EuroMotoTrek 2014 — My Trip Plan

Discussion in 'EMEA' started by Isgro, Jul 24, 2013.

  1. Isgro

    Isgro Free ranging...

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    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: 10–12 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.
    #1
  2. RTLover

    RTLover Long timer

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    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
    #2
  3. Isgro

    Isgro Free ranging...

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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?
    #3
  4. RTLover

    RTLover Long timer

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    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.p...nurburgring-nordschleife-public-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.

    Cheers
    #4
  5. Isgro

    Isgro Free ranging...

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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.
    #5
  6. Teabar

    Teabar Been here awhile

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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.
    #6
  7. RTLover

    RTLover Long timer

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  8. Isgro

    Isgro Free ranging...

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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.
    #8
  9. glitch_oz

    glitch_oz ...

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    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!!
    #9
  10. Teabar

    Teabar Been here awhile

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    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 :-

    http://www.seat61.com/Motorail.htm#...iding around like an extended Sunday morning.
    #10
  11. motoreiter

    motoreiter Long timer

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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.
    #11
  12. Isgro

    Isgro Free ranging...

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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.
    #12
  13. glitch_oz

    glitch_oz ...

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    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.
    #13
  14. motoreiter

    motoreiter Long timer

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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.
    #14
  15. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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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.

    [​IMG]

    I THINK that the Max Speed was a GPS glitch :eek1 - but maybe not :evil

    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.
    #15
  16. Isgro

    Isgro Free ranging...

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    Thanks for all of the replies. I've been extremely busy between work and renovations on my house, so I haven't had much time to look at the details of this trip recently. I'm hoping to get back to planning soon.
    #16
  17. RTLover

    RTLover Long timer

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    Hurry, though, only 13 months to go.:D
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  18. Isgro

    Isgro Free ranging...

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    :rofl

    What can I say, I like to plan ahead. :D
    #18
  19. wheatwhacker

    wheatwhacker It's raining here

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    Hey Matt.
    Your trip plan and your allocated amount of time are not a match.
    In 10-14 days, your better off selecting a country or two and just settling in and enjoying the scenery instead of flying past it.

    I would give myself a month at the very least to try and take in as much as possible.

    WW
    #19
  20. RacingSnake

    RacingSnake n00b

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    Having just come back from a similar route myself, a few points to consider:

    Unless you need to make up a lot of distance quickly, then skip all the motorways, particularly in France where you can end up paying a small fortune on the toll roads. I was travelling in late July/early August and the only real traffic that I encountered was on the motorway section through Lyon.

    Skip Grenoble and stay somewhere in the Alps. Bourg St Maurice or maybe Tignes are very nice and there are plenty of places to camp. Plus it's a bit cheaper than somewhere like Chamonix. There are awesome Col's to ride, particularly Col du Petit Saint-Bernard and Col d'Iseran. If you're coming up through Italy then tag onto the Col d'Iseran to take you right through the Alps. The roads and the views are spectacular.

    The Nurburgring... do it! It's amazing, worth the wait and the 26 Euros per lap. If you go, I can recommend staying here: http://www.campingplatz-stahlhuette.de/ Great campsite, great bar and good food. Plus if you can catch him, there's an English guy who lives there through the summer and has put in a few thousand laps on the 'ring, so he'll give you a few tips.

    Also, if you're looking at heading to Monaco or the Cote d'Azur, i'd say don't bother. Unless you REALLY want to see the place, it just isn't worth it. Traffic was terrible, the drivers were worse and the whole place is massively overpriced. Very beautiful though.

    Enjoy it and good luck!
    #20