Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Black Forest 2012: Day 4 - Steinfort, Luxembourg - Ostwald, France

Firstly, I would like to start by saying Merry Christmas! It is the 25th December 2012 and I decided to start writing this post as nobody else seemed to be awake. Also, it is the first day I have actually managed to write a blog entry for quite a while now so I will continue with the trip information :).

I am also in the process of planning our 2013 trip across the Pyrenees which I will start blogging once I have finished the Black Forest trip so keep checking back for updates :).

Day 4: Steinfort, Luxembourg - Ostwald, France - 29/08/2012
Miles: 153 appx.

The plan for today was to head to our overnight stop at the Misterbed in Ostwald, drop of all our luggage and head out for a ride across the Alsace region of France. This wasn't to be however as I will confirm later in this post.

This is the point where I planned to get to wherever we were staying before heading for our rides out. Our journey to the Misterbed was based on the fastest route as you can see here:

Unfortunately I can not remember how long this took us but I think it was in the region of 2 and a half hours. We stopped at our planned petrol station to fill up, some 20 or so miles from our destination. After paying for the fuel and grabbing a couple of sandwiches and snacks for our afternoon ride out, we wheeled the bikes to a parking spot to re-organise our tank bags. It was at this point that Emma discovered an odd grinding noise coming from her bike. On closer inspection one of the front brake pads had disintegrated right down to the metal, causing it to wear against one side of the right-hand side brake disc. How this had happened and why only on one side we didn't know as everything on the bikes was checked before leaving the UK (as you would expect). 

Luckily, Emma brought cable ties so as a temporary solution she undid the right-hand side calliper and cable tied this to the frame of the bike, essentially running off one set of brake pads on the front instead of two. As we were tackling the Black Forest the following day and were only half way through the trip we decided to find somewhere we could buy some pads from.

After finally reaching the Misterbed and lugging our gear up another two floors to our room (a common practice on this trip!) we headed out to Strasbourg, with Emma jumping on the back of my SV as the safer option. Strasbourg was only 7 or so miles from Ostwald but due to the rather residential route this still took us around 15 minutes.

View Larger Map

Strasbourg itself is a lovely city. The cathedral is stunning and the market square is huge. There is a river that wraps around the city with tourists taking in the sights by boat. I would recommend coming here to visit if you get a chance and we will definitely come back too at some point to take a closer look.

Prior to this trip I downloaded an offline world map for my iPhone and this came in handy today when attempting to find somewhere that sold brake pads. We managed to follow signs in the city to the tourist information point where a lovely woman did a bit of searching for us and found a couple of scooter/cycle shops on the other side of the river. We headed over to one of them and Emma asked the guy working there if he spoke English. He initially said no, but after realising that we were bikers and had a problem he was more than willing to help (as well as suddenly being able to speak English!). Although they themselves didn't sell the pads, he did give us the address of the nearest Suzuki dealer just outside of Strasbourg and kindly gave us a map of the city. We stopped at the second store as we walked back to the bike but they were busy with a customer. I would suggest storing some motorcycle dealers on your sat nav if you are going to be doing a trip like this as you never know when you might need them!

We arrived at the Suzuki garage and with a bit of pointing and matching up we finally got some brake pads. There were no SVs for sale here and we also didn't see any SVs on our entire trip. I think in mainland Europe they must sell the Gladius instead, but personally I find the SV far more attractive!

Getting back to the hostel, Emma set about putting the new brake pads on her SV. There was no copper grease to hand so the pads had to be fitted without, which would at least get us through the rest of the trip. We weighed up whether we would have enough time to do at least part of the route in the Alsace mountains but decided there wasn't. 

Instead, we walked into Ostwald and bought some fruit and drinks at a small supermarket we passed earlier. The walk was pretty and the weather was good. In fact, it was the last day of the warm weather on our trip. After checking out Ostwald we headed back to the Misterbed, dropped our stuff off and headed to KFC for a quick dinner.

