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?? about visiting Europe or possibly just the British Isles
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zentime



Joined: 22 Jan 2005
Posts: 833
Location: Massachusetts USA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 11:12 am    Post subject: ?? about visiting Europe or possibly just the British Isles Reply with quote

My wife and I have never made the trip across the pond but it's always in the back of our minds. We would probably do some of the normal tourist stuff but would want to travel at least in part by sidecar and attend one or two sidecar events. Our time would be limited to 2 to 3 weeks during the summer. I'm wondering about European sidecar rental options? Has anyone ever sent a rig across via ocean freight and what did it cost? The whole driving on the "wrong" side of the road in the British Isles concerns me. Keith, or anyone else out there have any experience driving in one country where you drive on the left then go to a different country and have to drive on the right? What's that like?
If we could only go to 1 or 2 events, what should they be? We'd obviously be interested in attending HPS oriented events. One of the HPS Rallies in France would fun to see. Are there similar events in the British Isle or elsewhere in Europe?
Thanks in advance.
Bill
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sidecarkeith



Joined: 06 Jan 2007
Posts: 336
Location: yorkshire uk

PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zen,
Okay I don't know of any company hirering sidecars in the UK but I do know some who hire solo's
The rest of Europe ride on the right so maybe you'd be better off starting there, only problem none of the signs are in English Question Big Grin

If you come here I would recommend a solo bike because it's easier to sit on the white line down the middle of the road, making it easier to move over to the left lane if you get caught out.

We have things called roundabouts, which are a junction with a round bit of ground in the middle and everybody goes round clockwise until you come to the road you want then head off left.
http://www.slowtrav.com/uk/instructions/driving.htm

Try this to get you used o looking at roundabouts, this one is insane Rolling Eyes

Like wise motorways/highways be prepared for the fast vehicles to be on your right and the slower ones on the left.

Hope that hasn't blown your mind Shocked
Keith
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zentime



Joined: 22 Jan 2005
Posts: 833
Location: Massachusetts USA

PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 1:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WOW! that looks pretty confusing. Do you have any experience driving in Europe? Do you find the transition difficult?
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sidecarkeith



Joined: 06 Jan 2007
Posts: 336
Location: yorkshire uk

PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 4:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never driven in Europe but I'm sure theres people on here who have.
I was passenger in America several times and as a passenger found it a lot easier to follow your roads than ours.
You got to rmember California is 5 times bigger than England, ut we have more roads more cities and more traffic.
If you come for 3 weeks I would suggest you pick one or the other either Europe or Britian, otherwise your just not going to see or take in anything.

I don't think you understand what you'll be taking on, it's not like getting on the highway and riding down it for a thousand miles. Through one or two states, you'd have gone through two or three countries and missed their herotage, culture, art and lifestyles.

An example your 3 weeks I could keep you in one place for 2 of them, Isle of Man TT 2 weeks of biker heaven.
Biker from all over Europe gather there for 2 weeks of road racing at it's best.
Then if your going to loose a day here and there at Bike shows, and thats before you even get into Scotland.

Keith
PS I hope this isn't putting you off.
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Dar



Joined: 04 Mar 2006
Posts: 344
Location: Ballston Spa, NY

PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keith, I think you're really trying to scare people away from coming to visit with that picture you showed of the roundabout, without telling us that that one in particular is quite unique. I saw that same exact picture a couple of years ago, calling it the "Magic Roundabout", with the message that there were only two like that in the whole UK. (is that true?)

Here in the US we do have roundabouts and traffic circles, and in Massachusetts (where Zentime Bill is from) they are called rotaries. In my, admittedly limited, experience with driving in the UK, by far the great majority of roundabouts are similar to what we would find here in the US.

All of which ignores the question of driving on the opposite side of the road, and admittedly, coming to a roundabout and having to go the "wrong" way around it is quite unsettling the first few times for a driver from the US.

Bill, for some more discussion of driving on alternate sides of the road, refer back to the Introduce Yourself forum page and my questions with Flexit's comments under "a bendy joins the forum", back in summer 2006.

From my experience, if you're driving in traffic, staying on the correct side of the road (the left) is a lot easier than your brain imagines it will be - you just follow the traffic in front of you. It's more when you're alone on the road that you might forget where you're supposed to be and end up on the wrong (right) side. And even if you decide to forgo the driving/riding experience in Britain, being a pedestrian there is equally dangerous - we Americans tend to look in the wrong direction for traffic when walking across a street.

Dar
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sidecarkeith



Joined: 06 Jan 2007
Posts: 336
Location: yorkshire uk

PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Curses found out Laughing

I'll get you Dar Laughing Laughing Laughing

Seriously if your really plannig on coming over (not this year) if you say what you want to do on your hoilday.
I could have words with our sidecar clubs and see if they would guide you round different bits of Britian.
There's some good Harley hire shops in London, as I said before I don't know any sidecar hire places only Urals which are resticted to private land. Such as a week-end holiday in the forests, messing about on Urals.

So have a good think about it and come back to me with any ideas and we can talk it through. Like I said the Isle of Man TT could waist time if touring but worth seeing especially for the sidecar racing, it would blow your minds.

keith
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JayBoy



Joined: 26 Jan 2005
Posts: 234
Location: Lexington, KY

PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zen,
I think that would be an adventure. I had the opportunity to be in Switzerland a couple of years ago and spotted an HPS riding along with a group of two wheelers in a resort town in the Alps. I couldn't help but dream about my FJR there with me! If you are dead set on a sidecar (which would be great) I would explore shipping our rigs.

