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Three months around Europe

In May 2011, I will begin a three month motorbike tour of Europe. The plan is to leave UK in mid May , visit the D Day beaches, the Atlantic Coast of France and Spain, down through Portugal, attend a birthday reunion in mid June south of Valencia .

I then will head for the South of France, Italy, ferry to Greece, up through the Adriatic coast , into Austria, Czech Republic, Poland and the Baltic States, then back to UK to meet a new Grandchild .

Although this is the proposed plan, I like to keep my options open- so please don't hold me to my route. The only firm dates I have is the birthday reunion in mid June, home for the Rugby World Cup in September- and some skiing on my beloved Mt Ruapehu.

I currently ride a Suzuki V strom 1000DL and yesterday arrived home after a seven day sojourn through the East Cape, Kawhia to Awakino Road and over Gentle Annie. In November I spent two weeks or so touring the South Island to take in Bert Munro.

Last year I toured Europe on my pushbike following the Danube and the French and UK canals. A blog on my trip can be found on Kiwi along the Danube. The previous year I rode from Singapore to Bangkok.

I have not hung up my cycle clips yet - China and Vietnam is on the menu. However, I just thought it would be fun to try a different mode of transport.

The recent blast around the North Island gave my equipment a good test.
So the main problem I face now is what kind of bike to buy in the UK for my tour. My current front leader is the 650 V strom, although a Yamaha tenere, Transalp or even a KLE500 is on the list. A scour through UK E bay and motorbike mags have all these models in abundance.

So roll on May 8. In the meantime there is a lot of fish and crays to be caught .

  1. Senior Kiwi in Central America part 5


    My trip in Central America is nearly over. I just have a little over 300km to ride from El Tunco back to Guatemala City via Antigua.

    In three months , the Suzuki 125 and I travelled 6000km through five countries - Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica and the only problems were self inflicted when I fell off the bike and broke the clutch lever and the gear shift. I bodged a fix and a local mechanic made a permanent job. Cost $10. ...
  2. Senior Kiwi in Central America part 4

    El Cuco to Leon

    I left El Cuco before the bands got tuned up for the day. It is just over 100km to the Honduras border and having heard horrific tales of the difficulty of crossing the border due to the rapaciousness of the border touts, I wanted to arrive fresh , hydrated and with the right sense of bemusement.

    I needn’t have worried. The little Suzuki flew under the helper’s radar. I could see them poised at the side of the road to the border, sun glinting from ...
  3. senior kiwi in central america blog 3

    It is security gone mad

    I have now been in Central America for a month. When I first said I was coming here to ride a local bike, there were sharp intakes of breath and comments that I should buy a gun and “learn how to use it “

    Admittedly , I have only visited two countries to date but I haven’t felt any real security concerns. The police and military have a strong presence, I tend to stay in at night and only ride during the day.

    Having said that ...
  4. Senior Kiwi in Central America


    I had learned enough Spanish in two weeks to get me into trouble. The time flew by, but I suspect not for my teacher, Byron. He was patient, we sorted out some minor bureaucratic issues with the bike, bought tools, a puncture repair kit and planned a route through Guatemala as he hammered home irregular verbs. How many people can say they were taught Spanish by Byron?

    The first weekend break, I took a trial run to Lago Atitlan. The main town ...
  5. Senior Kiwi in Central America


    I am now in Guatemala, the starting point for a three month motorbike tour of Central America.

    Why Central America? Well I want to learn Spanish. It is a culture I have never experienced and it is small and diverse enough to be interesting and package into the three month window I have available without busting a gut. It caters superbly for my off bike activities of diving and boogie boarding. I want to do the trip on a local bike and Guatemala ...
  6. Central America

    Since my last entry I have been motorhoming through Europe with the handbrake.

    Spain, Portugal, France and presently in Italy.

    We finish this sector of the trip in October, store the van in UK and then I am heading for Guatamela where I intend to spend three weeks taking Spanish lessons , buy a bike and do a Central america tour.

    Will let you know how I get on

    safe riding
  7. The final lap

    I sort of gave up the blog because I spent my remaining time at the Olympics.

    Guess I should finish it though.

    Our next stop in Turkey was Gallipoli- my second visit there and the poignancy was still there. the waste, the cynicism and the misplaced nationalism all seems so futile.

    From here I cut across Greece, which was either closed down or on fire sale, headed up to Montengro and into Albania.

    I tried to buy insurance at the border ...
  8. Kiwi in turkey

    Istanbul to Kusadassi

    One of the drawbacks of travelling in a group, even if it is only two bikes is that it is harder to meet the locals. When you travel alone you have to make contact, but in a group you can sit back and let someone else do it.

    Roz, on pillion, would be our initial contact for hotels and camp sites. John preferred to be more organised , booking ahead and having a daily destination rather than my more makeshift approach of searching for somewhere ...
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