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Thread: Anyone Been on European Tours?

  1. #16
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pffog View Post
    Beach does not require group riding at all, you can follow a guide if you like, or hook up with like minded/skilled riders which is usually the case, but YOUR option, not theirs.
    I've heard that countless times. Why would I sign up for an organized tour if I were going to ride solo or with other buddies. I might as well have just rented bikes, gone self-guided for a third to maybe as high as half the tour price.

    Quote Originally Posted by pffog View Post
    Yes it is cheaper to do it yourself, but as mentioned by others, there is a LOT of advantages to having support, maps and suggested routes, with points of interest outlined, rooms and luggage waiting, transfers to and from the airport, and 20-30 new friends when you leave. I too have met several locals, and even been invited for coffee at their home, which I and a few others did the next morning.
    Even if you are a great navigator, things are different in Europe, you donÔÇÖt take route numbers, unless you are driving the Autobahn. Rather you navigate city to city, or pass to pass, just remember the town you want might not even be listed on the sign, rather the next major city on that road may be the one listed, and that could be 100 kM further up the road. Organized tours can offer ÔÇ£ValueÔÇØ to the experience, and prevent a lot of anxiety, which is priceless IMHO.
    You and all the others you mention make it sound all so complicated, as if you were going to a never-heard-about-before planet.

    You know when I first went over in 1995, I shipped my bike over without using any "motorcycle shipper". I did all the paperwork, customs clearing, etc. Did I have any problems? Absolutely none. That won't come into play because I usually just recommend renting.

    Did I have my first nights accomodation, or any other night booked? No, and never have I booked any in my thirteen years so far...haven't had to sleep in a ditch either.

    You mentioned advantages; there are as many if not more, going self-guided. After all, who hauls your luggage into your room while touring stateside?

    I once had someone tell me that I couldn't have found the roads he was taken on without a guide. He described the road but didn't know where it was exactly (what happens when you go on an organized tour). I did take it and even have a video of it. Sent him pics. Never heard from him. Guess he was pissed.

    By the way, roads are numbered, even the side roads...242, SS46, etc. and they are on the map.

    Suggested routes? Trust me, touring companies don't have a patent on those. I have a link to a site where you can download them for FREE. Those maps of suggested motorcycle tours are put out by the ADAC; the German auto club. The link to those free maps is in my second post in the link under my sig pic.

    So if people suffer anxiety attacks, are unsure of simple navigation, are uncomfortable with foreign languages, and on and on, then by all means fill your boots and empty your wallets...go organized.

    Quote Originally Posted by pffog View Post
    Bottom line though is DO IT, you will have the time of your life, just think it out, so the wife does too.
    Now that I won't disagree with.

  2. #17
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlobalRider View Post
    ..................

    So if people suffer anxiety attacks, are unsure of simple navigation, are uncomfortable with foreign languages, and on and on, then by all means fill your boots and empty your wallets...go organized.
    Now that I won't disagree with.
    I am not saying one is better than the other, but you have to admit even your screen name indicates that you are well traveled. All I am trying to do is offer some answers to the questions asked.

    As mentioned I did plan 2 weeks for the entire family, but needing 3 rooms every night, I felt it prudent to pre-book lodging, again Internet makes it easy, IF you know the area. This year with just the wife and I, we just winged it and made up our plans as we went. But many want a vacation, which for some means no anxiety, justified or not.

    Just like people go to all inclusive resorts, and cruises, both very popular, because some want to be on "vacation" when they are on Vacation.

    Even in the US, many pre-plan all lodging, meeting spots, etc. And although I agree, the best riding is just wandering around, looking at the sky and deciding which way to go that day etc., I do enjoy some company when the day is over, to share a Beer, and socialize.

    It is never really $$, but it is about value, which is personal perception. If it was only $$ we would all drive Yugo's and ride Jawa's, but we see value in riding BMW's, so we spend the cash and are hopefully happy we did.

  3. #18
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pffog View Post
    I am not saying one is better than the other, but you have to admit even your screen name indicates that you are well traveled. All I am trying to do is offer some answers to the questions asked.
    And never have I. In fact, my article states "But this is for those that would love to go after reading all those tour reports on web sites or in the magazines, but have a heart attack the minute they see what those tours cost". In other words it is aimed at those that think they could never afford to go, or could never justify the price.

    I had to pick something for a screen name/username. It seemed appropriate considering my dreams of touring the world "unsupported" one day. The other one is Edelweiss due to my Austrian background.

    Quote Originally Posted by pffog View Post
    As mentioned I did plan 2 weeks for the entire family, but needing 3 rooms every night, I felt it prudent to pre-book lodging, again Internet makes it easy, IF you know the area.
    Pre-booking in your case is understandable. It also depends what month you are going. As far as knowing the area, there are links to lists of motorcycle freindly accomodations in my article; hundreds of hotels and B&Bs to stay in.

    Quote Originally Posted by pffog View Post
    Just like people go to all inclusive resorts, and cruises, both very popular, because some want to be on "vacation" when they are on Vacation.
    Thats what I'm on every year, a vacation without a schedule, because if I were on a schedule, it would be like the rest of the year. It depends how free a spirit you are. I like looking at the map the night before and choosing where I want to go the next day. That also gives me the choice of riding where the weather is more favorable.

