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Old 08-07-2018, 12:15 PM
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Question Narrowed down our choices: Motorcycle Trip -or- Hiking across Italy

So the lovely Mrs_Bob and I are planning our next trip and we are pretty undecided on what to do. We are both 57, will be 58 when we take the next big adventure.

OPTION #1: Motorcycle the 6500 mile Great Lakes Circle Tour

Its a trip along the shoreline of all the Great Lakes, both the US and Canadian side. Follows mostly rural roads, but hits several major cities. Never done anything like this. 24 days of riding at roughly 250 miles a day. Figure 30 days for the trip with some rain delays, sight seeing, butt resting. It would be a whole new experience for us. Neither of us are seasoned riders, both of us have been on small motorcycles, scooters, etc many times. Both of us are comfortable/confident on smaller motorcycles.

OPTION #2: Backpacking Italy from Florence to Assisi to Rome

Fairly rugged hiking, only 280 miles, but lots of mountains/hills. Slow hiking. Carrying everything in our backpacks. This is something we have both done, multiple times. Both longer and shorter distances. Roughly 30 days of walking, add some rest and tourist days and its more likely a 40 day trip.


The conundrum is this:
We are not getting younger and we figure the clock is ticking on our ability to do a long (prolonged day & day) distance motorcycle trip. The reality is that BOTH of these trips are wear and tear on the body. Any trip, by foot or in a seat, with a daily grind tends to really wear down the body and cause aches and pains. We both have the strength now to do either.

The advantage to HIKING is that if you get tired, blister, etc along the route you can simply shorten your daily distances, take a rest day, hop on a bus for 10 miles, etc and you can continue to hike well into old age. We have hiked with people well into their 80's. As long as health reasonably prevails we can hike until death do us part.

The MOTORCYCLE trip is something that could also be cut short, shorten days, but can't really hop on a bus and skip a day while still seeing sights. Its unlikely we'd want to undertake a trip on motorcycles well into our 60's. So we are leaning at doing the motorcycle trip sooner rather than later. The more years it is put off, the more likely it will not happen.

Cost wise I honestly figure both trips at about the same price; 40 days in Italy is expensive, even with a backpack. For the bike trip we'd need new motorcycles. I have a little 150 now. Looking at buying a pair of Honda NC700x or 750x motorcycles (new or used). Adding side cases and a few other do-dads. Need to update our cycle licenses. Need to do a lot more riding to get back into the swing of things.


Thoughts?
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Old 08-07-2018, 02:24 PM
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Default Re: Narrowed down our choices: Motorcycle Trip -or- Hiking across Italy

Pick yourselves up a couple of 2018 Kawasaki Ninja H2R's and you could prolly cut that time right in half circumventing the Great Lakes.

Seriously, that is something that sounds like serious fun. My advice would be a couple of nice cruisers with good HP.
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Old 08-07-2018, 03:45 PM
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Default Re: Narrowed down our choices: Motorcycle Trip -or- Hiking across Italy

IF I were planning such a trip and IF I was ready to buy a new bike for it this would be my choice hands down.

https://www.kawasaki.com/Products/20...018Z900RSIMAGE
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Old 08-07-2018, 05:03 PM
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Default Re: Narrowed down our choices: Motorcycle Trip -or- Hiking across Italy

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IF I were planning such a trip and IF I was ready to buy a new bike for it this would be my choice hands down.

https://www.kawasaki.com/Products/20...018Z900RSIMAGE
Looks like a nice bike that would do the trip around the lakes with ease.

Sorry Bob, no thoughts either way here. I've never done anything similar to either of your options. Both sound like they would be a fantastic experience. I look forward to pics from whichever one you decide on.
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Old 08-07-2018, 06:26 PM
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Default Re: Narrowed down our choices: Motorcycle Trip -or- Hiking across Italy

As for the bikes, I have a friend who is a shop teacher, Harley rider, and motorcycle builder (he teaches a class at a vocational tech school where they scratch build motorcycles) and he strongly recommended HONDA. Parts availability, dealer support and reliability were his 3 key points.

