First bike you took onto the Continent

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First bike you took onto the Continent

Post by briantheb » Sat Mar 25, 2017 10:20 am

I Have been reading the thread regarding midweight adventure bikes and the joy some got from their early biking experiences on much smaller bikes and this reminded me of my first trip to the continent on a 1983 XL250R.
Off on a whim, no fancy gear, Ashman Boots, Jeans, my TT Leathers Enduro jacket and some flimsy hiking waterproofs. No dedicated luggage either just whatever I had - think I used a tent bag for much of my gear. We Crossed the channel at Portsmouth to St Malo (after asking was thrown a bit of old rope to secure the bike) arriving in thick damp fog, off down through France without a clue but a big smile. Didn't take to the wrong side of the road till pulling out of a car park in La Rochelle !
Along the North Coast of Spain, St Vincente, Guernica, Benavente and into Portugal crossing the border via some little back road to Braganza (the border guard sitting in his vest sunning himself jumped up in amazement when we arrived - Had his picture taken with the bikes though). Porto, down the coast to Aveiro and as far south as Coimbra. Crossed back into Spain at Miranda do Douro, Zamora, Aranda de Duero, Tarazona, Zaragoza, Jaca and into the Pyrenees. Lourdes, and then the dash to Calais going through Paris and Lille. All in less than a fortnight !
Nowadays it takes weeks of screen time planning routes etc. big monstrosity of a bike, Gortex this n that, luggage that costs more than a wee bike would, enough gear and provisions to cover every eventuality.

The difference - if you screwed up then then you were a mad young thing if you screw up now you'd be a 'silly old sod' and 'what were you thinking' :laugh:

Maybe there's another thread in this - bikes we should have kept ?

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Re: First bike you took onto the Continent

Post by SteveW » Sat Mar 25, 2017 10:44 am

Actually thinking back I didn't take a bike across the channel in my youth. I'd say my first trip on continental Europe would have been on my ZZR1100 about 20 years ago, in my Thirties. A trip to Normandy and then on to Ypres.
I've got an XR250r now though! It's a 2004 bike.

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Re: First bike you took onto the Continent

Post by dubber68 » Sat Mar 25, 2017 11:20 am

Mine was on a GPz305 two up with full camping gear. Like yourself I had improvised luggage consisting of 2 canvas rucksacks as panniers and another rucksack with the shoulder straps over the tank as a tank bag. Great trip and lit a fire in me that has never gone out. I also yearn to go back to that simpler style of travel and may go back to basics this year.
I work to live. I live to ride. I ride to work, Ever felt like your going in circles.

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Re: First bike you took onto the Continent

Post by Simon_100 » Sat Mar 25, 2017 11:27 am

Mine was a Dnepr with sidecar in March of 1991. I din't need to improvise luggage as such as it all went in the chair, but I used it to 'camp' in my, as then, unrestored cottage in the Pyrenees for a month - likewise staying at various unrestored houses that belonged to friends in France on the way down - so found out what the true meaning of 'cold'!


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Re: First bike you took onto the Continent

Post by Spike941 » Sat Mar 25, 2017 12:03 pm

Took a 1981 Kawasaki Z1000LTD over to Cherbourg in 1984, and rode down to Andorra with my then girlfriend, now ex wife. Camped all the way bar the last night following a day of heavy rain. Cycle panniers and an old army kitbag for luggage, un-armoured cheap leathers, regular jeans and some lightweight walking waterproofs. Things have come a long way since then. Try not to ride if it's raining these days. If memory serves me right, I purchased a litre of duty free Scotch for £1. Decent stuff too.

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Re: First bike you took onto the Continent

Post by frenchy3 » Sat Mar 25, 2017 12:39 pm

I didn,t go biking on the continent until relatively recently 2000. I took my Kawasaki KLX300 to Potes and the Picos mountains,we took motocross gear and didn,t realise how cold it was up in the mountains.

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Re: First bike you took onto the Continent

Post by herman » Sat Mar 25, 2017 12:42 pm

An early eightees trip on a GS550e solo got me hooked.
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Re: First bike you took onto the Continent

Post by Tramp » Sat Mar 25, 2017 1:47 pm

Honda mt50 when i was sweet 16.5 idea didnt care they where the days....Preston to Paris and back at 34.77mph lol.....

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Re: First bike you took onto the Continent

Post by Big Red » Sat Mar 25, 2017 2:51 pm

First trip abroad was 1984 on a gl1000 goldwing. Riding across the car park at Harwich the rear brake failed and I almost ran a mate over. Got it repaired in Holland ad had a fantastic easter weekend. Late on the same year took the same bike back to Europe and the morning of the ferry we were running about an hour late with about 90 miles to do. We got the bikes loaded and my bike wouldn't start..... the reg/rec was faulty and it had boiled the battery dry. Once again it was repaired in Holland. At the time I was 27y/o. Fast forward to 2007. A K1200lt everything checked and double checked, and the bike bought specifically for the trip and off we went. Pulling up to our hotel on the second night, I felt a vibration through the footrests. Next day it was onto a recovery vehicle to the local Bmw dealer. Does anyone see a pattern here??? I think all of the bases of stupidity have been covered by me

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Re: First bike you took onto the Continent

Post by ChasF » Sat Mar 25, 2017 2:58 pm

My first bike trip to Europe was on my Le Mans to the pLe Mans 24 hour bike race in 1984 and again later the same year to Paul Ricard for the Bol d'Or. Both trips were on a wing and a prayer, no kit worthy of note, even my waterproof oversuit wasn't. Everything was strapped on the rack with bungies - but I met numerous others on both trips that made me appear almost professional :)

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