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Old 05-15-2013, 12:37 PM   #1
Usernumbernine OP
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Question Newbie begging for help on the first adventure, going from London to Cannes.

Heya,

This is the first time ever I'm posting on these forums but I've been lurking around a bit and wanted to say that I'm in awe of how much richness there is on your little corner of the internet. The pics thread alone has entertained and inspired me heaps.

Secondly, I would ask the mods to please not get angry if this is supposed to be posted somewhere else, after very careful evaluation this seemed to be the most appropriated place. Sorry if it isn't.

With all that said, I'll get on to it!

I'm 34 and am a Brazilian living in London where I work in the advertising industry. I've been riding bikes for a little while but most of what I have ridden are sports bikes or standard ones. Recently I went on a ride with a mate of mine and a mate of his. His mate is more of the adventure type and as we spoke about his trips It hit me that I was missing a whole part of what motorcycling could have been to me.

I started reading about it, watching films, youtube videos and pushed my current bike (06 Ducati sport1000 monoposto) around for longer trips but nothing lasting longer than a day (max 400 miles).

This is where the craziness starts. After all of this virtual immersion in this adventure motorcycling world I think I got too optimistic about what is possible and my own abilities.

Being the impulsive fool I am I destined the budget I had put aside to buy a new sport bike and after some research I ordered a BMW 1200gs.

The Bike is scheduled to arrive by the 14th of june and I am planning to hop on it to travel from London to Cannes on the 15th.

To help explain the scenarios here are a few key points.

Trip Facts:

• We are travelling in 3 bikes (me on the GS, my mate on his Triumph and possibly another bike which is likely to be a Bonnie)
• We wanted to go through the Swiss Alps (Furka Pass) and maybe try to ride through the Col de Turini in france.
• We have a set day to arrive as we are going to an event.
• We are staying a week in Cannes before heading back to London.

Some of the potential problems:

• I never went on a trip for more than one day.
• I never carried a pillion passenger and my wife will be riding with me.
• I don't really know how to plan a trip like this.
• I'm not sure how many miles I should plan to cover a day and at which pace.
• I'm getting a brand new motorcycle 2 days before the Trip.

So, this fool asks of you big boys and girls of the adventure world, am I crazy? Should I give up? (I hope you dont say I should, but I will take it like a man if that's the honest opinion)

What should I be careful with? Any tips?

Also we need help creating some sort of route that is enjoyable and not just about taking us from point A to point B. Should I maybe create a separated post for this one on the EMEA forum? I haven't done so yet just because I thought maybe the answers would overlap.

Guys, so sorry for the wall of text and I hope I have done this right.

I will really appreciate any help you guys can throw my way.

Thanks a whole lot in advance.

#9

P.s.: Here is a little map I created on google maps to start book marking a few interest points and that might hopefully one day, if I don't screw it up too much, become a route for the trip. Any tips on here also SUPER welcome. http://goo.gl/maps/OBp81

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Old 05-16-2013, 01:45 AM   #2
FJRCraig
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You'll have a blast.

I did Aberdeen to Nice/Cannes a few years ago. At that time I was a fairly inexperienced rider with a fairly inexperienced pillion.

I'd keep the daily mileage down 200 is probably good, 300 would be pushing it unless your pillion is tough or easy going!

I tend to over plan but suspect it's better to just set off with a couple of destinations in mind and see what happens.

I guess you'll have to give your bike it's first service on the road. Might be worth having a dealer in mind for that one.

Not much advice but hopefully some use.

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Old 05-16-2013, 03:55 AM   #3
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Furka and Stelvio are almost sure to be closed, Turini I don't know.

OK, I think you're jumping into the deep end. Your potential problems are, well, potential problems. You indicate you'll go from London to Cannes on the 15th. No, you won't. It's 1300 kms and at best you'd have to do two days and that would be on autoroutes, A to B. Your really have to consider your wife, or maybe your future ex-wife after the trip. Pillion isn't nearly as much fun as the pilot.

Just my 2 cents. I have another quid but I'll stop here.
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Old 05-16-2013, 06:11 AM   #4
Usernumbernine OP
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Thanks a lot for the advice so far, we are carefully taking everything in and still trying to see if we could make this happen. We have ditched stelvio and turini as we think it would be madness.

Thus far this is the route we had in mind, doing about 300 miles a day.

