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Kane
Newcastle Upon Tyne

Kane from Newcastle Upon Tyne asked

Preparation and tips for a year long solo motorbike trip in Europe

I plan on touring around Europe next year on my motorbike ( Triumph Bonneville ), I aim to visit about 37 countries or as many as possible. 

So the Question is, does anyone else have experience traveling solo for long duration's, what do I need to plan for? what advice do you have? or what are the best places to visit on a motorbike ? and how much do you think It will cost ?

I imagine I'll be camping in most places or staying in cheap accommodation when I can find it.

The rout so far starts from the UK -> France -> Spain -> South of France -> Italy and the rest of them counter clockwise etc

Europe

3 Answers
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answered by
Sean from Hudson Valley

I greet you my Bonneville brother. 

First, let me say I’m extremely jealous.  I’d love to be doing that.  I haven’t been on a good, long trip in a good long time.

Living in Britain, and going to the continent the way you described, you’ll most likely avoid the traumas of shipping your bike.  I notice you have several ferry options to cross over to France that allow you to bring your motorcycle.  Believe me, that’s a load of crap you don’t want to deal with.

Now, you know where you want to go.  You know what you want to see.  You don’t need recommendations from me.  However, you may want to watch some old episodes of Top Gear, and see if there are any special roads you may wish to experience.  My general rule of thumb is to stay off major highways.  Sure they’re fast, but they’re usually straight and boring.   I usually stick to secondary, and back roads.

At this point I need to make certain assumptions, which could be totally wrong.  If your knowledge and abilities above what I’m about to suggest, I apologize.  I mean no insult.  I just want to cover all the bases.  There are certain things you’ll need to do, procure, and learn.

On your to do list should be the following.

  1. Change your oil and filter before you go.  The closer to your departure date the better.

  2. If your tires have more than 2,000km on them, change them before you go.

  3. Consider your chain and sprockets.  If they will be due for a change while you’re on the road, do it beforehand.

  4. The same is true for your valves.  This is something you don’t want to monkey with in the middle of your trip.

  5. Make sure you’ve got plenty of meat on your brake pads.  If you need to replace them, consider changing your fluid too.

Before you take off you’ll want to procure,

  1. LOCKS!  Your machine already has a fork-lock, but you really should have a disk lock and a braided cable-lock with a strong, weather resistant pad lock.  If you think it sounds excessive, remember; if you love it, locket, or lose it!

  2. A small can of chain lube, and use it on a daily basis.

  3. A spare headlamp bulb is a must, as well as one directional bulb.

  4. Many people take a spare set of spark plugs.  I’ve never found this necessary, you have a better idea of you machine’s requirements, I’m sure.

  5. Know how to change your air filter.  Consider doing it before you leave.

  6. Take with you a list of all Triumph dealers in the countries you’ll be traveling through.  If you need service you’ll know where to go.  Even if you’re not near a dealer, they can direct you to a service-center.  You can get this information from Triumph’s web site.

There are a number of things it would be good to learn.  Among them are,

  1. Chain maintenance.  Know how to clean, lube, adjust and align your chain.

  2. Throttle and clutch cable adjustments

  3. Know how to change you bulbs; headlamp and directional.

  4. You’ll need to change your oil at some point.  It’s a good thing to know how to do yourself.

  5. Know how to deal with a flat.  Depending on your wheels know how to plug a tire, or patch a tube.

There are videos of many of these, and more, on YouTube (www.youtube.com).  Also there are plenty of maintenance procedures outlined in the tech sections of Triumph Rat Net (www.triumphrat.net/)

Among other thing to consider is your luggage.  Do they lock?  Do they lock to the Bike?  Can they be easily detached and carried?

You mentioned you’ll be camping.  Take minimal gear.  Think like you’re taking a flight.  You don’t need to be weighed down. 

If you’re taking a tablet or smart phone with you, then take some time to search out and download apps.   From trip planning, to communication, to camping, to hostels, to motorcycle maintenance, there is a ton (907kg) out there and most of them are free.

I feel like I’m only scratching the surface.  Feel free to comment me if you have any questions you want to ask.


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answered by
Brenda from Long Beach

Kane,  

Live the dream. I've only traveled alone for seven weeks so I have no advice on that. But give yourself plenty of time to explore all the different regions of Spain. In Andalucia,the big cities (Seville, Córdoba, Granada) and the white villages, Jaén, and all along the coast. Do Valencia, Alicante, Majorca. Do Madrid and all of central Spain (Cuenca, Ávila, Segovia, Toledo, Salamanca ). Go north to San Sebastian, and visit Bilbao, País Vasco, Laredo (Spain) and Santander. Visit Galicia (Santiago de Compostelaand Pontevedra), and of course Barcelona (Sotges, Girona, Figueres, and Cadeques). You could spend a year just exploring Spain.


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Mentioned in this answer:

VIEW DETAILED MAP
  1. Seville (city)
  2. Córdoba (attraction)
  3. Granada (city)
  4. Jaén (attraction)
  5. Valencia (city)
  6. Alicante (city)
  7. Majorca (island)
  8. Madrid (attraction)
  9. Cuenca (attraction)
  10. Ávila (city)
  11. Segovia (city)
  12. Toledo (city)
  13. Salamanca (attraction)
  14. San Sebastian (city)
  15. Bilbao (city)
  16. País Vasco (attraction)
  17. Laredo (Spain) (city)
  18. Santander (city)
  19. Galicia (city)
  20. Barcelona (city)
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answered first by
Emily from Ann Arbor

For places to go, I highly recommend riding through Belgium and Germany. So many scenic places and great open roads for riding a bike. 

Italy would also be a really good place to go but through the country like in Tuscany and along the coast in Livorno.

Solo advice? Stick to open public places since you will be by yourself and always check your maps and transportation schedule before leaving your hotel or hostel. 


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Mentioned in this answer:

map
VIEW DETAILED MAP
  1. Belgium (attraction)
  2. Germany (attraction)
  3. Italy (country)
  4. Tuscany (state)
  5. Livorno (attraction)


   
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