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My Tips for riding abroad but mainly France


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Always Pack light...

Stop Press * The French Road Safety Department has confirmed that: A law concerning the compulsory carrying of a reflective jacket (EN471) and a warning triangle (ECE R27) in France came into force on 1st July 2008. This regulation will be enforceable with on-the-spot fines, the fine will be between 90 and 135 Euros. This does not apply to Riders of two-wheeled and three-wheeled vehicles.

1. Bike preparation. You could be riding 2,000+ miles, make sure a service is carried out prior to going. Check tyres - are they up to the mileage and at the right pressure, also settings of bike and maximum loadings, don’t overload the bike as it will affect the handling or could cause fatigue in the frame and upset the balance/handling. Try your bike out with its loading before setting off; see if you need to ditch anything. Remember your headlamp dip direction adjusters and a GB sticker.

2. Luggage. Choose between hard and soft. Don’t just bungee down a carrier bag. Remember it may rain so if you have soft luggage it will need to be waterproofed – a plastic bin bag is cheap and ideal. If you take hard uggage is it easy to remove? If not, take an insert (carrier bag?) to make it easy to unload. Don’t take too much, you will be wearing most of your kit, and you can easily wash or buy anything you need. Remember to take waterproofs. A tank bag or bum bag is very useful for cash, passport etc, and is easily removed for security, at lunch time or for sightseeing.

3. Documentation. Essential. Passport. Driving licence – if the new photo type, you need to take the translation too. Insurance, remember to activate your green card with your insurer. You will need a bail bond still for Spain (usually part of your insurance) . Registration document – photocopy will suffice. If you have borrowed a bike, you will need copy of the Registration document and a letter of authority from the owner. Remember in Europe new licence holders are restricted to 90 KPH for the first 2 years. Riding age is 18 yrs.

4. Recommended. European breakdown cover (AA 0800 444500 or 0870 2401456. MCN/NCI 0870 9012999 RAC 0800 550055) remember some insurance companies e.g. Carole Nash give free breakdown cover but check. EHIC reciprocal health care (available on-line). European accident statement form (from insurers, comes with green card) Download a copy here. This is a multi language document which is ideal if you are unfortunate enough to have an accident. You might also consider travel insurance if you do ensure it covers you for riding a large capacity bike and if you are carrying a pillion make sure that is included.

5. Spares etc. Tool kit. Torch. Aerosol tyre repair kit. Spare bulbs (compulsory in most of Europe). Spare fuses, Chain lube. Bike lock. You will aslo need to carry a Hi-Vis vest in some European countries so check with the AA if you intend to travel onwards from France.

6. Personal. Sunglasses or tinted visor (not illegal in Europe where they are deemed a safety item!). Sun block. Map (pocket type) even if you have SatNav. Mobile phone – ensure it has Roaming for Europe enabled, if riding in a group pass all numbers between yourselves on the ferry. Have an emergency telephone number in UK that messages can be left at for relaying/passing. Ear plugs. Tie downs/protection for tie downs. On British ferries, your bike will be secured by good tie downs, on French ferries (LD-Lines, eurotunnel), you may have to tie down the bike yourself, the tie downs may be dirty/oily. Protection stops damage to your bike – it can be your riding gloves. Destinations address and phone number. Translator or language dictionary.

7. Riding in Europe. Auto routes in France have service areas every 20 KMS, called ‘AIRES’ they have everything from rest areas and toilets to petrol stations and quality restaurants. The sign on the motorway will tell you what services are available – do not run out of fuel on the auto route, it is an automatic fine. Emergency numbers – yellow box or dial 112 the European-Wide Emergency Number or in France 15 Ambulance, 17 for Police, 18 for Fire. It is COMPULSORY to ride in the daytime with headlights illuminated. Europe take lunch seriousely so ensure that you fill up before noon if you are off the beaten track as they are closed from 12h00 - 14h00. Most things are closed on Sundays except on major routes.

8. Advice. KPH are quickly covered. If you want to know the actual mileage, divide by 8 and multiply by 5. Distances to travel – you will average about 50 MPH if you stop for breaks, 65 MPH if you don’t. That means if you plan to travel 450-500 miles in a day you will be riding for some 10 hours, so set off accordingly. When you go to your bike, it is useful to have a ‘KEEP RIGHT’ reminder on the tank or somewhere visible which you will see when inserting your keys. Also let your credit card company know you are going abroad - nothing more annoying than them cancelling your card because they think it has been stolen and being used abroad.

Further information can be found at http://english.controleradar.org/driving-in-france.php which also has highways information and speed camera locations...

French road signs and what they mean: Some road signs are very similar to those found in the UK - but others you might not have seen - and which might have a completely different meaning than you might think - Here are some worth noting before you ride down to the Ferry... Also remember the French police will be waiting speed gun in hand along the routes to and from the Ferry ports waiting for speeding holiday makers racing to catch the ferry...


The same as the UK however In France ensure you put your foot down and stop. It could be an on the spot fine from a gendarme if you don't stop correctly.


National speed limits are: 50 kph (31 mph) in built-up areas, 70 kph (44 mph) in villages, 90 kph (56 mph) on the open road, 110 kph (69 mph) on dual carriageways, and 130 kph (80 mph) on motorways.


This means you are on the road with priority and you will be passing a junction


This sign means that the next road to your right has right-of-way- this sign indicates you are approaching a side road or crossroad you should give way to vehicles approaching from your right approach with caution.


This sign indicates you are entering a zone where you have priority over any vehicles approaching from junctions on the right (found on main roads and entering a town). .


This sign ends that zone and you no longer have priority over vehicles joining your road from the right.


This sign indicates you are aproaching a speed camera - where you see one of these there will bea speed camera. The camera will be approx 500m from where you see the sign.

They look like this...


Enjoy your trip...

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I would also recommend taking a spare key and alarm fob. I once needed this when my alarm fob packed up whilst abroad.

When on autoroutes have a credit card handy as that makes paying at tolls easier and quicker than fumbling around with money. Them timing you between toll stations and fining you for speeding is an urban myth.

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When on autoroutes have a credit card handy as that makes paying at tolls easier and quicker than fumbling around with money. Them timing you between toll stations and fining you for speeding is an urban myth.


It is but it is worth slowing down when approaching a toll booth and conforming with the seed limit on the approach as the Police (Gendarme) see this as an easy target to use their Radar guns to good effect.

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You can get a tag for the toll booths in France and pay the bill by DD from your UK bank account. The beauty being the time and hassle it can save getting through. It doesn't save you money. In fact there is a small charge of 2 Euros in any month you use it (there is a 10 Euro registration charge but I believe that is taken off your first bill.

First link below is the thread I got this from and the second is the French website (no English) you register at:

http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopi ... highlight=

https://www.telepeagepourtous.fr/fr/par ... /souscrire

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