European Travel

Euro Tripper’s Check list

If you're taking a motorbike trip to Euroland, Here's a useful checklist of things to take, and a few basic legal requirements.

With a bit of a "French Bias" as we like it there!

 

Legal Requirements

Driving Licence
Must be carried with you when travelling through EU countries (UK being an exception as you have 5 days to produce it).
 
 

Insurance
May be required to produce on demand. Green card not required but check your policy as your insurer may require that you notify them instead.  (On French vehicles a certificate of insurance must be attached to the vehicle like our tax disk foreign drivers must produce certificate on demand) 

 

Passport
Advised to carry as proof of nationality. Required for entry / exit of country

 

MOT
Advised to carry although a spot check will assess the vehicle, it’s a handy backup
 

Log Book (V5C)
Proof that the bike belongs to you.

 

Bulb-Kit
French law requires all vehicles to carry spare bulbs and fuses. Motorcycles don’t need a warning triangle but you are advised to wear hi-viz during road-side repairs.

 

Self-test Breathalyser Kit.

Not now legally required to be carried by all drivers/riders in France.   2 sets of French –legal ones—were required (i.e. carry a spare) If you have bought some, take them with you.

They were available on Ferries & French Petrol Stations etc.
 

Breakdown Cover
Advised. It could be a long way to push it home

Headlights On
Not Yellow. White headlights are fine, although headlight deflectors are required. (Bit of insulation tape will do).

Crash Helmet
French law requires you to wear a crash helmet. They don’t say where but advise wearing it on your head not on your arm as that’s asking for a “tug”
 

GB Sticker
If you don't have a European GB section on your number plate (the blue bit) you will need a GB sticker... Back to Halfords.

 

Other stuff / advice

Hi-Viz clothing. 

Not yet a legal requirement in France but legislation likely to introduce it for bikers in late 2012/2013 (It didn’t happen but wear it anyway, especially in bad visibility or at night).Advised to have available to wear at road-side breakdowns (necessary for car drivers).

European Health Insurance Card (previously E111)
UK medical cover when travelling in EU countries. Simple plastic card - application form from Post Office or obtain on-line  -www.nhs.uk/healthcareabroad

Ferry / Train Ticket

Otherwise you've wasted your time sorting out the above!

Ear Plugs
Riding higher speeds (especially on faster continental roads) without earplugs will damage you hearing, but the fatigue from excessive noise may damage your life expectancy!

Credit Card
Not just for fuel, but those on the spot speeding fines. (Worth carrying with you)

First Aid Kit
Optional, Plasters, bandage, antiseptic cream, any medication you require and....the best hangover cure you know.

Personal Insurance
It’s up to you if you want to take out private travel insurance e.g. Boots Travel Insurance etc

Phrase book
Optional. I just point and look stupid. Seems to work.

 

You and Your Motorbike

 (If it needs a service, do it before you travel!)

Tyres
Tyres must be in good condition and have sufficient tread for the trip. 1.6mm across 3/4 of the tyre is the limit. How much tread you need before the trip depends on how long your tyres last and how long your trip is. If you get 5000 miles out of a tyre (6mm to 1.6mm) and you are going to do 2500 miles then you need at least 3.8mm (5000 miles = 4.4mm (6mm-1.6mm) So 2500 miles will use 2.2mm+ the 1.6mm. Hence minimum required = 3.8mm)

Tyre Pressure
Check tyre pressures, may need to be increase them a bit if carrying weight (Check owner’s manual) Higher speeds and extra load increases tyre wear.  If away for a long time -check them regularly.

Oil
Check level. If changing oil / filter ensure this is done at least 100 miles prior to the trip (ensures it’s OK). If using a lot of oil, take some with you. Motor oil is easy to obtain at garages / supermarkets.
 

Fuel
Fill up when leaving Home (ferry advice is travel empty.) This might help when handling bike on ferry don’t take full fuel containers on board. French fuel should now be a bit cheaper than here?
If you intend to carry extra fuel it must be in an EU approved container, ensure the container does not leak and it’s secured towards the back of the bike away from the exhaust / engine and protected from direct sunlight. 

Chain
Ensure chains and sprockets are in reasonable condition. And correctly adjusted. 

Chain Lube
Take some with you, Ensure pressurised container is carried away from engine and out of direct sunlight

Tools

You may need to adjust drive chain / change a bulb, carry the tools required.
 

Carrying a load (No not her/him!)
Heavy items should be carried as low and as far forwards as possible. E.g. put weight in tank bag and panniers not top box. Heavy weights high up on the back of the bike will affect the handling (badly). Remember more weight takes longer to stop. 

Punctures
Unlikely. However you could purchase a tubeless puncture repair kit if you want to. It’s basically a rubber “bung”, insertion tool and glue. Remove puncturing object, glue hole & “bung strip” push into hole with   insertion tool, remove insertion tool, trim off excess “bung” inflate tyre.  Best / cheapest inflator can be found in the bicycle     section of Halfords. This is a small brass valve adaptor with a CO2 cylinder. Get 2 extra CO2 cylinders as a M/C tyre will need 3 at least.  Check pressure before proceeding or at earliest opportunity.

Money €€€€
We’re talking Euros. No panic with travellers’ cheques etc. Exchange some cash prior to travel or on the boat. Cash Point cards “Maestro”, “Cirrus” Visa etc., will work in French cash point machine (most with English text). Remember your pin number. Most credit cards taken in just about any shop / restaurant / filling station. Note filling stations are often closed on Sundays except motorways or only take local country’s credit cards (i.e. not UK ones)

Security
Obviously no drugs or weapons through Customs. Ensure documents, credit cards, money, passport and tickets etc. are transported separately and can be easily detached from your motorcycle and carried with you. (Stops them getting stolen from unattended bike)

Speed
Don’t speed in town, the police can catch you on their unrestricted mopeds. They want payment on the spot so you need the credit card. Towns are the hot spots.  Radar cameras are quite common on main routes and not highly visible like ours.  So be alert for road-side warnings.  (Mobile units can be deployed, as in Britain)

Police cars (French)
Often dark blue saloons normally with a small blue “nipple” on the top. Rather hard to spot. Fewer of our expensive high performance ‘day-glow can’t miss um’ jobs. Police travel in threes. Nice cop, nasty cop and the one with the gun (he’s in the back)

Roundabouts
A lot less than the UK but it is all back to front so be extra careful. Usually priority is from the left but watch out for traffic from the right which may have priority (now less common) unless junction is white lined.

Traffic Lights (French)
Not as easy to see as UK. No second traffic light on opposite side of junction instead small repeater half way down post on right. Flashing amber means proceed with caution

Keys & Lock

Take a spare key for both your motorcycle and any additional lock(s) you use

And Finally ...... When in EurolandRide on the right. Danger comes from the right, shoulder / head checks left, life saver right.