some good pointers please, may have a chance to tour europe for a week

Discussion in 'Europe' started by metlcutr55, Jul 20, 2019.

  1. metlcutr55

    metlcutr55 LongGoneDaddy

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    Grampa here, same guy been looking for a dual sport that fits him on another thread here on ADV.

    my darling MIL (yes I really love her) has offered me and my wife a chance to go to Europe (or Japan or Rio or the south pole I guess) for a week. or more if the price is right. major anniversary present. I thought of a river boat tour, she says we're still too young for that (64 and 55). I want to motorcycle tour, I suspect this will be a hard sell to her but im gonna try. wife loves riding with me.

    my bike of choice would be my old Valkyrie interstate, but she has been sold, had a perfect low seat height for my 28" inseam, but became too heavy for me to pick up if layed over gentle riding solo and I ride a lot solo. I miss her dearly. thinking honda 700 nc may fit well, as long as the pillion seat is decent. or something similar, I guess the main point is low seat height and 2 up capability, I suppose an EGlide would even fit.

    looking on the net, at the top of the page is Edelweiss Tours. lovely. but I suspect MIL is not gonna go $12000 plus getting there from Boston. I also suspect shes gonna tell me motorcycles are dangerous, but thats my problem to fix.

    anyone reading this make some suggestions as to other tour providers? Lois and I are the type that prefer simple clean accommodations over the 5 star hotels, and feel the same in general about food.

    I do not want to set up bike rental, tour plan, and accommodations separate on my own.

    target date would be mid summer 2020. all your suggestions appreciated.

    Ken
    #1
  2. kickstandsup

    kickstandsup Long timer Supporter

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    I've done 2 Edelweiss tours, one thru the Alps, the last this past Sept thru Tuscany. Have to say, they run a first rate operation; great hotels, tour guides, routes, food; bikes in perfect shape. If you've never ridden in Europe, it is a terrific introduction. Not cheap, but as I said, first class. I think you can find several of their tours for less than 12k, but I have not checked their current prices b/c I've shipped a bike over and will be setting out on my own in just a few weeks. :clap If you're interested, there are pics of the Tuscany tour on the blog link in my sig line, click on the photo for more and the story that goes with.

    If you've not ridden in Europe, and it sounds like you haven't, I'd suggest a "smaller" bike than you're used to here in the States. The roads are narrow, twisty and you won't be spending much if any time on a highway. You want something light and nimble, IMO. Edelweiss has several bikes in that category, and you could test sit them here to make sure you and your wife are comfortable before you select, as you suggested.

    You'll have a wonderful time riding Europe, GO!
    #2
  3. Roadscum

    Roadscum Long timer

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    I did a 2 week tour with Beach's Motorcycle Adventures in 2007. It's mom and pop operation now operated by their son and they have been in the business for over 50 years. Rob, the son is along on every tour, no hired tour guides, to ensure each rider has a great experience. They are not the least expensive but they offer an outstanding experience. That was to be a 'bucket list' but instead fanned the flames. Two years later I ship a bike over then spent the next 7 summers touring Europe. Kickstand up has now begun that same journey. Perhaps we'll cross paths in Europe this year.

    You may want to consider renting a bike that suites your needs, plan you own route, your own schedule, and have at it. Take a look at the Edelweiss tour routes , the Beach tour route, etc...., find one that provides the experience your looking for and head for that area. 200 -250 miles a day is a pretty big day in the Alps where the roads are narrow and the curves tight as the wind their way up un down the mountains.

    Once you know approximately where ya want to ride find a rental shop in the area with the bikes that suite your need. FYI... I'd suggest you make it two weeks. It'll take a day just to get on the road and a day to return the bike and prepare for your return. You can either pick a place to operate from or find lodging on the fly. I prefer to the later because each morning I know what direction I want to ride and sometime I have a destination in mind. Then I set of and wander about, there is so much to see, so many people to meet, new roads to explore, so much food to sample, beer to try, and local culture to experience I'm never sure where I will be when I ready to take my boots off.