I would start in Berlin (or some other large city where frieght rates are the cheapest) and ride through southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, and leaving from Paris. I don't have a clue if that is feasible in 2-3 weeks..but I think it might be. A month would be ideal. I hear you can stay at B&B's really reasonably (Euro Dollar exchange rates are not great right now...but if you feel it and are healthy as my dear freind & wise old soul says "what difference does it make" Big Grin )

There are a few BIG road races in the summer in Western Europe that have side car divisions. Much like here though I think what you're looking for will not be found at the race track. The Castles are the real attraction.

2009 or 2010? Dream on!
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sidecarkeith



Joined: 06 Jan 2007
Posts: 336
Location: yorkshire uk

PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now just to give you a taster of England.
The South West



North West



North East




South East



Now I would say if any of you have Google Earth check out the countries you fancy and it will give you an idea of raods and distances.

Keith
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zentime



Joined: 22 Jan 2005
Posts: 833
Location: Massachusetts USA

PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't discourage easily Laughing As Dar mentioned, we have lot's of roundabout's in my area so that in itself is not a concern, it is the left hand driving that would require some serious thought. The possibility of traveling with local sidecarists would fantastic and make it a much easier and more memorable trip. We have some friends from England that seem to be able to switch back and forth between driving on the left and right. So I'm sure it's doable. Probably would pass on driving in downtown London though Exclamation

Hey Jay we should talk more about all of this. It would be the trip of a lifetime. It would probably make sense for first timers like Margie and I to go to the British Isle first. It's tempting to want to see it all but we know that's not possible.

Dar, next time we get together, we're going to have a lot to talk about between your Alaska trip and driving in England

Keith, My wife really liked the pictures you posted. We like that the weather looked perfect in ALL the pictures Laughing
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Tub Maxson



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 42
Location: Cincinnati, OH

PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bill
I have been on several motorcycle trips in Europe, none in th UK with driving on the left other than in a car. I will limit my thoughts to the continent. All of my trips have started in Frankfurt or Munich. It is very easy to rent two wheelers, as most MC dealers maintain rental bikes, and there are many small rental agencies. BMW dealers in both Munich and Frankfurt rent bikes at a reasonable cost. I have never checked into renting a three wheeler. As far as getting around just go where you want. We loved the Alps and Tuscany, but also road to the Med, then north through the Pyreenees to norhtern Spain, and back. Hotel or B&B's are plentiful and we have stayed in large ones, and Mom & Pop types, with prior reservations and with out. Our trips have always been in the fall, when it is less crowded, but also have found snow in high areas at times.

It is a wonderful place to ride, and you will never forget your trip. Take the time to get some books on motorcycling in Europe. I will see if I still have some, and if so will gladly lend them to you.

I might add that there are several bike tour companies that will arrange to have you join a tour group, or assist in planning your solo ride, but I have no experience in using any of these. There are also fly/ride packages and ones where you can ship your own ride over and back. Most motorcycle mags here have adverts for Europe riding vacations. We have always planned or own tours.

Go for it, you will never forget the experience.

Tub
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zentime



Joined: 22 Jan 2005
Posts: 833
Location: Massachusetts USA

PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Tub,
Thanks for your input. You make that sort of trip sound like a nice option as well. If you could let me know the name of the books you're talking about, I would just buy them and keep them for my "library". I'm a bit of a MotoGuzzi enthusiast so the thought of getting to Italy and the Guzzi factory weigh in as a factor. Italy is on my wifes wish list too! Still as Keith pointed out, we'd need to be careful of trying to see too much. We really like the idea of getting together with other sidecarist (in fact it's a big reason to go) where ever we go so we would probably not do one of the tour packages. In the end, we'll have to chose ether Europe or the British Isles.
bill
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Tub Maxson



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 42
Location: Cincinnati, OH

PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bill,

Unfortunately, the books I had, cannot be found right now, however, they were published by ADAC, which is the German AAA. Many were published in German, but some were translated also. However, even the German ones had very nice maps that we used to set our trips.

http://www.adac.de/Default.asp?TL=2 (German website)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ADAC

If possible find out when the International Motorcycle show will be held. It is either the largest or second largest in the world and you can spend a lot of time there. It has been in Munich but last I heard it had move back to Cologne.

One thing I regret, which I hope to rectify in the years to come, is not riding on the Nurburging in Germany. Open to the public for a fee.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N%C3%BCrburgring
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Tub Maxson



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 42
Location: Cincinnati, OH

PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bill,

I forgot to add that the fly ride packages were quite popular for a while and probably still are. The last time I checked, if you were on a two week or less trip, it was less expensive to rent. Three weeks about break even to ship your bike, more than three weeks, less expensive to ship. Some airlines allowed you to ride to the airport, strap your bike on one of their pallets, and ride on the same plane to Europe. Many of the bike mags have adverts for these. A German friend of mine, bought a Yamaha here in the US. He shipped it home this way, about 10 years ago, but might still be an option. I do not know if this would apply with three wheelers, but worth checking. That ZRX would be right at home with the other crazies in the Alps! Shocked We always saw quite a few rigs there, and in France/Spain.
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Tub Maxson
Cincinnati, OH

I took the road less traveled.
Now where the Hell am I?

2005 Kawasaki Concours
2004 BMW HPS K1200GT/EZS Chair
'66 BMW R27/Steib LS200
'56 NSU Special Max
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Tub Maxson



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 42
Location: Cincinnati, OH

PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bill,

Found some things that might be interesting for you.

I sent you a PM.

Tub
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Tub Maxson
Cincinnati, OH

I took the road less traveled.
Now where the Hell am I?

2005 Kawasaki Concours
2004 BMW HPS K1200GT/EZS Chair
'66 BMW R27/Steib LS200
'56 NSU Special Max
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zentime



Joined: 22 Jan 2005
Posts: 833
Location: Massachusetts USA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Tub thanks for all your input. I'm looking forward to the information your sending me Very Happy
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