NAVIGATING ON TWO WHEELS… with the itinerary at your fingertips

Smartphone or GPS, where are they fixed on motorcycle?

Do you remember when only paper maps were used for travelling? And to call home, on the other side of the world, you had to go to a post office? Those days are long gone.
Today, small technological devices such as the smartphone or GPS are used to communicate and navigate. These devices have become indispensable for those who explore the world by motorcycle too.
Yes but … where and how are they fixed on board?

You really can do everything with a smartphone: communicate, take photos, share things, find your bearings …
This is why many travellers choose to rely completely on this kind of mobile device when taking a trip.
However, there are some routes that require an extra guarantee, namely, the features offered by classic GPS navigators, some provided in versions dedicated to motorcyclists, like receiving satellite signals even in the most remote places, without the support of a network connection. Not to mention the possibility of inserting previously prepared routes on files, such as GPX, which can be read by this type of device.
And to make sure that they are ready for anything, the most “experienced” travellers tend to have a Plan B, which often takes the form of (old, expensive) printed maps that still find a special place in many of the tank bags currently in production.

Smartphones and GPS:
how can they be properly secured to the bike?

The market offers plenty of solutions, but it would be impossible not to indicate GIVI as the reference company, given its great commitment to researching holders, types of mountings, materials, shapes… to successfully diversify what is on offer. Let’s have a look at the current range.


Models that allow for the insertion of a smartphone or GPS navigator inside a case, equipped with a sun visor and a transparent touch-sensitive window, to allow access and use of the device’s screen. This category includes 6 different products divided into two lines:
S952B, S953B, S954B, developed horizontally, are designed to accommodate the classic navigator.
S955B, S956B, S957B, developed vertically, are designed for smartphones.

This “family” interfaces with the “Mini-Tanklock” mounting system, which makes it possible not only to unhook the case with a finger but also to install it on supports with irregular sections, for example, those of the mirror rods on some scooters. The rainproof cover supplied adds an extra guarantee for the safety of the device, although it is not 100% waterproof it still offers plenty of protection from light rain and on short journeys.


The SMART CLIP is designed to accommodate almost all the smartphones on the market and can be adjusted both vertically and horizontally. This solution was designed by GIVI to allow those who use it to take photos or film their route (even in selfie mode): in fact, the lenses, both front and rear, are unobstructed. Furthermore, direct access to the screen eliminates any issues related to capacitive keys, fingerprint unlocking or facial or iris recognition.
The clamp is available in two sizes, S920M (for devices from 112 x 52 mm to 148 x 75 mm) and S920L (up to 178 x 90 mm). Although the tests carried out to measure the safety of this support have reached extreme levels, for the most cautious traveller we should point out that an elastic, the “a 8”, is provided to further secure the device. What if it rains? Just get one of the new GIVI T519M and T519L watertight cases.
The fitting that allows the clip to be fixed to the motorcycle is the same Mini-Tanklock shared by the models mentioned above.


The fitting is made up of an arm, divided into two parts, equipped with adjustment screws with a run-stop, this fitting system can be applied to most of the motorcycles in circulation including exceptional cases (such as mirrors placed directly on the fairing or cast half-handlebars) thanks to the Z279 accessory.
What is more, there is a safety strap if the device holder case (here we refer to the family with which we began the article) is not properly attached.


Those who need to keep their eye on several devices can opt for this aluminum bar, which creates a support for positioning smartphones, Telepass holders, GPSs or even action cams …).


These are called S901A, S902A and S903A. Functional and carefully designed, these models “fit like a glove” on those bikes that deserve special attention from an aesthetic point of view or that, for one reason or another, have some peculiarities that would not allow the device to be fixed in “standard” positions.
The S901A Smart Mount support uses the screw holes that fix the risers, creating a base on which to place a device holder at the centre of the handlebar (assembly requires a specific screw kit based on the type of bike owned).
The S902A, on the other hand, is designed to be paired with the crossbars that some “Adventure” enduros have behind the standard fairing.
The last model in this series, the S903A Smart Mount, uses the brake fluid reservoir cover located in the handlebar area (again, with the appropriate screw kit).


For those who own a motorcycle navigator made by these two brands, GIVI offers specific adapters that allow you to mount them on the three aluminum supports mentioned above, using the original attachment system.