Looking at the NC700x and/or the NC750x. Both are the same bike, the 750 was introduced this model year as an engine upgrade. But the other features, dimensions, specs, etc are pretty much identical.

Here is a review: http://www.hondaprokevin.com/2018-ho...tomatic-nc-750

I did find a 2015 model available locally at a good price, might buy that one as a practice bike for the 2 of us to get used to riding a bigger bike. Then buy a second if we decide we want to do this as our next trip.
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Old 08-07-2018, 07:30 PM
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Default Re: Narrowed down our choices: Motorcycle Trip -or- Hiking across Italy

Well, at any rate, IMHO, cannot go wrong with Japanese motorcycles.
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Old 08-07-2018, 08:32 PM
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Default Re: Narrowed down our choices: Motorcycle Trip -or- Hiking across Italy

I don't mean to rain on your parade, but, I would think long and hard about visiting any European country.

I tried to talk my sister out of her 3 week annual trip to France.

The day after she flew out of De Gaulle in March of last year, the airport was hit.
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Old 08-07-2018, 09:27 PM
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Default Re: Narrowed down our choices: Motorcycle Trip -or- Hiking across Italy

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Well, at any rate, IMHO, cannot go wrong with Japanese motorcycles.
Especially Honda. I've had Honda motorcycles, ATV's, UTV's and cars all were bullet proof. Loved the dependability. They simply run and run. And have good resale value.
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Old 08-07-2018, 09:41 PM
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Default Re: Narrowed down our choices: Motorcycle Trip -or- Hiking across Italy

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I don't mean to rain on your parade, but, I would think long and hard about visiting any European country.

I tried to talk my sister out of her 3 week annual trip to France.

The day after she flew out of De Gaulle in March of last year, the airport was hit.
There is no way in hell I would fly back to the United Kingdom right now, never mind any other long term trip.
I've been lots of places in my lifetime.
Seen just about all I want to see of England, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain etc..
In any event Bob, I know you love to travel.
Good Luck and have fun if and when you do.
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Old 08-07-2018, 10:29 PM
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Default Re: Narrowed down our choices: Motorcycle Trip -or- Hiking across Italy

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Especially Honda. I've had Honda motorcycles, ATV's, UTV's and cars all were bullet proof. Loved the dependability. They simply run and run. And have good resale value.
I like all of the big 4. As you say they run and run. Used to love to blow the doors off those Honda CB750's back in the day with those Kawasaki 500 triples. It was great sport.

The 1974 Kawi Z1 900 was the first truly great super bike. It had it all, handling (which the triples lacked) speed and great looks. It was a killer bike all around. Legendary.
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Old 08-08-2018, 10:44 AM
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Default Re: Narrowed down our choices: Motorcycle Trip -or- Hiking across Italy

I'd probably go for the Great Lakes trip but would consider some itinerary changes.

Instead of doing it all as a single trip, and considering your proximity to Lake Michigan, I'd head north around that lake. When you get to the north side of that lake, see how you physically feel and see if the pace is right (250 miles/day sounds like you may be seeing more roads than lakes and sights).

If all is well, do Lake Superior.

If not so well, come back down the other side of Michigan or hit the west side of Huron but in general, you're heading back towards home. Take a break at home for whatever duration then do a second trip around Erie, Ontario and possibly the east side of Huron.
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Old 08-08-2018, 11:19 AM
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Default Re: Narrowed down our choices: Motorcycle Trip -or- Hiking across Italy

FWIW I am not afraid to go to Europe right now. Yes there is some isolated crap going on but I believe it is still a very safe place to travel for anyone who is moderately savvy about surroundings.

I've got route books/plans/maps for the Italy hiking trip already.



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I'd probably go for the Great Lakes trip but would consider some itinerary changes.

