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Thread: European Alps Ride

  1. #1
    vfrT
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    Default European Alps Ride



    Hi Y'all

    Out of boredom, I decide to try my hand at "blogging" my ride. So I thought why not start boring you now.

    The ride is scheduled for 27 to 3 June 2011.
    Countries planned to ride through: Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland.
    Number of riders: 4 + 1 pillion

    Plan & Events to date (11/5/2011): Pre-ride preparations:

    1. Bike rental: Trolled the internet for the cheapest countries for bike rental. Munich Germany is the one (among the named countries above). Ad-mo motorcycle rental site (http://www.rental-motorcycle.com) keeps hogging the top pages. They have very slick site and smooth online transaction BUT they are are just a rental agency based in California, USA.

    Initial communication has many errors including quotes that were contrary to the website quote. But I persevered as their communication was very prompt (before I paid deposit) and decided to go with them.

    Their web site say that your booking is guaranteed once you pay the deposit through their secured web-site payment protocol using credit card. So I went through that online booking, they took my deposit , THEN send me an "Authorisation form" asking for my credit card details, name, cvc code and to signature for the actual rental shop otherwise they WILL NOT hold my bike for me!

    Sounds damn dodgy no? Who would provide this kind of details in this unsecured form?

    I said No, I cannot do this and they say in this case, you may cancel the booking.

    I say OK, cancel.

    They kept my deposit (USD203) as cancellation charges.

    WTF.

    I wont bore you with the right or wrong of this transaction and the ensuing toing and froing to get my money back. Off course they won't refund my USD203 deposit.
    If you intent to rent from this agency. Know that this is their Modus Operandi. I strongly recommend to avoid Admo unless you are ok with releasing your credit card details frivolously.

    I decided not to waste more time with them as it will hold up my air ticket booking which gets more expensive with each week that passes - I eventually paid S$100 more for my air ticket because of the delay on booking the bike.

    Next : Booked bike directly from the rental in Germany: http://www.allroundrent.de/. This is the actual rental that hooked up with Admo above. A breeze.

    Cost : Eu759 for a BMWR1200RT with panniers, heated grips for 1 week. Pick up up bike on 27 May 2011.

    AIR TICKET: Surfed internet and found farecompare.com, which leads to Lufthansa.

    Ticket booked with non-changeable schedule for S$1557 return to Munich.

    Hotel: We should arrive at Munich on 26 May and will stay 1 night at Hotel Galleria Munich which is just a short walk away from the bike rental and about 40 km from Munich International Airport. We pick up the bike the next morning on 27 May 2011. Cost for 1-night stay is Eu55.

    End of Plan & Prep. Next up - gearing for the ride.
    Last edited by vfrT; 21-11-2011 at 04:32 PM.

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    MiddleAgedBiker
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    Camping with popcorn.

     

     
  3. #3
    vfrT
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    RIDING GEARS:

    Having gone through the ride in the Pyrenees last year, I am now better able to prepare for the right gear.

    The weather and temperature at this time of the year in the Alps and in the lower altitude is expected to range from zero to mid tens. So cold weather gear is essential. Rain is expected and snow may also make an appearance at the top. Heavy fog is also normal and this can reduce visibility down to 2 or 3 meters only. I remembered going down the Pyrenees in heavy fog and rain last year chasing the tail light of the car that is just 2m in front as a guide light. If I lose him, I will have to wait for someone else to overtake me so I can follow. Visibility is really bad in such weather.

    As such wet & cold weather gear and hi-visibility gear are essential. This means bulking up the gears. No fun - but bo-pian. But limited storage on the bike, also mean we have to travel light. So there is the pro vs con.

