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Carrying a scooter in your motorhome garage locker

Carrying a scooter in your motorhome garage locker

October 2, 2019

As promised, our intrepid Kiwi motorhome travellers, Peter and Denise have kindly written this great blog about their experience of buying a scooter and a ramp to use in their motorhome. You’ll all be doing it soon!…..

Helmet storage on scooter. Rear view mirrors and top box were removed before loading into motorhome to allow bed level to be as low as possible

Helmet storage on scooter. Rear view mirrors and top box were removed before loading into motorhome to allow bed level to be as low as possible

Buying a scooter

For the past six years, we have had summer holidays around Europe with two bikes stashed on the back of a rental motorhome. This has worked really well – we’re a fit couple now in our early 60’s – but sometimes hilly terrain/heat/distance can be hard work.

This year we travelled with a Honda Vision 110 scooter stored in the garage of our newly purchased motorhome, a BluCamp Lucky 521. This is a slightly larger vehicle than we have previously driven and therefore we expected a few parking and driving challenges in those medieval villages we love to explore! We considered the option of buying e-bikes, but felt there were a few disadvantages for us:

– e-bikes are heavy to lift off and on the bike rack, and up and down the many steps in European towns
– we take our bikes on trains when visiting cities. You need to be able to get bikes off and on trains quickly, and sometimes manoeuvre them into lifts at train stations
– we predominantly use camping aires and so opportunities for us to charge an e-bike are limited
– the cost of two good e-bikes was similar to a scooter
– the longevity of e-bike batteries when not in use for long periods in between our annual holiday.

So, this years holiday included two lightweight aluminium bikes and a Honda Vision scooter. We eventually purchased a new scooter after looking at several used scooters on the internet. The cost differential compared to a new scooter was not enough to encourage us to buy a used scooter.

Ready for action in Grindlewald, Switzerland

Ready for action in Grindlewald, Switzerland

Scooter ready to unload. We were easily able to load and unload the scooter

Scooter ready to unload. We were easily able to load and unload the scooter

One critical point was finding a scooter that was lightweight and small enough to fit easily into the garage of the new motorhome we were in the process of purchasing through ECC. The Honda scooter was small and we felt also felt that Honda was a known and reputable brand.

Phill and Hannah told us they knew of a Honda dealer in Sens, this would be convenient because initially we weren’t sure how the garage ramp would be installed and needed the scooter to be near the ECC depot. We were lucky to have a French-speaking friend who contacted the dealer to arrange the purchase and payment of the scooter and date of pick-up.

We purchased a Fiamma ramp (there are 2 ramp options, we chose the cheaper option called the Carry Moto) from a Fiamma dealer in the UK as this was cheaper than purchasing in France, and arranged for it to be couriered to the ECC depot to await our arrival. After picking up our Blucamp Lucky 521, we drove to Sens to figure out how we could install a ramp.

We purchased our scooter from Elite Moto in Sens, and they were amazingly helpful in so many ways. They gave us advice and even lent us tools from their workshop which enabled Peter to install the ramp himself in the carpark outside the bike shop! Installing the ramp with the scooter on the spot allowed us to work out the best position for the ramp (as far forward as possible for weight distribution and to maximise storage space in the garage). We were able to buy tie-downs and anchor rings from the hardware store over the road. Also required was a handlebar harness, which we obtained from Elite Moto. Other purchases included a D-lock (required by the insurance company), helmets, a 35 litre top box to store the 2nd helmet, and gloves (required by French law). Elite Moto discounted all of these purchases for us. We would have no hesitation in recommending this friendly and helpful company.

Front anchor points. Our spare MH tyre fitted in front of the scooter

Front anchor points. Our spare MH tyre fitted in front of the scooter

Rear of bike. Ramp extension slides in beside fixed ramp.We accessed the scooter from this side only when loading and unloading.Enough room for storage crates; deck chairs were slotted in beside scooter

Rear of bike. Ramp extension slides in beside fixed ramp.We accessed the scooter from this side only when loading and unloading. Enough room for storage crates; deck chairs were slotted in beside scooter

Insurance

Insurance is compulsory. We initially tried to get insurance through the same company we were using for our motorhome, but they provided a quote that was astronomical. Our French friend came to the rescue, trying several companies for us. Eventually, we got a reasonable deal with a French company called Allianz who has an office in Sens. The agent’s name is Julien Beaulieu.

Using the scooter on our holiday

We started off very tentatively as Peter hadn’t driven a motorbike for many years, but we got the hang of it pretty quickly. We were also able to fine-tune our teamwork for the loading and unloading process, which would take about 5-7 minutes.

The scooter was a huge advantage when visiting popular tourist spots where car parking can be a problem, never mind a 7-meter motorhome! In Switzerland, we were able to park for free in a layby about 5 km from Lauterbrunnen, then ride by scooter up to the end of the Lauterbrunnen valley to see the Trummelbach waterfalls, then back into town to park right beside the railway station where we jumped on a train to Murren. We had an amazing day hiking some trails above Murren and it was great to come back to a scooter rather than a bike after walking all day.

We also used our scooter to explore the many old villages at the southern end of Lake Garda in Italy, and in the South Tyrrol we were able to visit some great castles that we could never have visited due to a combination of no available motorhome parking and steep hills.

In general, we found traffic to be reasonably careful when driving. We avoided major roads where possible as the scooters top speed with 2 people is about 80kph. It is rather slow on the many steep hills we drove on, so we would pull over to let cars pass when possible. Security-wise we had no issues at all. We would be guided by locals – if they didn’t bother to lock their scooters we used just the D-lock. If locals used a lock, we sometimes added an extra locking cable to secure the scooter to a pole. The locks fit neatly into the top box whilst driving. For us, the bike/scooter combination proved ideal and allowed us to visit so many places that might have just been too difficult otherwise. We think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages of extra weight in the motorhome and less storage space in the garage.

Peter and Denise

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