As we mentioned earlier, there are still those who prefer not to sacrifice the traditional map to find their way while travelling.
Why rely on such “old school” help when you can have advanced technologies at your fingertips? There are pros and cons for each of these two means of navigation, let’s analyse them.
The GPS signal now covers almost the entire planet, it is reliable and convenient for various reasons. Above all, thanks to the fact that you never have to stop along the way to check which direction to take. Devices equipped with GPS signals always indicate the exact time and now guarantee an accuracy of about 10/20 meters from the actual position.
It is also possible, including with the popular Google Maps (or other APPS), to download maps onto the smartphone to use the navigator in offline mode too.
However, as sophisticated as the new devices are, there is always something that can go wrong (breakdown, power failure, theft …) and it is on these occasions that a paper map can come in handy.
Economical, they don’t run out of power and don’t lose the signal; there is little risk of them being stolen either. When technology refuses to cooperate, it is always useful for a motorcyle traveller to have a couple of maps with them, which do a great job at helping to find the way.
And finally: just think of the sense of “adventure” they bring to the trip! They represent an iconography that make them objects to be treasured once the journey is over.




A journey on two wheels is an experience to be documented and shared with photos and videos. Here are some tips on how to do just that, as we look at the ideal equipment and how to protect and transport it by motorcycle.

With online platforms, blogs and social networks, updating your followers in (almost) real time has become a real challenge.
For those who travel the world on two wheels, the game is even more complicated: taking photos or shooting videos with a smartphone is undoubtedly easy and effective; however, many prefer to make a report using more conventional tools (although as we will see, not even that much) which, of course, need space and protection on board.



If you are a blogger or simply a “social media addict” and want to share your shots and videos on a daily basis, you don’t have to give up the quality of a real camera.
There are many “compact” mirrorless cameras on the market with interchangeable lenses that deserve a mention, such as the Sony® 6000 series, which can be seen in the hands of various motorcycle travellers and journalists in the sector.
This camera adds to the high quality of photos, video and audio (with the possibility of using an external microphone), with an integrated Wi-Fi system which, in conjunction with the appropriate application (Imaging Edge Mobile), allows you to send media files directly to your smartphone, so you have everything at your fingertips, without even having to take out the memory card.
Of course, this line can be a starting point for choosing a camera with similar features, amongst which, the important wireless sharing with the smartphone.

As for the lenses, for photos and video reporting, we recommend accompanying the standard one with an 18-105mm F/4 zoom.
Normal cameras can make fantastic videos; however, they cannot compete with the dynamic shots made possible by so-called action cams, thanks to the very compact dimensions and the many accessories available to mount them in different positions (helmet, handlebar, fork, etc …)
First and foremost is the giant Gopro®, but there are many brands that offer valid (and even more accessible) models, and that often use the same mounting standards as Gopro®. Among these we can mention the Mi Action by Xiaomi® and the H9 by Midland®, both 4K.


When out and about, we all know that it is essential to make sure that all electronic devices are always charged, even more so when travelling on two wheels.
So how do you avoid ending up “in the middle of the desert” with completely flat smartphone or camera batteries?
We offer a simple solution: the S111 Power Hub from GIVI.
This is a power supply kit specially designed for tank bags that allows you to connect three devices via USB (for a total of 9000mA), and a fourth, with an ISO 12v connector, directly inside the bag. The power supply kit includes a totally waterproof wiring system external to the bag.
The Power Hub must necessarily be combined with the S110 kit, fully waterproof wiring that leads from the motorcycle battery to a 12v socket in the handlebar area, allowing you to create an independent circuit to recharge the device while protecting from possible overloads.

Camera, lenses, action cam, accessories, cables, spare batteries, smartphone …
Ideally you should be able to store this important equipment in a safe and easily accessible place. GIVI’s answer is the T508, a motorcycle bag designed for photo/video equipment. Its interior is shaped and padded, the lid has an internal mesh pocket and the shoulder strap allows for easy transport. What makes it different from the many camera bags on the market? The fact that it was developed by a specialist in motorcycle accessories.
The dimensions of the T508 allow it to be inserted into all the tank and saddle bags produced by the brand, with a capacity of at least 14 litres. Charging can be completed inside them, even whilst driving, without having to consider rain, humidity and bad weather.




Inspired by an article published in World Nomads, we take a look at the issue of “driving documents”, starting with a specific area of the Asian Continent. A group of countries that are neighbours but often have different regulations when it comes to road traffic.
Here is the information we have gathered.

Planning to travel by motorcycle in South-east Asia? First of all, let’s clarify which countries are actually part of it: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, East Timor and Vietnam. In some cases, for example Indonesia, there are no regulations that are valid for the entire country.

