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Thread: Italy bound, via... ?

  1. #1
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    Italy bound, via... ?

    Hi to all, in Feb or March time I’ll be riding my bike to Ancona in Italy. I’ll be working there for a few years so I’ll be riding there and staying for the duration, hopefully exploring Italy whilst I’m there.

    My question to those of you that have mucho experienceo in traversing Europe is what’s the best route there? I’m happy to take a couple of weeks to do the trip but I’d like to take in the best roads if I can.

    I work at sea and have driven/ridden quite a bit in Europe, but I’ve not always managed to find the best routes. So, hence my request. I was thinking of going to Northern Germany first. I’m starting out from Chester and happy to go pretty much any route within reason.

    So what’s the thoughts? What’s the best roads to check out on the way?

  2. #2
    Not really answering your question over a few weeks ride, but personally in Feb and march any weather can happen, I would personally ride up to Paris, put bike on the train to Nice, and then ride round the coast to Ancona.

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    Or ride to Düsseldorf and get the Nightjet to Innsbruck or Verona. Not far then to get to the warmer parts.

    If you have a GS/A with a taller touring screen it will need to be on the lowest setting, or removed.
    Edited because I cannot type

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by ymfb View Post
    Or ride to Düsseldorf and get the Nightjet to Innsbruck or Verona. Not far then to get to the warmer parts.

    If you have a GS/A with a taller touring screen it will need to be on the lowest setting, or removed.
    Was a thought I had but the Verona train only starts in June till September, but Innsbruck is a solution also, obviously if weather is bad somewhere.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the suggestions. But I will probably ride the whole way. I could always wait for a decent weather window if needs be.

    I suppose to clarify, I’m after “via points” on the way. Such as the Route de Napoleon. It’s these great roads that I’m looking to ride.


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    In February and March ALL roads can be dodgy.
    "I must be traveling on now 'cause there's too many places I've got to see.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Khulu View Post
    In February and March ALL roads can be dodgy.
    And the high passes on the Napoleon will still be closed.

  8. #8
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    Hmm, I suppose I could get the ferry to Santander and make my way that way, what do you think Rick, you coming?

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    Quote Originally Posted by RJP View Post
    Thanks for the suggestions. But I will probably ride the whole way. I could always wait for a decent weather window if needs be.

    I suppose to clarify, I’m after “via points” on the way. Such as the Route de Napoleon. It’s these great roads that I’m looking to ride.


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    I think during February or March the RN will be impassable. I would pick a route though France to Nice then do a left taking the coastal route.
    Give high roads a miss, especially the Alps at that time of the year. There'll be plenty of advice regarding routes through France incoming on here soon.
    It's also worth considering tracking down the Rhine Valley then switching over to France as you get future southish.
    Best get a map out and study to avoid the high stuff. This is a very rough guide but all my travels are like this.
    Bon voyage.


    Edit: just saw post #7.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by RJP View Post
    Hmm, I suppose I could get the ferry to Santander and make my way that way, what do you think Rick, you coming?
    Better still,you fly out and I'll ride the bike down in May

  11. #11
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    ANy interesting roads across the Alps will probably be closed in Feb and March. And traversing Northern France or Germany won't be as much fun in poor weather. You might get a mild week later in March at lower altitudes.

    I think the Santander ferry and ride across Southern France (or even Northern Spain) sounds like a better bet. Won't be hot, obviously, but more likely to be pleasantly mild than trawling down through France.

    As for places to see - well if you haven't been to Carcassonne, that should be on your list. And St Remy de Provence is pretty. Gorge du Verdon too if the weather is good. Or the Cote d'Azur, which is a bit spoiled in summer by traffic, should be good out of season.

  12. #12
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    Good advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Quinten View Post
    ANy interesting roads across the Alps will probably be closed in Feb and March. And traversing Northern France or Germany won't be as much fun in poor weather. You might get a mild week later in March at lower altitudes.

    I think the Santander ferry and ride across Southern France (or even Northern Spain) sounds like a better bet. Won't be hot, obviously, but more likely to be pleasantly mild than trawling down through France.

