The Sahara and Us Morocco 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Why we Travel by Motorcycle

A lot of people look at us weird when we tell them we are travelling by motorcycle in Europe. They ask why, then ask Sandra where does she put all her stuff, then shake their heads. But everyone who rides understands.

Sport of Riding
First of all motorcycle riding is a sport, and doing it just for its sake is reason enough. It is great stress relief and the wind seems to blow your cares away. This is coupled in Europe with the fact that motorcycling actually began there, and people have a great respect for motorcycles.  It’s such a difference to here where motorcycling has been marginalized  by the evolution of the 1% crowd and the posers who leave the sport with a different connotation.

What we do is determine our route based on the places we want to see, then consult resources like “BestAlpine Roads’ or Horizons Unlimited (HU) to connect the dots between these places. Rarely will we drive just for the sake of covering ground. And many times HU members will join us on rides because they like to do it just as much as you.

Love to Travel
Secondly we love to travel and being able to couple sport riding and travel together is a real bonus. It wouldn’t be the same if we sat in a plane 30,000 ft above Europe to travel between cities, or even on a high speed train travelling 300 kph. (That’s neat though as an experience) past the Rhine valley countryside.

Manoeuvrability and Visibility
On a motorcycle you have unobstructed vision of things around you. They are not broken up into pieces blocked by a roof,  and front window pillars etc. You have a view limited only by your own peripheral vision.

Without a doubt motorcycling is one of the most manoeuvrable  forms of travel. And in Europe with parking almost non existent the fact that you can park on a sidewalk, and often at a B&B or small hotel they will invite you to park in their lobby, safe and out of the elements, why wouldn’t you take advantage of it.

Not to mention that lane splitting is done by all motorcycles over there. In 2004, as we were heading back to Apeldoorn ND, we were on an autobahn when it ground to a halt. 4 lanes in our direction were stopped as far as the eye could see. We began lane splitting. People could actually be seen moving their cars farther apart to let us get through. After about 15 kms. of splitting we found a side highway that we took and cut cross country to get back to Apeldoorn in time to receive a package we had mailed to ourselves.


Statue of Liberty and Eiffel Tower, Paris
This is what I saw when I pulled up onto a sidewalk in Paris in 2004 to ask directions. In the foreground  you see the original Statue of Liberty and of course the Eiffel tower in the background.

If you are renting a motorcycle in Europe it will be more expensive than a compact car, but when you ship your own motorcycle over for periods great than 5 weeks in duration, then motorcycling on your own bike just got very cost effective.  And of course the storage of it over in Europe is quite inexpensive as well.

Sensory Experience
The most important benefit you get from combining motorcycling and travel is the activation of a complete sensory experience. As we drove through Europe in 2004 and 2006 there were a lot of WOW days. Europe was developed on the feudal system where a village would house several farm yards, and all the needed facilities such as bakery, restaurant, and homes. As we would enter a village you can smell the flowers in the flower box at the window sill right beside the road. The appetizing aromas of the bakery are memorable, and so are the odours of the barn as you pass.

Dobio Toblac Italy
Because your vision isn’t obstructed you can follow an object as it passes completely around you, and of course you can hear everything because your hearing isn’t limited by a sealed car, perhaps playing music as well to keep you entertained. The bike is doing the entertaining for you.

This scene (right) came into view and caused us to change the direction we were travelling.You have to ride a set of mountains that look like that.

Stay tuned for our experiences on this trip!

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