Thursday, February 3, 2011

Things I Learnt Before we Decided to HIRE a Bike

I figured that just because we decided to hire a bike rather than buy one, doesn't mean the tens of hours of research needs to go to waste - someone out there might have a use for it! So here are the things we learnt before deciding to hire...
  • If you purchase a bike in the United Kingdom (I hear the best place to buy is England), make sure - 
    • It comes with a log book, also known as a Vehicle Registration Document or Certificate, Registration Papers or a V5C - they're all the same thing. These are either red or blue in colour - the red ones are newer. 
    • You carry Proof of Ownership at all times. A log book does not count as Proof of Ownership when you encounter Police or Border Control.
    • The vehicle has passed an MOT Test (similar to a WOF in New Zealand, basically a road safety certification)
    • You've paid road tax (as far as I could tell, it would cost 105 GBP)
    • You have Third Party Insurance. For residents this is approximately 400 GBP. You must have Third Party Insurance not only to drive in the UK, but most countries in the EU. This also means you can't cross a controlled border without proof of it. If you are crossing borders, regular Third Party Insurance won't do - you need a Carte Verde (Green Card) which is an International Insurance Certificate and may cost extra. The Green Card is issued by your insurer and should list all of the countries it covers. Even though we didn't end up having to organise our own insurance, the following links were helpful - 
    • If you plan on leaving the bike in the country you depart from, tell the DVLA that it has been scrapped so that you don't default on registration or fines.
  • Get a European Accident Statement form from your insurer - this just helps if you do have an accident as all European insurance companies recognise it and it saves arguments and language barriers between you and the other party involved.
  • If you have an AA membership (or AAA if you're in the States) check if you have international reciprocal cover. Otherwise, make sure you purchase a membership just in case. 
  • Display a sticker indicating the vehicles country of registration when travelling.
  • You must carry reflective vests when you're riding in Italy (as far as I can tell you don't have to wear them unless you break down)
  • Carry a warning triangle in Spain (and apparently many other European countries)
  • Carry a spare bulb kit in Spain
  • Carry a fire extinguisher in Greece
  • A lot of websites talk about Carnets - documents which essentially tell Border Control that you are only temporarily 'importing' the vehicle into their country and that it won't be left there. From what I can tell, you do not need one of these in the EU. 
We considered shipping a bike from NZ to Europe, which apparently is fairly common all over the world, but it wasn't for us.

We also considered becoming residents in order to legally purchase, register and insure a vehicle without the same restrictions as tourists. We didn't want to waste the two year working visa New Zealanders are entitled to in the UK, in case we decide to use it. However, New Zealanders are also allowed a one year working holiday visa in the Republic of Ireland so we considered becoming residents there.

We would easily be able to base ourselves in Athlone, but there was a lot of time involved in sorting the paperwork - potentially up to 6 weeks. There was also a fairly decent cost in applying for working visas - so overall it wasn't an ideal option.

We would need proof of address, which we thought we could get quickly by opening a bank account through HSBC before we left, as they can open accounts overseas for their customers. Unfortunately they don't operate in Ireland so that was out too. The whole idea would also mean we would have to get back to Athlone before we left, which would again cost a lot more in money and time.

This is when we went back to the drawing board and decided to look at more options for hiring. We knew hiring would be expensive for 14 weeks so we emailed approximately 25-30 weekly-hire companies asking if they knew of a company that did short term lease. Of those that replied, none knew of a company that would offer a short term lease. 2 offered to help else themselves with a long term hire discount, but one of those withdrew their offer because Courts hasn't had his full license for two years.

That left us with Bournemouth Motorcycle Hire which, as you know by now, we think are absolutely awesome. The cost of hiring ended up being $NZ2000 more than we had budgeted for purchase (including insurance and road tax) when it could have been more than triple our $NZ4000 budget. The hireage includes our Green Card Insurance, free panniers (luggage carriers attached to the bike, which we were going to have to purchase), VAT and AA cover.

OK, so finally, these are the sites that have given us tips on Motorcycle Touring in general. They will end up in the Eurotrip Directory I'm putting together for this site as well -
 And these are some books we found on Amazon on the topic - 

1 comment:

Jessil said...

geeeez thats a long post :P

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