    1. Jacket: I am torn between my favourite Dainese Air-Flow mesh & the Dainese Cordura fabric jacket with thermal liner. Both are not waterproof . The Air-flow is great at the warmer places and it is light to tot around but the colder clime does not favour it. The Cordura with its removable Thermal lining is bulky and heavy but provide warmth at the freezing temperature at the top. I remembered the freezing condition at the last ride and don’t plan to go thru that again especially when you are born skinny with little naturally-gifted insulation. So the Cordura wins. Post ride verdict: Right choice.
    2. Rain gear: Taichi rainmaster provides an outer membrane over the Cordura jacket and should keep out the rain. I bought this recently from Motoworld for $140 and it performed well to date. Its low bulk and weight is really excellent attributes. The mesh lining on the inside of the pants and jacket makes putting in on a pain as it snags on yr pants, jacket & boots. One way is to slip it over the jacket first before wearing the pair together. And although it is possible to slip your booted leg through the pants, you may tear the pants if it you are ham-fisted or is that ham-footed. I find it easier to remove my boots to put the pants on. Another pain –especially if you are caught in a sudden downpour. Post ride verdict: RS-Taichi rain gear works tops! But as mentioned, its a pain to take on and off especially with 4other layers inside. A goretex suit is good but then I always believe tht the waterproofing should be on the outer most layer.
    3. Pants: HELD -this is a pair of made in Germany, waterproof pants that I had for a long time and it is already leaking a little. It is very comfortable hence I am reluctant to throw it away for a new one - or is that just cheap me talking. Still out on this one. I might plumb for new one if LAB or anyone know of a great offer here in Sg, give me a shout. Post ride verdict: Leaky pants -bad choice. Cold wet weather = misery. Good thing I brought the rain gear.
    4. Boots: Again I am torn between my everyday-use Alpinestar Afrika ankle-cut Goretex, Oxstar Goretex sport or my army issue Goretex (bought online). The Afrika is my favourite but the ankle-cut means rain gets in through the top. The Oxstar is too bulky & unwieldy. I like the army boots as it is very very comfortable – but not so stylo le. At this moment the Army has the edge.
    5. Gloves: I am bringing two or three pairs. One each for cold & wet weather (Goretex with Thermal leather) – this is damn bulky, wet & warm weather (Goretex & leather) and warm weather (mesh /leather). Reason is that an all round glove is always to bulky and warm when the temperature rises, so again bulk goes up. Am being too kiasu? I think so. Post ride verdict: Mesh gloves - not used.Too cold all round for that.
    6. Helmet: My trusty Shoei 11. Post-ride comment: Due to the rain & cold, fogging is a nuisance. Bring an anti-fog insert using the pin-lock system which I found to be most effective - but overlooked this time. It will make it a lot more comfortable compared to the rain & cold coming in as you lift the visor to defog.
    7. Other: Balaclava and neck protector to keep the wind and cold of the neck. I bought this a few months ago online from a vendor in China for all of $4.00! Incredible value. It is made of fleece cloth with rubberized injection-molded nose piece to prevent misting. It even as a cross-out drinky pot. Post ride verdict: Best investment return ever. Dont leave home without it.
    8. Spectacles: I am speckie. Some European countries require that speckie drivers carry a spare set. Although I’ve never been stopped to check on this. It is a good practice. It takes little space and I really don’t want to have my holiday affected because my spec died.
    9. Post ride comment: Bring a light, snug fitting fleece pullover as an inner layer and a windbreaker casual off-bike
    So there . 13 days to go..
    Last edited by vfrT; 21-11-2011 at 04:34 PM.

  4. #4
    belgarathc
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    Looking forward to your report!

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    nikonll
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    i hope you bring your camera!

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    vfrT
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    10 days of incredible holidays. Took more 1000 shots. some here.
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    vfrT
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    Photo batch 2
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    vfrT
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    Photo batch 3
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    Last edited by vfrT; 08-06-2011 at 10:55 PM.

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    vfrT
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    more shots. Note the last picture and get an idea of how much snow was shovelled away before we rode thru this pass. Its man-height! Golly.
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    Last edited by vfrT; 12-06-2011 at 10:53 PM.

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    vfrT
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    Route map of the trip & to give you an idea of the food prices, a pic of a window front menu (more affordable) price at Kossen, a small town in Austria
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    Last edited by vfrT; 16-06-2011 at 01:39 PM.

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    Here's the expense list.
    1. air tix: $1557
    2. Hotels: $750. (varies from $54 to 267/day) Switz predictably most expensive.
    3. Bike rental (7 days): $1450.
    4. Food: $600 approx.
    5. Petrol: $220. (petrol cost avg 1.57eu/litre)
    6. Others: Maps (GPS map rental & hardcopy map, toll): $50.00. Toll only a small amt as we avoided toll roads.
    7. Taxi fare from Munich airport to Hotel (40km): 75 eu one way. Bloddy exp.
    Last edited by vfrT; 26-08-2011 at 04:37 PM.

     

     
  12. #12
    vfrT
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    Hotel tip: Look out for "pensions" type accomodations. These are family-owned-run "hotels" which are very comfortable room & breakfast joints. Look for those just outside major cities for cheaper. Generally 30eu per night for single.

    Maps tips: GPS is a must as it gives u the confidence to wander anywhere without fear of not getting back to home.Rent maps for yr GPS from yr vendor in Sg and familiarize yourself with it before leaving.
    Alps-specific road maps can only be bought at the petrol stations. Book stores there dont sell them.
    There are many Moto-hotels that welcome bikers and they all stock great maps of great riding routes.

    Riding gear tips: At this period, temp varies from 27.5 deg in the plains to -4 in the mountain. Bring thermal liners, rain gears and waterproof gloves.The hands are the most susceptible for me; this is why I insist on heated grip bikes. double sock yr feet.