    Quote Originally Posted by pffog View Post
    Even in the US, many pre-plan all lodging, meeting spots, etc. And although I agree, the best riding is just wandering around, looking at the sky and deciding which way to go that day etc., I do enjoy some company when the day is over, to share a Beer, and socialize.
    Pre-planning? Too much of a schedule. I might want to spend a second day in the area. No matter who you are, having to move on due to a motel reservation would feel limiting.

    Having a Canadian flag on my helmet usually gets people on the next table talking when having dinner...never an issue. Another time a girl at the next table took me out to the Casino in Salzburg...I'm not a gambler, but I did walk out with more money than I paid to get in...filled up my gas tank for free the next day.


    Quote Originally Posted by pffog View Post
    It is never really $$, but it is about value, which is personal perception. If it was only $$ we would all drive Yugo's and ride Jawa's, but we see value in riding BMW's, so we spend the cash and are hopefully happy we did.
    For some it is about the money; my reason for shedding some light on going self-guided and making it a possibility. For me its about not spending more than I have to for a better product.

    See you there in June.

  4. #19
    BOKRIJDER
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    I'm going to side with Alex on this one. I spent half of my working career as a self employed ex-pat in Europe. During that time, I put a lot of touring miles on covering the Continent.
    I'll save a lot of ink and state that my experiences, touring style, etc. echo Alex's.
    The pros and cons of organized versus solo have been covered.
    If an organized tour is your want or need - go for it.
    On the other hand, I would hate to think anyone, excluded by the high tariff of the organized tour, is putting off a dream trip.
    Rental BMWs are easy to come by and reasonably priced. Lodging, routes, must sees or must rides -- it's all on the Internet.
    I've now got my bases covered with language, but years ago it was not so. I really can't say that speaking the language ever made or broke a situation, plus if you're riding in the right places, language most likely will be a challenge. (Rural folk are not speaking the same French, you may have learned in school)
    Organized or solo - go for it.

    Motard

  5. #20
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    My personal trip style and riding preference is a lot like GR, I even packed my 9, 11 and 13 year old sons in the car and took a 33 state, and Canada tour back in the 90's. The only plans I had were to head west from upstate NY, I had a few maps and the bank card. Same when motorcycle touring in the US, never make plans, although I will research good roads I would like to include. I have never taken a cruise either, just because I want to have some control of my time and actions.

    Riding is an independent act, and this is the appeal to many. And like Motard, I would hate to see anyone NOT go and become a fellow addict. I understand the $$shock, but there is a lot of riders that would never try to go solo for numerous reasons (fear of the unknown). There is another group that have the $$, but like their independence and do not want to be herded, in that bus tour on two wheels.

    I feel very sorry for the groups I see with a rider in the green vest in front, and one in the rear, deciding how fast, where and when you stop for Pictures, lunch, rest stops etc., not my idea of riding. I am just pointing out the fact that if you "Have the cake, you can eat it too" with the right tour operator. Not all herd you, but do provide other services that many feel more comfortable with.

    Like I have said before, EVERYONE owes it to themselves to go at least once, and if you are like most, the first time will just be the first fix, on your way to addiction.

  6. #21
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    European Tours

    Check out Ayres Adventures for their european tours. I've been on a couple of their south american trips and they do a great job.

    Been on 4 trips to europe with Edelweiss they do a good job,but I'd go with Ayres.

  7. #22
    franze
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    Good Stuff

    Not with Edelweiss, but been with Beach 5 times. Did it alone once when I was paying my entire family (5 bikes and 6 people), the kids owe us big time now :



    This is my dream!

    Do yourself and your wife a favor, go a week or two early, spend time in Europe doing what she wants to do, then hop the train from Paris or wherever, put her on a Plane home and then have fun riding.

    Truer words were never spoke!

    The best roads are not near shopping centers and even a city like Interlaken is small by US standards. Remember too the support van is taking a pretty direct route to the next stop and not getting the same experience at all.


    Unless she has a buddy on the van or is very independent, she'll be waiting for you and you'll end up feeling like you need to hurry (bad karma).

    Beach does not require group riding at all, you can follow a guide if you like, or hook up with like minded/skilled riders which is usually the case, but YOUR option, not theirs. The only rule is to call if you are going to be late to dinner @ 7:00 or 7:30, just so they know you are safe.



    Yes it is cheaper to do it yourself, but as mentioned by others, there is a LOT of advantages to having support, maps and suggested routes, with points of interest outlined, rooms and luggage waiting, transfers to and from the airport, and 20-30 new friends when you leave. I too have met several locals, and even been invited for coffee at their home, which I and a few others did the next morning.
    Even if you are a great navigator, things are different in Europe, you don’t take route numbers, unless you are driving the Autobahn. Rather you navigate city to city, or pass to pass, just remember the town you want might not even be listed on the sign, rather the next major city on that road may be the one listed, and that could be 100 kM further up the road. Organized tours can offer “Value” to the experience, and prevent a lot of anxiety, which is priceless IMHO.


