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In most countries in the world, traffic laws seldom change, but there seems to have been a recent spate of changes in Europe that affect motorcyclists, especially in France. Trying to keep up with and understand the latest laws can be challenging, so I have tried to set out here the main laws that apply to those of us riding motorcycles in mainland Europe.
The country with the most laws affecting motorcycle riders is France and almost every tour in mainland Europe could involve riding in France, so this guide concentrates on French laws.
Many riders think that some of these laws are dumb and infringe on riders personal freedoms. I agree with some of that thinking but I look at it like this: they are fairly easy to comply with and not doing so could result in fines or even points on your licence. Even worse, not complying with these laws could delay you from doing what you are there to do – ride! So, my advice is to respect them anyway.
Several cities in France have recently introduced a new scheme for controlling environmental pollution from vehicles. This scheme is called Crit’Air and it applies to all vehicles (including British cars and motorcycles) wishing to use those cities.
The purpose of the Crit’Air scheme is two-fold. First to stop people from using the most severely polluting vehicles and second to raise money to help pay for anti-pollution measures. While some may see this as yet more French driving laws designed to frustrate the motorist, it is important that you understand what the new laws are, so you do not fall foul of them.
This guide sets out what you need to know and do if you are going to be riding (or driving in France).
It is very cheap and easy to do. We recommend that if you intend riding in or near one of the affected areas you go ahead and purchase a required sticker.
You could of course take the risk of not getting caught, but at the time of writing this guide (March 2017) to purchase a sticker costs just €4.80 so its probably not worth the risk.
Having ridden a 21,475 mile motorcycle road trip around America in four-and-a-half months, I saw and learned a lot about riding in the USA.
There are significant aspects about motorcycling in America that are different from where I live, and so I thought would be useful to pass this information onto other non-American bikers thinking of making a US road trip on a motorcycle.
Hopefully you will find the guide useful.
The Wild Atlantic Way is the coast road on the west coast of Ireland and what a stunning place it is to ride!
As it has become more popular in recent years, I have often been asked what are the best parts of the road to ride.
Here are my top ten, in order of north to south.
Other people may have other thoughts about places that are equally as good, but these are my favourites that I have ridden and seen for myself.
Over many years of making videos of my motorcycle rides, I have tried a number of different ways of mounting a video camera to my bike.
Most have been not very good, resulting in poor quality videos, but a did discover one method which is far better than most.
This guide explains what the mounting system is and where to buy it.
We all know somebody who knows everything imaginable about their Harley-Davidson motorcycle and their knowledge is impressive. They must have spent many hours reading and researching about their bike. We also know somebody that knows almost zero about their bike, apart from how to ride it.
These two extremes are good, for it shows just what a diverse bunch we really are.
Most of us riders are somewhere in the middle – we know a little, but we feel it might be helpful to know a some more.
Here is a simple list of ten things you really should know about your Harley-Davidson.
Knowing what to pack for a motorcycle is always a balance between taking too much stuff and too little. Getting it right is a challenge.
This guide sets out a suggested list for what to pack under different situations. You can tailor this list to suit your own personal needs and it might just make you think about some items that you don’t normally take.
Should you want the list in spreadsheet format, the guide describes how you can get this.
Riders are sometimes caught out at the beginning of the riding season by not being physically fit enough to ride our bikes.
You should think about this, especially if you are about to go on a long ride soon after not riding much over the winter. This guide discusses this.
In many countries in Europe, you need to pay a toll to use their motorways.
This guide sets out what you need to know before your set out on your cross-Europe tour, because if you are going to ride in some countries it is better to take action to pay for tolls BEFORE you get there.
This guide was produced in early 2016 and the information it contains was correct at that time.
Riding in a group can be great fun and making sure nobody gets lost is easy, providing you follow a few simple rules.
Riders in a group sometimes get strung out, due to speed differences, traffic, red lights and any number of other reasons, so making sure you all get back together is important. Nobody likes getting lost!
At Tour1, we take groups of riders on tours throughout Europe and the system we use to make sure we stay together is called ‘The Buddy System’ and this guide says how that system works.
Riding in mainland Europe is slightly different to riding in the UK or other parts of the world.
This guide gives advice about what you should think about before heading out – European laws, documents you should carry, road signs, packing your bike, motorway riding, paying for toll roads and much more.
People who have experience of riding in Europe will of course know much of this, but those who have never ridden in mainland Europe before may find it useful.
Riding in mainland Europe is pretty straightforward, providing you follow a few simple rules. One of those is don’t get caught speeding and of course, knowing the speed limit helps.
But, it is easy to be sometimes riding along, completely oblivious to the speed limit, especially outside of towns where the limits are often not sign-posted.
This guide sets out what the common speed limits are in most of the main European countries.
One day, while out riding, you will wish you knew how to disarm the alarm on your Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Or maybe your friends Harley. I guarantee that one day, this will happen. It could be that you lost your keys, the battery in the fob went flat, or the alarm has been triggered and you cannot turn it off. It WILL happen.
This guide runs you through the steps you need to know to do this. Even if you don’t learn it now, you can look it up later when you are at the side of the road……
Depending on where you live and likely weather conditions, you probably need to do some things to your motorcycle to prepare it for winter. A lot of people ride less in the winter, but like many, you will likely want to both protect it and also keep it prepared for those days when the weather is good enough to go out for a winter ride.
This guide sets out ten things you should consider doing to protect your bike and prepare your motorcycle for winter to have it ready to keep riding in the winter on the days when the weather is better.
In the first of a series of his motorcycling guides, Gary sets out how to plan a long road trip in the USA. He sets out the different types of road trip and what to bear in mind when thinking about such a trip.
He explains what worked for him when preparing for his own tour of the USA.
While most of the information included here relates specifically to the way I planned my trip across the United States, the same general principles would apply to planning road trips across any country.