For those of you who are interested, the route I planned for the Alsace region is this (as before, if you would like the Garmin files then just let me know):
Miles: 242 appx.

[Next Up: Day 5: Ostwald, France - Basel, Switzerland]

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Black Forest 2012: Day 3 - Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

Day 3: Luxembourg City, Luxembourg - 28/08/2012
Miles: 100 appx.

After our first night in the new tent we got up, sorted ourselves out with the obligatory cup of tea, a couple of cereal bars and packed up for our day out. As we were staying at the campsite for two nights there was no need to carry all of our stuff with us other than documents and valuables. We were positioned within a very short walk to the facilities although the ground was very solid which made it difficult to pitch our tent the night before. We also made friends with a grasshopper but unfortunately it didn't fancy coming with us to the city centre :(.

So after a very short 15 or so kilometres we made it to the city centre. Motorcycle parking was right next to Luxembourg's iconic "Golden Lady" and also bang in front of the beautiful valley. I set about locking the two bikes together with the cable lock I had brought with me and we then heading down into the valley. However, Emma did her famous trick of leaving the key in her bike so we had to walk all the way back up to the top to retrieve it. Once that was sorted we decided to tackle the valley later in the day and so went to walk about the city centre for a bit. The city itself isn't all that large and seems to work on a grid like system. There are a few fashion shops, the typical McDonald's, sandwich shops and cafes. I managed to stumble across an unlocked wi-fi connection and so sent an email back home just to let everyone know we were safe and had made it this far.

We returned to one of the sandwich shops where we ordered a couple of ham and cheese baguettes (probably because it was the only thing I could ask for in French!) and went for a sit down to plan what we were going to see. The lady at the campsite was very friendly as I went to pay in the morning and handed out some maps and guides with recommended walks and sights. Our main stops were the history museum and the underground bock casemates. 

The underground tunnels were impressive, holding around 30,000 people in times when the city needed to defend itself. There were so many steep steps, low-height ceilings and awkward passage ways that I was exhausted by the end. There are also lots of places to see out of and appreciate the valley too. We then went searching for the "Corniche" which is meant to be Europe's most beautiful balcony. I think we are still quite unsure which part was the Corniche as there were stunning views from many points. After then spending quite a bit of time in the history museum and understanding Luxembourg's place in Europe (and also seeing a strange swing, lit up by lights all on its own in a kind of exhibition room) we then took on one of the recommended walks through the valley. I strongly believe that if you visit a place (and in particular if you are quite limited on time) you should at least visit their history museum. It is nice to find out about where you are, how it started out and how it became what it is today.

It is probably also worth noting that there is a train that goes round the valley, although I am not sure how much this costs (see left). We are used to walking and quite like taking things in at our own pace so we opted for that instead. Our walk took us back through the valley, past a miniature railway track, under the Adolphe bridge and all the way back up to near where our bikes were parked. As we were doing this trip on a shoe string budget we grabbed a bite at McDonald's before heading out for our ride round Luxembourg. Before leaving the city however, I made sure we rode over all three bridges that we saw (purely because I could) and then got out to the more rural parts of the country.

Below is the route we took round the country before heading back to the campsite. Again, if you would like the Garmin files to any of these then please leave a comment below.

As you can see from the map, our route took us back north towards Belgium before heading west and then south again to the campsite. The N (national) roads in Luxembourg are really scenic, although some of the bends can be challenging (although not as much as the Black Forest but we'll come to that later!). It was a lovely sunny evening and despite the Garmin trying its best to get us lost (it sent us down a 6 mile stretch of road in both directions before deciding on the correct route) we managed to get back before it got too dark.
As we got closer to the campsite our surroundings became more enclosed as we rode through mountains and other valleys. Unfortunately though I don't have any pictures of these. 

We also ended up through small villages with cobbled-paved roads that went up hills and round tight corners. We did see some interesting buildings along the way too.