    The cold can get to you and freeze you asleep or stiff.
    We were following a biker on an unfaired bike thru a tunnel - he was riding very slowly & we sense all was not well.After a while, he started to weave, and then in slo-mo he drifted onto the on-coming traffic, slid and went down - very nearly ramming the tunnel wall. fortunately the on-coming traffic ws a distance away and had plenty time to stop.We suspect he either fell asleep or succumbed to the cold.

    Riding in the mountains. Do be careful of cold tyres on cold freezing roads. In Sg, there is relatively no such thing as cold tires. But up there, you need to be very aware of this, as well as cutting acorss small streams of water on dry roads as they can be very slippery.

    Food tips: We were lucky to miss the e-coli scare. Anyway, they eat a lot of bread there, so get use to it. In any case, I enjoyed bread, so not to bad. Loads of processed meat to go with it. Pizza-joint is the prata-joint equivalent there and the Italian joint we went to suc and they are expensive for what they provide.. Milano in Sg is much better.
    Last edited by vfrT; 08-06-2011 at 10:46 PM.

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    wango
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    great ride..and thanks for the tips!.. might me helpful .. one day
    http://shanghairoar.blogspot.com

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    sally_who
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    im not sure im if im getting goosebumps seeing the breathtaking panaromic pix or from how cold it looks up there! frozen stiff heated grips fogs snow and u guys all bundled up, so whats up with the biker dude in shorts!

    its amazing what i see through your eyes. i can see how effective proper planning is in ensuring a smooth sailing (smooth riding ) trip. yeah hiccups are always fun when u look back in retrospect, but better to max out the enjoyment like this.

    very inspiring!!

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    vfrT
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    Quote Originally Posted by sally_who View Post
    im not sure im if im getting goosebumps seeing the breathtaking panaromic pix or from how cold it looks up there! frozen stiff heated grips fogs snow and u guys all bundled up, so whats up with the biker dude in shorts!

    its amazing what i see through your eyes. i can see how effective proper planning is in ensuring a smooth sailing (smooth riding ) trip. yeah hiccups are always fun when u look back in retrospect, but better to max out the enjoyment like this.

    very inspiring!!
    The white shrouds are not fog but actually clouds. We were riding thru the clouds! Awesome, no?.
    The continent has many crazy cyclists and they really cycle all the way up the mountains dress like this - in shorts! You really got to respect them.

    Yes, you are absolutely right. Hiccups makes any journey and what you make of it can make or break the experience. Thx for reading! Hope you will ride the Euro mountains soon!

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    intercept
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    Thumbs up

    Hi Teng,

    Fantastic what you did. I am trawling this forum after so many years cos my hands are starting to get itchy again. Seeing that you have been staying true to the biker spirit all these years is indeed inspirational ... hope I will get back again soon.

    btw: Glad you brought spare specs.... reminded me what happened to your specs when we were at Phuket ....

    Take Care
    Last edited by intercept; 11-10-2011 at 08:19 PM. Reason: .

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    vfrT
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    E.A.R. 2012 in the works .. with my new found travel chum no less.
    Last edited by vfrT; 11-02-2012 at 12:22 AM.

  18. #18
    vfrT
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    European Alps 2012 ready to roll. Flight booked, hotels booked, bike booked. Woohoooo. Take off end May.

    This will be a longer and shorter ride - longer period, shorter distance planned. This reprise ride is to relook the Alps at a saner pace with just my partner pillion.

    That's right its only 1 bike (Honda VFR800X Crossrunner with 3x45L) and all the flexibility that solo-bike riding brings.

    Although the countries are the same (Munich-Switzerland-Austria-Italy) with the addition of a pass-thru of Liechtenstein, we plan to stay longer in some destinations longer and explore, rather than the ride-eat-sleep routine.

    With the experience learned from last year's ride, I am able to plan better and in much better time. This has allowed me to keep the cost down to nearly the same as it was for last year - yet for a longer period of stay - 10day actual ride vs 7 day and with 2 person. The weakening euro helps heaps too.

    Cheerios!

  19. #19
    nikonll
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    hey vfrt, looking forward to the report...esp with concerns to the costs. You renting from a different company this time? i don't see the bike available at allroundrental.de

  20. #20
    vfrT
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    Quote Originally Posted by nikonll View Post
    hey vfrt, looking forward to the report...esp with concerns to the costs. You renting from a different company this time? i don't see the bike available at allroundrental.de
    Hi nikon.

    Sorry abt the lapse in replying. I am flying off to Munich next week to start Alps 2 ride. However, as I mentioned earlier, I will be riding alone with my partner as pillion to enjoy the Alps at a much slower pace.
    Cost is always foremost in mind apart from trying to plan an enjoyable trip. After last year’s ride, I am now able to plan with much better clarity as to the exact route and cost implications.

