Questions, advice for solo sport touring in Europe

by Carrie
(Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA)

Me and my old boyfriend (in the back), at the Ducati factory, 1989

Me and my old boyfriend (in the back), at the Ducati factory, 1989

Greetings -- I am a female motorcyclist (American) and have been riding for about 25 years. I am going to a work conference in Amsterdam in late May, and I just got a wild hair to extend my stay and rent a motorcycle in Amsterdam and do some solo sport touring around Germany.

The last time I did something like this was at the age of 24 with an old boyfriend, and we flew our bikes from San Francisco to Lisbon (he had a Moto Morini Camel and I had a Yamaha XT 600) and we spent 2 months on enduro bikes driving all over Morrocco, then back up to Europe, through Spain, France, Switzerland and Italy (and yes, we visited the Ducati factory), then back to the US.

I'm partial to the enduro bikes and sport touring / cafe bikes. Past motorcycles I've had include Moto Morini 500 sport, Moto Morini Camel, Yamaha XT 600 and probably my all-time favorite that I'm still kicking myself for selling before I got married, a 1984 BMW R65 LS.

Flash forward 25 years and now I am a newly divorced 49-year old woman who has kept her motorcycle license, but who hasn't been on a motorcycle for many, many years, and I am planning to do this solo.

I've love to get any insights from other women motorcyclists since it's been so long on a bike, and since I've never done a solo tour in Europe. Any tips about safety, driving, etc. I am a seasoned traveler, so I am aware of the woman traveling alone advice, but I'm more interested in road safety, specifics of Germany if anyone's been there recently, and other suggestions that would be helpful for planning my trip.

I found a place in Amsterdam that rents motorcycles, and I think the BMW R1200 ST will be my best bet -- great sport touring bike and hefty yet light enough for distance and comfort with lots of luggage and power to take advantage of some of the German roads.

Have any of the women motorcyclists had similar trips or anything that would be helpful in planning this trip?

Just for grins, I have uploaded a few pictures of my 1989 trip to the Moto Morini and Ducati factories in Italy.

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Aug 22, 2013
From a bloke, sorry
by: DL1000

I'm a UK guy, so can't comment on the 'girl' side of things but I do bike in Europe regularly and thought might pass on a few tips etc. Germany roads are good, people are pleasant including when driving cars. Autobahns brings out the best with very polite driving. Town roads and bikers are expected to behave, no speeding or splitting lanes. France: Off the beaten track you will own the road, French love bikes, except around Paris. Lots of unmanned fuel stations so ensure your credit card works with chip & pin technology. Bikers are required to wear hi-viz vests, carry spare bulbs. Carrying your own breathlyser as a requirement was abandoned. Swiss dont seem to like bikers. Police seem to be very interested in stopping you. Lane splitting is illegal and car drivers actually pull across you if you attempt it. We've never had a problem getting a hotel and most offer off road parking when they see the bike. We dont pre-book just stop in a reasonable sized town around 4pm and try and find a hotel. Being an English speaker makes things so much easier. If going thru Germany the Black Forest is good on the B500 from Baden Baden to Freudenstat. Swiss Alps avoid on a Sunday as all the locals are out so its like a race track. Enjoy

May 13, 2013
Novice here so no advice
by: Shay

But just wanted to comment how awesome it is that you're doing this. I wish you safe and fun travels. I hope to do trips like this one day after I have more miles under my belt.

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