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Andy Smith is a former Police Motorcyclist with years of experience in motorcycle training at all levels. He offers training through 1stClassRider.co.uk, and ride outs through his newsletter blog right here. To contact Andy click here.

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Are you Going?

If you intend crossing the Channel to head for Garmisch for the BMW biker Meeting here is some ‘stuff’ which might be of interest.

It is from my Big Book of Stuff and may not be an exhaustive tome but I’m sure it will work as a guide.

When traveling abroad you must carry you vehicle documents with you.

V5 Vehicle Registration Document, MOT, and Certificate of Insurance.
Please note that the documents must be originals and NOT Photo Copies.

Also you must carry a First Aid Kit, and a Yellow Fluorescent/Reflective Vest. It makes sense to wear the vest but if you don’t want to wear it and pack it in your luggage, it must be readily available. If you get stopped by Monsieur Gendarme and your vest is not on the top of your dirty washing, but packed away at the bottom, you risk an on the spot fine.

Also a spare set of bulbs must be carried. They must fit your vehicle so don’t go to Ikea and get a few spares for your Billy Bookcase Table Uplighter as they won’t do!

I have been told that, in Germany at least, if you need spectacles for riding or driving then you risk a fine if you do not have a spare pair with you. (Makes sense really, but well worth knowing, so get down to Spec-savers now). In any event if you don’t have spare glasses they can fine whatever they want ‘cos you won’t be able to read the ticket without your glasses anyway! So always practice ‘Safe Specs’ and keep a spare set with you.

There is a bit of a misconception that the Gendarmerie don’t worry too much about the speed us Mad Brits travel through their pleasant land but don’t be fooled.

What follows is an extract from the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) Magazine.

The Article entitled French Speed Wars.

MAG members living in France have emailed details of a range of new speed checking devices.

The detectors listed below all come into force on the roads of France this Summer. So be warned.

Type Mesta 2000.
A fixed radar which can check your speed on approach or departing from the fixed point. high quality WiFi pictures. It can also measure the distance between vehicles on the road and record those details. Fixed Penalty notices for the offence of ignoring the ‘Distance de Securitee‘.

Type Mesta 2200
A fixed radar that can record the speed of vehicles in up to 4 lanes of traffic at once, photograph and send images by WiFi.

Type Mesta 3000
A fixed radar for detecting speed in up to 4 lanes, also used at traffic lights and stop signs for non conformers.

Type Mobile 1000.
A moveable radar that actually tells the difference between different types of vehicles,(including motorcycles).

Now get this one!!!!

Poubelle (which is French for Rubbish Bin). This one is for use by being hidden inside an ordinary looking domestic waste bin. The ‘bin’ is then left on the side of the road to catch speeders. Also WiFi and almost impossible to see in advance.

Now, after that….assuming you are still going to make the trip just be warned that French Petrol Stations that advertise 24 hrs Sans Plomb only operate with a Credit Card on Sundays.

Usually it has to be a French Credit card for these auto machines. They are not like Cash Points (which do accept British Credit Cards). The unmanned fueling stations do not. In some of the remote parts of France fuel was scarce on a Sunday and we had to ask a local, who was willing to lead us to a filling station and fill up our 6 bikes on his Credit Card and we all paid him cash. Lucky…. so don’t rely on your luck but fill up at every opportunity if you are traveling a long way on Sunday.

French and Germany have loads to offer. Fantastic Biking roads and locals who are far more biker aware and seemingly biker friendly than we normally find in the UK.

So that is enough Stuff to be getting on with. If I think of anything else I’ll let you know.

But, If you know some stuff of your own which may be any use, please post a comment and share it with fellow bloggers.

The World is full of Stuff!

Bon Voyage Mes Amis.

Next UK Ride Out; Sunday the 13th of July. Starting in Cardiff, over to Chepstow and then up the Border to North Wales. Further details on my return from Germany.

There Are 7 Responses So Far. »

  1. Don’t forget the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card), the modern replacement for the E111 pan-European health cover, the card normally is valid for 4/10 years.

    You can apply for free online at http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Healthcare/Healthadvicefortravellers/DH_4135688.

    A friend crashed this year on tour in Europe and the first question from the ambulance team attending site was “Do you have medical cover or insurance?”, before they would start any treatment!!

    So, by all means cover the bike but don’t forget yourself!


  2. I’d just like to wish you a good trip, wish i could have joined you. You’ll be sick of the site of BMW’s by the time you get back!!!!

    Ride Safe!


  3. Just a reminder most cameras are brown boxes at ground level, but have a warning sign 800 or so yards before. Have notice hand helds lurking in the villages too, but we all keep to the limits there.
    Did you mention asprin for the day after the beer tent? Have a good trip, Steve

  4. Cheers Craig. Good point about the E111. I forgot to mention that. It used to be a paper booklet and form stamped at the Post Office, but it is now a plastic ‘Credit Card’ sized card.

    As Craig says without it you won’t get reciprocal Health Service care.

    Also, Headlight deflectors. Headlights are needed at all times and deflectors are required to prevent dazzle as our lights are aimed the wrong way for riding on the right.

    Oh yes……Ride on the Right! (or not even your E111 will save you)

  5. Hi Andy,
    I’m gutted that I can’t make it this year,so I’m booking early for next year
    How about, warning triangles I know in Spain you must carry 2 also fire extinguishers are compulsory there so it may be the same in Germany and France.And just to cap it off and in case anyone decides to buy a German reg beema while they are out there check that you can drive on UK licence things change once you drive a vehicle that is not a hire car but registered there,you may need an international drivers licence – it happened to me.

  6. Something else just occurred to me.

    Beware in France. In France a headlight flash means (exactly what it should mean in the UK- but we misuse it) In France it means ‘I am coming through’.

    So if Mad Pierre flashes his headlight at you. Don’t…. No I mean DON’T, take it as an invitation to pull out in front of him. It means, I am here and I’m coming.

    Alternatively… if you flash (kindly) at a nice French driver intending to let him out, and he doesn’t move, that is the reason. (He doesn’t trust you!)

    And in reply to Stuarts’ warning about buying a German Be EM. Buy a bike!! Bloody Hell. I’ve only just saved enough for a Giant Bratwurst and a Stein of Amber Fizzy Stuff.

    Also, in preparation for my visit I am taking an express course in the German Language.

    I haven’t bought a CD Rom but I’ve been doing all my shopping in Lidl!

  7. The Fuel situation is getting better as the old pumps are being replaced with chip and pin pumps which do take UK credit cards, only once on my recent trip did I find a pump that didn’t take my credit card.

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