    You won’t find the bike at allroundrental as I did not rent the bike from them this time around given the less than satisfactory experience I had last year. Also, I found another rental that offers a much better rate at this webbie http://www.motorentals.de/. It is based in Landshut, Germany , about 40km north of Munich airport. So far, their service and communication have been encouraging. They will even pick me up and drop me off at the Landshut train station.

    Here’s my cost to date for this entire trip

    1. Air tix for two via Qatar Airways (econ): S$2411.
    2. Bike rental (Honda VFR800X Crossrunner ) for 10 days (inc. 3 x 45L boxes): EUR 744. (EUR150 deposit payable via credit card).
    They ran out of the Crosstourer (VFR1200 version).
    3. Accomodations (double room) at mostly B&B type hotels for 10 nites at Munich, Fussen, Landshut(Germany), Filzbach (Switzerland), Colico & Lana (Italy), Salzburg (Austria) (6 nites with breakfast): approx S$1300. Cost per nite ranges from S$80-130 per nite). All bookings are made on booking.com – great and simple site.
    4. Estimated Food cost for two: $1200.
    5. Estimated petrol cost : $300 (petrol is expensive over there - average Eur 1.65/L. Surprisingly Switz is cheapest for this.

    Total cost (est) for : S$6,300.

    This is almost the same I paid for myself last year without much planning.

    My route will take me from Landshut-Munich-Fussen (Germany)-Filzbach-Zurich-Lucerne-Chur-Davos-St. Moritz (Switz) – Colico-Stevio Pass-Lana(Bolzano)-Kartitsch-Grossglockner-Salzburg (Austria)- and back to Landshut (Germany).

    I will be trying to make as many of the lovely Alps passes as possible.

    Will update with pic report when I’m back.

    Cheers.
    Last edited by vfrT; 26-05-2012 at 10:19 PM.

  21. #21
    nikonll
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    Hi vfr, thanks for replying with such detail. Maybe I'd do your route sometime in the future. Have a safe and enjoyable trip!

     

     
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    nikonll
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    Also, i hope it's not too much of a trouble to share your packing plans...

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    nikonll
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    u back safely bro?

  24. #24
    vfrT
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    Hey nikon.

    Yes. Thx.
    I was weaning off the hangover and sorting out the more than 2000 pix taken.

    On the ride, unfortunately, the weather this time around was quite wet and cold, but nonetheless exhilarating.

    The previous years ride in Eu helps loads to cut down the cost And after some quick mental maths, the cost for both of us on one bike is about the same, if not slightly cheaper than my cost last year -riding one up last year.

    Here are some pixs.
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    Last edited by vfrT; 25-07-2014 at 03:36 PM.

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    More pix added . xxxxxxxx
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    Last edited by vfrT; 25-07-2014 at 03:35 PM.

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    More and more and more
    Last edited by vfrT; 25-07-2014 at 03:35 PM.

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    yet more. yawwwwwwwwnnnnnnnnnnn
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    Last edited by vfrT; 25-07-2014 at 03:34 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nikonll View Post
    Also, i hope it's not too much of a trouble to share your packing plans...
    Hi nikon

    sorry abt the tardiness in replying. I did not check in till now.

    My packing strategy for this trip is discipline. With two person on a bike, the amount of stuff portable is much limited. The partner may just want to bring the hair dryer, stove and such. But no such problem as she was incredibly sporting and understanding.

    I was told by the rental that the bike came with 3x 45L boxes, but being typically kiasu, I decided to bring less, to allow for ballooning as the trip progresses. I'm glad I did cos the bike came with a 42L + 2x 35L instead. But we managed, together with a tank bag (15L).

    As the weather at this time (early summer) can vary from zero to 30 deg C, I opted for layering instead of thick clothes. This will allow me to peel off layers as the temperature rises. Also clothes are selected for multiple usability eg fleece pullover is picked over thermal jacket liners as the pullover can be used off-bike and thus saves space. Waterproof hikers are picked over motorcyling boots to reduce packing as hikers can again be used off-bike for wandering.

    Synthetic base layer (closest to the skin) such as the compression suits or dri-fit material are used so that overlayers dont get odoured as much and can be reused for longer without washing.

    I personally brought the following.

    1. 1 base layer compression suit (top & bottom).
    2. 3 pcs of short crew cotton-Ts.
    3. 2 pairs of jeans for short in city rides.
    4. 1 mid length short for sleep-in. (its quite cold at night)
    5. 1 pair of long sleeved dri-fit.
    6. 1 pair of long sleeve pullover fleece T.
    7. 1 pair of long sleeved cotton T.
    8. Undies --
    9. Socks - 5 pairs .
    10. A pair of long john.