Instead of doing it all as a single trip, and considering your proximity to Lake Michigan, I'd head north around that lake. When you get to the north side of that lake, see how you physically feel and see if the pace is right (250 miles/day sounds like you may be seeing more roads than lakes and sights).

If all is well, do Lake Superior.

If not so well, come back down the other side of Michigan or hit the west side of Huron but in general, you're heading back towards home. Take a break at home for whatever duration then do a second trip around Erie, Ontario and possibly the east side of Huron.
Actually this is not really a change to our trip route at all. Running up the west shore of Lake Michigan gives us several options. Superior would be next if all is well, if not we could run down the east shore of lake Michigan and return home. Even after doing Lake Superior we'd be right back at the tip of Michigan and could return home down the East side of Lake Michigan. Or, we could head along north edge of Lake Huron and make another choice when we get to the Canadian side of Windsor/Detroit, its not unreasonable to cut the trip there and return home through Detroit.

So several places to turn the trip around should things go awry. Your thinking is sound and reasonable.

As for the 250 miles a day, sort of figured that is just an average. Some days, depending upon sights, might be 175-200 while others might push 300-325. We averaged 13 miles per day when walking across Spain but some days did closer to 18 and other days about 10. Lots of flexibility. Main goal is to stay off the interstates as much as possible, 2 lane roads through small towns is the ideal travel plan. Some campsites in a tent, especially along Lake Superior. But probably a 70% in hotels/motels/inns, 30% camping. But we do NOT have a detailed map as of yet.
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Old 08-09-2018, 09:36 AM
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Default Re: Narrowed down our choices: Motorcycle Trip -or- Hiking across Italy

Options are being kept wide open.

Called the local Harley dealer, they run certification classes for motorcycle licenses. Trying to get 2 spots in their next class. We are not currently certified despite the fact that we have a small motorcycle in the garage. NOT admitting to running it without the proper license in my pocket. Nope, I'd never admit that. But for insurance discounts and a good refresher it seems wise to take the class.

That said, also looking at at some English-Italian translations, route maps, etc. for an Italy hike.


Keeping options open.
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Old 08-09-2018, 09:36 AM
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Default Re: Narrowed down our choices: Motorcycle Trip -or- Hiking across Italy

Options are being kept wide open.

Called the local Harley dealer, they run certification classes for motorcycle licenses. Trying to get 2 spots in their next class. We are not currently certified despite the fact that we have a small motorcycle in the garage. NOT admitting to running it without the proper license in my pocket. Nope, I'd never admit that. But for insurance discounts and a good refresher it seems wise to take the class.

That said, also looking at at some English-Italian translations, route maps, etc. for an Italy hike.


Keeping options open.
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Old 08-28-2018, 07:35 PM
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Default Re: Narrowed down our choices: Motorcycle Trip -or- Hiking across Italy

About 70% sure that we will be pushing off the Italy hiking trip and taking a motorcycle adventure.

We are both getting re-certified by the local Harley dealership's "motorcycle university" in 2 weeks. They run a state approved 3 day class that gets us a motorcycle endorsement on our driver's licenses and qualifies for discounts on motorcycle insurance.

We were at the dealership today to shop for helmets for my wife. She went in knowing she did not want a full face helmet like mine and was leaning toward riding without a helmet at all. The 2 sales ladies who were helping her talked her up to a 3/4 helmet with face shield and drop down sun visor. One of the sales ladies had been involved in a fairly bad spill and credited her helmet for saving her. They both strongly advocated for helmets for touring.

They had pretty limited stock, she did find a helmet she liked but they were not confident that the size was correct. The dealership is ordering more sizes and we'll go back in to try the other sizes. It is a huge dealership, I was really disappointed with their helmet selection, but it is a H-D dealer and I'm betting 90% of their customers don't wear helmets at all. Literally had about 25 different styles of helmets, and half of those were 1/2 helmets. They had 3 models that were 3/4 helmets ... 4 if you count the fact that they had 1 of them in 2 different colors. I think they had 3 full face helmets. Pretty sure all of their helmets were in the "under $200" price range.

