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Discussion Starter #1
I've been thinking about going touring around Europe for a period of two to three months for quite some time now, and it appears to be a reality this year.

I would like some help from those who've done this/are doing this, and anyone with :2cents.

I would love suggestions/advice on when to go (time of year), what is worth seeing, renting vs buying a bike, and any things worth considering on such a trip. I wouldn't be against the idea of buying a cheaper used bike for this trip as I may very well end up working in the UK for a bit after the trip.

Most of my touring experience has been limited to Canada and the USA on consecutive 850+km days on bikes like the 2009 ZX6 and an 04 R1.

I travel very light and I will be staying in hostels or with family wherever possible. If any further details are needed, please ask away!
 

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I would suggest traveling in an off peak period.
Cheaper and less crowd.

I could probably hook you up with someone in southern France to help you find a bike.

Other than that I'm no help.
... Aside from getting you to a gp
 

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Brilliant roads and destinations throughout Scotland and Wales, rides through places like Glen Coe, Snowdonia or the Lake District, though they can be busy in summer, weather will always be a factor in the UK so bring waterproofs. These chaps ride all these great roads mostly in Scotland and document it in this thread, well worth the read http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/you-are-going-to-die.540395/
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I would suggest traveling in an off peak period.
Cheaper and less crowd.

I could probably hook you up with someone in southern France to help you find a bike.

Other than that I'm no help.
... Aside from getting you to a gp
One thing that just came to me is that AirCanada does offer flights from Toronto or Montreal to London where you can ship a motorcycle on the plane for around 700CAD, so it may be worthwhile to take my current bike over.
 

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If that is a return price then I think taking your own bike might be worthwhile. Aside from this site there might be others that can add info and help.
 

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One thing that just came to me is that AirCanada does offer flights from Toronto or Montreal to London where you can ship a motorcycle on the plane for around 700CAD, so it may be worthwhile to take my current bike over.
Green card insurance for non Euro bikes is expensive . Check these guys out for a quote http://www.knopftours.com/Web-Site/Green Card.html that is why I opted to rent cars in Spain instead of shipping a bike over l for the times I go over.
 

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There's a guy in Italy that acts as sort of a clearing house for North American bikers who wish to ride Europe. He has a big garage with North American bikes in it that were shipped over, keeps the carbs drained and the batteries charged. When you want to go over you make arrangements to buy one of the bikes from the owner over here, you get all the paperwork done and insurance arranged here, and pay the Italian for the storage and prep costs. He meets you, gets the bikes ready to roll, and points you in the direction of the good roads and when you're done you bring the bike back and he hopefully sets you up with another buyer, or you keep it stored there till your next year trip to see a different part of Europe.

Had some friends do this a couple times now, very satisfied with the deal. Easier to set up than shipping over and back, no worries about binning a rental bike in a crash, you don't have to figure out the weird European rules to buy, insure, register, road tax, and operate a bike. Most of your cash stays in North America, no worries about wire transferring thousands to some unknown senders.

PM me if you want details.

Also, check out Horizons Unlimited, most of your questions will already have been answered over there.
 

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You have not mentioned what parts of Europe you are planning on checking out. There is a 'sweet spot' of time, between the time after kids go back to school, and the time when weather starts encroaching on the premium riding spots in 'Northern Europe'. I've been caught in snow on the Stelvio Pass in the 2rd week of September. Unless you reserve some places, or pull into a town quite early to grab a 'bed', accommodation can be real tricky during prime tourist season. I've been there twice, both 6-8 country tour rides. One was a fully escorted tour where all accommodation is looked after. The second, we did our own tour, and will say that riding with a very experienced traveller, we were able to confirm accommodation every night for the following night/nights by laptop computer, eliminating the constant hassle of pulling into a town after a long day of riding only to see the entire town sold out and having to move on, and on. A total pain in the ass, eliminated.

I strongly recommend a GPS, with European maps. Especially while navigating a large town or city. Even if you are in a country WITH English signs, like London, trying to find your way around a road network layed out by the invading Romans, converted to vehicles, is fucking crazy impossible. Try pulling into a Serbian city with Cyrillic lettering on the street signs, you might as well be blind. A GPS, with physical paper map as well, to get a general idea of the overall region, is an absolute no brainier.

You may want to consider the costs. Expect about 50-75% more overall, than touring the USA. Resort towns are serious premium. I remember pulling into St. Moritz 5 years ago, and paying 20 Euro's for an espresso and croissant. At the time I was looking to buy an Omega Seamaster watch, thought I could get a better deal from it's country of origin. Prices were double for the same in Langley BC. Gasoline is double. All this said, there are villages along the Croatian coast where you can rent a whole house for 60 Euro's, and walk down to the beach village and have a whole fish dinner caught an hour ago and a jug of red wine for 8 Euro.

I've rented bikes both times. Next time I'd ship my bike for anything longer than 2 week tour. Renting bikes is expensive, and the rental company may have certain restrictions about where he'll let you go. Generally they give you free run inside the EU union, but our guy said no way to Kosovo, and was not impressed with Serbia.
 

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am shipping a bike from Van to Frankfurt with the Air Canada 'deal'. With an AC passenger ticket it is $1200 one way, and $1500 without an AC passenger ticket. Need 3rd party liability insurance, commonly known as 'green card' insurance as the document you get is , well, green. Varies in cost depending on who you get it from. As mentioned Horizon's Unlimited is a good source. Also need Dangerous Goods Declaration, $125
Also our local ICBC coverage is totally invalid over there but you will need a plate & registration to be able to get your green card ins.
 

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tour route?

I'm not sure where you plan on going within Europe but if you plan to see any of the Alps you should definitely NOT go in shoulder seasons. There are never any guarantees with the weather but I tried to get from Switzerland to Italy in October once and the cold and rain stopped me in my tracks. If you do head that way, I can recommend checking out the Stelvio Pass

Stelvio-Pass.jpg

Also if you like twisties the Schwartzwaldstrasse in the Black Forest (Germany) is not to be missed. I'm English so can't really offer advice about shipping your bike but I've ridden Europe a bit, if you have any questions maybe drop me a message.

Best,

Fraser.
 

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Depends on what you are looking for, if you are aiming for Continental Europe I'd suggest Spain as a starting point, for whatever reason both insurance and rentals are considerably cheaper and are valid for where ever you go(outside a couple of the eastern bloc nations). Recommend portugal and Spain, weather is almost prefect for riding year round and costs are cheap. Avoid August if possible due to the increased traffic from vacation season.
 
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