    My girl friend has not ridden in Europe so we're over in September for almost 3 weeks. We'll rent a car, wander a bit, then I've arranged a week rental for two bikes. The rental are in Germany at the border of Germany, France, and Switzerland. We'll spend two days near the rental shop to give here a chance to understand what it's like to ride in the mountains then will wander off at her pace to wherever the wind will take her. This is her ride, I'm there to offer guidance and support. Riding in the Alps is unlike riding in America and requires sharp skills and focused concentration to handle the tight twisty mountain roads, long tunnels, some dark, some one lane, some one lane, no lighting, and hairpin curves, etc...

    Another option is to rent a mid-size scooters, 300 CC is more then enough. My Vespa 300 will cruise at 75 mph all day. I have been cross country with it and it was my most ever memorable C C ride, and I had a bunch of all sorts of bikes. Mid-size Scooters are very easy to ride and confidence inspiring, handle extremely well, are economical to rent and operate, and are F-U-N to ride,

    You have a very generous MIL that a great thing, tell her I said so. Whatever you do DON'T miss the opportunity to ride in Europe.. It's about the journey, not the tool, not the Destination.

    Paul
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  4. kickstandsup

    kickstandsup Long timer Supporter

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    Also, if you're planning any sightseeing, I suggest doing it before the motorcycle rental/tour starts, rather than after. That way, if your riding kit is delayed in any way, it has time to get to you before you need to start riding. Any jet lag will likely have worn off too.
    #4
  5. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer Supporter

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    I'm almost 74 and I'm too young for that.

    What Kickstandsup and Roadscum said. I'm just back from my 14th trip over - all solo trips either renting a bike or shipping one of mine over. Were I to do a full-boat tour, it would probably be with Beach - they're more aligned with how I ride than Edelweiss, from what I hear. Either one will give you a great experience, though.

    One of my reasons for solo trips is that with the money that I had available, I could either want to take a guided tour or actually ride solo. Another is that my work life was driven by schedules and the last thing I wanted was to be on someone else's schedule when I was on vacation.

    I recommend John Hermann's book "Motorcycle Journeys Through the Alps and Beyond" (5th edition) - not necessarily to slavishly follow his routes, but more to get an idea of what's available, and he has a lot of good tips for people that haven't been in Europe.

    One thing to consider is that the major economic focus of this area is tourism - they are geared to providing the traveler's needs and wants. English is almost universally spoken, so language isn't a barrier in all but the most remote places. Doing it yourself is no more difficult than traveling in the US. It's different, but not that different.

    One of your major expenses is the airfare - and that's the same whether you go for 3 days or 3 weeks. The daily costs are pretty much in line with what you'd spend traveling in the US. Fuel is more expensive, but you use a lot less of it Roadscum said 200-250 miles/day - I feel that it's more like 200-250 kms/day.

    GPS summary from the first half of July - look at the "Moving Average" speed - this year was a bit lower than other years, but not significantly so.

    [​IMG]

    Oh yeah - and is your MIL adopting? I'm available.
    #5
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  6. Woody2627

    Woody2627 Grey Wobbler

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    I've just done an Edelweiss tour, never again. Fine if you want to ride in a convoy following the slowest rider in the group and passing is forbidden, or should that be verboten. We were getting passed by farmers on their way to town, really. We followed a tractor for 5km when there were ample passing opportunities, but no, just follow the leader. Most lunch stops were at restaurants, but 3 were picnic lunches I local parks. With no toilets, we had about a dozen girls on our trip. On the last day lunch was at 3:30pm, with only an hour to finish the trip. What a waste of $10000, never again.
    #6
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  7. kickstandsup

    kickstandsup Long timer Supporter

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    That sounds frustrating. In the two tours I've done, there were definitely different experience levels among the riders, but that got sorted by the first lunch with the quicker folks running at the front. The tour leader (one of mine was Austrian trial champ and raced at the IOM) would gradually increase pace until whoever was following starts to drop back. They also said if you wanted to go faster than them, just pass and run at whatever pace you want. Within group passing also happened; if a faster rider ended up at the back, he'd be waived by. I will say, though, that on my last trip, there was one female rider who gave up at the end of the second day and rode in the van, and another male rider that was clearly in over his head and should have done the same. Such are the vagaries of group riding, anywhere.

    I rarely ride in a group at home and like others, used the tour experience to get my feet wet in Europe. Now, however, that I've shipped a bike over, I'll be on my own and I'm sure that will be even more fun.