[Next Up: Day 4: Steinfort, Luxembourg - Ostwald, France]

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Black Forest 2012: Day 2 - Bruges, Belgium - Steinfort, Luxembourg

Day 2: Bruges, Belgium - Steinfort, Luxembourg - 27/08/2012
Miles: 233 appx.

Today was made up of spending the morning in Bruges followed by a scenic journey to the camping site in Steinfort. After feeding ourselves with cereal bars we went for a wander around the city. Our main activities were taking in the surroundings, such as the main square, the Belfry and the canal and visiting the chocolate museum.

If you are interested at all, I took a picture of an ancient recipe for spiced chocolate whilst in the museum which you can see to the left.

Once out of the museum we consumed the obligatory Belgian waffle before heading off to Steinfort. One thing I am gutted about is that we never took pictures of the 6 or so hour route we took there as it was stunning and the weather was really kind to us. I do however have a screenshot of the route as taken from map source. If you would like the Garmin file for any of the routes we took please leave a comment below and I will upload them somewhere for you to download. All routes have been made up by checking those put on http://www.bestbikingroads.com/ and adapting for our own journey.

For a more detailed view of the roads we took you will need to take a look at the Garmin file, but above is a general outline of the route we did. If you click on it you should be able to see a larger image.

We finally got to Luxembourg (which I acknowledged with a fist in the air - I was possibly a bit excited) and filled up. We also had a quick drink and a few snacks, plus the mandatory toilet break. It was starting to get a bit dark by this point, I think it was something like 7 or 8pm local time, so our stop was relatively brief. We made our way to Steinfort, getting slightly lost in the process (a few diversions were in place) and set up camp. We had a fairly late night dinner (consisting of the mug shots we brought with us plus a much needed cup of tea) and headed off to bed - ready for the day out in the capital the next day.

[Next Up: Day 3: Visiting Luxembourg]

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Black Forest 2012: Day 1 - Essex, UK - Bruges, Belgium

Day 1: Essex, UK - Bruges, Belgium - 26/08/2012
Miles: 163 appx.

Not a lot to mention really. The first day was all about getting down into Europe, using Bruges as a gateway to the rest of the trip. As I was playing on this day we packed up the bikes prior to the concert ready for when we got back. As you can see in the picture we did not have much in the way of luggage racks, panniers and top boxes but that didn't matter. Emma packed up high while I added a Renntec rack and packed across. We also took tank bags with food and essentials, as well as valuables. Our stuff was tied down with cargo nets, bungees and initially a ratchet strap (but this proved to be more dangerous than useful!). We also used PacSafe security meshes to secure the luggage, mainly for convenience whist on the ferry.

Heading down to Dover we went via the M25 (over the Queen Elizbabeth II Bridge, Dartford), followed by the M20 as advised by Google maps. However, in hindsight I would say that going via the M2 is quicker after heading back from Dover this way.
View Larger Map

It took just over an hour and a half getting to Dover via the M20. We stopped at the BP garage for fuel as we approached the ferry terminals. As we started to head off, Emma's SV failed to start. This highlighted the beginning of the troubles we were to face with her bike for the majority of the trip. Fortunately, Emma brought her jump leads with her (Motorcycle jump leads available from Halfords, although they do not seem to have them on their website, so for an idea visit: http://www.gps4touring.com/WEB_PAGES/Product-pages/products-sub-pages/jumpleads.html), so off came the side panels, then the seats, and jumped the bike - which luckily enough started first time.

