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Discussion Starter #1
I've decided that (@@) stays with me because of all the good people of www.xrv.org being so helpful and informative and forceful.

Luck would have it that shortly after making this decision this afternoon, a very good friend invited me to his chalet in France. We actually discussed it as the third goal went in tonight but that's just me looking at fortuitous portents.

What a good excuse for a bit of a ride!

The thing is, it's my first overseas trip on a bike and I have no idea what I'm doing at all.

The bike is about to get a service from Set-up Engineering in Clapham with a full dressing down and new chain and sprocket set (are there any chains you should look to get or are they all a much of a muchness) Probably going to get a remus end can unless I am advised differently here. Zega panniers look likely and I've already put Anakees on.

What else do I need to do?

Special insurance? What if I break down? Headlight deflectors? I'm travelling alone, is this OK to do. (Only one day in the saddle, maybe 2 if I dawdle and go sightseeing)

Calais to Fougeres (near rennes)

What do you guys reckon? Coastal scenic or bomb the motorway? Bit of both?

Apparently there's a bridge i should ride across.

I could get a ferry to Caen and only have an hour ride, but what's the point of that?

I'm planning a really really big trip next year and I've got to bust my cherry someday.

I would REALLY value any hints or tips and if there are sights you'd recommend I will add it to the itinery.

I'm very excited but quite apprehensive as I really am jumping in the deep end here.

I throw myself on your collective knowledge and advice.

Help me xrv.org, you are my only hope.

By the way, I leave in 10 days for this trip!
 

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Sounds like you have most things covered.

I doubt that you will get the Zegas in time for you trip - Touratech are well known for being slow with orders and they have got worse in the last few years due to a huge interest in their stuff (also know as the Long Way Round effect).

Your insurance should cover you for Europe and you don't need a green card these days. I would, however, check with your insurers, just to make sure and you may want to get a green card just to be on the safe side. (A green card is a confirmation of insurance, printed in multiple languages that may be of use in the event of an accident).

You can get either single trip breakdown insurance or a policy that will cover you for a year. Thing is, how likely are you to break down. You're not going that far and if the bike has been serviced and is up to scratch you shouldn't need it but it's your call really depending on if you want that extra peace of mind or not.

Headlight deflectors are required by law but I have never bothered and never had any problem. Having said that I hardly ever ride at night and ride with dipped beam on during the day.

I'd go for the coastal/scenic if you can spare the time.

The bridge that you've been told about would be the Pont de Normandie (or something like that) that takes you over the mouth of the river Seine, just outside Le Harvre. Once you have done that carry on heading West along the coast nad visit the D-Day beaches. Lots of nice little sea-side towns, also lots of museums and memorials to visit. You can then head South towards Fougeres, with a short detour to have a look at Mont St Michel on the way.

Have fun!

PS Don't forget to wave to other bikes, French bikers are far more friendly than UK riders and the vast majority will wave. If they're going past you in the same direction they will lift their right foot of the peg and wave their leg at you since they can't wave their hand!
 

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A man without Ale.
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Well between you and KTiM you have covered most of it. KTiM is right about not getting your panniers in time but if you are only going for a few days, you will not really need the space anyway.

AS for the insurance side of things. most policies do cover Europe, but many have a clause in it that you have to tell them to get complete cover. I for one always carry a "green card" although mine is white, for the simple reason that I usually can not speak the local toung so this just (hopefully) stops any arguments.

If you do go remus leave the baffles in.. many countries in Europe are more strict about noise then here, and your bike can be in pounded (don’t know about France .. but Germany is one, and the cops pick on austlanders!)

My RAC is fully covered for Europe, and even though I am confident in my own get it back on the road skills (note I did not say mechanical). It is a nice piece of mind if things do go belly up… As you have not had the bike all that long.. it may be worth the little expense, as first trip should be as much fun as possible.