    I will say that navigating in Europe is a bit more challenging than the US, even using a sat nav. When we did Scotland on our own, the nav was always that little bit behind in the many roundabouts. We circled the drain a few times... And, you have to orient yourself to navigating by town name, not route number.

    europe 187.jpg
    #7
  8. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer Supporter

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    Old sign. They've since added the Ladin place names. You need to update. :evil
    #8
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  9. Lewilewi

    Lewilewi Ride it like you stole it......

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    Grandad here

    Done tons of Europe touring by far the best tour I ever did in my life time was this year in Spain, I underestimated this country, and I was rewarded hugely, Spain is very scenic and mountainous, every turn of these tried and tested routes will reward you with another stunning view, or stunning building waterfalls canyons architecture medieval mountain villages culture cheap food and beer


    I did a free to down load tour from Ride magazine web site. Down load the daily gpx
    file in to your sat nav and press start for each day..


    It's that easy

    It took virtually zero planning as ride motorcycle magazine know all of europe, the rds are tried and tested,

    Do the 8 day spain tour, forget the rest of europe, or add a little bit extra to this tour, to make the time up

    I got ferry from uk to Bilbao, and if I were you I'd get to Bilbao and start the tour properly as per their route because the rds and scenery are sublime,

    I can recommend good bike friendly accommodation at each stop each day.


    Ride magazines site has the whole of europe mapped out on its site, in dream motorcycle routes and there all tried and tested


    THIS SITE FOR EUROPE IS NOT TO BE MISSED
    #9
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  10. Lewilewi

    Lewilewi Ride it like you stole it......

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    Trust me you dont need a tour provider just a europ map in your sat nav the down load the route and base map, so easy...


    Sounds like your about to waste a lot of money on something you can have for free
    #10
  11. Lewilewi

    Lewilewi Ride it like you stole it......

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    I have some videos of mountain rds and canyons etc, the rds are wide well maintained and empty on these routes very good surfaces

    The places youl travel through are nothing short of stunning

    Attached Files:

    #11
  12. DantesDame

    DantesDame Ridin' Fool Super Moderator

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    It really depends on you and your "personality", but I think that a tour guide in Europe is overrated. I second @Lewilewi and can easily recommend Spain. I was completely floored by how beautiful and empty northern Spain is, and then again later when I visited southern Spain. You don't need the Alps - that's where everyone else goes. Visit Spain (and Portugal) and if you need snow-capped mountains, include the Pyrenees in your itinerary.

    Or just visit the Picos de Europa region:

    [​IMG]

    If you DO want a guide, I can recommend https://www.motoadventours.com/ - I haven't actually used them yet, but I am working with them for an upcoming tour in South Africa and I am impressed so far.
    #12
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  13. Lewilewi

    Lewilewi Ride it like you stole it......

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    +1

    And the 8 day ride magazine tour spain is better than the Alps.. vast empty roads too
    #13
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  14. Roadscum

    Roadscum Long timer

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    That's one opinion.
    Beent here done that but much prefer the high mountain roads, the beauty of the Alps, the skill and courtesy of the drivers, and the people, culture, food, etc... of Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. That's my opinion.

    On Beach's tours you are NOT required to ride as a group. Each bike comes equipped with a GPS and many different route choices for each days ride. After riders are invited to share there days experience with the group while we were sipping our wine or drinking our beers. Following the discussion Rob would review the route options and the high lights for the next day. This allows each rider to add a degree of personalization to their tour. The only 'requirement' is that you arrive at the next hotel by 7pm for diner. I was late on several occasion because I and two others were ridding with Rob Beach ........ and the hotel will not serve diner until the boss arrives and gives the nod. :lol3 There's also a chase van with spare parts, tools, a spare bike, and a capable driver mechanic. If your stuck at roadside it'll come to your aid. The van also shuttles you luggage each night to the next hotel.

    It's this type of service that separate's Beach's from the other tour company's.

    Paul
    #14
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  15. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

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    Hmnnn....sounds like what Adriatic tours provides,van,dinners, discussion about the tours ect. My friend and her husband just returned from a tour this past June.

    They spent on their tour what I make in a year.

    My hubby and I went over 4 years ago. Rented lower tier bikes,er6n and cbf600, plotted our own routes, found our own places to stay, did a mix of grocery store and cheap eats,fruchstick, rode Germany,Switzerland, Austria,Slovenia for 2.5 weeks.

    Stayed longer than my friend and spent approximately $20,000 less than they did.

