Archive for the ‘European Tours’ Category

Side Stand Up

Side Stand Up : The World's Only Motorcycle Radio Road Show

Sarah & Christopher: Thank you to Tom and Jerry at Side Stand Up for having us on the show! We had a great time and hope we can be on again in the future! Check out Side Stand Up online and the episode from July 15, 2008.


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Sarah: Chris, our friend Dan, and I took a motorcycle trip from Kaiserslautern in an attempt to show off some excellent roads to Dan through the Black Forest. Dan was visiting from Bamberg and we were excited to have him along on a long trip. The map shows an approximation of our route… An approximation because the trip became a little side tracked after an accident outside of Steinen (I will leave that amusing story for Christopher’s post:)) The trip was 4 days with a stop in Baden Baden, Bad Bellingen, Luzerne, and lastly, in a small town near the Bodensee.

The weather was up and down; lots of pouring rain with occasional dry spells. The ride home was probably one of the longest I can remember (even though it was only a few hours). Chris and I had to ride home 2-up on my motorcycle as his was no longer drivable and was on it’s way to the Suzuki shop (thanks ADAC). Plus, during the ride home, it poured like I’d never seen Germany pour before and became absolutely freezing! But we made it back in one piece!

Oh and Dan… thanks for the sushi and sake ūüôā

Christopher: Ah yes, the trip through the Black Forest with Dan. ¬†That was quite a memorable experience.¬†¬†We¬†had orginally planned to head to the¬†Alps, but we got a little side tracked after day one.¬†¬†You’ll see what I mean in a¬†bit.¬†

Dan¬†met us at our house from¬†his place in Bamberg, which is about 4 hours away from Kaiserslautern.¬† We¬†took off the¬†next morning to Bad Bellingen, passing through¬†Baden¬†Baden, where we got¬†caught in a severe rain storm.¬† Perhaps¬†some foreshadowing going on?¬† Well, we¬†try to wait it out, but it¬†kept going, so we pressed on.¬† As we travelled¬†south, the rain let up a bit, and we¬†decided to stay¬†the night in Bad Bellingen.¬† Nice,¬†quaint¬†town¬†(aren’t they all in Germany?).¬†¬†So day one was complete and we were exhausted, even though it wasn’t a very¬†long ride at all, well, distance wise.¬† Day two was a little overcast,¬†but dry.¬† Headed south on all backroads, as usual, and everyone was riding at a brisk clip throught¬†the windy roads of the forest.¬† Great fun and awesome scenery, albeit kind of blurry, tee hee.¬†

Anyways,¬†the trees¬†start to dissipate¬†as we¬†begin exiting the forest, and we are now¬†heading towards a T intersection.¬† We need to turn right, and I was¬†lead rider.¬†¬†Approaching the intersection, I slow down,¬†checking for cars coming from the left.¬† Now comes the fun part.¬† A car is coming from the left, but as lead rider, I can carry the right turn with no risk, as there isn’t a stop sign.¬† I know, however, that¬†the rider behind me (Dan) won’t make that right turn in time,¬†unless¬†he gets on the throttle.¬† I also know that the third rider (Sarah) won’t make it, even with a lot of throttle, due to the timing of the car coming from the left. ¬†

I begin to slowly come to a stop, as to not separate the group.¬† Well, the next thing I¬†know, I hear a delicious crunch from the rear of my bike, and I am¬†airborne.¬†¬†I get blasted off my seat to an altitude high¬†enough for me to actually straddle my windshield with my legs (imagine the old¬†game of leap frog).¬† Due to my ninja reflexes, I¬†land on my feet, but¬†stumble a bit forward (I’m not really a ninja).¬† Remember that car coming from the left?¬†¬†I did, too, and immediately jumped backwards¬†into the grassy shoulder of the road onto my back so¬†I wouldn’t become the hood ornament of that Seat (pronounced see-aht it’s a Euro brand¬†of car).¬†¬† The Seat honks and drives by.¬† Nice guy.¬†

I get up and look at my bike and realize that Dan had just rear ended me.¬†¬†His front tire hit my rear tire¬†square in the¬†center.¬† Amazing aim.¬†¬†The 2004 SV650S had a smashed rear end, and Dan’s 2004 Bandit had a equally smashed front¬†end.¬†¬†Both of the bikes were laying on the ground.¬† I should’ve done chalk outlines for effect…

Sarah pulls up and we have a big laugh about the whole thing and go about our way.¬† Man that would’ve been nice.¬† We actually look at Dan and politely ask him, “What the &%#!!”

It turns out that he decided to get on the throttle because he thought that I was going keep going.  He kept his eyes on the car coming from the left to make sure he got his timing right to make the turn.  He never saw me slow down.  So all those times I told him to kiss my ass, he actually did it.

I have to add here that Dan is, in fact, one of my closest friends.¬† If you read in the “About Us” tab, you’ll see that Dan is the one who introduced us to motorcycling.¬† We’ve been buds for a looong time (went through Army training together, stationed in Germany together and deployed to Afghanistan together). The only thing that concerned me at the time was our well being.¬† We both walked away just fine, and bikes can always be replaced…a life can’t.¬†¬†

So he’s okay, I’m okay, bikes not okay.¬† We ride…no, limp the bikes¬†into the town of Steinen.¬† (Luckily , it was a nice, quaint town of course,¬†so I wasn’t in such a bad mood) The yellow SV and the¬†blue Bandit were rideable, but Dan’s¬†brakes were shot (both for some reason).¬†¬†We¬†called up ADAC (kind of like AAA), and they¬†came and picked up the bikes and¬†brought them back to our respective hometowns.¬†

Was that the end of the trip?¬† Nope.¬† Not by a longshot.¬† Sarah and I went two¬†up on her FZ6, and Dan, well, he rented a car.¬†¬†The three of us continued the trip, as outlined by Sarah’s comments,¬†and had a blast.¬† Switzerland is beautiful, and we enjoyed ever minute of the¬†trip…especially since we got to dump¬†all of the¬†moto luggage with Dan and he paid for all the food on the trip.¬†¬† The sushi and sake¬†in Luzerne was fabulous.