    Biking gears (you can rent this over there but it is costly and I'm queasy abt personal stuff..)
    1. Helmet with anti-fog insert modified from a Nolan brand bought at Chong Aik) - priceless in the cold and wet.
    2. Waterproof jacket and pants - although I am not confident abt their waterproofness, so ..
    3. Rain gear - (Taichi dry master is the best I've used.) again priceless for its performance and keep warm help.
    4. Glove - Leather Thinsulate waterproof for colder clime and a regular leather for less cold.
    5. Boots - Alpinestar ankle cut Goretex - double use as walkabout. So no need to pack sneakers.
    6. Bandana or balaclava - very impt to have as the neck and lower face can be frozen very quickly.

    Double everything above if you are bringing your partner.

    Others.

    1. Do get an international drivers license although the rental and cops will want to see your domestic license.
    2. Bring moisturizer - and use it. It gets dry and yr skin may peel as did my face after the 5th day. Painful
    3. Maps - a GPS is an absolute must for me altho the paper map came along just in case tech fails.

    Accommodations: The pensions (b & b) are fabulous and great value for money. It is one of the most effective cost saving tip. I book mine on booking.com. They're great!

    Hope the above helps.
    Last edited by vfrT; 26-06-2012 at 11:52 AM.

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    you wont believe the name of this village we visited. Google for the actual pronunciation ..
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    Last edited by vfrT; 02-11-2012 at 11:41 PM.

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    We arrived at Munich International airport and took a bus from there to Landshut. Our bike rental guy picked us up at the bus station (inclusive). In any case, its a short 30 mins walk away - but the bags are heavy.

    The bus ride cost only Eur 11 per pax with all your baggages stowed in the bus's belly by a very helpful bus-driver. You pay the bus driver who will issue u a tix. A cab ride would've cost you Eur 70. So much savings there 2-way.

    We also booked a hotel near this station in anticipation of a easy return walk to the station.
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    Last edited by vfrT; 25-07-2014 at 03:33 PM.

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    Outstanding report vfr, i would have paid you for it if you'd asked....haha.

    The GPS you brought from SG? What about the downloaded maps?
    The helmets you hand carried?
    Did you follow a bike group tour? as i always see a group of bikes together.

     

     
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    Quote Originally Posted by nikonll View Post
    Outstanding report vfr, i would have paid you for it if you'd asked....haha.

    The GPS you brought from SG? What about the downloaded maps?
    The helmets you hand carried?
    Did you follow a bike group tour? as i always see a group of bikes together.
    Haha. I'll hold you to the fee-for-advise-suggestion

    GPS maps- I rented from East Gear; altho I now have my own personal copy. Let me know if you need these maps (FOC- or maybe a teh-tarik while I activate yr maps). I use a car HOLUX GPS with a sucker mount and sucked it onto the instrument panel. A zip lock bag ensure waterproofing in the rain. The car GPS is not waterproofed but it has a much bigger screen than a motorcycle-specific GPS device. Bring along your own wires to tap off from the bike's battery; altho this rental in Landshut was great as they helped me wire up everything.

    Helmets: Checked in luggage. Qatar Airways gives 23kg of check-in. They are too bulky for cabin bags or for me to tot around.

    Group tour: No. I went on my own, solo. The pics are of random biker groups we ran into along the way. The continent is packed with loads of them eager to take advantage of the summer release to ride. Very biker friendly countries.

    You really ought to try it. Its not as expensive as it used to be - esp with the Euro weakening as it is right now. And with careful planning it can be cut down even more if you choose to stay in camp sites instead of hotels or B&Bs. Attached photo is one of such sites we came by. For a small fee, you can pitch tent or rent a cabin.

    Cheers
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by vfrT; 26-06-2012 at 11:47 AM.

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    Amazing report bro, thanks for sharing!!

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    Sorry vfr for this silly question, but how do you safely check-in a helmet? As we all know airport handlers always throw stuff. And did you pack your gear in hard luggage or?

    Am used to packing onto the bike, so quite clueless when it comes to plane-bike... like what do we do with the plane luggage? haha
    Quote Originally Posted by vfrT View Post
    Haha. I'll hold you to the fee-for-advise-suggestion

    GPS maps- I rented from East Gear; altho I now have my own personal copy. Let me know if you need these maps (FOC- or maybe a teh-tarik while I activate yr maps). I use a car HOLUX GPS with a sucker mount and sucked it onto the instrument panel. A zip lock bag ensure waterproofing in the rain. The car GPS is not waterproofed but it has a much bigger screen than a motorcycle-specific GPS device. Bring along your own wires to tap off from the bike's battery; altho this rental in Landshut was great as they helped me wire up everything.