I had no idea about Furka. If it is indeed closed we need to find a completely different route. Is there any safe way I can find out for sure?

http://goo.gl/maps/He2eC

Day 1 299 Miles from London to Rochefort (Belgium)

Day 2 295 Miles from Rochefort (Belgium) to Basel (Switzerland)

Day 3 232 Miles from Basel (Switzerland) to Chamonix (France)

Day 4 332 Miles from Chamonix (France) to Genoa (italy) to Cannes (France)

We imagine we could do 300 miles a day but we will only know for sure once we start doing it, I think. We will leave room from adaptation and for this turning into a 5 or potentially 6 days trip. But we are both a bit excited but also a bit scared. If we give up and hop on a plane instead it would be such a waste of an opportunity.

RT Lover mate please don't hold back, any other comments you might have will be absolutely invaluable and might help us make a better trip/decision.
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Old 05-16-2013, 07:09 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Usernumbernine View Post
Thanks a lot for the advice so far, we are carefully taking everything in and still trying to see if we could make this happen. We have ditched stelvio and turini as we think it would be madness.

Thus far this is the route we had in mind, doing about 300 miles a day.

I had no idea about Furka. If it is indeed closed we need to find a completely different route. Is there any safe way I can find out for sure?

http://goo.gl/maps/He2eC

Day 1 299 Miles from London to Rochefort (Belgium)

Day 2 295 Miles from Rochefort (Belgium) to Basel (Switzerland)

Day 3 232 Miles from Basel (Switzerland) to Chamonix (France)

Day 4 332 Miles from Chamonix (France) to Genoa (italy) to Cannes (France)

We imagine we could do 300 miles a day but we will only know for sure once we start doing it, I think. We will leave room from adaptation and for this turning into a 5 or potentially 6 days trip. But we are both a bit excited but also a bit scared. If we give up and hop on a plane instead it would be such a waste of an opportunity.

RT Lover mate please don't hold back, any other comments you might have will be absolutely invaluable and might help us make a better trip/decision.
So far as Furka is concerned, I'd be surprised if it were open yet. But, all is not lost because there is a vehicle train from Oberwald to Realp under the Furka Pass. Takes all of 20 minutes, runs frequently. I know bikes are/were accepted because I saw a bunch of semi-frozen riders in Realp waiting for the train.

The pass between Martigny and Chamonix is a nice ride and as of ten minutes
ago the road was open. That said, if you decide that route you'll be condemned to take the tunnel of Mont Blanc to get to Italy. Since the tragic fire there some years ago, traffic is limited to 70 kph, spacing is enforced, and the wait at the entrance can be a nightmare. I'd recommend taking the Gran S. Bernardo from Martigny to Aoste. In the winter months, the pass is closed and traffic goes through a tunnel, but by now it's open.

Now, I gotta wonder why you want to do Aoste to Genoa and then to Cannes. Trust me, that's one boring track. Instead, go from Chamonix to around Grenoble where you can pick up the N85, known as the Route de Napoleon. Head south and pass through Digne-les-Bains to Grasse straight to Cannes.
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:07 AM   #6
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Thanks one more time mate for the advice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RTLover View Post
So far as Furka is concerned, I'd be surprised if it were open yet. But, all is not lost because there is a vehicle train from Oberwald to Realp under the Furka Pass. Takes all of 20 minutes, runs frequently. I know bikes are/were accepted because I saw a bunch of semi-frozen riders in Realp waiting for the train.
I found this site that shows when they are open or not. It says it would be open from June till Sept. Should I trust this?

http://www.alpineroads.com/passes.php

Quote:
Originally Posted by RTLover
The pass between Martigny and Chamonix is a nice ride and as of ten minutes
ago the road was open. That said, if you decide that route you'll be condemned to take the tunnel of Mont Blanc to get to Italy. Since the tragic fire there some years ago, traffic is limited to 70 kph, spacing is enforced, and the wait at the entrance can be a nightmare. I'd recommend taking the Gran S. Bernardo from Martigny to Aoste. In the winter months, the pass is closed and traffic goes through a tunnel, but by now it's open.

Now, I gotta wonder why you want to do Aoste to Genoa and then to Cannes. Trust me, that's one boring track. Instead, go from Chamonix to around Grenoble where you can pick up the N85, known as the Route de Napoleon. Head south and pass through Digne-les-Bains to Grasse straight to Cannes.
Thanks a whole lot for this one man. This is the kind of stuff I could never get anywhere else and already made this post worth it! :)

Based on your advice here is the new route.

http://goo.gl/maps/ih1Ed

Would you have any tip for this initial part of the journey, north of france and belgium, before getting to Basel. The stuff I have in there right now is pretty much A to B and it would be really nice to find a more scenic route. Im doing some research online but haven't really found much.

Thank you very much again for the help so far. :)
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Old 05-16-2013, 10:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Usernumbernine View Post
Thanks one more time mate for the advice.