    It was our first time over.

    I don't want a packaged experience. We ne ver would have met the guy in Slovenia,stayed at his amazing g house, laughed about our crappy hostel, ridden roundabouts several times trying to read the signs, I liked letting the experience unfold organically.

    And....we definitely used the John Hermann book. Invaluable. And....i bought lots of maps while i was there,all motorcycle specific.

    Super,super easy now to plan our next trip. We did not have a gps first time around btw.
    #15
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  16. PukaWai

    PukaWai Long timer

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    Have a look Here and send Laurent an email as to what you're interested in. I met Laurent before he even started his business, and rented from him a couple of years ago. Haven't done a guided tour as that is just not my thing, but he must be doing something right as he keeps getting more happy customers. No 5-star hotels and such so prices are a lot more reasonable than Edelweiss.
    #16
  17. dolomoto

    dolomoto Destroyer of Motorcycles

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    I finally got to the point in my life where the only thing holding me back from moving to Europe...was ME.

    [​IMG]

    For the folks who don't have the same choices, there are several smaller tour companies that can help you along the way. Dooby (on this forum) is one.

    I found these guys recently (I have no experience with their tour, just found their trip )

    There's also this outfit. (again, no experience, just found the website)

    There's also Stefan in Heidelberg....has bikes for sale and does tours.
    #17
  18. Ridercam

    Ridercam Been here awhile

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    If you think a river cruise is boring or for old folks, you don’t know the modern river cruises with a 2 wheeled component. I recently did an active vacation with Backroads and AMA waterways with my wife. We rode bicycles almost ever day, did great hikes and engaged in some really cool local culture. Some of riding days were over 50 miles (with a choice to do less if you want) along rivers, purposeful bike paths and single lane roads through some amazing scenery. Riding a bicycle with your significant other is epic. I saw things I would have missed on a motorcycle plus was fully supported. There were days it was fine to see castles and river from a floating platform while holding my wife close and having time to really connect and talk. Not having to pack and unpack, check in and out of hotels while on tour was a real treat. Food and drink along the route was excellent. The leaders on the tour were excellent. It is the same cost as a beach motorbike tour but then it is healthier, arguably more engaging and overall better.

    https://www.backroads.com/trips/BRIS/rhine-river-cruise-bike-tour

    After my river bike trip through the Rhine Gorge, I went and got my motorcycle at Stefan’s and rode a week afterward. A completely different trip than the cruise. apples and oranges, but you know that.

    As a disclaimer - my wife works for Backroads. I joined her on many bicycle vacations all over the world. We have luxuried camped, stayed in 3 star as well as 5 star places everywhere you’d want to go. I know a thing about travel my self as a shooting producer for the travel channel. I absolutely love riding anything in Europe. A bicycle ride can as thrilling and special as any motorcycle ride. It all depends on our reason for being on vacation, seeing the world and how much distance you need to cover in a day to get where you are going. It is always the good journey not the great destination you seek.

    Attached Files:

    #18
  19. LopezXC

    LopezXC Adventurer

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    And if you come around Madrid, you can have a beer with me!
    #19
  20. metlcutr55

    metlcutr55 LongGoneDaddy

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    certainly has been a while, but ive read these posts over and over. lots of good stuff from you guys, thanks. at this point, still early, I am drifting away from the idea of a motorcycle tour, and towards staying in one or two places, and hoping to day trip a few times possibly on a rented bike. which leaves some questions and adds others. we're currently considering Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, all that may still change. here goes....

    id be happiest with what I ride now 2 up, a cruiser. prefer Japanese. im guessing these a hard find over there. a friend had 750 Honda Spirit years ago, that would work great. haven't found any online yet but haven't looked real hard. available? low seat height is needed for short and arthritic legs. my vstar is 27" and is perfect.

    riding one of those id guess id need an international license to go with my US license. what is the process and how expensive?

    not wanting a big song and dance for a special license, the scooter thing is appealing, and these do seem to be easily found. or perhaps I still need a special license for these? saw a big honda in the market park lot the other day, looked like it would work. bigger than the old vespas by far, but stepthru, and the seat looked ultra plush for two. its gotta be able to haul 400#. im sure a 90cc will not work. recommendations?

    thank you everyone, for all advice already read, and hopefully to come, greatly appreciated!!
    #20