might be closed, there could be snow, you have short and very cool days.

So maybe it's better to concentrate on one part of your trip, say Spain, and really enjoy that instead of rushing all across Europe in potentially miserable conditions.

If you however pass by Vienna, let me know and I can show you around!
Have a safe and cool trip!
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Old 09-21-2012, 10:57 AM   #3
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Location: Somewhere in Europe on a Motorbike :)
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What bike are you riding on?

Long distance riding in Europe is not the same as in Australia. For starters in Italy/France/Spain and many others, expect to pay very high prices for tolls if you want to travel ion the motorways - between 5-10 Euro per 100k's travelled on the motorway. This alone severely dints how fast you can travel. As you get further east, the quality of the roads deteriorates, it's no big deal, but it means you can't do the 700-900k days that you might be used to back home :)

I could easily ride out 800-1200k days in Australia where the roads are built to cover distance, but here that seems so much harder to do, and plus, so unnecessary given the proximity of everything to everything else.

Also, in the cooler weather over here it is much harder to do long days. Make sure you are well equipped. If I could do it again, I would get heated pants/vest/socks that run off the bike.

Plan to get the other stuff done first then finish up in Spain where it will be warmer.

I felt safer in Eastern Europe than I did in Western Europe, I felt less worried about my bike being stolen in Romania and Bulgaria than I did in London.

As said already, hard to give tips on where to go as the winter will be bearing down. Realistically though, I agree with previous poster, that you might be better off trying to do a smaller amount. Maybe cut straight through France to the alps in Switzerland and get some nice Alpine riding in before it gets too cold and before they close the roads for the end of the season. Then head to Romania/Bulgaria and if it starts to get too cold you can head straight away south for Albania/Montenegro/Macedonia etc. then make your way back up along the coast through the Balkans, Croatia/Bosnia etc. maybe take a ferry to the south of Italy and then follow the coast from Rome around to Barcelona and then you will be back in Spain before it gets too cold.

TBH The lower part of Europe was more interesting than Germany/Poland/Hungary etc. The Baltics were great, but too far out I think for you in your time frame.

Add me on FB as per the link in my sig, we will be in Salamanca in Spain as of the end of next week and staying there for a few weeks. Towards the 20th of October we will be making our way up the west coast of France to Belgium before riding back to London. Not exactly sure on our time frame/route yet though.
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Old 09-21-2012, 02:35 PM   #4
missjen OP
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and thanks for the responses and advice - duely noted!. . .
yes, i know its a little late in the year to be starting a trip but i didn't really know i'd be here til i got here!! and so now here i am and as always, itchy feet and a need to ride!!!
all things considered it would seem that kiev might be a bit of a pipe-dream on the bike at this stage! perhaps a fly in visit and then leave it by bike til the spring if i'm still on this side of the world!!!
yeah i covered quite a lot of france plus tour de mont blanc with a friend a few years ago, tho i was pillion, and it was fantastic - quite a different way of riding to aus, i'd agree jet!
so rudl, thank you for your advice and invite to vienna - thats a place i have never been so perhaps a place to visit with a guide to show me round now thank you!!
and jet, thanks for your advice too - i will check out the weather charts for as far ahead as they dare guess. . . and then i'll take it from there! but yes i'd fully agree that riding cold and wet unnecessarily is no fun at all! perhaps i should just hang out for the east next year and maybe keep on going and ride this bike back to aus. . . . oh i'm on a 96 speed triple btw!
i will keep you posted - i definitely want to get to barcelona to see a mate there so timing could just work out to head back to uk. . .
happy adventures! xx
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Old 09-23-2012, 12:41 PM   #5
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If you've just a few weeks starting this week or so, you can still enjoy most of France, but drifting south would probably be a good bet. I just came back from a quick four day trip in the southern areas of the Massif Central, the Lozere and Aveyron. It's a little known area that doesn't attract hordes of tourists, has some of the best riding roads, and lots of wilderness.

This is season change weather but it's not yet severe. Just carry a mix of gear for rain or sun. Some of the plateaus can get around 4000 feet but there are numerous gorges to see and ride as well. And, it's dead on your way to Barcelona!
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Old 09-23-2012, 01:59 PM   #6
missjen OP
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Nice one! Thanks for the info and pointer! And not only on the way to Barcelona, but also right between friends near Cahors and friends in Marseille!!! Perfect! Shame you just went already but thanks so much for the tip! x
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Old 09-24-2012, 12:17 AM   #7
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As an aside this is what we're doing within the next few weeks.....

We already have an Australian coming along on the strength of this thread along with two other UK riders,riding down...and a French rider at present also...

You could return via Barcelona?

As usual anyone else reading this is welcome to come along too....

Just say'in like...

The Suit:What would you consider to be your greatest weakness?
Me: Honesty.
The Suit: Honesty? I don't think honesty could be construed as a weakness.
Me: I don't give a fuck what you think.
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Old 09-24-2012, 03:42 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by missjen View Post
Nice one! Thanks for the info and pointer! And not only on the way to Barcelona, but also right between friends near Cahors and friends in Marseille!!! Perfect! Shame you just went already but thanks so much for the tip! x
The best way to get from Vierzon to Brive is via the A20, which is one of the few (mostly) toll free autoroutes in France. Exit 53 from the A20 south of Brive and take the D820 to Cahors.

Oh, forgot one detail. Marseille is one of the worst cities in France due to the mafias (yes, plural), illegals, bent cops and bought gov't officials. So don't even think about riding in or around the city if you can avoid it. On the other hand, the calanques (cliffs on the Med) near Cassis are beautiful and the roads in the hills NE of Aubaine are ripe for 'spirited' riding.

Bonne route!
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Old 09-28-2012, 06:03 AM   #9
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If you never seen them ... don't miss alps , and most important : Dolomites !
I could give some hints and maybe show some less-known places.
search for some of my reports to get an idea...
Giorgio Betteto "GiorgioXT" - Padova - Tai di Cadore -Italia
DRZ400 S '03 XT600 '90 XT550 '82 XT500 '81 - - - EchM#645
"se sei incerto tieni APERTO !
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