The helmet she liked is labeled as a H-D helmet but it is identical to the HJC "IS-33 II" helmet. It is DOT approved, but not SNELL certified. Priced at $160 with the H-D graphics, same helmet can be had in solid colors under the HJC brand for about $135 or about $145 with other graphics. I'd prefer she pick a helmet with both DOT & Snell ratings. It seems to be a pretty nice basic helmet, nothing premium about its materials but it seems well put together. I'd prefer she get a higher quality helmet but the helmets I'd prefer she buy have more helmet than she is willing to wear.

The 3 black helmet photos are the H-D helmet. The reddish colored helmet is the HJC helmet. So it seems pretty obvious that this particular H-D helmet is made by HJC.
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Old 08-28-2018, 07:41 PM
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Default Re: Narrowed down our choices: Motorcycle Trip -or- Hiking across Italy

Congrats. Sounds like a great adventure. Glad she gave in and will wear a helmet.
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Old 08-28-2018, 07:47 PM
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Default Re: Narrowed down our choices: Motorcycle Trip -or- Hiking across Italy

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Congrats. Sounds like a great adventure. Glad she gave in and will wear a helmet.
The dealer requires we use helmets in the class. She had to at least buy one for the class.

It was nice that one of the sales ladies relayed her experience in a crash, that probably helped.

And when my wife said we were considering some long distance touring then both of the sales ladies PUSHED HARD for a minimum of a 3/4 helmet with a full shield. They backed off of a full-face helmet only because my wife was determined NOT to wear one. When my wife starting asking about BlueTooth communicators they pretty much said a full face shield is mandatory. So I just sat back as they pushed her to a more protective helmet.
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Old 08-29-2018, 06:48 AM
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Default Re: Narrowed down our choices: Motorcycle Trip -or- Hiking across Italy

If she doesn't want to wear a helmet, I can share a picture of mine for her. It was only two weeks old at the time of my accident. It's now full of scratches from hitting the pavement. Anyone who thinks that they don't need a helmet when riding is being naive. I get pissed off when I see people who think they are too good to be wearing a helmet on a motorcycle.

One thing I will say about riding a motorcycle is that no matter how good of a rider you think you might be, you can't control others around you. Treat every driver out there as if they don't know how to drive. You never know when someone not paying attention will pull out in front of you without looking and claim they didn't see you. Take my buddy for example. Riding his Harley in town WITH loud exhaust so as too be heard. A woman yacking on her cell phone (which is illegal when driving) pulls out from a stop sign in front of him. He t-bones the driver door and goes flying over the car head first into the pavement. Wakes up from a coma two weeks later and spends about 2 months in a rehab facility dealing with traumatic brain injury. If he didn't have a helmet he'd be dead. If I didn't have a helmet I'd be dead.

To me, there's no question about wearing a helmet. Better safe than sorry.
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Old 08-29-2018, 07:22 AM
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Default Re: Narrowed down our choices: Motorcycle Trip -or- Hiking across Italy

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If she doesn't want to wear a helmet, I can share a picture of mine for her. It was only two weeks old at the time of my accident. It's now full of scratches from hitting the pavement. Anyone who thinks that they don't need a helmet when riding is being naive. I get pissed off when I see people who think they are too good to be wearing a helmet on a motorcycle.

...

To me, there's no question about wearing a helmet. Better safe than sorry.
She doesn't think she is better, she knows it is safer, she is just thinking back on her youth when we had cars without seatbelts, rode in the back of pick up trucks, and nobody wore helmets for roller-skating, bike riding or while on a motorcycle.

