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Anyone have any experience doing a trip in and around Germany - France - Italy?
Did some time with my Uncle...Sam that is...and have been thinking of maybe doing it by bike this time.

Good things, bad things or ???
 

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Are you thinking of flying your bike over there?
If so, it can be done and appears to be cheaper than renting, providing you are there long enough.

I met a rider from Scotland last summer who flew his Wing to Calgary. The return air freight for the bike was about $1500. It seemed to work for him as he was over here for about 6 weeks.

I would love to do it.
 

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In case you ARE thinking about shipping your bike out of the country.. Here are some things that a friend of mine didn't consider and it almost trashed his 3 week trip to Italy, Germany and Switzerland a couple of years ago.

To be honest, I would rent a bike over there... While it's cool tooling about with USA license plates and you may save a couple of hunderd dollars, it's quite a hassle..

Make sure your health insurance covers you.. My friends in Europe tell me that in most countries they just patch you up and there's no real issues, but I don't know any American who's personally experianced that.. I'd love to hear if that's true..

1) If you have a loan, you must have a letter from the lienholder stating it's OK to leave the country.. His credit union said "Yea, right!!" and he ended up having to pay the bike off before he could ship it..

2) Make sure your bike was sold in the USA and still has the EPA stickers on it.. My friend removed the ugly stickers from his Ducati and Ducati USA would not provide proof that the bike was sold to the US market and met EPA standards.. Luckily the dealer retains copies of all the Certificate of origion docs..

3) Make sure you follow the brokers instructions TO THE LETTER... There are many little details that WILL hold you up and possibly cancel your trip..
 

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I was there for three weeks, one in England and the other two on the continent. We had a blast. We were with a tour, Freedom Tours from the UK, and on rented bikes. I found that you had to be there more than three weeks to make shipping bikes over worthwhile--cheaper than renting.

Definitely talk with your insurance company prior to the trip to determine what if any coverage you have or need to buy in Europe. This applies to Health insurance as well as auto/motorcycle insurance.

Make sure you check on local laws also before going. On the Autobahns they are rather strict about slower vehicles keeping to the right and not passing on the right as we do on multilane roads. They ride/drive better than we do. You will also see far more protective clothing on European riders than usually seen in the USA. They do ride more aggressively and lane splitting--filtering in England--is the norm. The big difference is that the cage drivers respect motorcyclists. And everyone has a story about how their grandad, or dad was riding after the War.

Many European countries have a tiered licensing process in which the rider must have proven experience on smaller bikes before being allowed to ride larger bikes. They do know how to ride.

I would urge you to also consider an emergency evac service in case or illness or injury to fly you home. And eample would be with the AMA MASA service which is avaiable at www.medairservices.com/ama. or another similiar service such as www.medjetassist.com/

The trip was a wonderful experience, a great culinary experience also, and mostly whetted our appetite to do it again. To see some of the sights first hand was marvelous and to ride some of the roads was just great. Riding the great passes of the Alps was a wonderful experience.

Another advantage to renting is that you may get to ride a different type style bike such as a sport tourer instead of a Wing which gives you another unique experience. I rode a BMW 1100RT and thorougly enjoyed it.
 

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Rider Magazine had a couple of articles recently about Eidelweiss Tours. See if anyone has the issues or ask for reprints at: http://ridermagazine.com/
If I were going to do Europe this is the way I'd want to do it.
 

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Wife and I flew our GL1800 over in summer of 2006 for 6 weeks and 7,000 miles of touring in Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and LOVED it. Great roads in the Alps and Dolmoites and great food and hotels - but it isn't cheap! It was cheaper to fly the bike from Canada and you have to have the bike at the airport 2 days before it flys each way so there is some hassle - but for us we couldn't do without our Traxxion suspension and all of our other goodies (GPS, electric Windbender, etc., etc.

Hoping to rebuild our investments so we can do it again!
 

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Two sites that may be of use to you are our clubs' www.mayflowermcc.co.uk and www.alpineroads.com/ the first has a good events list (mainly of the UK but some Dutch, German and Italian events) and the second gives you excellent, updated, road conditions from a motorcyclists point of view of the Alpine passes. Unfortunately we are over there for the summer but if you need any help just contact us.
 
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We have taken two motorcycle tours of Europe, we rented our BMW bikes there. The first time we had a RT1100 and the second time a GS1150. Loved the GS for the twisties in Italy, especially Stelvio Pass and the Dolomites. Don't miss spending a couple of days in Tuscany if you go, highly recommended especially if you like to tour castles. I'd rent a bike again if I go again, it's easy and simple to do and actually the GS or RT are great bikes for riding Italy. One of the couples we went with rented a Gold Wing but it was a chore to ride that sucker around the Tornantes (hairpin turns) in the mountains. Maybe the 1800 would handle better than the 1500 he rented however.
 
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