    Helmets: Checked in luggage. Qatar Airways gives 23kg of check-in. They are too bulky for cabin bags or for me to tot around.

    Group tour: No. I went on my own, solo. The pics are of random biker groups we ran into along the way. The continent is packed with loads of them eager to take advantage of the summer release to ride. Very biker friendly countries.

    You really ought to try it. Its not as expensive as it used to be - esp with the Euro weakening as it is right now. And with careful planning it can be cut down even more if you choose to stay in camp sites instead of hotels or B&Bs. Attached photo is one of such sites we came by. For a small fee, you can pitch tent or rent a cabin.

    Cheers

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    repeated post... sorry

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    Quote Originally Posted by nikonll View Post
    Sorry vfr for this silly question, but how do you safely check-in a helmet? As we all know airport handlers always throw stuff. And did you pack your gear in hard luggage or?

    Am used to packing onto the bike, so quite clueless when it comes to plane-bike... like what do we do with the plane luggage? haha
    Hey nikon

    Sorry abt the late reply, I was away riding the Fraser's Hills over the weekend with a few mates.

    As for your Q, it is not silly at all. In fact, I had the exact predicament and fear you mentioned.
    I packed the helmets in a large ballistic duffel bag; using closed-cell foam sheets and any other damping sheets I can find to protect them. At the same time, weight constraint prevent over packing. So choose light good shock absorbing material such as yoga mats.

    Other fear is lost or delayed baggage containing your riding gears... but thank God it did'nt happen.

    Cheers

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    Oh, another thing. I was just notified by the rental that I picked up a Eur 40 fine for speeding at 56KMH in a 50KMH zone in Austria, between Lienz and Kartistch.

    Tight cops! You've been warned.

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    Nice travel reports vfrT, kudos to that!

    I recently did a 6 day tour with a BMW 1200RT in NSW Australia from Sydney across the Alpine Way and Snowy Mountains. If I find time may add to this category of posting... some things very recognisable hahaha

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    Euro 2013 on the way!!

    But on 4-wheels this time.

    Air tix and car booked woohoo!

    How the cost of air fare has plummeted! Its getting cheaper with each passing year!

    Jenga: Do share your experience - I did consider riding in Oz but thought the terrain less to my liking as I prefer twisties and high places . But your experience might sway me .. Looking forward to it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vfrT View Post
    Euro 2013 on the way!!

    But on 4-wheels this time.

    Air tix and car booked woohoo!

    How the cost of air fare has plummeted! Its getting cheaper with each passing year!

    Jenga: Do share your experience - I did consider riding in Oz but thought the terrain less to my liking as I prefer twisties and high places . But your experience might sway me .. Looking forward to it.
    Hi vfrt. Its really inspiring to read yr high altitude adventures. My partner and I are looking to go to europe in 2013 too. Would definitely like to try and accomplish a similar feat. Only thing tt would set us back is the hefty rental costs. But nonetheless glad tt someone has been and back! Looking forward to hear abt yr euro 2013 trip!

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    Sorry repeated post

     

     
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    Quote Originally Posted by epidemic41 View Post
    Hi vfrt. Its really inspiring to read yr high altitude adventures. My partner and I are looking to go to europe in 2013 too. Would definitely like to try and accomplish a similar feat. Only thing tt would set us back is the hefty rental costs. But nonetheless glad tt someone has been and back! Looking forward to hear abt yr euro 2013 trip!
    Hi epi.

    Thanks for your interest.

    Interestingly, I have just finished booking all the hotells for my 2013 trip and guess what, the cost is getting lower by the year!

    I guess the stronger SGD helps, but I feel the experience gained from the previous trip helped me to understand the needs better and hence I am able to suss out the best deals.

    In 2013, three of us are travelling in a rented Ford Mondeo Estate from Frankfurt - Strasbourg - Lucerne - Toul - Paris - Brussels - Amsterdam - Cologne - Frankfurt.

    So far the estimated cost is only slightly higher than the trip we did this year for two. The bike rental cost twice as much *surprise!* as the car.


    So if you're thinking of doing it. I encouraqge you to do so. If there's abything I can help, shout!

    cheers

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    Hey Y’all

    Euro 2013 is just around the corner and everything’s set for takeoff. As this thing has been on the simmer for some months its taken the edge of the spontaneity & excitement.
    But the upside is that the cost is certainly worth it and hopefully, I’ve managed to plan away most of the ‘unplanned’. For the moment, it’s the weather that looks most likely to cause a dent, but as I will be driving this time – sorry hardcore bikers – it should take most of the sting out.

