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Hi, just a quickie, I'm off down through France (St.Malo) to the Pyrenees at the start of May, it will be my first time riding abroad so are there any pointers/hints/tips?
We'll be traveling down on a sunday and I have heard that fuel could be a problem 'cos of shut petrol stations? Our bikes should have 150-175 mile ranges. What about m/way services, are they more like over here, 24hr places?
Do bikes have to have headlight beam adjusters, haven't found any reference to them?
What about strapping bikes down on the ferry, are the straps provided big nasty truck straps or are bikes well catered for?

Thanks in advance!
 

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If it's your first time riding on the right side of the road, be especially careful when exiting fuel stations onto empty roads, or overtaking on empty roads. Your natural instinct is to drift back to the left, and this could obviously be fatal, so be really careful.

Getting fuel on Sundays used to be a problem, as most petrol stations were unmanned and you just used to put your credit card in the pump. The problem was most only accepted French cards, but this is not the case any more I think. If you get stuck, the big petrol stations on autoroutes or toll roads are always manned. If you have room to pack a strap to tow a bike, do so.

French bikers are friendly, and will either raise a hand or a leg to say hello. Be good and do the same!

On the ferry, you'll be guided to areas along the sides, where there are strap down points in the floor. You'll be given a ratchet strap, hopefully with a pad on it, to put over your seat and anchor into the deck, then ratchet down. Ferry operatives are better nowdays, but I had my side stand broken by a ham fisted one years ago, so keep an eye on them. if there's no pad and you dont want your seat marked, lay your jacket over the seat and strap down on that. If you don't want to carry your helmet and have nowhere safe to store it, you could put it on the deck (out of the way) and pass the tie down strap through it, so nobody can whip it as they're passing. Watch the metal ferry decks, especially if it's raining or wet, as they can be very slippery. Once your bike is strapped down, if it's choppy in the channel, you could either leave your bike in gear, or carry a velcro strap (like I do) to strap the front brake on.

If you're taking a phone, and it's a pay-as-you-go, make sure you top up the credit more than you usually would, just in case you need to use it for extended periods in an emergency.

Take some bulbs, fuses, and a high vis vest.

French drivers are pretty good in my experience and seem more aware of bikes than UK drivers. Their lane discipline is much better than ours.

French speed cameras are usually preceeded by a sign with a car/bike and radar signals. The actual camera is a grey floor mounted box.

Food in French service stations is superior to ours, and most small towns always have nearby municipal camping which is cheap.



Have a great time!!



Bob :thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Do you strap the bike down onto the side stand then or strap the bike upright?

Have a great time!!
Thankyou, I'll do my best!
 

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All Bob says, plus take an old towel for across the seat; useful as a rag anyway.

Quieter parts can still be a bit funny re petrol. If you can strap a small spare can somewhere, all well and good.

Oh, and if you do pass someone broken down this time, do stop:rolleyes::D
 

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Re strapping down, that's personal bearing in mind some bikes don't have side stands; strange people! I prefer main stand when strapping down.,
Don't forget to turn off data roaming on your phone unless you want huge bills
 

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If it's your first time riding on the right side of the road, be especially careful when exiting fuel stations onto empty roads, or overtaking on empty roads. Your natural instinct is to drift back to the left, and this could obviously be fatal, so be really careful.

Getting fuel on Sundays used to be a problem, as most petrol stations were unmanned and you just used to put your credit card in the pump. The problem was most only accepted French cards, but this is not the case any more I think. If you get stuck, the big petrol stations on autoroutes or toll roads are always manned. If you have room to pack a strap to tow a bike, do so.

French bikers are friendly, and will either raise a hand or a leg to say hello. Be good and do the same!

On the ferry, you'll be guided to areas along the sides, where there are strap down points in the floor. You'll be given a ratchet strap, hopefully with a pad on it, to put over your seat and anchor into the deck, then ratchet down. Ferry operatives are better nowdays, but I had my side stand broken by a ham fisted one years ago, so keep an eye on them. if there's no pad and you dont want your seat marked, lay your jacket over the seat and strap down on that. If you don't want to carry your helmet and have nowhere safe to store it, you could put it on the deck (out of the way) and pass the tie down strap through it, so nobody can whip it as they're passing. Watch the metal ferry decks, especially if it's raining or wet, as they can be very slippery. Once your bike is strapped down, if it's choppy in the channel, you could either leave your bike in gear, or carry a velcro strap (like I do) to strap the front brake on.