Headlight deflectors are required by law but I have never bothered and never had any problem. Having said that I hardly ever ride at night and ride with dipped beam on during the day
. ----- me too! Cant see things at night! There is also some laws about 1st ad kits, safty triangles, and must stop at an accendent to help , but i have not had an issuse with not having this stuff (even when i lived in germany, only i had a 1st aid). so for this one i would not worry about it. Just ride smart and you'll be fine..



PS Don't forget to wave to other bikes, French bikers are far more friendly than UK riders and the vast majority will wave. If they're going past you in the same direction they will lift their right foot of the peg and wave their leg at you since they can't wave their hand!-----
this was very funny to watch the first time, as I thought the guy was having some kinda fit!


You may want to consider a new seat (this seems to be the theamof the week so I thought i would add it.

My only other advice is take you time, have fun and enjoy!
 

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HelpUs'

Take the slow route, or the fast one with lots of detours, and just enjoy yourself.

Chains: Get the best you can afford, preferably a DID one. MAKE SURE it is not overtight, many so-called bike mechanics get this wrong.

Sprockets: A well covered issue, the back one can be anything, but most people, including me, would not dream of using anything other than an OE Honda front sprocket.

In addition to other stuff mentioned, you may want to take a bulb kit, which is mandatory for cars, so maybe bikes as well. Poundland (if you have one in posh Surbiton!!) do a one which has all the bulbs and fuses you will need for a quid!!

Take some chainlube as well if you've got room.

Finally, even though it's been serviced, make sure you give the bike enough runs before you leave to highlight and problems like loose bolts, not enough oil etc.

France really is bike friendly, so you will get lots of waves etc, but it also has the same kind of people that want to relieve you of your pride and joy in the early hours of the morning, so perhaps consider taking a chain as well.

Most of all, have a great time. You've got the right bike, and I guarantee you'll get the touring bug.

Bon Voyage

Bob
 

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It's Just A Ride....
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1,499 Posts
Take your V5. Its also the law to ride with dipped lights and the French Rozza's can be a bit anal about speeding; on-the-spot fines, so keep it down... (when they're watching), oh and Radar detectors are illegal...!

Warning Triangles are compluary so get yourself one of these...

Just some odd shit to remember about Roundabouts... At roundabouts that have signs saying "Vous n'avez pas la priorite" or "Cedez le pessage" then traffic on the roundabout has priority, no sign and traffic entering the roundabout has priority... :rolleyes: (Easiest thing is to watch what the cars in front are doing...)

Ohh and talking of signs, entering a village or town, the town name sign is used to indicate the reduction in speed limit, the crossed out name on exiting to indicate the increase...

Ohhh and ride on the Right ;)

Have a Blast :D :D :D
 

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Gelände Straße
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3,037 Posts
HI Mate

Covered already by the other guys I think, but you should definitely definitely do the coast road. The Paeage is pretty dull and I only ever use it when I need to do as many miles as possible in as short a time as possible.

Your trip to Fougeres is only 320 miles from Calais. I say only, but if it's your first long trip that'll seem like forever at the moment! But bear in mind that's only gonna take you 5 or 6 hours even at 50mph. Go for the Calais route rather than Caen. For one thing the ferry is about 1/5 of the price, and you'll have a really nice ride down there too.

If time's not an issue then I'd take it mighty leisurely and take in as many sights as possible on the way there. Stopping overnight somewhere will take the pressure off you a bit and you'll get that amazing feeling when you go back out to the bike in the morning! Difficult to describe, but it's something akin to love!! Or is that just me?!

As the others have said, you'll struggle to get your Zega's in time and for such a short trip you'll struggle to fill them anyway! Stick with your topbox (if you've got one) or just strap a bag on the back. Again I wouldn't worry about taking spares as such, your service should take care of most things if they're on the ball. The clutch cable is always worth checking though. Other than that, just lob in some chain lube, duck tape and cable ties and you're set! I took all sorts (spares, not liquorice) on my big trip and didn't use any and was never that far from civilisation that I couldn't have got anything I needed anyway.