We got to the terminals early enough but due to a medical emergency on the French side were delayed by about an hour. Got chatting to a Dutch couple who were heading home. He had this huge old-style bike carrying most of the stuff whilst she had something reminicent of a 1960s bike you'd expect to see at the Ace Cafe. Once on the ferry, we locked the lids to the mesh via padlocks and put on the large ratchet straps they give you to go over the seats. They can be quite tricky to do and often get stuck so bear that in mind. Also, if like me you have an air seat then you can't put the ratchet over this as you'll burst it. I removed the seat and reattached to the straps once I got to Bruges, but you can just about slide the ratchet pad under the air seat, which saves taking it off (which I did on the way home). We went with P&O ferries and although a bit expensive (we paid about £78 each for flexi return tickets) you do get the shops, restaurants and bars. As the crossing only takes about an hour we just about had time to get something to eat for dinner before getting across to France. The food isn't all that good and definitely pricey for what it is - but if you want convenience then it suffices. There are usually first class restaurants and brasseries on board but I do not know how much they cost or how good they are.

Once on the other side (and running late). We headed to Bruges. Its a nice easy ride east of Calais and you just follow the A16/E40, takes about an hour and a half.

View Larger Map

We arrived at the Hostel Passage at about 10:30pm local time and were confronted with an envelop addressed to me on the reception door. It felt a little bit creepy seeing as it was late at night, really quiet and we were in another country. Inside was a telephone number to call. We spoke to a lovely lady who gave us the access codes to the door and the safety deposit box which held the key to our room.

After letting ourselves into the main building we discovered that the room we were in was up two flights of stairs. This was an old characteristic town house, with high ceilings and long stairways and so dragging all our stuff up to the room really took it out of us (which is another reason we may consider just camping for the next trip)! As said in my earlier post though, the location was right in the centre of Bruges and really convenient seeing as we only had the following morning to take a look around.

[Next Up: Day 2: Bruges, Belgium - Steinfort, Luxembourg]

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Product Reviews : Black Forest 2012 Trip

Airhawk 2 : Medium Cruiser Comfort Seating System

I will start the review with the Airhawk 2 seating system. I bought this as a test as the company claim it can give you thousands of miles of comfort when riding and seeing as we were set to travel around 2,000 miles I thought it would be a good idea. The stock seats on the SV650S (2003 onwards) are solid and really uncomfortable to sit on. I attempted to solve this problem by getting gel pad inserts. This did make a difference but still did not give me the longevity of comfort that I was after.

The Airhawk works by filling the device with air by blowing into a small valve. The seat then attaches to your existing motorcycle seat with the adjustable straps provided. You then adjust the amount of air by opening the valve. There should be enough air to keep you about 1cm above the original seat level, but you should also notice the air moving about the Airhawk as you lean. It can take a bit of fiddling to get the pressure right, but the long lasting effect is amazing. For the entire trip I was comfortable, until the last stretch home. This was only because I tried fiddling with the air pressure again rather than leaving it as it was. One annoying factor is that if the straps unclip or you need to remove the Airhawk you must remove your original motorcycle seat to recover the straps to reattach it (a pain on a 2008 pointy SV with 2 side panels to remove plus the 2 bolts attaching the seat). Also, remember it is an air system so make sure you do not put the ratchet straps over it when securing the bike to a ferry for crossing the channel!

But in conclusion it is a fantastic seat and since the trip I have used it for normal ride outs as my gel seat just seems rock solid in comparison. It works better when wearing leather rather than jeans (can't vouch for textiles yet) and the only main issues with it are that it can be fiddly to get the air level just right for your build and secondly, the hassle it can cause some riders (depending on their bike) to reattach to the main motorcycle seat.

MCBlogSpot Rating: 8/10

Hi Gear Atom 3 - 3 Berth Tent

[Image from: http://www.gooutdoors.co.uk]

Only other thing I can think to review from what we used is the 3 person tent that we took with us. This Hi Gear Atom 3 tent was purchased from Go Outdoors for the reduced price of £49.99. It has ample room in the porch for storage, a side door and a front door and has plenty of sleeping space. Also get a tent one person larger than how many are using it (in this case only us two used it).