    Okay. I’m sure there are some of you who may be curious about the cost of this trip and the broad itinerary, so here goes…

    There are three of us and we plan to drive around western Europe starting at Frankfurt airport and stopping at the following cities in a clockwise manner; first stop is – Strasbourg (France) – Lucerne (Switz) – Toul (France) – Paris (France) – Brussells (Belgium) – Amsterdam (Netherlands) – Cologne (Germany – Frankfurt Airport (Germany).

    The trip will take about 14 days with 11 driving days.

    Cost. To reduce cost as much as possible, I take advantage of specials that comes along when booking air tickets, car rentals and hotels. These were done booked and most of them paid for online some months ago. Since then the prices have risen a fair bit and based on the same requirements and current prices, I’ve managed to save quite a fair bit of dosh, which comes to more than S$1,000 for the three of us.

    I ‘ve list the details of the merchants beside the cost breakdown for easy reference below

    Cost breakdown:

    Air tickets (3 adults)- Air Emirates - S$2,878.00
    Car rental for 11 days (Ford Mondeo Estate) - Rentalcars.com - S$712.20
    Hotels (3* & lower) for 12 nights - Booking.com - S$1,370
    Food, petrol tolls & etc (est.) - S$2,200

    Air Emirates is very generous with their baggage allowance of 35kg / pax and with the savings made, we should be able to do some decent shopping without worrying about baggage as we missed out on this on all the previous rides as well, you cant carry them dooh.

    So overall, based on the last three euro rides, the cost/pax keeps coming down. Its now S$2,500 /pax estimated which I hope to achieve.

    As it’s a drive, there is a lot less to worry about gears and how to tot them on the bike, so I hope to enjoy the place more and focus less on driving the twisties.

    Well wish me luck! I’m taking off in 14 days time.

    Cheers

    PS: I just remembered that my dedicated HOLUX GPS just died. BUMMER. But no matter, I've got my Samsung S3 & Galaxy Tab 7.7 which are loaded with the same SYGIC GPS app & maps.

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    Home from a 3kkm drive. Boring ... Compared to the bike rides, tho better cocooned from weather.
    Nothing to shout about except the costly parking charges & inconvenience of finding a garage.
    If anyone has a specific question on such driving trips, let me know.

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    oh wow been almost 2 years since i snooped around this forum!

    and you've been on multiple eurotrips! i recently came back myself on a not-so-planned out bike trip from holland to belgium. not in an epic proportion as yours, but still many firsts for me (the bike the cold the country etc etc) id like to share in the next thread hopefully!

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    Its 11.36pm on a sleepless Thursday night and I'm bored stiff. So I thought I'll kicked up my semi comatose 6 year old laptop which has lain unused for the last 6 months due to some mysterious hanging problem.
    Lo & behold, it worked again.
    Suspecting it will return to coma again, I quickly copied some files into my external. Phew made it. Its still running.
    Checked into Sgbike and ran through some of the threads.

    Ho Hum. The usual banalities - if ever there's such a word. - of it all.

    Boredom does this to one.

    I looked into this thread and noticed a new entry from sally_who -ever and figured I'll just keep up the story from where I left off. Even though its not quite such an exciting drive - compared to a ride.

    So there we were at T1 Changi, checking in our suitcases -
    The worse part of travelling is often the airport procedure.checkin-clearing custom,waiting for boarding, waiting for take off, hours of sore butt on a cheap cattle class, waiting to land and all the same of the rest in reverse. Twice over with a stopover at Dubai.

    To their credit Emirates Airbus 380 was a marvel of air travel. I remembered the thrust as the pilot accelerated to take off, but dont remember when it actually left the ground. There was no rumbling of the tyres over rough tarmac too. Everything was just so smooth.Amazing.

    With lesser aircraft such as the 787, you get the sinking feeling each time the aircraft leaves the tarmac and a churning in the stomach.

    The two-legs flight took 6.5 + 6.5 hrs with a 3-hr stopover in Dubai. The inflight entertainment on the 380 was amazing. Endless movies, including the latest Django Unchained or sumptin like that. What a load of senseless bloody violence. Never did liked Tarantino much.But since its the latest the typical kiasu Sg spirit kicked in.

    Food was also great. Not to mention the exotic looking helps. Compared to them, The SIA gals has a huge fight on their laps in terms of looks and service.

    Anyway, we landed in Frankfurt Airport right on schedule at 0830hr.

    I was a little apprehensive as I approached the passport check box as the memory of the distasteful experience at last year's ride where the Munich airport custom poured over my passport with a jeweller's glass to ascertain the authenticity of my passport. My partner received the same treatment as did another dark-skinned visitor. The whites breeze through. Urrggh.

    Will I be subjected to the same discriminatory check by the immigration officer here. I wondered.

    Nope. It was a breeze.