Dan, you know we love you…¬†¬†¬†

Mileage: 788 km/490 mi round trip ‚Äď 15 hours 27 mins: 2005

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Bitche RouteSarah: Bitche, France is another place we motorcycled to frequently while living in Germany. Bitche is a very small town with tons of history. This map shows one of the routes we took to Bitche.

Christopher:¬† This was an easy day trip for us (many times).¬† It was really neat to cross the border and see the signs change, as well as the scenery.¬† Like Sarah said, a lot of history.¬† On this route, we’d drive by the Maginot Line (terrific idea!), and end up at this neat fortification in Bitche.¬† If you visit, take the audio tour…it’s actually an audio and olfactory tour.¬† Every room you go into is scented (some quite strongly)¬† to really make you feel like you’re there.¬†

Mileage: 148 km/92.0 mi round trip‚Äď about 3 hours: 2005-2006

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Sarah: Chris and I took several trips to and through Baden-Baden, Germany, but this was the only one we actually stayed and spent a day at the baths (and actually took pictures which we usually forget to do!). This map is one way we took to Baden-Baden and a few pics.

Christopher:¬† Riding to and through the Black Forest was great.¬† It¬†was a¬†spectacular corridor to¬†Switzerland, and this trip we decided to actually stay in Baden-Baden, home of the¬†Roman Baths.¬† The place can be touristy, but there’s no other place in Germany like it.¬† I loved the bathes, but they are definitely not for the modest.¬† No, you can’t¬†wear your¬†swim trunks in the bathe and just sit around watching.¬†

Mileage: 236 km/147 mi round trip ‚Äď about 4 hours 43 mins: 2005

At HotelStreetsMotors in Baden-Baden

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Sarah: This trip took several weeks to plan. I booked hotels, ferries, planned routes, and stops while living in Germany while Chris was deployed to Afghanistan. The trip was during his 6 month R&R in late summer 2005 and we took a week and a half for the entire trip. We used “Motorcycle Journeys Through the Alps and Route mapCorsica” by John Hermann as a guide which helped incredibly for planning our trips around Corsica. We definitely need to return and cover the other roads we didn’t have time to travel while we were there.

Christopher: There wasn’t a better way to spend my “Rest and Relaxation” from Operation Enduring Freedom VI than to go on this spectacular trip, planned by my spectacular wife! Sarah put in a lot of work to get this together…hell, I just got off the plane and the bikes were ready to go!

Route: The first few days we took it easy since it was almost entirely on the Autobahn. We needed to get to the ferry launch in Nice, France as quickly as possible so we could enjoy the majority of our time motorcycling around Corsica.

Day 1: Drive from Kaiserslautern, Germany to Andermatt, Switzerland: 482 km/300 mi ‚Äď 4 hours 38 mins.

Day 2: Andermatt, Switzerland to Nice, France: 495 km/307 mi ‚Äď about 4 hours 59 min

Day 3: Morning ferry from Nice, France to Bastia, Corsica: 252 km/157 mi (www.corsica-ferries.de) Motorcycled around northern coast and stayed in Bastia.

Day 4: Bastia to Porto: 133 km/82.9 mi ‚Äď about 2 hours 4 min

Day 5: Relax Day: We hiked through the mountains and motorcycled around the coast.

Bastia to PortoDay 6: Rented a boat from Porto Marine and spent the day on the water and beach.

Day 7: Porto to Bastia where we boarded the night ferry to Nice: 133 km/82.9 mi ‚Äď about 2 hours 4 min

Day 8: Nice, France to Nyon, Switzerland: We took most roads that avoided the autobahn. Riding in the sun and pouring rain! Approx. 460 km/286 mi ‚Äď about 7 hours 59 m

Day 9: Nyon, Switzerland to Kaiserslautern, Germany: 547 km/340 mi ‚Äď about 5 hours 2 mins

Approximate Mileage: 2502 km/1555 mi – about 26 hours: 2005

LuggageSwiss rainCorsica FerryPorto, CorsicaLuggageSarah OverlookIn the queue, waiting for the ferryGet the rain gear out!Tired of driving

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Bamberg Route

Sarah: Chris and I drove to Bamberg to see a friend of ours who was living there while we were in Kaiserslautern. This map shows our route (no autobahn!).

Mileage: 614 km/381 mi rount trip ‚Äď about 10 hours 48 mins: 2005

Christopher: No autobahn is right. In Germany it is possible to move about the entire country without hitting much autobahn. We always avoided the autobahn as much as possible when we rode the bikes (I left that duty to the BMW car…average driving speed: 120 mph….yes 120 and totally safe, but that’s another topic). We tried to stick to the backroads at all times, however, it was double edged sword. On one hand, you get lots of twisties and scenery, but on the other, it takes a loooong time to go long distances. Well, the choice wasn’t too hard for us…keep the boring straights and superslabs, and give us the “ride a motorcycle like a real motorcycle” roads with a dash of sore ass.

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Frequent RoutesSarah: Here is a map that shows frequent trips Christopher and I would take around Kaiserslautern. This is not, by any means, all of the routes we’ve taken! But it’s enough to show you all the great roads near us!

Christopher:¬† Even if you’re in a big city in Germany, you ride for less than five miles and you’ll hit some awesome roads.¬† We lived right in the downtown area of Kaiserslautern, and it took only five minutes before we were out in the twisties. The abundance of prime motorcycling roads is amazing.

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