    As for places to see - well if you haven't been to Carcassonne, that should be on your list. And St Remy de Provence is pretty. Gorge du Verdon too if the weather is good. Or the Cote d'Azur, which is a bit spoiled in summer by traffic, should be good out of season.
    Hi

    I think all the advice given so far is pretty sensible I have ridden most of the routes mentioned however most obvious routes you might take will be closed this time of year

    Regarding Spain I am not sure if the Santander crossing runs in the winter but even if it does it will be pretty rough don’t forget you are going across the bay of biscay

    If it were me I would go across on euro tunnel no sea crossing and ride down through the centre of France there can be some really nice roads we often mis out, to say somewhere like Avignon then on down to the coast and along to northern Italy

    As somebody else said it may well be nicer in the winter with less traffic along the southern coast of France which can be pretty busy normally

    Anyway I am sure you will have a great trip any trip on the bike is better than working

  13. #13
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    I'm Italian. Been here in the UK for 12 years now, regularly ride the bike down to Italy almost every year.

    Thanks for the suggestions. But I will probably ride the whole way. I could always wait for a decent weather window if needs be.
    During winter I normally go through Switzerland to do the passes.
    My normal route to Italy takes 3 days (mini vacation) to Rome.

    Generally I do: London/Nancy, Nancy/Milan (via Switzerland and the Swiss rollercoaster), and then Milan to Rome (where I'm from) or Tuscany (seaside house). This is done via a decent mix of national roads and motorways (when needed and depending on time constraints).
    Riding down to Rome through via Cassia (Tuscany, Val d'Orcia) is really something.


    I've recovered my GS a few year ago from Rome. Following some mechanical woes I shipped it to my mechanic back home. He fixed it.
    We then shipped my mate GS to Rome too. We flew there in March and rode the bikes back.

    March is already pretty warm in Italy. We came back to London passing via Genova and then following the Route Napoleon, stopped in Dijon and then direct to Calais.
    We didn't see too much snow, even going up.

    I should probably still have some of the tracks from that trip.
    Otherwise I should have a number of routes used over the years (car/bike) on Basecamp.

    February, I wouldn't do it.
    March, late March, yes.

    Remember, if you need, there is the Mototrain from Paris to Nice (and other way round of cours ).
    Used it a few years ago as I rode the bike down to Rome for a wedding (5 days turnaround). Saves you roughly one day of traveling.


    I suppose I could get the ferry to Santander and make my way that way
    Yeah.
    You can also go through Tokyo as well.
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  14. #14
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    February is the height of the ski season, work out what that means.

    As er-minio says, later on in March is a much better bet. When we went on the Turkey Trot one Easter (Easter was very early) riding Calais to Milan in a day, straight down the motorways. Had we left a day later, we would probably have got no further than Dijon, as freezing and snow hit central France, shutting the motorway. Sometimes you just have to be lucky.

    Similarly, I have been turned back from Barcelonette in early May, due to late snow but another time sat in 25 c sun in April.

    Take a view next year. Safest option would be to at least investigate the truck prices and fly down.

  15. #15
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    As said you'll need a bit of luck but as you've got plenty of time keep the route down France towards the west coast, generally lower so more chance of rain and less chance of the white stuff. Head east after a brief stop over in Lourdes* and make sure you buy one of those indulgences (or at least an ice cream) before trottin along the med coast, again pretty low. If you hug the coast you can even avoid the really high stuff as cross the border into super mario land. Thereafter you can continue to hug the coast although bypass Genoa it's fecking nightmare as they try and sort out some overpasses that'll actually stay up this time. Alternatively the first couple of hundred miles down the spine is flat as a witches tits before you climb through Tuscany probably avoiding the old panoramica road (just in case).

    Waypoints? Loads, La Rochelle, Bordeaux, how about san sebastian before you head back east? All not too small as it'll be quiet in a lot of places should be good for ourador sur glane along the way too if that takes your fancy.

    Heres another suggestion. Rock along the French med and get to Italy via Corsica and Sardinia although I can't vouch for the ferry schedules at that time of year.

    Or, alternatively, take the ferry from Barcelona all the way to Rome although again whether it runs then you'll have to check. May even be possible to go via the Balearics and/or Sardinia I dunno.

    Of course if you get a decent weather window lots of other suggestions open up as mentioned already.

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  16. #16
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    My parents, regularly had snow and freezing in February in Provence..... where it hits 30 c plus in the summer, without trying.

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