With Covid-19 travel restrictions set to be relaxed soon, many bikers will be itching to pull on the leathers and set out on a European motorbike tour.
Road trips in Europe are journeys of discovery and judging by sales of adventure and touring bikes they are more popular than they ever have been.
Whether it’s a short hop across to the Loire Valley, a trip to the Costas, heading north to Fjords of Norway or east to Turkey and beyond, there’s nothing quite like a European motorbike tour.
But you won’t get anywhere if you don’t do the right research and have the correct paperwork when you set out.
Which licence do I need for my European motorbike tour?
You will need a full UK motorcycle licence for your European motorbike tour. While the Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) licence will allow you to ride your bike in the UK, try to use it across the Channel and you’ll find yourself in hot water.
Which other documents do I need for my European motorbike tour?
When riding in Europe other essential travel documents you will need include the following:
International Driving Permit (IDP)
This allows you to ride in countries where a UK licence alone is not sufficient. An IDP can be obtained over the counter from the Post Office for £5,50. There are three types of IDP, each allowing you to drive in different countries so, if you’re planning a European motorbike tour of several countries, you may need more than one. You can use the Post Office IDP checker tool to find out if you will need a permit, which permit you will need, and what supporting documentation you will need to supply with your application.
Green Card International Motor Insurance Certificate
This guarantees you hold the necessary insurance cover required for the country or countries you will be visiting when you ride in Europe. To find out how to get a Green Card, contact the experts at Bikesure on 0330 123 1028.
Passport and other essential documents
You will also need your passport, which must be valid for at least six months, your driving licence, vehicle registration documents and your travel insurance documents.
Return tickets and accommodation booking confirmation
As your ride from country to country on your European motorcycle tour you may be asked by border security to show your return ferry or Channel crossing tickets, and your accommodation booking confirmation, so these should be kept handy with your essential travel documents.
Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)
A Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) entitles the holder to medical care at a discounted rate throughout Europe and beyond.
You will also need to display a GB sticker if it’s not on your licence plate.
Other essential items
On top of the documentation, you’ll need a few other essentials in some EU countries on your European motorbike tour. These include:
- A breathalyser is a legal requirement in France. One-use breathalysers can be bought for just a few pounds.
- Hi-visibility jackets for you and your pillion passenger, if you have one. You will face a fine if you don’t have hi-vis jackets.
- Spare bulbs (required in France, Germany and others) and headlight adapters to stop the front light dazzling oncoming traffic.
- Helmets are compulsory in every EU country but some require reflective stickers too.
Is there anything else I should pack for my European motorbike tour?
It’s a good idea to take a basic tool kit with a few sockets — you will know the sizes that you use the most — some screwdrivers, a hammer, pliers, wire brush and tyre pressure gauge.
Better still, think about taking out European breakdown cover because no one wants to be stuck on the autobahn in driving rain trying to fix a bike.
From just £56 a year, Bikesure Rescue provides gold-standard breakdown cover, offering 24 hour UK and EU roadside assistance. That’s not much more than £1 a week for round-the-clock peace of mind wherever your European motorcycle tour takes you.
Do I need to take any other precautions on my European motorbike tour?
Though there are signs of recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic there will be areas around the world where the virus is not yet contained.
If you are planning a European motorbike tour you should:
- Keep up to date with the latest Covid-19 cases and restrictions in the countries you are visiting or driving through
- Consider your own health and the health of those around you
- If possible, delay your trip until you have received the vaccination
- Check your first aid box and make sure you have adequate medication in the event of an emergency
- Pack personal protective equipment such as facemasks and disposable rubber gloves and hand sanitiser