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I've long dreamed about taking a professional guided motorcycle tour overseas somewhere, but have yet to do it. Part of my hesitation has been the cost and the lengthy air flight to get to some places. Part has been the concern about whether or not I would enjoy a tour of 2 weeks or so with many hours in the saddle, as exciting as that sounds but being realistic in that I am 76 years old. But I know that if I don't do it soon, I really will be too old. I originally was thinking about something in New Zealand, but the distance, the cost and the length of the tours convinced me to look for something closer.

So now I am looking at shorter tours, mostly in Italy, of 8 or 9 days where it seems the daily mileage is not overwhelming even for an old guy like me. I've contacted Edelweiss, Ayers, EagleRider and Adriatic Moto Tours with requests for more info as well as what bike they would have for me with a decently low seat height since I am now only 5'7" (you actually do shrink as you age, I used to be 5'8-1/2" but have lost 1.5 inches over the years). Anyone here have any experience with any of these companies, or any other that runs tours in Europe? I would be appreciative of any responses.
 

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I'm going to be interested in the info you get as I am on the same hunt although I'm interested in India or South America( Ecuador maybe) Not an experienced international traveler. Canada doesn't count. lol
 

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Alaska has never really been in my tour sites, but New Zealand and the Alps have. I've heard that the best riding in the world is in New Zealand ... thus all the m/c touring companies there.

I did have someone stop in couple of months ago, and he'd shipped his 5th gen to an airport in the upper part of South America, where he and his daughter flew into. If I recall, he'd done like 20,000 miles there over a 9mth period. He'd flown back home for lengthy business deal a couple of times, but during the 9 month period only 6 months was time actually spent riding down there. For the most part he said he felt safe, and knew better than to go into Central America.

He said the best riding that he's ever done was traveling through the mountain of Columbia. The purpose of the trip was to get his daughter to a university somewhere in Chile. She's an exchange student from University of Florida. And after much discussion, they'd decided he would get here there by GoldWing. After he'd dropped his daughter off, he later flew his gf down, so for the most part, he always had a co-rider.

He said that for the most part, he could never count on road conditions ... mud slides ... washouts, riding a freeway which may turn into a muddy road, and sometimes waiting for the road to be cleared would take a few hours while waiting in a horendace down pour. In spite of all that, I know he'd do it again in a instant.
 

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Nothing to see here, now move along please. :grin2:
 

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Europe, France is a good place to consider starting because it has borders with numerous other countries and the borders are open in the EU so no hassle moving from country to country.

Our favourite season is without doubt autumn; spring can be short, summer can be hot so countryside it's dry but end September-October-early November has cool nights and morning dew which feeds the plant life and flowers bloom and the grases green up much like spring but with the added autumnal colours. We'll be there end September and into October this year.

With regard to using a company for an organised trip I've no experience because finding places to stay next day is easy at that time of year and it allows freedom to ride wherever and as little or as much as you feel like on the day. Distances are short for our days, 120 to 150mls maximum but it's an all day ride on beautiful narrow twisty alpine roads. I'm not being critical of organised group riding, loads of folks do it and enjoy it but it's easy not to do it if it's not your bag. 8 or 9 days will fly by and you'll wish you allowed yourself longer.

New Zealand, I've done both north and south islands and I'll not be going back. A number of beautiful places but mostly pretty ordinary and many barren areas.
 

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I have ridden all over western Europe. IMO, the BEST OVERALL motorcycling experience is Norway. GREAT road conditions, LITTLE traffic outside towns, LONG days of summer for riding as much (or as little) as you want. One of the world's longest road tunnels (15+ miles), beautiful fjords, mountains, tundra, ocean, Trollstigen (Google or YouTube it), good food, English is widely spoken, etc. Wife and I spent a month there tent camping with a dog and 2 cats in a Valk I/S sidecar rig towing a trailer. If I were so inclined, I wouldn't hesitate to go to Norway and use B&Bs.

The second best, IMO, is Scotland. Again, great road conditions, little traffic outside cities, a form of English is widely spoken :), good food, etc. You can take a ferry to the Isle of Man and ride the circuit roads, and maybe another ferry to Ireland. Again, B&Bs.

The Alps (French, Swiss, and Italian, a.k.a. Dolomites), are nice, but are not as nice as Norway. Yes, they get a lot of attention, but I believe that is because Norway is more remote.

Possibly the biggest obstacle is getting your bike there or renting one.

I have never been to New Zealand, but I bet it is a WONDERFUL place to ride/visit.
 

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I am also looking into this. I have contacted Edelweiss so far but may see what others offer. I am most interested in the Alps, possibly Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. It seems they offer more BMW than Honda rentals, which is fine.

 

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I've had some friends who took Blue Rim tours (associated with Roadrunner magazine). They said the tours were excellent, but not cheap. They did some great riding through Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy.


This would be my wish for Europe, but I still have a lot of the US to cover before I begin thinking about another continent.


These trips are usually about 12 days, which is longer than you were looking for.
 

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Vito,

I have experience with Adriatic Moto Tours (Italia Capuccino 9 day tour of Tuscany) and Ayres Adventures (Brazil.)

Both tour companies are excellent, with very good, knowledgable guides and very nice accommodations.

I'm 5'8" with a short, 30-in. inseam. On the Adriatic Tour two years ago, they had a single Suzuki 650 V-Strom available, which I wanted, but my buddy booked it ahead of me. (We were both riding solo.). I got a BMW F700GS, and it was fine.

