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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Guys,
I've been mostly just lurking around the site for a few months now, buying a few farkles for my 07 SE (of course it still has the flames!) now and then with the occasional post thrown in. Basically, I don't have a lot to offer as far as info or tech knowledge, but one thing I can bring to the table would be some info for anyone considering a riding vaca in Europe, as I have toured southern France, the Riviera, the Pyranees and the Alps 3 times.
The "best of both worlds" comes from being able to ride like you're at the track, minding your manners whenever your in a town or village, then hitting it as hard as you feel comfortable with for miles on end (I've logged 6500 miles) without a ticket!! It's like track day at a never ending, always new, track. The average driver in northern Spain and southern Europe are WAY more aware of motorcycle riders than we are; it is a rare sight to see soemone on a cell phone, and I have honestly NEVER seen anyone eating a big mac and dunking their fries in ketchup while steeering with their knee! (an everyday occurance here) and they will even pull over to the right side of their lane to let you pass on the line, time and time again.
Roads are generally well maintained, the scenery is awesome and changes fast, and there is always something just around the next corner. Not that we don't have awesome scenery here, I just don't like the hundreds (or thousands) of miles in between destinations here in the states.
If this is something you've thought about doing, it is hard to go wrong no matter where you go over there, but feel free to give me a shout if you want some info on bike rentals, where to stay, great regions, pics, or videos.
 

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good input MOODY , the traffic laws seem more lenient and the people more respectful from what i've seen and heard.
 

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absolutely - I've actuually been passed by the Gendremarie (sp?) (federal cops) while running 85ish on the autoroute (interstates). All he did was flash his headlights at me 'cause I was running in the fast lane, and obviously moving too slow!
 

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Did an organized trip to the Alps this past summer. It was every bit as awesome as expected plus more.

As far as cops ... yes, the speed limits generally make more sense than they do here, and yes, there aren't often police cruising around looking for people to write up, BUT, there are a lot of speed cameras, and red-light cameras in cities! Switzerland in particular.

The roundabouts and yield signs, instead of stop signs and traffic lights, keep traffic flowing a lot better.

On the first day of our trip, we got some instructions on how to behave in traffic in europe, because it's different from here. North American motorcyclists are taught to ride "blocking position" to try to reduce the number of idiot car drivers that try to share your lane. In europe, due to the narrow roads, everyone (including you) is expected to take up as little space as necessary, so you ride near the outer edge of the road.

Many country roads in europe are one lane. Not one way ... one lane for both directions. If you meet someone, you both have to figure it out. If two cars meet, they slow down and work past each other. If there is a truck or bus involved, someone's backing up. If a car meets a motorcycle, the motorcyclist is expected to be at the right edge of the road and that car ain't slowing down. The car driver WILL give you the space you need - but no more. It follows that on those one-lane roads, you have to be really careful approaching blind corners. As long as you know the deal, it's fine.

Pictures from my trip ...

http://picasaweb.google.com/brianpe...authkey=Gv1sRgCNXH0aCZ54Xp0QE&feat=directlink
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I have always ridden without a guide, GPS tends to get me wherever I want to go - I figured I might have missed a few sites, but over there, they are so abundant that I will take the chance of missing some things for the freedom that comes with setting your own pace and destinations.
It sounds like you went further east than I. The furthest east I have made it was Interlocken, Austria on my last trip, but I tend to stick around France, Italy and Spain.
In that region, the cops and cameras are few, the twisties abundant, and the sites tremendous
 

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americans for the most part are disrespectfull and think nothing of any one but themselves its all about me me me me and not the safety of others, god forbid they have to arive 10 seconds slower then if they blew threw that light. In the city speeding and flooring it all the time might save a min or 2 nothing to act stupid over Americans are spoiled
Now just for those who dont know i am an american soldier and after a tour in iraq i can honestly say americans live like kings compared to the iraq's
 

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Hell yeah this hits home for me, as i am stationed in Italy and LOVE RIDING BIKES HERE!
To be honest motorcycles are on a different level all together as you mentioned as compared to the states people actually pay mind to you.
But the law enforcement is about NON-Existant for police patrols with radars, but yes the speed cameras can be entertinaing, thankfully in Italy it is law they have a sign posted for any camera's.
1st time in switzerland i was flashed twice for 10kph over...still waiting on a ticket in the mail.
Well heading to iraq and will miss a whole season of riding which will suck but oh well so is life.
i dont think i will ever be able to ride on the street in the US, as doing whatever you like almost...is not going to fly in the states..(160mph cruising on the autostrada)
 

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I just did a week in Monte Carlo, Monaco the week after Thanksgiving, it was AWESOME. I had a thread here looking for members in the Nice, France area but only came up with a reply from a soldier who is stationed in Germany, he didn't read the thread early enough to schedule a ride with a friend he has in the area.
Here's a link to the thread of one days ride I placed at one of the swimming pool forums I frequent.
http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/pools/msg1215403524997.html
We rode the French and Italian coastline roads a few days and went up to a French ski resort one day but didn't find snow, the following day we went into the Italian Alps and had a fantastic ride. This link has pic's from that ride.

