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Old 07-24-2013, 06:42 PM   #1
Isgro OP
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EuroMotoTrek 2015 My Trip Plan

Postponed until 2015 Life is getting in the way and I want to do this trip right.

Updated July 30, 2013

So, I've been mulling the idea of a European motorcycle trip for the past few years. Finally, after meeting my goals of paying off my car, paying off my moto and buying a house, I'm ready to make this trip happen.

Here are the quick facts:
When: September 2014
Where: Southern France, Italy, Switzerland. Possibly Austria and Germany.
On What: A rented moto from somewhere in Northern Italy (Milan?)
How long: 1012 days

Things have been updated thanks to some great feedback. I was trying to bite off more than I could chew, so this trip plan is going to evolve. More fun, less rushing to get to the next location.

The NEW plan is to fly into Northern Italy (Milan?) and grab a hotel. That way I'm not going from a 7 hour flight right into the saddle of the bike. I'll pick up the moto rental the next day and start my trip. The original plan included England, Northern France and Belgium, but these have now been removed from the plan. Germany may also be removed. Austria may be added.

The high level plan for this trip is as follows...
  • Ride through the Alps in France, Italy, Switzerland and Austria(if time allows) hitting as many twisty roads as possible.
  • Get a glimpse of the Riviera (especially Monaco if possible).
  • Meet and interact with as many people as possible.
  • Have fun.

Since my initial plan for this trip has been scrapped I'll be starting over with routes, etc.

Obviously this trip plan is still a work in progress. I will continue to update the thread as I get more details in place. If you see any flaws in any of my routes please let me know. If you have recommendations for reasonably priced accommodations in the region please post up (I will avoid staying in major cities in order to reduce the costs). Any and all feedback that my fellow inmates can provide is greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-25-2013, 11:13 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isgro View Post
So, I've been mulling the idea of a European motorcycle trip for the past few years. Finally, after meeting my goals of paying off my car, paying off my moto and buying a house, I'm ready to make this trip happen.

Here are the quick facts:
When: July 2014
Where: England, France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium
On What: A rented V-Strom from an outfit in the south of England
How long: 10–12 days

Here are the proposed details. (I urge any of you to call out any issues that you may see and make suggestions. Thanks in advance.):

The plan is to fly into Heathrow and hopefully spend a day or two hanging out with a couple of my British friends. That way I'm not going from a 7 hour flight right into the saddle of the bike.

The Ride:

Day 1: Chichester to Paris - 327 miles, 6–7 hours
I'll collect the bike at the rental company in Chichester and ride to Folkestone where I'll board the train to Calais, France. Once off the train in Calais I'll head straight for Paris (I might stay with an old college roommate who lives there or I'll be staying at a hostel – still TBD). I'm looking to burn miles today as I'd like to take a more leisurely pace later in the trip.

Day 1 route — http://tinyurl.com/lq8wcjq


Day 2: Paris to Grenoble - 357 miles, 5–6 hours
This will be the longest day mileage wise of the trip. I'm hoping to burn a bunch of miles so I can get to Grenoble and the northern edge of the French Alps so the real fun can start the next day.

Day 2 route — http://tinyurl.com/mc4upg3


Day 3: Grenoble to Cannes - 197 miles, 5–6 hours
This should be an awesome day. The plan is to take N85 (Route Napoleon) through the French Alps and down to Cannes.

Day 3 route — http://tinyurl.com/mnls8se


Day 4: Cannes to Genoa
This day will be a leisurely ride along the Riviera with a pit stop in Mocaco to visit my favorite F1 circuit and check out all the people with way more money than me, haha.

Day 4 route — TBD


Day 5: Genoa to Milan
I've been told by many friends that Milan is a great place to visit, so a stop here after a short ride sounded good to me.

Day 5 route — TBD


Day 6: Milan to Zurich - 188 miles, 5-6 hours
On this day I'll be riding the Gotthard Pass through the Swiss Alps. Hell yes.

Day 6 route — http://tinyurl.com/ke3sydy


Day 7: Zurich to Stuggart
I've been a Porsche fan since I was young, so a trip to the factory had to be in the cards.

Day 7 route — TBD


Day 8: Stuggart to Nurburg
I'm in Germany, so of course I'm going to go check out the Nurburgring.

Day 8 route — TBD


Day 9: Nurburg to Brussels
A pit stop in Belgium on the way back to drop of the moto sounds like a good plan to me.

Day 9 route — TBD


Day 10: Brussels to Chichester
The last day of the trip. It's time to cross back through the chunnel and get the bike back to it's rightful owner.

