Motorcycle tour of Europe


Nov 10th, 2012, 01:37 PM
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Motorcycle tour of Europe

I am currently a sophomore in college and I am planning a trip after I graduate. What I would really like to do is ride a motorcycle along the Mediterranean coast (from Spain to Turkey). Here are some questions...

1. Should I buy a motorcycle over there? Or buy one here and ship it?
2. How much would it cost to ship?
3. Do I need an international drivers license from AAA?
4. How would I register my bike?
5. Would my insurance from USAA cover me?
6. Would it be better to do it on a moped?
7. Is this a realistic idea?

I don't want to rent a bike because I would like to stay for a long time.
Any info is helpful.

Thank you!
KollegeCid18 is offline  
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Nov 10th, 2012, 01:50 PM
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For many countries (Italy for one) and IDP from AAA (international driver's permit, not license) is mandatory.

I would be surprised if your insurance would cover you in another country. Some credit cards offer coverage. Some insurance excludes motorcycles so you might need a special policy.

You also need to check your health insurance as it's doubtful it will cover you either (many don't).

Some insurance excludes motorcycles so you might need a special policy.
kybourbon is online now  
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Nov 10th, 2012, 02:57 PM
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I would not consider riding this distance on a moped.

Are you going to follow the coast of Italy all the way around or just cut across the top. Have you checked the mileage?

There are a number of books describing people who have done similar for individual countries. At the end of the day it just takes a certain amount of time. In terms of countries, no one will stop you (as long as paperwork is in place) in any of the countries in the EU.

The only area of concern (and not much of one) would be Albania and I might be worth droping a note to your ambassador to Albania to spot if he could see any problem (at borders say)
bilboburgler is offline  
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Nov 10th, 2012, 04:22 PM
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I could be wrong about this, but I think you have to have a special license to even ride a motorcycle in most European countries (mostly I know about France, which is really, really serious about issuing licenses of any kind, even to drive a car).
Even if it's possible, yes, you'll need an IDP for Italy and Austria (if that's on the list - doesn't sound like it), plus the breatholyzers for France and safety kits for Spain and extra glasses if you wear them, and all that.

But I'd check into just the legality of being able to do this in each country to begin with.

Moped is a terrible idea.
I doubt your US insurance would cover any of this.
It would cost a small fortune to ship a bike.
StCirq is online now  
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Nov 10th, 2012, 07:54 PM
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Is this a realistic idea? Not really... You may want to talk to a professional before venturing any further on this quest.
Robert2533 is offline  
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Nov 11th, 2012, 12:33 AM
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Okay, a moped should be out of the question.

Re. Motorcycles, the issue is more or less the same as with cars.
You can drive with foreign plates and drivers license for a certain number of months without becoming subject to vehicle registration, customs, or alterations when your vehicle does not meet EU standards (to make it less complicated, non EU countries are left out here, but you need to check)

Any kind of other regulation, like the one StCirq mentioned re. Breath analyzers etc must be complied with, so you need to check country by country (no single EU standard here)

Costs for shipping are not that huge, should be in the mid to lower triple digits euros each way. That should be less than any bike rental here which is a) very expensive and b) makes you return the bike where you rented.

The real problem is logistics, i.e. you have only a few ports here and there, e.g. New York, somewhere in the Carolinas and usually Texas/ Galveston. The container ships should have no routes thru the Med, though.

Riding thru the Balkan states can be very tricky as road conditions are not the same as you may be used to. Never ride at night.

Insurance should be a very important issue to take care of (otherwise you would not be allowed to ride here anyway)
Cowboy1968 is offline  
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Nov 11th, 2012, 12:35 AM
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USAA does cover drivers in Europe, but you will have to include the motorcycle in your policy and have a "green card" for proof of insurance in Europe. You will also have to have a driver's license for motorcycles and an IDP.

