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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-11-2002, 03:39 AM Thread Starter
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Question Aris, I have a semi-related question...

What is it like riding in Greece?

It sounds so very different to what we in the US are used to, that I'm really curious.

Erica


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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-11-2002, 07:14 AM
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From what I've seen on the weather channel, the riding isn't too good over there right now is it?
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-13-2002, 09:25 PM
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Re: Aris, I have a semi-related question...

Quote:
Originally posted by elo
What is it like riding in Greece?

It sounds so very different to what we in the US are used to, that I'm really curious.
Hi Elo,

You re right that it's very different riding in Greece!
It's not easy to answer this..I m afraid this will be quite long.
I'll try my best although it doesn't help that I just got to Frankfurt and only slept on the plane, a weekend in Athens contains more action than a month in Germany
I can't compare with the US conditions as I ve never been there, but I can compare to other European countries, like Germany (where I am now ), France, UK, Spain, Italy etc.

First of all, the roads and the drivers are really bad which is the reason for many motorcyclists accidents in the large cities.
Athens, where I live, is a 5 million people city and the roads are full of cars, scooters and motorcycles.
Weatherwise it's really good, riding all year is the norm.Last week was an exceptional case, as Hysyde also said, we had so much snow that we have never seen. Last time with so much snow was in 1962, 40 years ago!

I'll try to describe the conditions for you.
Some roads are extremely slippery, imagine that the friction on dry tarmac is about the same as in Germany in the wet!
There are so many bikes in Athens that at a central set of traffic lights, there will be around 10-20 bikes at the front, as everybody not only does what you call filtering or lane splitting, but many also use the sidewalk or anything they can to be first!
There are many bikes relative to the population, but most part is up to 150cc, scooters etc.
There is only one decent race track in Greece, so almost nobody has been to a track day, I haven't either.
Everybody races their bikes on the street though, if you spot someone with a similar bike, you can make him race with you easily
Traffic violations are very common, although things are changing with the more strict laws and fines as Greece is a full member of the European Comunity now. Still it's not rare to see a BUS go through a red light!!
Weaqring a helmet is compulsory but only about half of the people riding a bike in the city wear it, it's the Greek mentality that prevails!
Late at night you have to check the traffic even at a green light, you can also go through the red light after checking though...
It's common to see traffic jams in the center of Athens at 3:00 am, the night life is really good!
Greece has the record of accidents (and injuries and deaths) in Europe, and it is not by chance. I don't even remember how many accidents I've had in total riding a motorcycle, I know I had only one major one that was my fault ( I went into a field at 150 km/h and ended up with 12 screws in my leg and was walking with crutches for 18 months), but I also had at least 30 other accidents , in 20 years of riding.
Of course my statistics have changed as I grow older and take less risks, but I have calculated that every 2 years there will be a case that can't be avoided no matter how carefull (or able to predict everything) you are.
Last year it was such a case when an Albanian driving a Hyundai crossed 5 lanes of highway almost vertically to go to the cantine! We re still in court about this.
3 years ago I had a hit and run accident, both me and my girlfriend were injured (nothing broken though) and I was lucky that a taxi driver took down the license plate of the car. The result was that 4 years later, when the case finally arrived to court, she (lady driver) got 6 months of prison (which calculates to around 800$) with 3 years parole period and lost her license for 6 months, that's all!
I only got money for the bike /(whicj was written off) plus 200$ for each person injured! That's how it works there

Let me show you the nice side now
In Greece we have high temperatures that allow riding all year, we have highways that are not full of radars and police, so we can ride at 200km/h and we don't loose our license, we have countless islands with the best beaches in the Mediterranean sea, and the best way to go is on a trail bike, so you can find fantastic places. Tourists call it 'Island Hoping', basically you get on a ferry to an island and then on another from that island to another and so on, until you run out of money or time
Oh and Greece is still cheaper than other European countries
It's also a paradise for Enduro riders because there are many great places to go riding off road, and there are very few restrictions of access, unlike the othe European countries.
There are many nice twisty roads in Greece, but you can't drag your knee as the friction can be deceiving. The best most of really good riders manage, is not to have chicken strips on their tires. It is almpost impossible to drag your footrsts, you 'll have fallen already before they touch down!
This also explains how we get such mileage from our tires! I got 17000km (more than 10k miles) out of my rear BT020 on the ZR7! Now I got a BT010 which is super sticky, but it will surely give me more than 10000km! On a car you can do easily 60-80000km on a set of tires, I know it sounds unbelievable but it's true.
In Greec we always buy the softest possible compund tires, as longevity is never a problem.
Things are improving, but slowly. In the country the most problems for motorcycles arise from agricultural vehicles entering the roads anywhere, and they can't realise how quickly that little light (the bike) got up to them.
Many people ride old bikes and there are many 50s BMWs in regular service. I own a 1957 R26 and it's not a really rare bike like in the US, sometimes I see old people on such bikes, they have them since they were new and still use them as main transport!