Day 10 route — TBD


Obviously this trip plan is still a work in progress. I will continue to update the thread as I get more details in place. If you see any flaws in any of my routes please let me know. If you have recommendations for reasonably priced accommodations at any of these stops please post up. Any and all feedback that my fellow inmates can provide is greatly appreciated.
First thing is your timing. July and August is when everyone who can leave home does leave home, so traffic will be heavy. I understand the summer migrations and you may not be able to change your schedule. Along the entire length of the coast on the Med will be extra heavy. So, Cannes to Genoa will be slow going and hot if you ride the coast. Milan is okay, but if you want to go there from Monaco for example, take a look at riding up and over the mountains to Turin. Some very nice roads and passes enroute. Check this out for roads: La Route des Grandes Alpes. For some reason I can't link the site.

Good on you for planning ahead. Never too early.

cheers
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Old 07-25-2013, 12:12 PM   #3
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That's good information. Thank you. I'm not committed to taking the trip in July, but I also didn't want to be too early or late in the season as I want to ride through the mountains. Do you have a recommendation for an ideal time to make this trip?
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Old 07-25-2013, 12:51 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Isgro View Post
That's good information. Thank you. I'm not committed to taking the trip in July, but I also didn't want to be too early or late in the season as I want to ride through the mountains. Do you have a recommendation for an ideal time to make this trip?
The only place you'll have to deal with the seasons is in the mountains. June 1 is generally agreed to be the earliest you can ride the higher elevations but it's not guaranteed. My personal favorite is September. The drones are back at their desks, the flowers are in bloom, hotels rooms and campgrounds are less busy.

Your Day 6, Milan-Zurich is too fast. Just doing Gotthard isn't nearly enough. Extend it once you get to Andermatt, turn left and go over Furka Pass, then over Grimsel, then Sustenpass, which will bring you back to your route to Zurich. Then make your way to the border with Germany near Waldshut. Look for highway 500 and follow it to Baden-Baden. Then pop over to Stuttgart.

Nurburgring is unique. It's also very busy. Check this site for essential info. http://bridgetogantry.com/2/index.ph...-opening-times

When you leave there, you can take any of the country roads west through the Ardennes to Namur in Belgium. Spa isn't far off the way but they don't do public days. Gorgeous track, though.

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Old 07-25-2013, 01:09 PM   #5
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Thanks again for all of your input. I think I'll adjust the trip plan to September. I'll also definitely look into extending my time between Milan and Zurich the more mountain riding the better.
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Old 07-28-2013, 02:38 AM   #6
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Hi Isgro,
It seems like you're covering a lot of miles in getting from A to B rather than picking areas where the roads are the best to ride (except your mention of Napoleon) which is fine in itself but you've come all this way and it would be a shame to miss the great roads/passes the Alps have to offer. I've just returned from a 1 week trip to the Italian, Swiss and French Alps and truth be told I bit off more than I could chew in terms of covering miles in getting from location to location. Next year I will be making just 2 bases, unpacking and then off to discover the local roads.

IMHO if I was coming all this way there is no way I would want to miss the Italian Alps (Dolomites) which are located just to the east of Bolzano. They are stunning and unique in appearance and the roads are awesome - just checkout the Passo di Giau on alpineroads.com as an example. One option in getting from Monaco to the Dolomites would be to take in the Lake Garda area. It's beautiful. I camped on Lago d'Idro just west of the main lake and it was fantastic.

Also, as RTLover has already mentioned Andermatt offers a ton of roads/passes (Furka, Grimsel, Neufenen, Gotthard etc etc). Again, alpineroads.com covers all this. If you do chose to visit the Dolomites you could put yourself back on track for Andermatt by taking the beautiful route up through Edolo and Tirano before crossing into Switzerland and heading up to St Moritz and the fantastic Julier pass on perfect twisties - just a thought.

On your way north into Germany you could run the B500 through the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) or opt for the also excellent French Vosges just over the border (check out the Routes des Cretes - ridge road).

There is the option of skipping Switzerland altogether if you opt for the Italian Alps. The fabled Grossglockner in Austria is only a couple of hours away from Cortina and a ride through the great roads of Austria (again, alpineroads.com) will see you in southern Germany before you know it.

Just a quick note on accommodation in the Alps. I planned on doing a combination of camping and B&Bs. As it turned out I mostly camped due to the prices (I'm not a wealthy man). Italy was around 60 Euros per night with Switzerland being 60-90. I purely camped in France as you can't go wrong there with the Camping Municipals - good quality and around 10-15 Euros a night for tent and bike.

The resources I used:
- ww.alpineroads.com - which will give you an alpine regional overview of the quality of the riding.