If you're taking a phone, and it's a pay-as-you-go, make sure you top up the credit more than you usually would, just in case you need to use it for extended periods in an emergency.

Take some bulbs, fuses, and a high vis vest.

French drivers are pretty good in my experience and seem more aware of bikes than UK drivers. Their lane discipline is much better than ours.

French speed cameras are usually preceeded by a sign with a car/bike and radar signals. The actual camera is a grey floor mounted box.

Food in French service stations is superior to ours, and most small towns always have nearby municipal camping which is cheap.



Have a great time!!



Bob :thumbup:
Having been to France loads of times I have to agree with everything Bob says 100%
If you're crossing to St Malo you're probably using Britanny Ferries & the crew are pretty good at strapping down (& normally have nice clean foam pads too).
I've never had trouble using my cards in petrol stations at all. Don't know about now (I was there in July last year) but petrol was more expensive in France than here then so I made sure I filled up at Portsmouth on the way out. And just like here, supermarkets are the cheapest petrol while motorway services are the most expensive.
Don't worry about beam deflectors - not necessary. HiViz & spare bulbs are compulsory though (to carry, not wear).
Most French car drivers are great- they'll actually move over to let you past - always worth a wave (shame the Brits don't behave like that!).
Other than that - ENJOY! It really is a great place to ride (especially the Pyrenees which is fantastic) - I'm off to Brittany in April for a few days fingers crossed.
 

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Used Brittany Ferries to St Malo last Friday night and they were fine with the strapping down. I left it on the sidestand and they ensured one of their big blue pads was on my seat before ratcheting it down to the deck.

When you arrive in St Malo you will be straight out into the town, so make sure your helmet and gloves are on, there was no passport check! Within minutes you will be on the dual carriageway southbound (follow 'Autres Directions'). You might as well stay on the dual carriageway to Niort, as there isn't much scenery in northern france compared to where you are going.

Plenty of modern service stations, and if you are peckish there was a cracking McDonalds with proper coffee shop inside if like me you forget to follow the ring road around Rennes and just keep going straight on the road you are on, one of the best cappuccinos I have had in a long time.

If you go AutoRoute make sure you are charged 'Class 5' at the tolls and not automatically 'Class 1' which is cars and almost twice as much. There is a help button you can press at the automatic barriers and just say 'Motocicle' in a loud clear voice!

Never bothered with Beam Adjusters on my Alp, but if you want to do-it-yourself then park your bike infront of a wall (at night) and strategically place some electrical tape on the lens until the bit you want goes away.

Finally, if on the overnight ferry to St Malo the bar at the stern of the ship has a disco, magician and a wee scottish lass who sings into the night (not all at the same time).
 

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Most of what everyones said is right .....no need for hiviz though but worth taking !!!! there's only 7 street lights in the whole of rural France ;) As for fuel ...CARRY a VISA CARD they work in all unmaned gas stations and don't forget just about everythings shut betweeen 12pm and 2pm unless you want to eat !!!
If you get down this far (Lamothe Fenelon 46350) call in :thumb: I'll PM you moby.
Have a good one.... Phil
 

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Used Brittany Ferries to St Malo last Friday night and they were fine with the strapping down. I left it on the sidestand and they ensured one of their big blue pads was on my seat before ratcheting it down to the deck.

When you arrive in St Malo you will be straight out into the town, so make sure your helmet and gloves are on, there was no passport check! Within minutes you will be on the dual carriageway southbound (follow 'Autres Directions'). You might as well stay on the dual carriageway to Niort, as there isn't much scenery in northern france compared to where you are going.

Plenty of modern service stations, and if you are peckish there was a cracking McDonalds with proper coffee shop inside if like me you forget to follow the ring road around Rennes and just keep going straight on the road you are on, one of the best cappuccinos I have had in a long time.

If you go AutoRoute make sure you are charged 'Class 5' at the tolls and not automatically 'Class 1' which is cars and almost twice as much. There is a help button you can press at the automatic barriers and just say 'Motocicle' in a loud clear voice!

