After touring the UK last year on my R1 and really enjoying my first bike tour I have decided to go to France this year and visit a friend over there as well as tour the country but having never taken a bike out of the UK have no idea what other then my passport I'd need to take with me. So any advice would be gratefully received.
Tour in France
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The rules vary slightly in each country but I take a copy of my insurance certificate, a copy of my registration document, the paper part of my license and, of course, my E111 - which is now a card.
Some countries require you to carry your original regitsation document but I don't want to risk losing it and have never had an issue with a copy. I also carry a first aid kit because you never know. Recovery insurance gives you peace of mind. It's not just about how reliable your bike is but IF you break down you could be doing it a long way from home, at night, in the rain and in a country where you do not speak the language. I also let my insrers know I am overseas although with my lot they say you do not have to.
I keep all documents in a proper waterproof document holder together with a list of phone numbers for breakdown assistance, insurance company, ferry company etc.
Oh, and remeber France are just changing their legislation to make the wearing of hi-viz compulsory. Not sure if that's in force yet but its worth checking out.
Just came back from france touring normandy to be honest carry all your paper work, if you ride sensibily it's just the same as this country with police they will leave you alone took hi viz did not need it,remember puncture kit,and unleaded petrol is getting expensive about 1.63 Euro a litre,Have fun
High Viz in France
Hi there and at this moment this is not yet law over here. I think the idea is/was to roll out this european directive first in Germany and France before the rest of the EU but this weekend there were massive demonstrations over here against it by bikers truckers and every day car drivers, so chances are it will be shelved, but for now.....not needed!
we have toured france a few times and have had some great times we stayed at a biker frendly B&B called Lamott nea the normady beachs last year very good. but there are a lot of cheep places to stay just do a bit of foward planning. also go on a site called ebbo there are a number of diffrent tours this guy has writtern about very intresting.
couple of tips 1. keep your paper work accessable but safe 2.get your mates to carry your spair keys & you carry his.3
keep a stash of change accessable for toll roads 4. a few bin liners are allways handy doubls up for rain ware in an emergency etc.
have a good trip and ride safley
Thanks for the advice
I haven't got an E111 so will look into this and didn't know about the hi viz jackets but it sounds like l won't need one.
Can anyone tell me the best and cheapest way of crossing the channel with a bike? I live in Somerset if that makes any difference
Ferries 'n' stuff
Dover to Calais is the cheapest option.
In the past I've used;
LD Lines, Portsmouth to Le Harve. The cheapest I've done it with these guys was £54.00 return. Earlier this year they charged me £110.00 return.
Brittany Ferries, Poole to Cherbourg is my prefered crossing due to the speed. For my trip tomorrow I was charged £190.00 return. September last year the same journey cost £120.00.
I get the impression the ferry companies spin the wheel and pick a number at random when quoting prices. It seems to change daily.
For a cheap place to stay, try Balladins, Hotel Formule 1, Ibis Hotels, Hotel B&B etc..... they tend to be on edge of towns usually near industrial estates and there's loads of them.
The Police in the UK drive around in big cars painted in bright colours and officers wear dayglo jackets. The French Police drive around in dull blue cars, hide behind trees with speed guns and dress in dark blue uniforms. Be careful in the villages and if you see a long straight piece of road in Northern France, be aware of the guy in jack boots at the end of it.
Speed cameras are grey in colour (not yellow like the UK). They're about waist height and are generally always signposted. Most drivers are biker friendly and will warn you of speed traps and cameras. Don't rely on it though.
Watch out for mud on the road and tractors in Northern France around the D-Day Beaches. Lots of farms there.
The scenery is better the further South you go.
Good luck. Have fun.
**Paris warning!!! **
Keep in mind if you ride in Paris it is now illegal to filter. if youve ever seen the bikers there you would know why!
Re: tour in France
All good advice in the previous replies.
About Hi-Viz, if you breakdown in France it is LAW to wear a Hi-Viz for each person on the roadside while you are waiting to be recovered.
Petrol can be bought a lot cheaper (as in the UK) at Supermarkets.Beware that it is also difficult to obtain petrol on a Sunday exept on Motorways.Most petrol stations will only have "pay at the pump" which will not accept UK credit/debit cards.
I love touring France, as my mates said on their first trip- "where's the traffic" So go and enjoy.
The cheapest ferry crossing is usually Dover to Dunkerque with Norfolk line. It is about £70 return travelling at peak times next August.
I always take the Eurotunnel, last time was about £75 return, and it only takes 30minutes (plus no sea sickness for me!)
If I may ask, where is it your friend lives? You never know, we might have options on getting there, routes nearby worth checking out etc. Does your mate ride? Just thinking you could use his/her place as a base if it's in a decent area.....