On the Ayres Adventures tour, I got the then standard bike, a BMW F650 GS. It too was fine for solo riding.

The Adriatic Moto Tour in Tuscany was a RIDING holiday. We rode the twisties every day, with sightseeing stops typically short, and the guid urging us to move on to the next scheduled stop for coffee, lunch, or another tour site. And when we were back on the road, it was usually twisting, mountain roads, with the guide leading at a fairly rapid pace. This was NOT a relaxing, easy paced tour. It was go, go, go.

Also, in Italy (Florence, where the Adriatic Moto Tour started and ended), traffic is abysmal.) If you've driven in Rome or Paris, that's what Florence is like. Lane markings mean nothing. If there's space, cars, trucks, motorcycles and bicycles WILL occupy that space. You need to ride aggressively to merge, but drivers are used to motorcyclists and they will give way to you eventually.

Our group on the Adriatic Moto Tour were all seasoned riders with decades of Canadian and American riding experience, but we were all astonished (and not in a good way) about how fast the Italian motorcyclists blitzed past us on the secondary roads. They regularly passed us on the outside of curves, and honestly, we all found it unnerving.

The advantages of having a guided tour are many:

-language is not a problem; our excellent Slovenian guide spoke Italian fluently
-lodging and food stops are not a problem, because the guide leads you directly to these, so there's no guessing where to stop
-fuel stops are planned, and the guide records each rider's fuel bill at each stop and he pays for everybody at that stop, saving time
-each rider pays the guide a sum, say 20 Euros, which goes into a kitty, so he can pay the bill at coffee stops, until the kitty runs out, then each rider throws another 20 Euros into the kitty until it runs out
-eahc bike is fitted with gps and the tour's route is programmed into it; riders can choose to leave the group and ride independently, then meet up with the group in the evening at the scheduled lodging stop
-you get to see some unique, special places you might not otherwise find on your own

The disadvantages of the guided tour are:
-you don't get to see what you want to see
-you are constantly being urged to move on to the next destination to maintain the schedule
-the riding pace was very quick in our tour, and we had to ride fast to keep up with the guide
-even though the number of miles/kilometres we travelled per day was not particularly high (compared to touring in North America), the days were long and tiring because the vast majority of roads were tight, twistiing mountain roads, and being a flatlander, not used to riding tight roads for literally hours on end

Some final advice. Choose your tour wisely. Do you want to RIDE? Or do you want to sightsee on a motorcycle?

If you're riding solo, a 650-700cc bike will be just fine. Most of the roads on our Italian tour were secondary highways, so you don't need a large displacement bike. Even on the autostrada, the guide doesn't lead at a high speed, because he needs to keep the group together.

Riding in Italy is VERY different than riding in the U.S. or Canada. Motorcycle riders and car drivers travel VERY fast and although (car drivers especially) are highly aware of motorcyclists and give you room to pass. But riding there is much more stressful than riding here, just because of the sheer volume and density of traffic, and Italians' much more 'cavalier' interpretation of road regulations.

Tim
 

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I've taken two European tours with IMTBike. The first was Morocco and the second was Barcelona-Sardinia-Corsica-France-Andorra and back to Barcelona. The Morocco trip I would consider doing again but take the longer tour. In Morocco we were riding F800GSs, the second trip we were two up, on an R1200RT. The smaller bikes are the way to go, the roads are too tight for American style touring in my opinion. Both tours had us in four and five star hotels. Breakfasts and dinners were provided. You are on your own for lunches although they do have suggestions. The bikes are superbly maintained and you start out with fresh rubber. The big advantage to a guided tour is the paperwork (especially in Morocco) is taken care of. If I were to go to Europe again I would rent bikes from IMTBike and tour on my own. Europe is very easy to get around in but you cannot expect things to be the same as at home. You have to be laid back and just enjoy the ride. In Morocco, the traffic was intense but easy to deal with. Zero road rage (seems to be an American thing), if you need space the drivers will make a hole for you, they also help with passing. Now I'm ready to go again...thanks.

Robert

BTW, I'm 67 and the wife is 66.
 

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My wife and I have taken many overseas trips and have done a couple tours. They were all enjoyable, but the pace in the European tours is very brisk. The most enjoyable time we have experienced was on a trip to Italy, a couple days opened up for us and we decided to rent a 500cc scooter and go adventure riding on our own. The Amalfi coast was our target, so we picked a centrally located air B&B that was near a motorcycle rental place. We expected to wander for a day, but ended up on the scooter for three days at a very relaxed pace. We enjoyed the delightfully twisty roads, absolutely breath-taking scenery and stopped whenever we wanted, enjoying the people, sidewalk cafes and local culture. In three days, we rode many roads, some a couple of times, in opposite directions. There are seacoasts, and mountains and the scooter was plenty for what we wanted.

We will do this again this fall, but havent decided if we will go back there or pick a location further south...

You only live once! Go for it at whatever level you feel comfortable...

:thumbup:
 

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Wish you all the best for your Tour Vito.
You could try something closer to home - where you have considered but not yet gone out there and had a look.
I agree if you dont do it soon you may not do it at all, and also dont discount the option of a smaller and lighter bike for the trip.


Im pretty sure if I get to your 76 years my Wing riding will be a memory and may be on a smaller bike or some sort of 3 wheel rig.
 

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A few years ago the wife and I rented a "Harley" :)crying::crying:) in Alaska, and did some touring.... But she did not like the harley and complained about it being not at all comfy, so we returned early... BUT Alaska itself was beautiful...That I recommend,

Ronnie
 
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