While it is possible to do this, unless you are a very experienced motorcycle rider I wouldn't recommend it. Some of the countries you plan to visit have high car accident rates, and you have nothing to protect you from injury on a motorcycle except a helmet and leathers.
Heimdall is online now  
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Nov 11th, 2012, 06:30 AM
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Heimdahll makes a very good point...unless you are a VERY experienced driver, do not consider this trip. Over the years, DH & I have taken several long distance (5,000+ miles) motorcycle trips in the U.S. and Canada. We have a LOT of experience with this kind of travel. We have visited many countries in Europe and could certainly afford to ship our bike over. Yet, we have never done that. Why don't we, you say? Because it is far more dangerous to travel by motorcycle in Europe than in the U.S.

Take your pick: driving rules (and practices) are totally different, you have a higher risk of accident on unfamiliar roads, the cars around you are travelling at higher speeds than you are used to and ignoring the same rules as everyone else, there are fewer EMT services in the more rural areas than we have here, and finally something we heard from a European biker; you will be stopped repeatedly by police to have your papers checked.

Do not let the romance of the road overtake reality. IF you have never visited these countries before, don a backpack and check out the territory before doing a trip with your cycle.

anniemackie is offline  
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Nov 12th, 2012, 07:19 AM
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You can certainly buy a motorcycle in Europe but you won't be able to register and insure it. This isn't the early 1970s when you certainly could. Now you need to be a resident to register and insure a motor vehicle. So that route is out.

You could rent a bike, but if you're under 25 it's unlikely and it would be expensive either way. Try googling 'motorcycle rental, europe' and use with 'location moto'. If your French is sketchy, use Google's Chrome browser and it will translate pages for you.

Assuming you have some sort of decent motorcycle already I'd seek out bike groups in Europe and see if you could work out some kind of exchange... someone uses your bike while you are in Europe using theirs...
ParisAmsterdam is offline  
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Nov 12th, 2012, 08:22 AM
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You are getting good advice (I haven't ridden myself in +30 years so I'll leave that to others)

But one thing did jump out >>I don't want to rent a bike because I would like to stay for a long time. << . . . Just how 'long' is long? If more than 90 days this probably isn't possible. Schengen will limit you to 90 days w/i any 6 month period.
janisj is online now  
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Nov 12th, 2012, 08:31 AM
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Other than the fact that I don't believe your trip is realistic as a first adventure in Europe, here is my response to your other questions.

It would be less expensive to purchase a used motorcycle at home and ship it, but shipping cost can be expensive if you need to ship the motorcycle at the same time you're planning on traveling. You can check with the airlines, as well as with UPS and Fed Ex regarding cost and customs issues.

You can also ship it by sea using one of the commercial shipping companies. That could take several months.

If you where to travel by ocean liner (Queen Mary 2), you could include it in as part of your luggage.

You'll need a driver's license from your home state that allows you to drive a motorcycle, and the IDP from AAA. There is no such animal as an International Drivers License.

As far as the type of motorcycle, you should seriously consider a good road bike, BMW, Triumph, Ducati, Suzuki, Honda or even a Harley.

You register your motorcycle at home, not in the EU.

USAA may not cover you in Europe if your policy was issued in the States, but you will need to check with them to be sure.

You can purchase Travel Insurance (highly recommended) that includes medical coverage.

You may be able to obtain Liability Insurance through ADAC (Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club) in Germany, but you should have the insurance before you arrive in the EU. You can also check with BMW Motorcycle Owners of America ( regarding where to purchase the proper insurance while traveling in the EU. Since the EU is not one country, the requirements differ.

You'll also need to a helmet.
Robert2533 is offline  
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Nov 12th, 2012, 09:33 AM
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For sure you won't be able to drive in Europe on your existing stateside USAA policy. As I wrote in my previous post, "USAA does cover drivers in Europe, but you will have to include the motorcycle in your policy and have a "green card" for proof of insurance in Europe."

The International Motor Insurance Card, known as the "green card" because it is green in color, is issued automatically to USAA members who insure their vehicles to drive in Europe. Your stateside policy won't include one, so you will have to contact USAA to arrange for coverage. You can call them for free, and they are very helpful.

For those who aren't familiar, USAA is an insurance company for US servicemembers, former servicemembers, and their families. Since many serve overseas, they offer coverage just about anywhere in the world.
Heimdall is online now  
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Nov 12th, 2012, 11:11 AM
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You might also find it helpful the read some of the books written by people who have done something similar. Try Dewey 910.4 at your local library.
thursdaysd is online now  
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