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International My European Motorbike Tour 2016

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' at netrider.net.au started by jalalski, Jul 4, 2016.

  1. Hi Guys,

    Just came back last week from a trip of a lifetime touring Europe and the Alps for 4 weeks.

    We have visited 6 countries (Spain, France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Italy) and have done a total of 4,500kms of riding for 3 weeks.

    We started in Barcelona where we had arranged for our hired bikes to be picked-up and we set off to the French Pyrenees and then the Swiss Alps before crossing to Austria and Germany and then onto Italy for the Stelvio Pass and made our way back to Barcelona through the French Riviera passing through Nice and Monaco.

    One of the major highlights of this trip for me was doing the famous Stelvio Pass in Italy in perfect sunny weather.

    We also got really lucky with the weather as we only got rain for half a day out of the entire 3 weeks which was really a bonus. It seems the rain would get the top of the Pass after we have done it and this was the case with Saint Bernard and Klausen Passes when we got to the top and it started pissing down. Klausen Pass was blocked off by snow 3 days after we have done it. Yes, very lucky indeed.

    The other thing I loved about riding in Europe are the considerate and very accommodating drivers (trucks and cars). They will go out of their way to let you pass them safely on the same lane by moving to the shoulder (when they can), so the entire group of bikes can pass them with very little effort and no risk of upcoming traffic. We have come across such driver behavior in every country in Europe we have visited on this tour.

    Every single rider we have come across would wave "hello". (no nods are used there) :)

    Anyway, here are a couple of photos from the tour:


















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  2. That looks great. I would love to do something like that in the future. How did you find hiring the bikes, and all that kind of stuff?

    Having driven in Europe quite a bit, it is really nice driving there, for the reasons you mentioned above.


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  3. I love the subtle kangaroo on your panniers!!!!!
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  4. "I want to go to there!!"
    (30 rock fans will appreciate that one)... but seriously, this is my ultimate bucket list trip. I'd love to hear more about your planning process.
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  5. Yeah, those kangaroos and the Aussie stickers I put on the bike were a conversation starter for sure, especially in Italy when the riders would come up to me at Stelvio and wonder if I have ridden the bike all the way from Sydney to there LOL :)

    They also got confused by the Spanish number plate where I stuck a little Aussie flag on all 5 bikes of the group and wondered if it was a special number plate for Aussie riders. hahahaha :)

    I can summarize the entire tour as follows:

    * Italian bikes/bikers are fast and crazy
    * Switzerland is super expensive
    * Spanish chicks are super hot :)
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  6. Wow, amazing pictures from a spectacular trip. Wish I had been able to join you. How did you find riding on Icy/frosty and snowy roads? Did anyone give you any special tips? I'm asking because we saw a large patch of ice/frost on the road up near Bell and it was very scary having no experience on a bike crossing it. You should have joined us for the Brass Monkey run, with the cold and frost, you would have felt right at home.
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  7. #7 jalalski, Jul 4, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2016
    Indeed. It was my bucket list trip as well and I don't think I will ever be able to top it again.

    The planning process started when a mate of mine who has done a similar tour 2 years ago through a company based in Europe told us about his experience and and also how rushed it was, they didn't even allow him to stop to take photos during the trip and it all seemed rush rush to him, so he didn't enjoy it much and wanted to do it all over again on our own pace and our own terms and a much larger tour than just 10 days visiting specific spots in Europe, so we had our first meeting to see who will be interested based on the assumption that it will cost about $7,500 for a single rider and about $12,000 for a couple (rider and pillion) to do the full 4 weeks including airfares, bike hire, fuel and accommodation.

    We then searched for a bike hire company and found one in Spain that is reasonably priced (my 2015 Triumph Tiger 800 XC cost me about 86 Euros per day with unlimited kms), so we communicated with that company by email and got the booking all sorted and paid a deposit to secure it.

    We then set-off to work on the routes and this is when my mate spent a considerable effort in mapping it all himself, including all ways points and stop-overs and he has uploaded everything to his Google maps account and only used his iPhone for this entire trip to navigate which was quite amazing as it was spot on accurate every single day. No GPS was required at all.

    We then and based on the finalised maps organised the accommodation based on the assumption that we will only be riding a maximum of around 250kms per day over 5 hours or so and aim to get to our overnight stop by no later than 5pm (it gets dark around 9pm in Europe in summer), so we would still have enough time to explore the area and get some rest.

    Every 2 days of riding would bring us to a 2-nighter stop where we get a chance to get off the bikes and relax and do our washing...etc

    In big cities like Lake Como in Italy for example, we set off for a day ride to explore the area properly and catch the ferry with the bikes to cross to the other side.