I LOVED the aggressive riding style that you enjoy over there. Motorcycles and scooters OWN the road and the car drivers are very gracious in giving up a portion of their space in the lane.
I saw only one 10R the entire ride and very few crotchrockets, the bulk of the riders are on scooters and low displacement cruisers.

I'd never ridden anywhere in Europe until this ride. I highly recommend doing it at least once. If any members are considering a summer ride post it up and I'll make every attempt to grab my buddy and come ride with y'all.:eek:ccasion1

See ya,
Kelly
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Scooters definately rule in the coastal cities and southern France, but if you want crotchy's, just hit the Alps on a warm holiday. My last trip I was just getting into Austria on what is their version of Labor Day I believe, and I got smoked on my rental ST800 by what must have been 100+ big bore crotchy's, a bunch of them in full 1 piece leathers. It was Killer!!
But you really have to pay attaention, because they come up on you fast, and they assume you are used to other bikes passing you in the same lane, so they will buzz by you, in your lane, without hesitation at 100+ mph.
 

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no one is passing anyone right now, snow is all over the mountains and even down into the towns and cities....
well cant wait to get back from iraq in March 2011 will be starting of riding season.
 

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:m
I just did a week in Monte Carlo, Monaco the week after Thanksgiving, it was AWESOME. I had a thread here looking for members in the Nice, France area but only came up with a reply from a soldier who is stationed in Germany, he didn't read the thread early enough to schedule a ride with a friend he has in the area.
Here's a link to the thread of one days ride I placed at one of the swimming pool forums I frequent.
http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/pools/msg1215403524997.html
We rode the French and Italian coastline roads a few days and went up to a French ski resort one day but didn't find snow, the following day we went into the Italian Alps and had a fantastic ride. This link has pic's from that ride.

I LOVED the aggressive riding style that you enjoy over there. Motorcycles and scooters OWN the road and the car drivers are very gracious in giving up a portion of their space in the lane.
I saw only one 10R the entire ride and very few crotchrockets, the bulk of the riders are on scooters and low displacement cruisers.

I'd never ridden anywhere in Europe until this ride. I highly recommend doing it at least once. If any members are considering a summer ride post it up and I'll make every attempt to grab my buddy and come ride with y'all.:eek:ccasion1

See ya,
Kelly
That was me Husky Rider,

My bad I didn't read your thread soon enough.
Spring will be springing again before you know it, and we'll be on the road again. I,ve been stationed in Spain, getmany and Italy, and my .02 cents worth. Nothing compares to any of the Alps for touring, and nothing compares (That i've found yet) to Germany for just get ting out on any given day and just knocking the throttle back for a good days ride. there are so many roads and places to choose from (any direction). I'm from CA, i've ridden Deals Gap etc, etc, I've even been fortunate enough to do The Isle of Man, and blaze the island at race speeds (for me) LOL!. It's an all out adrenaline rush.
I'm not bragging, just stating.
I have been here in Germany/ Italy/ Spain off and on for a total of 18 years total, and will be here in Germany for the next two years at least maybe more.
Anyone finding themselves in the AO at any point and time, whether by choice or happenstance, feel free to look me up. I can show you some roads that will blow your mind, and you won't even have to worry about the "po-po" It's the norm here, as long as you mind your manners whenever you enter into a town city or village as Moodyhiller stated. All else is fair Game and open to your iterpretation (for the most part).
And if you have a death wish or are just a straight adrenaline junkie we can hit the Nurburgring (Nordschleife) and or the GP track along with a few others.
Invitation is to all.
You'll have to find your own accomodations though, as i am married and wife is not partial to "strangers" staying at the house. LOL"
However if i was single it would be a different story. I'd just always have my ".9" handy incase of any "wack jobs"...if I can get it out of the arms room.:mrgreen:
 

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To funnny highsider....
Cant wait to get back from deployment in 2011 will look you up as heading up to the ring for a days festivities and ride the black forrest area.
Will come up from vicenza..

Have you ever hit up Passo del stavio? (pardon the spelling)
 

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I rode a BMX bicycle in Japan a couple times, yea it was pretty cool.
 

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To funnny highsider....
Cant wait to get back from deployment in 2011 will look you up as heading up to the ring for a days festivities and ride the black forrest area.
Will come up from vicenza..

Have you ever hit up Passo del stavio? (pardon the spelling)
Yep! did Passo dello Stelvio the last time i was here. I was in NATO stationed down in Livorno (Camp Darby). Had a few riding partners in Vincenza who were in 3/325. That was years ago though.
I'll be here until at least OCT 2011. I'll be looking for you. Stay safe and come back in one piece.
It's all well and good and rewarding, assisting others to be able to enjoy a happy, peaceful and fruitful life, but everyone doesn't want to live like us.
When it comes down to it...You make sure that you get back home.

