Or, at least, parts of Europe.
Anytime is a great time to start planning your vacations, so let’s get started. Ready? Good, now sit down with your calendar and start blocking out dates. Be sure to include some time overseas, too. Have you ever been to France?
No, seriously, France is beautiful and worth a trip. Of course, you can’t ride your own bike there from the States; there’s a little bit of water in the way. But now, you can fly and ride… a Yamaha! That’s right, you can fly to France and rent pretty much anything in Yamaha’s lineup, from their serious array of scooters to a Niken, MT-10, FJR, or Super Tenere. The fun part is, you can rent bikes that we don’t get here in the states. Heck, if you plan to stay near, and day trip out from, one of the rental locations (and why not), you could rent a different motorcycle every day. Alternately, you could rent the exact Yamaha you ride, and bring your own custom seat with you in your luggage.
There are twenty rental locations sprinkled around the country, and each one has accessories to rent right along with the motorcycle (think luggage, GPS, that sort of thing). Some will rent motorcycle gear to you as well, though I strongly recommend bringing your own with you. Used gear can get kind of... gamey. You’re also sure to have gear that fits and doesn’t distract you if it’s your own. We’ve talked before about how to travel with gear; it’s not that difficult.
You might note that on the “You Rent” Yamaha page, there is a list with required licensing conditions per motorcycle. European riding laws employ a tiered licensing system, so if a rider has a lower-tiered motorcycle riding license they are restricted to a smaller displacement machine, and cannot rent a bike that is enormous and powerful. The US does not have tiered licensing, and in my experience renting motorcycles in other countries, an International Driving License is sufficient.
While the French rental agencies will offer to sell you additional insurance (and additional insurance is never a bad idea) you’ll want to do a little research into procuring coverage through your state-side agent. This will save you time, money, and possibly some language-barrier frustration, just in case you don’t speak a ton of French. Also, there is some mention of a “kilometer package” so you will also want to check your plans against any daily mileage allowance and border restrictions.
Now, think about the motorcycle you’d like to ride and where. There’s a location in Toulouse, near the Pyrenees on the Spanish border. There are several in Cannes and Nice, on the beach and with ferry service to Sardinia and Corsica. Have you seen Paris? Because there’s a rental location there, too. You could rent out of Strasbourg and take a tour of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, all on your comfy, reliable, rental Yamaha. I might be biased because I own a Yamaha, but heck, they are reliable.
Pull out your maps of Europe, fire up your GPS, and locate your passport, Yamaha fans. Check on flights and train schedules, and make those plans to ride Europe.