It packs up pretty small and is easy to transport (53x18x18cm and less than 5kg). However, there is a bit of a gap around the porch area which can be a problem if it rains and all your stuff is stored in there. Also, we did notice water dripping from the roof in the porch area although we do not think it rained, it may have been dew, but nevertheless we do not think that should happen inside a tent anyway.

On the whole, good for the money, decent space, packs up small but has a few minor hiccups.

MCBlogSpot Rating: 7/10

Other Reviews
If you would like a review on any of the other stuff we used, such as clothing or any of the things mentioned on what we brought then please do let me know and I will write a new review for each item.

[Next Up: The Trip Day by Day, including routes, maps and pictures!]

Monday, 17 September 2012

General Information : Riding In Europe

OK, so I am not going to pretend to know everything about riding (or driving in general) across Europe, as this was my first real trip, but some of these things may help for when you do (or for if you ride anywhere really)!

Driving On The Right
Obvious but important - you do have to ride on the other side of the road! This is usually not a problem as coming off the ferry (or train) you are directed to the right side of the road. Just remember that roundabouts are reversed and the left hand lane is the overtaking lane. Slip roads tend to be tight compared to ours and do not usually lead to roundabouts so remember this when you get your knee down!

Speed Cameras
Very tricky to spot, especially in France so I would recommend sticking to the speed limits unless you know the roads and the location of the cameras. Also bear in mind that speed/camera warnings are NOT allowed on your satellite navigation units when travelling through France and I have also been advised that just turning them off isn't acceptable. Outside of France in the nearby countries this doesn't seem to be an issue.

[Image from: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/]

Vehicle and Riding Equipment
When travelling in Europe there are certain items that you must have / be wearing by law. These are:

  • Spare set of bulbs
  • High-viz jackets (must be worn if you break down and can only be yellow or orange)
  • Some form of warning triangle (I use a helmet cover with one on it available from http://www.getgeared.co.uk)
  • Breathalyser kit (you must have 2 per vehicle and this is really only a requirement in France)
  • From January 2013 - In France you must have a minimum of 150cm2 of high-viz reflective clothing on your riding apparel. This can be spread out or in one area but it must be there ! The French have become a bit OTT about motorbikers but this is obviously something you need to know.
  • Also, you are meant to use headlight adjusters to prevent your headlights from blinding the oncoming vehicles (as they are set for driving on the left). You may find that a small piece of tape in the corner is sufficient. For this trip we didn't adjust the headlights but brought some tape for good measure (which we were never required to use). So its up to you what you do, but it is a legal requirement.
Documentation, Helpful Hints and Legal Stuff
When travelling make sure you bring important vehicle documentation with you such as valid MOT, logbook and insurance and your driving license (and in addition obviously your passport!). It is a good idea to let your insurance company know before you set off also otherwise you are technically not covered.

In addition to this - make sure you let the bank know which cards you are taking with you and which countries you will be in during your time away. This will ensure that they are not blocked on suspect of theft and fraud. If you have online banking there is usually somewhere on there where you can list the dates you are away and the places you will be in against the cards you are taking.

[Image from: http://www.nhs.uk/]

Throughout Europe (although I think it is only the EU) you are entitled to free basic health care. You can apply for the free card here: https://www.ehic.org.uk/Internet/startApplication.do and in the very least you should have this even if you decide not to arrange travel insurance whilst you are away. Make sure you get it from the address above as other websites will try and charge you for it !

In regards to the law and riding over in Europe, you must be18 or over and hold a valid full UK license (car or motorcycle depending on what you are taking over there). There used to be restrictions if you were under 21, but new EU regulations seems to have lowered the legal age. In some cases, through special country agreements, you can be 17 but I do not know the specific details surrounding this.

