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I have been away from XRV.org for a while as i had a 650 V Strom and now a ST1100 Pan European. Anyway got back late last night after a 25 day tour around Europe by myself. Visited

France, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria.

Incredible trip, took over 1000 photos, camped for about 20 nights and hotel the rest. Give me a few days to get the pics ready and start the full ride report. A bit of drama but i learned so much about myself and also motorcycle touring.

The pics from my previous big trips are at

trendinvestor's Photos
 

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The photos on the smugmug site are all of the 2009 trip the photos for this years tour are in my humble opinion are better. I will get them all up in the next few days.
 

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Shep, glad you got home safe and sound.

On the ferry back from calais remember the 2 blokes just back from the Nurbergring, well i was the one with the Tiger running around like a looney buying pressies for the missus to keep her in the good books so i can go away again..........:razz:

Its good to see some of the pictures as well, it sounded a good trip on the ferry, but the pictures just bring it all to light.

Nice one
 

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Richy

Hello Mate, great to hear from you. What a weird coincidence that you have a Tiger i am riding an ST1100 and we 1, both met on the ferry and 2, now on an Africa Twin site !!!!!!!

I used to have an Africa Twin, then a Varadero, and then a 650 V Strom and now the ST1100. Now i am quite keen on a 660 Tenere or 700 Transalp. I remember that you also want a 660 Tenere.

Great to hear from you Richy
 

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Hi

I'm thinking of going on a wee tour of europe soon and like you will go by myself (no mates) how did you find it on your own? Did you visit so many countries because you just wanted to keep moving or had you planned it like that? Did you just camp where you fancied? I know a few questions but I'm interested.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Slick

I have done many big tours now with mates and also by myself. The problem is that when you float an idea, everyone is up to do it, and then as you get closer to the time they all back down !!!! lots of talk but little action.

I am also effectively self employed so i can book a large block of time off to do these trips with a regular job that is a lot of holiday to take.

I am quite happy being on my own, it has some big advantages. No arguments !!! no disagreements as to the route, or getting split up. The only
time i find it gets lonely is probably from about 9 to 11 each night. Throughout the day you are riding and concentrating.

I visited a lot of countries this time, but what i like to do is get up about 7am, get on the road for about 7.30 ride to about 11. Then when it gets very hot it was 48 degrees C going across most of central Europe. As hot as i can ever remember it on a bike, i then park up and go and look at the sites. I then start again about 4pm and ride until about 7pm.

In Western Europe i nearly always camp, In Eastern Europe i normally stay in small family hotels as they are every clean and universally good quality as 10 to 20 euro a night. It is hardly worth camping.

Personally after a lot of experience i feel the perfect adventure bike and therefore the perfect western or eastern Europe touring bike is.

600 to 800 cc like a Honda Transalp or Africa twin, Yamaha XTZ 660 Tenere, Suzuki 650 V Strom, BMW 650 or 800. You do not want too much weight, on rougher roads and in the mountains muscling a big heavy bike is very tiring. You also need good low down torque. and can maintain a happy 80mph cruising speed. Anything more than this is academic. The wind blast and or buffetting becomes very tiring and quickly, you also burn lots moregas, and attract the attention of the police, and you miss the sights !!!

Aluminium panniers and reasonably large size 35 to 40 litres per pannier, and definitely top loading. Side loading panniers are a real pain. When tightly packed and you open them up the stuff all falls out. And cooking equipment is difficult to stow again. The panniers must also be fast to mount and dismount to the frames. One pannier becomes deep storage things that you do not need day to day spare clothes etc and the other is the active pannier clothes you will wear that day, cooking equipment, shoes, towels etc. Then if you camp, and especially if you stay in a hotel. You only have one pannier to dismount. I have tried liners but now prefer to take my whole active pannier with me into the hotel. This was a major problem with the St1100 this yea, small side loading panniers

I also find a small magnetic tank bag invaluable( Camera, Money, Documents) BUT it must fit easily into one of the aluminium panniers, so you need enough space left over.

Then if you come to a city you simply put the small tank bag into the pannier which is locked and i also use a helmet lock to leave my helmet and i then have total security and do not have to carry my tank bag or helmet around with me. Sounds like a small thing but after a few weeks away these little things MAKE THE TRIP.

Really keep everything minimal, packing and repacking gear is a total pain. So only bring what you really need, if it is not used or rarely used sorry but it does not come again. My gear

Tent = Khyam Eiger now 10 years old and over 250 nights use, worn but still a great tent. I highly recomend the Khyam tents
Cooker = Jetboil which is totaly awesome bit of kit. Cannot recommend this enough. I often use it to cook wayfarer food in my hotel room !!! keeps cost way down and no real noise and NO SMELL
Food = Selection of Wayfarer boil in bags
Sleeping Bag = Snugpack + cotton liner
Sleeping Mat = Mine is self inflating Vango BUT get a thick one, = good night sleep and on a bike you have room to carry this, the backpackers ones are very thin

I bring a few clothes and one pair of deck shoes and that is about it !!! Simplicity of gear and bike comfort is everything in my opinion. Also having a packing routine and system is invaluable. I have a real cheap car Garmin GPS with Euro maps in a waterproof case i would prefer a ZUMO but it works fine. Heated grips which are lovely in the mountains or on a wet day.

Just get out there and do it is my advice to anyone. If i have one BIG MEMORY out of all my trips over the years it would be THE FANTASTIC FRIENDLINESS OF 99% OF THE PEOPLE FROM ALL THE COUNTRIES THAT I HAVE BEEN TOO. It restores your faith in human nature.

Hope this helps
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Slick i saw your post on Transalp forum about panniers. I would strongly reccomend top loading aluminium boxes, if you are doing some miles. So much easier to load up and also security. When you are in a foreign city this is very important
 
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