- http://www.alpentourer.com/[/url]

- http://www.louis.de/_20657ff614a66305925ecaf419b2a1fd2d/index.php?topic=tourentipps[/url]

- http://www.mapsman.com/store/product.php?id=766[/url]

- John Hermann's Motorcycle Journeys Through The Alps And Beyond - The Bible

Hope that helps - just some food for thought. Have a great time whatever you decide on. September is always a good time to take a trip.
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:00 AM   #7
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Here's the site for the Grandes Alpes:http://grande-traversee-alpes.com/fr...-grandes-alpes
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Old 07-28-2013, 03:00 PM   #8
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Teabar - Thank you for your post. You make a great point. I want to enjoy the riding during this trip, not just rush from one point to the next. I noticed your from South of London - did you ride your own moto for the trip or did you rent from somewhere close to the Alps? If you rode your own, how long did you take to get into the Alps from home? I'm trying to figure out realistic riding times from England to the Alps.

RTlover - Thanks for the link and the great information in your posts.
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Old 07-29-2013, 07:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isgro View Post
Teabar - Thank you for your post. You make a great point. I want to enjoy the riding during this trip, not just rush from one point to the next. I noticed your from South of London - did you ride your own moto for the trip or did you rent from somewhere close to the Alps? If you rode your own, how long did you take to get into the Alps from home? I'm trying to figure out realistic riding times from England to the Alps.
.
Read all the "Where" on your list, then came to the bit where it says 10-12days...DAYS???
Clicking the first map-link, it showed 500k's of Freeways/ Interstate + the ferry crossing.
That alone is going to be one hell of a long day, considering the time needed to FIND the ferry, check-in procedure, finding your way onto the Fwy in Calais, finding your way around and into Paris....you're certainly on a mission.

There's a reason that commercial tours start and finish their standard 2-week loops somewhere very close to the Alps (that meaning, within 50 miles!!), and even then only barely scratch the usual tourist surface during their actual 8 or 9 days in the mountains.

Might be a better idea to rent out of Munich/ Zuerich/ Geneva/ Milano or the like.
And forget seeing anything along the way with those sort of distances and schedules.
An average day cruising the Alpine areas is about 200-250k's....that's 130-160miles. Any more, and lunch will better be a damned short one.

With only 10-12 days, you'll be spending one hell of a long time on getting there and getting back to Chichester.
And typical "commuting"- type of riding at that.
Also..."reasonably priced" accomodation will not be found in major cities...as your daily maps suggest. Stay in the country side for a far bigger choice.


YES to Teabars http://www.alpineroads.com/ and the Hermann book!!
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glitch_oz screwed with this post 07-29-2013 at 09:43 PM
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Old 07-30-2013, 02:02 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isgro View Post
Teabar - Thank you for your post. You make a great point. I want to enjoy the riding during this trip, not just rush from one point to the next. I noticed your from South of London - did you ride your own moto for the trip or did you rent from somewhere close to the Alps? If you rode your own, how long did you take to get into the Alps from home? I'm trying to figure out realistic riding times from England to the Alps.

RTlover - Thanks for the link and the great information in your posts.
Hi Matt,
I cheated and took the AutoZug from Dusseldorf in Germany to Bolzano into the Dolomites. I ride a small naked 690 KTM so wanted to limit the amount of motorway miles on the way down. It cost me around 240 Euros for the 1-way trip. Not bad value when you total the cost of fuel, tolls and 1 nights' accommodation that would need to be spent anyway. It was an easy-paced 4 hour jaunt on the motorways from Calais through Belgium and Holland with a good few stops as I wasn't in a hurry. I 'roomed' with 2 German couples who couldn't have been more accommodating. It was a bit cramped but good fun. I would recommend it.

I will take the train again next year but maybe from the Dutch terminus of S'Hertogenbosch which is even closer to Calais. I think I'll also be heading to Koper so I can take in the Croatian coast road for a few days before heading back into Italy (maybe via ferry from Split) and over to Corsica. So many permutations and not enough time :-

[url]http://www.seat61.com/Motorail.htm#.Ufd6hI1QFqJ[url]

I did a few long days in the saddle (7-10 hrs) but found this easy as I was riding from pass to pass with a stop at each one. I couldn't get enough but appreciate that it's not everyone's cup of tea. For me the key was that I had the kit off the bike and was just riding around like an extended Sunday morning.
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Old 07-30-2013, 03:49 AM   #11
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I also think that you're covering too much ground. Your goal should be to avoid any major highways during your rides, but looks like you'll have little choice but to stick to them, and also no days to enjoy the cities (arrive Paris in the evening, leave in the morning?!).

I also recommend September if you want to do the mountains, crowds and traffic will be much more managable, generally no need to make reservations anywhere, just show up and find a place. And I'm not fond of Milan, although there are a lot of great areas nearby (lakes, mountains, beaches, etc.).