Most important thing: Relax into the ride and enjoy it. Don't forget to look around and take in where you are and what you're doing. Oh and take lots of pics for us! :D
 

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It's Just A Ride....
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Zega panniers look likely
Have you got a rack already? If so your more than welcome to borrow mine... (With the "I've dropped my Bike a few times look" FOC!), if TT cant supply in time and if you want the space...
 

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I have a pair of soft paniers wich you are more than welcome to use:D
Hein gericke ones,i even have the raincovers still
 

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A first big trip isn't as daunting as it initially seems.

It sounds like you are having the bike sorted. Good start.

Paperwork; Bike ins document (inform them of your going abroad, MOT, Reg Document, Driving Lisence, Bank/credit card No's. Medical insurance. breakdown insurance (if you want). Passport.

Do you really need the Zega's, if you are not camping that is a whole load of stuff that you don't need.

A credit card or two will sort most other eventualities!

Have a good trip - Theres no feeling like blasting through a foreign country for the first time - solo adds an extra bit of buzz:cool:

Enjoy,

Phil
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Guys,

You are the absolute mutts nuts!

Fantastic response.

Lord Vader, I am most interested in your kind offer. :p

I've just relocated to Sunningdale/ Virginia Water. We must meet up!

PM me and we'll get together for a mutual appreciation of the [email protected]

regards

Adam
 

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There's stuff in the Wiki; some of it is irrelevant for a little jaunt to France. Don't forget to tell your credit card and mobile phone companies that you are going to France.
http://www.xrv.org.uk/wiki/index.php/Preparing_for_a_big_trip

And finally remember that for most Europeans, a trip into another EC country is a trivial everyday experience. You'll come back wondering what the fuss was about!
 

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It's Just A Ride....
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1,499 Posts
Lord Vader....we'll get together for a mutual appreciation of the wonderful @
Ahhh... He's not called Lord Varer for nothing... He's sold his @ and turned to the dark side... OK not a Beamer, but a Vara, but its still a very slippery slope ;)
 

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It's Just A Ride....
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1,499 Posts
Easy there fella...you're mixing it up with the big boys now! :cool: :hiding:
LOL :p :p :p

Sorry, I'll behave myself now... :happy5:

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Na... Catch me if you can, you count to ten and then try to follow the Black @ (the fastest colour), heading off down a green lane....;)
 
G

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Originally posted by mikefletcheruk
So the Big question, do I need another Bike in the interim? (Currently considering McVicars Vara...)

Any thoughts people...?

(Ohh McV... Don't post a reply!!! :wink: )

Whats the one about the pot and the kettle. :lurk:
 

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It's Just A Ride....
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1,499 Posts
Whats the one about the pot and the kettle. :lurk:
You know no-one likes a smart arse ;)

Of course all I'm doing it trying to justify to myself why I didn't buy your Vara... Let me delude myself please!!! ;)
 

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(are there any chains you should look to get or are they all a much of a muchness)
Absolutely not all chains are the same.
Honda OEM chain's in my opinion are crap. Get a DID X Ring Premium as recommended by me and Yen (he of very high mileage) and many others.
Join the debate on the sprockets...... Honda OEM on the front and pattern on the rear is popular as is pattern on both and OEM on both!
 

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I don't know if its manditory in the UK but in France and other country's they have a recent law that tells you you have to have a high vis jacket with you in case you brake down. (you don't have to ware it while you are riding though)

But since it is a recent law the plods will ask you for it when your stopped.

Oh and don't worry about the speeding camera's that face you, I have if from the police in France that if you don't hooliganize too much they won't make the effort of trying to search who you are, especially if you, like me, are a foreigner in France.

Also don't forget your euro's and fill up on petrol and maybe tobacco when you head back to your island.:D
 

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Pleb
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Many petrol stations are shut on Sundays and the unmanned automatic ones don't accept UK credit cards. If you get stuck here find a local using it and give them the cash.
 
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