She knows she needs one but is just bitching about it.
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Old 08-29-2018, 08:14 AM
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Default Re: Narrowed down our choices: Motorcycle Trip -or- Hiking across Italy

Quote:
Take my buddy for example. Riding his Harley in town WITH loud exhaust so as too be heard. A woman yacking on her cell phone (which is illegal when driving) pulls out from a stop sign in front of him. He t-bones the driver door and goes flying over the car head first into the pavement. Wakes up from a coma two weeks later and spends about 2 months in a rehab facility dealing with traumatic brain injury. If he didn't have a helmet he'd be dead.

I hate loud exhaust and personally think it should be illegal, it actually serves no real purpose. C&P on subject:

"Loud pipes save lives."

"Gotta make sure they hear you coming!"

"I can't tell you how many times a driver has noticed me because of my loud exhaust."

"They aren't just cool. It tells people you're there."

The "loud pipes save lives" argument is one I see or hear on almost a weekly basis. It's usually coming from some guy on a Harley or retro Triumph, though the sportbike guys are jumping on as of late. I honestly can’t tell if people really believe it, or it's just a nice justification when someone says their bike is too loud, but I think it's the second dumbest thing commonly heard from riders. (If you're wondering, the first is that 600cc supersports are beginner bikes.)

Let's start with some basic physics and a little rationality. Your exhaust is pointed backwards and by the nature of you traveling forward, you're actually leaving the sound behind you as you move forward. If that concept is confusing, think of the sound of a fire truck passing you with its siren blaring. The siren is pointed forward because the purpose is to warn driver’s the truck is approaching from behind. The next time you hear one coming, notice that it’s louder when it’s coming toward you than when it’s going away.

Now apply that to motorcycle crashes. The one comprehensive, reliable study of motorcycle crashes in this country is the well known "Hurt Report," which is now nearly 40 years old. Harry Hurt and his team found that 64.9 percent of multiple-vehicle motorcycle crashes were the fault of the car driver and “the typical accident in this category is portrayed by the automobile in traffic turning left into the path of the oncoming motorcycle.” A lot has changed in 40 years, but one thing that I think we can all agree hasn’t changed is that the car drivers are still pulling out in front of us. That means the bigger danger is still ahead, not behind, but most of the racket from loud pipes is just pissing off the people behind you, while doing very little to warn those in front of you.

Your headlights and horn, however, are pointed ahead. If you really were so concerned with an upgrade that could save your life, you’d add aftermarket auxiliary lights and upgrade your horn. But then you’d run the risk of looking like a dork instead of sounding like a badass.

Secondly, look at the cars around you. If loud pipes ever helped make you safer, that's less true today. My first car was a 1986 Volkswagen Fox. Basically, a go-cart with doors and a roof. Every scrap of road noise bled into the cabin. Today, even my semi-budget Mazda 3 manages to make road noise basically non-existent and it also comes with eight speakers, a six-CD changer, and an auxiliary port for my iPhone, so all I'm likely to hear is my music. In a current luxury car, you'll hear far less, and in the future, maybe nothing at all.

Now, I'm not saying a loud motorcycle has never alerted anyone to your presence. We've all had an experience where a driver has noticed us because of the sound of the bike. Obviously, anything that calls attention to your motorcycle helps today’s distracted drivers notice you’re there between their kids’ screams and bites from their burritos. However, claiming that “loud pipes save lives” while riding around on your brakeless bobber in your T-shirt and novelty helmet just makes you, me, and the rest of the motorcycle community look like morons.

You know what does help people notice you? Wearing hi-viz gear, adding auxiliary lighting to your bike, and upgrading your horn are all great ways to make your presence known. Not only do they do a better job than an aftermarket exhaust, but they also cost a lot less. I should say that if by some chance you are wearing hi-viz gear, riding with auxiliary lights, using an upgraded horn, and have a loud exhaust, I’m willing to give you a pass. You’re both allowed to say “loud pipes save lives,” and disregard everything you just read.

So go ahead and buy your loud pipes. Just acknowledge it's for your own enjoyment, and not for some huge concern for safety.
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