I have to go back to work now, I'll come back later with more info. I hope this gives a general idea of the conditions for someone riding a motorcycle in Greece.


Aris

Last edited by ariszr7; 01-13-2002 at 11:26 PM.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-13-2002, 11:54 PM
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Avoiding traffic..

This pic show a traditional way to avoid traffic Greek style, I don't recommend it to anyone of course.
My friends were stuck in their car, so I just said bye and left. They took the picture as I was leaving, there was a 3 km queue in front

Aris
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-14-2002, 03:24 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation

Wow Aris! I can honestly say that I probably wouldn't ride a bike if I lived in Greece! Them's some scary stories! On the plus side, if I ever make it to Greece, I'll know to try and rent an Enduro to get around!

FYI, riding in the US is similar to riding in Germany, but without the autobahn. The difference is we also tend to lack cobblestone streets!

Erica


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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-14-2002, 04:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by elo
Wow Aris! I can honestly say that I probably wouldn't ride a bike if I lived in Greece! Them's some scary stories! On the plus side, if I ever make it to Greece, I'll know to try and rent an Enduro to get around!

FYI, riding in the US is similar to riding in Germany, but without the autobahn. The difference is we also tend to lack cobblestone streets!
Elo I didn't mean to scare you, just to give you a general idea. If you lived in Athens you WOULD ride a bike as there is no way you can go anywhere in a car,bus, or other means of transport. Last year was the first year of the new Metro. It should be finished until 2004 (the Olympic Games in Athens) so I hope things will improve by then!
To give you an idea, to get to the airport by car from the center of Athens can take from 35min at 6:00am in the morning, to 2 hours at 2:00pm when the traffic is heavy.

It's dangerous, but really exciting also, if you get used to it and learn how to survive!

BTW if youor anybody here reading this plan to come to Greece, give me a shout and maybe I can give some useful tips

Aris
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-14-2002, 06:21 AM Thread Starter
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I dunno, I couldn't imagine saying I'd been in that many accidents, let alone surviving! Now that I know how to ride, it wouldn't bother me as much. But man! Definitely eat or be eaten over there! And I thought Phoenix traffic was bad!

Greece is on the list of places to visit before I die. I may even be over there in a few years, when we get enough $$$ saved up. It sounds so beautiful!

Erica


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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-14-2002, 07:16 AM
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Thumbs up Great Thread!!

30 ACCIDENTS!?!?! I think after the first few, I'd be quite tentative about getting on a bike again.

What's up with the little guy on the scooter going the other way? Is he actually riding on the shoulder, or is that just the way the lanes are marked.

BTW: Check out the skiing in Germany, if you can. When I was there I had a great time.

This is a cool thread. It would be interesting to hear from others about the nuances of riding in their countries.

-Brian

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-14-2002, 08:03 PM
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Re: Great Thread!!

Quote:
Originally posted by tigertex
30 ACCIDENTS!?!?! I think after the first few, I'd be quite tentative about getting on a bike again.

What's up with the little guy on the scooter going the other way? Is he actually riding on the shoulder, or is that just the way the lanes are marked.

BTW: Check out the skiing in Germany, if you can. When I was there I had a great time.

This is a cool thread. It would be interesting to hear from others about the nuances of riding in their countries.
Hi Tigertex,

Well, I got on the bike while I was still using crutches to walk I even took a trip from Athens to Paris via Italy on a GSX550 in 1986 while I was still using one of them crutches. I got a folding type and managed to stack it on the rear rack! I know it's stupid but I was 19 then and it seemed perfectly normal to me!

The lane the scooter is using is being used normally, like the cars on the right side are also using it. This setup is very common in Greece, meaning one lane and a half which is used as two lanes!

I know the skiing is good here but I'm not a ski fan really. I tried snowboarding a few years ago and managed to be able to slow down enough in order to fall in a decent manner

It would be really good to hear from others their experience od riding in different countries! I think a new thread in Chat or Daily rider would attract more interest.

Aris
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-14-2002, 09:36 PM
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Hey Aris you know outside of Athens, Melbourne has the 2nd largest Greek population of any city in the world.

We rag the young guys mercilessly coz being cool is sooooo important. You can tell a Greek guys car --- thats the $5000 car with the $10000 stereo

Greek girls are hot though.... damn that Kiki Panagio... Panatha...
Panathinaikos is my office is a total hottie

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