I found this site that shows when they are open or not. It says it would be open from June till Sept. Should I trust this?

http://www.alpineroads.com/passes.php



Thanks a whole lot for this one man. This is the kind of stuff I could never get anywhere else and already made this post worth it! :)

Based on your advice here is the new route.

http://goo.gl/maps/ih1Ed

Would you have any tip for this initial part of the journey, north of france and belgium, before getting to Basel. The stuff I have in there right now is pretty much A to B and it would be really nice to find a more scenic route. Im doing some research online but haven't really found much.

Thank you very much again for the help so far. :)
I have a vague recollection that the 'opening' dates are more legal than practical but in any case the weather will be the decider. SO and I could not get through by car at the end of May a few years ago so that's how I knew about the train. But you can't go wrong. If it's passable, you ride across, if not, take the train.

Let me chew on the other question. Belgium has some fine riding roads as does France in the east. I'll get back to you.
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Old 05-16-2013, 01:03 PM   #8
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From your map, I'd guess you might be stopping in Belgium at Hans-sur-Lesse to see the caverns. Well worth the couple of hours. Whatever. The Ardenne is arguably the best riding in Belgium, IMO. From Rochefort, head to La Roche-en-Ardenne via the N888 and then head north on the N89 which becomes the N68. Go south into Luxembourg via the N7 to Diekirch and then point your nose toward the A3 out of Luxembourg into France. Don't forget to fuel up just before leaving Lux, saves you big money, about 25 centimes per litre. It all counts.

When you reach the border at Basel, you need to stop and buy a vignette for about 30 Swiss francs, to affix to the windscreen. It is valid until Dec. 31. It allows unlimited use of the autoroutes and the cops take it seriously. No need if you stay off the autoroutes.

There is some nice riding in the Alsace, mainly in the hills west of Colmar and Mulhouse. Look for the Route des Cretes (Crest Route) which starts in the north near Ste-Marie-aux-Mines and goes south to near Mulhouse. Short shot back toward the autoroute to Basel, if you have the time.
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Old 05-17-2013, 04:11 AM   #9
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Just because you are comfortable with 300 mile days, I doubt that your wife will be comfortable with 300 mile days right off the bat. You really need to do enough pre-rides to get both of you comfortable.

The more practice day rides you do, the better off you will be. Once you get to the point where you feel good after a day or riding, stringing X-XX of riding is not an issue. But it takes a bit of time to get comfortable.

Aside from that, the biggest danger is taking the boring route when there was something interesting right near by and you didn't know about it...
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Old 05-17-2013, 06:20 AM   #10
Usernumbernine OP
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Thanks guys.

@RTLover - Mate, your help has been invaluable. Here is the map with your input so far. http://goo.gl/maps/F6PYJ

@Witold - We are studying possibilities here. Even breaking it down to 6 days. If ze germans could deliver the bike sooner we would be out and about on it every day from today till the trip day. I'm thinking of trying to rent something similar so we can ride around for a bit.

We are working this out as if we were 100% sure we were going, we've agreed to go out for something short when I get the bike, just before we go on the trip. We will try and go out around the english country side for about 50 miles and if she feels confortable with it we would try tackle the whole thing. If she doesn't we hop on a plane. ( or maybe she hops on a plane and I ride down solo )

Still trying to figure out this map to make sure i'm not missing anything along the way as you cleverly pointed out. The help and advice from you chaps have been incredible, thanks a lot for everything so far. :)

Cheers,

#9
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Old 05-17-2013, 10:58 AM   #11
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Witold was spot on regarding two-up. Do whatever you can to get SWMBO acclimated and psyched for the trip. But whatever you do, don't put pressure on her to stay with it if you get any radar locks on your mug. Check a few options, train or plane, all the way or half-way. If the first adventure is a bad one, there may well not be a second. I would hope that your wife is as understanding as mine when it comes to boys toys. She's fine with me going off alone for days or weeks. But then, we've been married for nearly 40 years.

I failed to adequately define the Belgium leg. From La Roche, head north up the N89 and you'll experience some fine, spirited twisties and sweepers. Then continue on N89 to Salmchateau and take the N68 south into Luxembourg on N7 to Diekirch.

I think you'll do fine. Most of what you'll be on is highway, which for the first outing is the prudent way to go. There are lots of little and big things that you'll pick up along the way to include in future rides. Remember to stop at least every two hours, more if you want/need to, for a coffee and a walk around. As the saying goes, 'the ride IS the destination'. Stop and smell the flowers.
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Old 05-18-2013, 12:28 AM   #12
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heya,

Time for some glass half empty...you get the bike on the 14th and leave the next day?

If it's brand new - it'll need a first service somewhere around the 600 to 1000 mile mark..

and what if it arrives a day late? or is DoA?