Things To Take With You
Completely optional items in addition to the ones required by law, but after the trip we did I do feel they are important things to have with you at all times:
  • Waterproofs
  • Spare pair of motorcycle gloves
  • An extended tool kit - ratchets and sockets relevant to your motorcycle in addition to the basic motorcycle tool kit that comes with your bike
  • Motorcycle jump leads
  • Tape ! Electric tape usually does the job for most things
  • Chain lube
  • Puncture repair kit
  • Spare set of brake pads (ask Emma and she will definitely agree!) 
  • Pacsafe  - this way you can lock everything you need to the bike whilst on route somewhere or on the ferry. All valuable we left in the tank bags which we took with us at all times (unless we were leaving stuff in our rooms or our tent)
  • (Not strictly something to  take but...) if you will need your phone or headsets constantly charged then a 12v socket fitted somewhere to the bike is a godsend. I used mine to keep the phones charged, the headsets and to power the pump for the air-bed when camping.
If you are looking at camping the stuff we brought  with us were:
  • High Gear Atom 3 Man Tent
  • Sleeping Bags
  • Dry Bags & Compression Sacs for packing
  • Tesco double air bed
  • 12v air bed pump
  • Tesco camping stools
  • Travel pillow (though that was just for me!)
  • Camping kettle, mugs, plates, cutlery etc.
  • Solid fuel stove + fuel (fine for boiling water for mug shot pasta, tea etc. but you would need something bigger and better if planning to cook properly)
  • Lighter
  • Wind up torch
  • Leatherman penknife tool
  • All purpose washing liquid
  • Travel towel
  • The one everyone always forgets - TOILET ROLL!
That is pretty much all I can think of for now, but if you would like to know anymore then just ask !

[Next Up: Product Reviews]

Thursday, 6 September 2012

European Trip 2012 : Essex (ENG) - Basel (SWI) : Overview

The Proposed Trip
Every year for the last 4 years (apart from 2011) I have usually arranged a short weekend trip to somewhere in Europe around my birthday, which happens to fall around the August bank holiday. Normally this involves riding to somewhere (straight forward route usually) and then seeing the local sites and taking in the culture. In the past this has meant fairly easily accessible locations for a short trip, namely Brugge, Brussels, Antwerp and Gent in Belgium and a one off trip to Amsterdam. This year was going to be no different. A quick stint to Luxembourg over the course of perhaps 5 days. However, once I realised that to amble over to the Black Forest in Germany wasn't a huge feat, the trip soon extended to 7 and a half days (as well as the budget!).

So the dates for the trip were originally set for the 27th August until the 2nd September. However, in order to have a day in Luxembourg (which after all was the original purpose of the trip) we needed to leave on the 26th. Only problem was that my band were playing on that day. Luckily, it was an all day festival so we were finishing early which meant we could at least use the rest of the day to get across to Europe. So the final 8 day plan worked out as roughly this:

Day 1: UK -  Brugge, Belgium
Day 2: Brugge, Belgium - Steinfort, Luxembourg
Day 3: Spend day in Luxembourg City
Day 4: Steinfort, Luxembourg -  Ostwald, France
Day 5: Ostwald, France - Basel, Switzerland (including Black Forest)
Day 6: Basel, Switzerland - Mosel Valley, Germany
Day 7: Mosel Valley, Germany - Durnal, Belgium
Day 8: Durnal, Belgium - UK

Due to having little time to actually plan this trip, and attempting to keep the costs down as much as possible, this became a mixture of hostels, guest houses and camping. If we had more time to plan the trip then I imagine we would have done the whole thing by camping. However, some places in Europe will not allow bikes so its good practice to find out before you agree on a destination. I used a website that shows a list of campsites willing to accept motorcycles in various European locations, but unfortunately I can not find it now :(. There were only 2 listed on this particular website and we decided to book those for 3 nights of the trip, 2 in Steinfort and 1 in Durnal. For the hostels we used http://www.hostelworld.com/ and http://www.hostelbookers.com/ to find them but contacted them directly for booking. For the other night we stayed in an English speaking guest house in Mosel Valley, found via the SV org. Below is a break down of where we stayed.