    Slotted in a one-Euro coin into a bagggage cart carousel for a cart, pciked out our luggages and we're into the arrival hall. We booked to pick up our rental car at 11am, so we were a bit early. So we went scrubbed off some time by checking out the weather outside the terminal first. The weather was wonderful. It was a chilly but bearable 15 deg C and we just missed the most of the rain as the tarmac was still a little wet. What luck.

    That was done in 5 minutes. Hmm, another two hours to go before car pickup. Maybe our car is ready? Lets give it a try.

    Went up to the Hertz counter at Frankfurt T2 and this rather tall blonde fraulein asked in a quizzical tone, "Advantage?". That was the car rental company I was assigned to by rentalcars.com when I pre-booked and pre-paid (in full) months ago. See, ADvantage was affilitiate to Hertz, and I was to pick up the car at Hertz's counter. Only that I did not know that I was assigned Adavantage until about a month from my travel date even though I booked the car 5 months earlier.

    So she referred to another, presumbably more senior blonde whi took over my case. "Advantage ja?"

    "JA" said I.

    "Do you have a rental contract" said she.

    "Ja, here" I said thrusting my printout voucher. Dont ever forget to have this printout of this or any other such printouts for bookings such as hotels etc. it will save you truckloads of grief.

    Fraulein examined the voucher and turned to her colleague and an earnest 2 minute conversation eruoted and I was getting nervous. Is the horror stories I read about Advantage going to be repeated here? I started to panic - ab it. After all this is Germany - pride of the Euro zone - master of efficeincy and reliability and ..

    "Okay. You must have booked very early. Advantage is no more. But here is you car." say Ms Fraulein.

    I beamed and let out a soundless "Phew".

    "Its a Hyundai E45 SUV" she said,

    "No, No. I dont want a SUV. I booked and estate not an SUV" I protested. The thought of a petrol gusselling Korean behemoth blanks out my usual compromising inner being. She said my contract says "estate or equivalent". I said SUV is NOT equiv to estate la.

    "Let me check.....yes... we have an Opel Insignia ... but it is being prepared .. and can be ready in 45 minutes. Can you wait?"


    Sure I can. Gives us time to have a good breakfast before we start. So Yes!

    90 minutes later, our car was ready. It was a diesel turbo-diesel sport wagon. Wow. Just what I wanted. Wepicked it up at the blah blah....

    The car was virtually brand new with only 920km on the clock. Pull in the smell of new leather..
    It came with GPS ++++ so many gizmoz. But I still stuck to my Samsung Tab 7.7 which I suckered onto the GPS screen and ran my SYGIC GPS.

    Now where is the handbrake. After a good 5 minutes, we found a small button on the central console. Its electrically operated. Lift up to activate, press down to release. But your foor need to be on the brake pedal for either to work. Why do I bother with this detail? Well, read on for the first drama of the travelogue.

    This is a BIG car and the underground garage is really tight, with a circuler up ramp. Also, it has only a manual with a ;eft-hand drive. So we have many unfamiliars to get to grip with all at once.

    Never mind,me hero. So we went ... up the tight circular out ramp. Half way up, the car stalled. Damn damn. Now how to deploy the handbrake. Oh yes, press down or is that pull up. Nope yes, its pull up the button. Now start the engine, OOps it wont start. Foot has to be on the clutch for it to start. OKay. it start. Now how to balance the brake and accelertor while on and incline?

    Hnadbrake will only work if the foot is on the brake. F FF FFF F. this is not going to work!

    Meanwhile the rest of Germany is forming up behind. Dont PANIC!

    Revv the engine like mad and do a very quick brake-off-to-accelerator move. Engine stalled again, and again and again. Each time reversing back alittle into the behind car.

    I beckoned to the Beemer behind to back off a bit but he's got a tail of cars behind him.

    Desperate, I give the accelarator a huge stab and just let it fight the brake.Turbo power wins as it overpowers the hand-brakes. Who cares if its smoking the whole garge with burnt pads and rubber. Damn paiseh man.

    Anyhow, we managed to get out of the care ramp and stopped clear of the exit whereupon the beemer driver ran up to us bellowing " Vhat are you doing?!!!"

    I sheepishing explained my incompetence .. and.. waving his hands in the air, he stormed off into his car and blasted away.

    What a way to start the tour.. Phew.

    Anyway we were determine to enjoy ourselves and to not let this drama affect us, so its southwards ho to our first stop at Strasbourgh, France.

    Woohoo.

    to be cont'd.
    Last edited by vfrT; 25-07-2014 at 03:31 PM.

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    revised message
    Last edited by vfrT; 25-07-2014 at 03:30 PM.

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    Awesome!!! Enjoyed reading it !!!

  49. #49
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    juz chance upon yr thread, v comprehensive info… awesome… was thinking of planning a road trip next year… v inspired by yr post… =)

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