    In Chamonix in France we spent the entire day at Mont Blanc at the top of the Alps and the only way to get there was by cable cart. The view at the top was simply breathtaking!

    All accommodation was pre-booked in advance through AirBNB, Booking.com and Expedia and we researched every single accommodation through Trip Advisor as well. It was all reasonably priced and the average worked-out to be around $55 bucks per night for couples (and a bit more for me being the only single rider in the group at around $65 bucks per night).

    By that stage we already finalised who will be on the trip, so it ended-up being 4 couples and myself (5 bikes in total). We had regular monthly meetings to work out the finer details, had the Euro cash exchanged to take with us and booked our flights early on to secure a cheaper deal. (Singapore airlines was the best option to fly from Sydney to Barcelona return).

    All up this trip cost me around $9000 everything included plus shopping for the wife and boys ;)

    The only reason it went over the estimated $7,500 is because of the poor exchange rate when we started planning this trip and the actual rate when the time came to do the currency conversion. I reckon I would have saved at least $1000 had the exchange rate been good, so I would have bveen very close to target at around $8000 (everything inclusive).

    The food and drinks are super cheap in Europe, so there are no concerns there at all. The bikes were very economical on petrol and we would fill up daily an average of 12 Euros and that would last us for the whole day and some more. We would always fill-up the bikes when we get to our stop-over destination, so we wouldn't have to worry about doing that the next morning.

    Accommodation was all very good, except a couple of places which turned-out to be very basic. The 2 nighters we all shared a huge house and everyone had a separate room, so the 4 couples would get the double bedrooms and I obviously get the single room which was perfect for me.

    The bikes all had road side assistance but we didn't need to use it at all (thankfully).

    No major incidents with our bikes at all, except a stationary drop by one of the bikes when one of the guys forgot to put it in gear and it rolled off the side stand when his wife tried to get something out of the top box. No major damage to the bike except the tip of the clutch lever and a broken turning signal indicator cover. At the end of the tour they only got charged 50 Euros for the damage which was very reasonable. No questions asked about scratches...etc on the bike as they consider to be normal on such a long tour.

    That's all I can remember, but feel free to ask any questions.
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  8. Wow this is amazing! I would love to do something like this, very jealous. Photos are great!
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  9. Hi Bill,

    Yeah, it was an amazing trip for sure and I am thankful for my wife for letting me go by myself as I don't think I would have been comfortable with a pillion and this showed with all other 4 couples at each and every pass we have done. They were taking it easy for sure, so I would shoot ahead of them to the top, so I can enjoy the twisties a bit more and so that I can take photos and videos of the group coming up.

    The snow was only on the side of the road, being summer the roads themselves were not frosty at all just a bit wet. I have ridden on frosty roads in the Snowy Mountain of NSW on my way to the MotoGP to Phillip Island and the tip I can give you is to avoid joltly sudden movements and to roll the bike easy around corners by gearing down rather than using the brakes rely on the rear brake. Just like riding on wet roads.

    In this tour I almost never used the front brake at all, it was always the rear brake around the hair-pins on those monster passes. I just kept looking up for oncoming traffic and wondering "where the hell is the top of this mountain!!!" :)
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  10. Trip of a Lifetime indeed. I have an itch to do something similar one day.
    Thanks for putting this up.
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  11. Awesommmmme...

    Another NR mate is on his way for s similar road trip..

  12. Cheers jalalskijalalski for the write up and photos. Loved the wooden giant bike :) Lots of great info that you've put up. Thanks!
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  13. Thanks for the photos and information jalalskijalalski! =D It looks to have been superbly planned.
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  14. Yeah I loved that giant bike as well. The place was almost empty when we got there being the weekend and the sign on that giant bike said "no climbing", so guess what I did LOL :)


    I couldn't pass on the opportunity of course :)

    Here is a photo of us returning to base in Barcelona


    And here are a couple of photos taken by a photographer on the Stelvio Pass just before we reached the top.


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  15. outstanding and thanks for sharing - as others have said would love to do something like this, I've had dreams about riding Stelvio Pass...
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  16. This kind of trip is a big item on my bucket list!

    Well done mate, insanely jealous!
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  17. GOLD!!! (especially the naughty kid face...) :)
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  18. #18 jalalski, Sep 29, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2016
    Thanks :)
  19. Hi Guys,

    Here is a short video clip taken from my helmet/bike cam that sums up the entire tour in 3 minutes or so :)

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  20. If you wanted to make me jealous you have succeeded
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