Personally I would rent in Milan and stick to Northern Italy, Southern France, Switzerland, etc.
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Old 07-30-2013, 10:57 AM   #12
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I started planning this trip so early because in the back of my mind I kind of knew I was trying to bite off more than I could chew. I was hoping to get some solid feedback when I posted up here and I have not been disappointed. Thanks for the posts gents.

I want to be sure that I enjoy this trip. The last thing I want is to fly 3000 miles only to ride boring motorways for 2 weeks. I'm very familiar and comfortable with the UK (and have many friends there), so that's probably why I initially planned on starting the trip there. I also thought that renting a motorbike would be easier there since there is no language barrier.What it comes down to is that in order to make this trip successful I need to get out of my comfort zone. After all, it's all about the adventure, right?

I'm more than willing to be flexible. Based on the great feedback that you've all provided I'm going to evolve this trip plan...
  • England, Belgium, Northern France and (possibly) Germany have now been removed from the itinerary.
  • I will now plan on renting a moto in or around Milan.
  • I'm going to shorten up the km/miles per day so that the riding is challenging, but fun.
  • I won't limit myself to one day in each location (maybe using Andermatt as a base "camp" for part of the trip).

I will continue to evolve the plan and will update the first post as I go. Thanks again for everyone's input. It's greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-30-2013, 03:28 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isgro View Post
  • [1]England, Belgium, Northern France and (possibly) Germany have now been removed from the itinerary.
    [2]I will now plan on renting a moto in or around Milan.
    [3]I'm going to shorten up the km/miles per day so that the riding is challenging, but fun.
    [4]I won't limit myself to one day in each location (maybe using Andermatt as a base "camp" for part of the trip).

I will continue to evolve the plan and will update the first post as I go. Thanks again for everyone's input. It's greatly appreciated.

Good move to ditch those 4 days of to+from...Nurburgring is another place that doesn't really gel with an Alpine ride...it's too far north.
Back and forth with a tiny bit of non-Autobahn sightseeing it'd be a 3-day affair, chuck in the Zuffenhausen stint and it'll be 4 days.

Also consider Geneva as a rental base, it's a fantastic location to start from/ finish off.
In the good stuff within 30mins....and most swiss rental agencies throw in the Swiss Autobahn sticker as part of the rental....which gives you fast shortcut options if/ when needed. English no problem.
http://www.moto-plaisir.com/uk2/3-bmw-motorbike-rental

It all comes down to how/ where your flights connect though....and how much time you might loose either end for the transfers.
No good landing/ exiting at Zurich when renting in Milano....as well as no good flying into Milano if flights involve 8hrs airport time enroute, when a connecting flight to Munich or Geneva could've provided another usefull day by having good connections and maximising holiday-time.

Whatever you fancy....but think smaller, lighter and more agile bikes as you'll do less distance and things are a LOT more physical than US-Interstates.
We started off with a K1200LT / Honda PC800 in 2001 and the monsters were a handfull....will be going with G650GS singles this time around after the F650twins last time.

I'd also remove the French Riviera from my plans, the whole thing has turned into a little Florida with an endless, build-up coastal strip, loads of traffic jams, roads + people crammed in that narrow strip between mountains and water etc...parts still look ok, but the old-style glamour vanished a few decades ago. Quite expensive, too.


In exchange, there's the southern Gorge-country, Gorges de Daluis, Grande Canyon de Verdon, the Col de Turini (Rallye Monte Carlo), the Grande Route des Alpes and endless other targets in that area alone....easy to spend a fortnight just around there.
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glitch_oz screwed with this post 07-30-2013 at 08:44 PM
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Old 07-30-2013, 07:48 PM   #14
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Yeeaaa! I really think that's the best idea.

If you decide to rent in Milan, you should consider Mototouring:
http://www.mototouring.com/

I've never rented from them, but I store my bike with them in Milan and Eligio seems like a stand-up guy, and speaks perfect English.
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Old 08-02-2013, 09:10 AM   #15
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Another Milano source is BiancoBlu - I've rented from them four times, and have been happy every time.

Swiss sources of repute are Moto Mader in Oberentfelden (just a bit west of Zurich) and the twin Moto Centers in Bern and Thun. I've rented from Moto Mader twice and know the other two by reputation only.

Re: bike size - Glitch is spot on. most of your riding will be in lower gears (winding up and down mountains) or going through closely spaced towns at 50 & 30 kph. This is the ride I just wrapped up 2 weeks ago - please note, though, that almost 1,000 kms of that were Autobahn getting to and from Heidelberg.



I THINK that the Max Speed was a GPS glitch - but maybe not

Check out the 2007 ride report below - it was a journal kept by a friend on his first Euro ride (I was in "Tour Guide" mode). This may give you some insights that us "Old Hands" have forgotten.
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