Never bothered with Beam Adjusters on my Alp, but if you want to do-it-yourself then park your bike infront of a wall (at night) and strategically place some electrical tape on the lens until the bit you want goes away.

Finally, if on the overnight ferry to St Malo the bar at the stern of the ship has a disco, magician and a wee scottish lass who sings into the night (not all at the same time).
Rennes ring road Ring it goes all around so do not worry if yuo do go the wrong way there are not many KM,s difference which ever way you go to the Nantes exit, Nantes ring the same actually i think the wrong way around that is shorter but you miss the pont de chevire a nice big bridge, in the old days we used to be able to cut across through Marans along the D137 / N137 at junction 7 but they have a lorry ban there now, but by that time you may be bored of motorway and that is a nice road with a few restaraunts etc along it, i would take that on the bike
 

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erm, Phil! the visa card works IF it's chip & pin. (a bit like pitch & put...lol) I regulary find english people stranded at our lacal leclerc gas station late at night with no fuel & no way of getting any...
 

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erm, Phil! the visa card works IF it's chip & pin. (a bit like pitch & put...lol) I regulary find english people stranded at our lacal leclerc gas station late at night with no fuel & no way of getting any...
I stand corrected !!!!!!:blob6:
 

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Motorcycling in France

One thing I recall is that drivers coming out of side turnings to your right have right of way often (It's posted though) .

Experienced riders from here told me it doesn't really happen anymore but it happened to me twice (passing through villages)

Be careful of it.
 

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Motorcycling in France

One thing I recall is that drivers coming out of side turnings to your right have right of way often (It's posted though) .

Experienced riders from here told me it doesn't really happen anymore but it happened to me twice (passing through villages)

Be careful of it.
"Priorite a droite" I think it's called.
Something to do with yellow signs with a black cross I think.
Seems to be an old thing but still happens in small rural places I believe.
Look out for those little Microcars too (Axions, Ligiers etc)- they are normally driven by people who either haven't sat a 'proper' driving test or (so my mate who lives there tells me) by folks who are coming back from a ban for something dangerous!
 

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luddite
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"Priorite a droite" I think it's called.
Something to do with yellow signs with a black cross I think.
Seems to be an old thing but still happens in small rural places I believe.
Look out for those little Microcars too (Axions, Ligiers etc)- they are normally driven by people who either haven't sat a 'proper' driving test or (so my mate who lives there tells me) by folks who are coming back from a ban for something dangerous!
"Priorité a Droite" is effectively still current in France. The rules are;
within the bounds of a town or village (denoted by the town name on a white background & a red border thus
& again at the other side by a similar sign with a red diagonal line through it thus
)

vehicular priority is to the right unless marked otherwise! so any road markings or give way signs etc automatically override the "priorité a droite".

Outside of towns or villages, you will see this sign:

which tells you that you are on a "route prioritaire" meaning that you are on the priority road & any roads joining from your right must give way.

when the priority status of your road ends you will see this sign


clear?

That having been said, always be wary of roads joing from the right, even if, technically you have priority.

Another quirk is that if you're on a 2 lane roundabout (for example) on the inside lane, wanting to exit & there's some pillock going 4 times round in the outside lane, He is the priority vehicle, as he is to your right! :withstupid:
 

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Another quirk is that if you're on a 2 lane roundabout (for example) on the inside lane, wanting to exit & there's some pillock going 4 times round in the outside lane, He is the priority vehicle, as he is to your right! :withstupid:
that's interesting. With ref to the whole filtering debate in Paris, it was quoted on that website, as way of defence for the law, that undertaking or passing on the right is illegal hence filtering is illegal.

Can't be true if your allowed to undertake on a roundabout.


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In Spain it is much easier, each man for himself :)
Bit like London then! Is the Brits on the Costa effect?

In France I've come across the old priority to the right in many rural areas. Never in villages as most have lights to slow traffic.

When you enter a village, the town name appears which also means slow to 30, then the lights appear, if you haven't slowed to 30 they will go red even if there's no traffic so save yourself the bother and slow. The town name with a red line means you leaving so full gas as per national limit unless it says otherwise. Simple manners really.

Always be cautious of cars coming off lanes to the right where they have visibility.


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