Passage (Brugge, Belgium)

Located right in the centre of Brugge, only a couple of minutes walk from the main square. We stayed in a private room using shared facilities. We had a sink in our room, but it was a shared toilet and showers (although we never found the showers!). The building itself was an old townhouse with many stairs, large windows and the rooms had ample room. We were on the second floor so shifting all our gear was a bit of an issue. As you can expect, pretty basic but comfortable with a large bed and a place to hang your clothes. The cost for this was €52 / £41 (at the current exchange rate of 1.24). If you are just looking for somewhere to lay your head (which is all we needed the entire trip) then you can't fault the location of this hostel to get yourself about the town.

Camping Steinfort (Steinfort, Luxembourg)


If you want to tour as cheaply as possible (and do not mind carting a few bits with you) camping is definitely the way to do it. We stayed here for 2 nights and only paid €25.50 / £20 in total as it was just out of season. The receptionist was really friendly and we were allowed to pick our own plot. The campsite is about 15km (just under 10 miles) to the city, which takes around 20 minutes to ride in. If you look at their website there are a few things to see in Steinfort itself and the country itself is stunning - although I will get to the routes later!

Mister Bed Strasbourg (Ostwald, France)

[Left image from: http://www.simplyhotelsfrance.com/] [Right image: Google Maps Screenshot]

This hostel isn't strictly in Strasbourg (it's about 8km south) but it is within a 20 minute walk to the quaint town of Ostwald. One night here was €32.40 / £26 and the accommodation, 
although very basic, does the job. It isn't the nicest venue with odd swaying doors and an unattractive colour scheme (plus if I remember it didn't smell that good either!) but the rooms were fine. The bathroom is tightly compact so that might be something to think about but at least it did have its own shower. Another thing to note is the language barrier could be a little bit of a problem if you don't know much French, however we did manage to get by.

YMCA Hostel Basel (Basel, Switzerland)


[Screenshots from: http://www.ymcahostelbasel.ch]

Quite an expensive option at 88 CHF / £58 for the one night (plus a 10 CHF refundable fee for the room card) but had some great facilities and really was the epitome of what a hostel should offer. The cooking facilities were great, there was a big social area and the rooms were clean and tidy. If you are interested, the hostel is pretty much in the centre of the city centre, although we didn't have time to explore as we were using it as an overnight for the Black Forest trip. It also sits on the river Rhein and I have been told there are some great walks near by.

River Valley Guest House (Mosel Valley, Germany)

After posting on the SV forum for recommended places to stay, a reply was posted by the Scotsman who owned this guest house in the Mosel Valley. We were looking for a place to stay near Trier as a stop over en-route to the UK and this wasn't too far from it. We are so glad we did however, as it's a gorgeous area to go riding around. The valley is beautiful and the cost was only €36 / £29 including breakfast (our first overnight of the trip that included breakfast!). Plus it was quite nice to have some English speaking company after several days without! Definitely recommended if you are near it.

Camping de Durnal (Durnal, Belgium)


Last stop over before the last slog home. Campsite is in a really nice part of Belgium, in the Namur region. Not too far from Dinant (perhaps 10 km) which is also worth a visit. Cost us €20 / £16 for the one night without any electrics. If you are planning to camp throughout your tour then this would be a nice stop over either on the way to Germany, Luxembourg or the eastern side of France and Switzerland as well as before heading back home.

[Next Up: General Information About Riding Over In Europe]

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Welcome to MC BlogSpot !

Having just got back from my first proper European biking trip I felt the need to create a blog sharing my travels. In addition to this, I hope to add product reviews, motorcycle information and much more. Hopefully you will find this site useful for stuff like recommended places to visit, biking roads, European regulations and equipment lists. If you would like to ask me anything then please feel free and perhaps I can even write another entry!

Next up will be a full article covering my most recent trip which includes the Black Forest in Germany and some beautiful roads surrounding the city of Luxembourg so stay tuned!

Happy biking!

Gaz & Emma