Here's a link to the last Alps ride of the season for our group here in the Germ.

http://picasaweb.google.de/hezekiah3869/SWITZERLAND2009?feat=directlink#
 

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Highsider,
You were absolutely correct about the riding in the Nice, France area. It was very sweet indeed, there were a lot of different rides within reasonably quick distances.
I truly envy you Americans and Europeans living in Western Europe. I'd always contemplated riding over there but never saw the need to Ante Up the coin because we enjoy such great riding in Texas and our adjoining states.
OMG, I loved the riding style over the pond.
My biggest problem was the inability to communicate with the locals and the merchants.
I got lucky with some who spoke a little Spanish in addition to French or Italian, I'd say being bi or trilingual would be a major bonus.
I was talking to my bud, over beers, the other night about us doing a summer ride there. It was a unanimous yes but neither wanted to tell the girls or the kids. You see, all our kids are College age or older and will expect us to take them too. And of course, foot at least half their tab because they'll be hard pressed just to pay for airfare, LOL!!!
I'd love to hook up with you and a few of your fellow riders and do some cruising in Germany.

See ya,
Kelly
 

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I loved when I was stationed in Italy back in the day. (84-85) I had my 81 GPZ550 and lived 17 miles from the base. Everyday was an adventure riding there. Nothing like doing 100 plus before sunrise to get to work and then all of a sudden out of the darkness, there's a horse drawn wagon with a lantern hanging from the back.....yikes!!!!! And the no-enforcement of speed limits back then unless you were in town. Then strictly enforced! And wet cobblestones...:eyecrazy: ......and looking in your mirror and seeing a grinning Italian driver inches from your rear tire while at top speed.....etc....Those were the days. Italian girls LOVED motorcycles.....:badteeth: .....
 

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Highsider,
You were absolutely correct about the riding in the Nice, France area. It was very sweet indeed, there were a lot of different rides within reasonably quick distances.
I truly envy you Americans and Europeans living in Western Europe. I'd always contemplated riding over there but never saw the need to Ante Up the coin because we enjoy such great riding in Texas and our adjoining states.
OMG, I loved the riding style over the pond.
My biggest problem was the inability to communicate with the locals and the merchants.
I got lucky with some who spoke a little Spanish in addition to French or Italian, I'd say being bi or trilingual would be a major bonus.
I was talking to my bud, over beers, the other night about us doing a summer ride there. It was a unanimous yes but neither wanted to tell the girls or the kids. You see, all our kids are College age or older and will expect us to take them too. And of course, foot at least half their tab because they'll be hard pressed just to pay for airfare, LOL!!!
I'd love to hook up with you and a few of your fellow riders and do some cruising in Germany.

See ya,
Kelly
Tell em' lke my wife tells our oldest (21 and also in college, but still here with us in Germany).
I've sacraficed a mint already getting you this far and i'm still pretty much taking care of you. You're grown now. When you finish college, do like i did. Save and foot the bill for yur own trip.
Now if you're fortunate enough to be financially liberal, then hey, more power to you.
Anyway, like I said, i'm here til 2011 at least. Longer if i can swing it. I've got twenty years under my belt so i'm on my time now.
If you decide to give it another whirl,let me know. I'm here for you.
 

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Being multilingual would be a bonus, but I only speak English fluently and French not well at all. None of the areas in our trip were French or English. It wasn't a big problem. A lot of people there speak at least some English. Between that, and a few critical words in the local language that you will pick up, and lots of pointing and hand symbols, I got by. There was one case where a man started speaking to me in German at a filling station in Italy (German license plate on the rental bike), my response was "Sorry, no German" and he immediately switched to fluent English. Another time, when I was riding on my own, I stopped at a local restaurant in Austria, and found that the waitress spoke not a word of English. I pointed at something on the menu (no idea what it was), and got an absolutely tasty serving of homemade pierogies. Worked for me.

Road signs in Europe use international standard symbols. Unfortunately, Canada and USA for the most part don't follow this system, but the symbols that you really need to know are mostly not too hard to figure out. If you apply for an international driving permit, you should get a booklet that explains what all the signs mean. The place that I rented the bike from (Beach's Motorcycle Adventures www.bmca.com) gave out a thick book of how-to's, including explanations of how international driving laws differ from ours and how expectations (of how you are supposed to behave on the road) differ.

There are some things you'll have to figure out ... Red-bordered triangle with "!" inside it is the international symbol for "warning/danger/hazard" but the nature of the hazard is explained in words underneath. You'll eventually figure out what the local words for "cattle grate crossing" mean, because there are lots of those ... And what "Markeirung" means (that one isn't too bad), and maybe what "Asphalteirung" means (that one IS bad!). But, if you are on a bike in Italy, "tournante" means FUN! (hairpin corner ahead)
 
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