    Bottom line though is DO IT, you will have the time of your life, just think it out, so the wife does too.[/QUOTE]

    Ok, this guy has 5 posts, and after reading this one, I'm going to back track and read his others. A wise man for sure. You're personality dictates what you should do. For you it's where do you measure on the pioneer experience meter. For her, it's what can she do when he's not here.

  8. #23
    franze
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    What the?????

    What a laugh........ I am starting my reply to PFFogg, that's Phineas Ffogg, right??? and I'm also on the line with Dell customer service........I'm in Switzerland and the first person I'm talking with is in the Philippines and then I get transferred to India, and then an hour later I finish my reply and see that an entire cyber tennis match has been played between Alex and Mr. Fogg. Alas, the power of the internet. Main thing is to keep your wife happy and then work in the riding. You don't need a group to have fun. I've ridden 40k km in the last two years with zero guide help. No tickets, no hospitals, no court appearances. I like the surprise of coming around a corner and seeing a castle as opposed to having someone at breakfast tell me......OK, we're all going to stop at the castle on the other side of the bridge to use the toilet and take pictures.......well, I"ve never been at one of those rider meetings but I suppose it could happen.

  9. #24
    tbourque
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    Going it on your own...

    Quote Originally Posted by Visian View Post
    i have not been on a tour, but am attracted to the edelweiss touring center concept, where you stay in a central location and ride loops out and back each day.

    are you aware of our global touring section?

    another really good option in my opinion is the bike rental/go your own way plan.

    ian

    Ian, I am researching to ride later this summer and I plan to do it without a professional guide. I will have a friend who lives in Zurich ride with us a bit. However, who do you use to rent bikes from when you are in Europe??

    Thanks!

    Tommy

  10. #25
    franze
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbourque View Post
    Ian, I am researching to ride later this summer and I plan to do it without a professional guide. I will have a friend who lives in Zurich ride with us a bit. However, who do you use to rent bikes from when you are in Europe??

    Thanks!

    Tommy
    Here's the guys my buddy rented from in 06.

    http://www.moto-mader.ch/frameset_main.htm

    He got a n 06 R1150R with 12 km on it. Returned it 10 days later with 5,270km on it. I've been to the shop about 5 times to buy gear. They have English speaking folks around, I give it two thumbs up. It's about 15 miles west of Zurich.

  11. #26
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by franze View Post
    Ok, this guy has 5 posts, and after reading this one, I'm going to back track and read his others. A wise man for sure. .................
    A lot of people say this, but I think I am just analytical, and "practical anal-retentive".

    That is what you get when you are an Engineer with Psychology as a minor.


    Quote Originally Posted by franze View Post
    I am starting my reply to PFFogg, that's Phineas Ffogg, right??? [/B]
    No, it comes from one of my son's friends that spent the day chasing me (actually just trying to keep me in sight) around back roads of Pennsylvania, on his CBR1000RR.

    End of the day he says to me, you know you're Pretty Fast For an Old Guy , thus the screen name was born.

  12. #27
    franze
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    Quote Originally Posted by pffog View Post
    A lot of people say this, but I think I am just analytical, and "practical anal-retentive".

    That is what you get when you are an Engineer with Psychology as a minor.

    No, it comes from one of my son's friends that spent the day chasing me (actually just trying to keep me in sight) around back roads of Pennsylvania, on his CBR1000RR.

    End of the day he says to me, you know you're Pretty Fast For an Old Guy , thus the screen name was born.

    no ****??!!! According to my on-line IQ test, I'm a visionary philosopher........ love the name, grew up in Lancaster and know how nice those back roads are."

  13. #28
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by franze View Post
    ..............., grew up in Lancaster and know how nice those back roads are."
    Spoken from a guy in Switzerland??????


    Just goes to prove memories are always better than reality

  14. #29
    franze
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    Quote Originally Posted by pffog View Post
    Spoken from a guy in Switzerland??????


    Just goes to prove memories are always better than reality
    Back then I was riding an enduro bike and smoking "that which shall not be named".........

    Nothing beats Swiss roads for texture. I will say that CA roads beat Swiss roads on engineering, i.e. camber and what do you scientist guys call that........uh, when momentum and inertia come in conflict????? yeah, the land of cows doesn't come close to west coast road layouts. West coast road layouts that combine Swiss road texture are found at Sears Point, or what is it now.... Infiniteum ad nauseum and Laguna Seca which also has some 'ho' name now also, but, that said, yes, this country is a race track.

    Now, the real question is........yes, I read your 6 posts and they're all from this week...........hmmmmm..........

  15. #30
    tbourque
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    Quote Originally Posted by franze View Post
    Here's the guys my buddy rented from in 06.

    http://www.moto-mader.ch/frameset_main.htm

    He got a n 06 R1150R with 12 km on it. Returned it 10 days later with 5,270km on it. I've been to the shop about 5 times to buy gear. They have English speaking folks around, I give it two thumbs up. It's about 15 miles west of Zurich.
    Thanks Franze! We were planning on flying into Zurich.

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