Still got your Duc? I'd plan on taking that - do a few rides up front with your woman, get her, and you, used to the feeling of riding with a pillion (and go easy, real easy, when you do).


300 to 500 miles per day, if you're using main roads, is about right. It'll give you time to stop, relax, have lunch, leave late, finish early.

Oh, and it's gonna rain a lot.


Just realised today's the 18th...how was the ride?
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Old 05-18-2013, 03:39 AM   #13
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heya,

Time for some glass half empty...you get the bike on the 14th and leave the next day?

If it's brand new - it'll need a first service somewhere around the 600 to 1000 mile mark..

and what if it arrives a day late? or is DoA?

Still got your Duc? I'd plan on taking that - do a few rides up front with your woman, get her, and you, used to the feeling of riding with a pillion (and go easy, real easy, when you do).


300 to 500 miles per day, if you're using main roads, is about right. It'll give you time to stop, relax, have lunch, leave late, finish early.

Oh, and it's gonna rain a lot.


Just realised today's the 18th...how was the ride?
About the only thing you realized is that there is a first service point.

Two-up on a Monoposto? Could be interesting since it has only one seat. Mono=one, posto=seat.

It might be helpful if you actually read the posts.
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Old 05-18-2013, 05:37 AM   #14
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Heya,

Yaeh, the Duc is a monoposto so I can't really have her on it unfortunately. It seems I made a mistake on the post up there though. I'm supposed to leave 15th of June and the bike will arrive on the 14th of june as well. So trip is still in the works.

I've edited the post as it said May. I'm an idiot, my apologies for that.

Right now one of the other riders have pulled out for some work reasons and the way things are looking there is a good chance I'll be doing this trip solo, which might uncomplicated things a lot.

Me and the wife have been chatting about it and although we are both super excited about the idea of motorcycling being something that we could start enjoying together (sometimes as I'm keeping the duc for whenever I need that me time ), we are also reaching the conclusion that this might not be the best way to start. In great extent due to all the feedback we got from you guys, which has been insanely helpful.

On the other hand, the thing about the service. I've been thinking of that. I have no idea yet of how to handle this but I might stop along the way. As this is my first BMW I just hope they are better than the Ducati people as they take forever to do anything on the bike. (Don't get me wrong though, I love them). I'll have a chat with my dealer as he knows I'm buying the bike with this trip in mind and hasn't brought any of that up, maybe he will have some ideas.

@RTLover I'll fix that route now mate. Thanks again. Wife is super laid back by the way, no pressure from either end on this, it was just an idea that we could do this together and since we both were going to have to go to cannes (as we both work in advertising and the cannes thing is an advertising festival we are both going to) we thought it was a good opportunity. But more will come. The good thing of being able to do things like this together and that we could try and turn most of our holidays into biking holidays rather than flying all the time. That whole journey rather than the destination thing that you guys know so well.

Thanks again guys,

#9
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Old 05-18-2013, 06:56 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Usernumbernine View Post
Heya,

Yaeh, the Duc is a monoposto so I can't really have her on it unfortunately. It seems I made a mistake on the post up there though. I'm supposed to leave 15th of June and the bike will arrive on the 14th of june as well. So trip is still in the works.

I've edited the post as it said May. I'm an idiot, my apologies for that.

Right now one of the other riders have pulled out for some work reasons and the way things are looking there is a good chance I'll be doing this trip solo, which might uncomplicated things a lot.

Me and the wife have been chatting about it and although we are both super excited about the idea of motorcycling being something that we could start enjoying together (sometimes as I'm keeping the duc for whenever I need that me time ), we are also reaching the conclusion that this might not be the best way to start. In great extent due to all the feedback we got from you guys, which has been insanely helpful.

On the other hand, the thing about the service. I've been thinking of that. I have no idea yet of how to handle this but I might stop along the way. As this is my first BMW I just hope they are better than the Ducati people as they take forever to do anything on the bike. (Don't get me wrong though, I love them). I'll have a chat with my dealer as he knows I'm buying the bike with this trip in mind and hasn't brought any of that up, maybe he will have some ideas.

@RTLover I'll fix that route now mate. Thanks again. Wife is super laid back by the way, no pressure from either end on this, it was just an idea that we could do this together and since we both were going to have to go to cannes (as we both work in advertising and the cannes thing is an advertising festival we are both going to) we thought it was a good opportunity. But more will come. The good thing of being able to do things like this together and that we could try and turn most of our holidays into biking holidays rather than flying all the time. That whole journey rather than the destination thing that you guys know so well.

Thanks again guys,

#9
If/when you reach Switzerland, you can have the service done. A no-brainer. Here's a link to a dealer near Zurich. http://www.bmw-motorrad-dielsdorf.ch/de/
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