Generally speaking, there are seldom situations that are unclear or problematic on the type of licence required and recognised; from this point of view, an experienced traveller who enters one of these countries with their own bike isn’t likely to encounter any issues with the local authorities…. But not wanting to leave anything to chance, we think it might be useful to indicate where the licence issued in our country is currently valid, where you need an international one or when you could be asked to pass a driving test on the spot. This also goes for driving a rental bike there, even if the “rent a bike” companies would have you believe that everything can be solved by simply handing over a tip…

The almost unavoidable rule is to hold a valid licence for driving a motorcycle and have a validating document with you. We say “almost” because there are some exceptions: in Bali you can obtain a driving permit by taking a test on the spot. It can be obtained at the police station in Dempasar: if you pass the practical test, then pay a fee of 45 US Dollars, you will be given a tourist driving licence that is valid only on the island.
As a rule, the international driving permit follows the limits of category, power output and power to weight ratio indicated on your own national licence. Trying to be smart could be risky. Above all, this goes for those who decide to rent a 2-wheeler (whether a motorbike or scooter) in South-east Asia but underestimate the regulations and driving difficulties. In these countries, with roads that are often rough and cities where the traffic reaches levels of pure chaos (one of the worst is Ho Chi Minh City), the statistics on road accident fatalities are shocking (above all in Thailand and Vietnam).
In the event of an accident, the insurance policy that you have taken out (which we highly recommend) linked to the vehicle or the journey, will not be valid if you do not hold a licence that is required and recognised in the country where the accident happens. And it will not do so if you are driving while drunk or driving without a helmet where this is compulsory.




Brunei: International licence. Drive on the left.

Cambodia: Conversion of the international licence to a licence issued by the Cambodian authorities. This conversion costs around 25 US Dollars. It should be noted that often the rental cars and motorbikes provided offer poor guarantees of safety. Helmet compulsory.

Indonesia: International licence. Drive on the left.

Bali: International licence. It is possible to obtain a local tourist licence by passing a practical test on the spot (only valid here). Drive on the left. Helmet compulsory.

Laos: International licence. It should be noted that, often, cars and motorbikes provided for rental offer poor guarantees of safety. In any case, if involved in road traffic accidents, more often than not, foreign citizens are called upon to pay damage compensation to third parties, both for people and things.

Malaysia: International licence + currently valid national licence. If one of the aforementioned documents is missing, you will have to apply for a Malaysian licence by following the local procedures.
Helmet compulsory.

Myanmar: Licence for visitors, issued upon presenting an Italian licence or international licence to the local police in Yangon. By Burmese law, any driver involved in a road traffic accident with a pedestrian is always considered to be guilty. Maximum care is recommended when driving.

The Philippines: The international licence is recognised according to the model of the Convention of Vienna (ratified by the Philippines on 27/12/1973). Use of a national licence is generally accepted by the local authorities for short periods (up to three months from entering the country); in any case, the proper translation in English, declared compliant by the Embassy, is required.

Singapore: National licence with official translation in English (again, certified by the Embassy) or Vienna 1968 or Geneva 1949 international licence. Drive on the left. Helmet compulsory for both driver and passenger.

Thailand: International licence. Helmet compulsory. Drive on the left.

East Timor: International licence. Drive on the left (but you can often see people driving on the right…).

Rental is very common.

Vietnam: Since about a year ago you can now drive in Vietnam if you hold an international licence accompanied by a national one (in the past, renting a vehicle of 50 cc or over was only allowed with a Vietnamese licence or with the current regulations, but with the addition of a visa of at least three months, so not a tourist visa). Drive on the left. Helmet compulsory for both driver and passenger.
Document updated in March 2019.



Motorcycle Touring Tips in Greece




Greece is the ‘mother’ of Western thought and is part of the European Union. Its thousand-year-old history and its geographical structure make it interesting from many points of view. From the motorcycle perspective this country is among the most loved by travellers and is often the destination of the ‘first trip abroad’ of many European bikers.
Even if it is the 12th state in the world for length of the coastline, Greece is 80% made up of hills and mountains… some of which almost reach 3,000m (like Mount Olympus). Even the Aegean Islands are often the peaks of underwater mountain ranges.
But there are also great plains and then forests, canyons, lakes, rivers and impressive rock formations. Basically the perfect territory to discover on the saddle of a motorcycle.
ALONE OR WITH OTHERS? It depends on your experience in the saddle and of travelling. There are no contraindications about travelling alone, as a couple, with a group of friends or maybe following an all-inclusive tour. If you expect to do some off road, the support of a local guide could come in handy.
Following is a short guide of the territory.
ISLANDS – Around 6,000 if we include the isolated small islands dispersed in the Aegean and Ionian Seas. The inhabited ones are just 227, some of which deserve some days to be visited. Most of them are in the Aegean Sea and are divided into seven groups.
MAIN CITIES – Athens and Thessaloniki are big lively cities, modern and at the same time full of multi-ethnic history.
PELOPONNESUS – Monuments of all eras, great archaeological sites, such as ancient Olympia, Epidaurus, Mycenae and Tiryns, the Temple of Apollo Epikourios, and then Bizantine churches, fascinating hamlets and castles, mountains, forests, rivers and caves. The icing on the cake is the sea that surrounds the peninsula, with beautiful sandy beaches West and rocky ones East.
EPIRUS – Region shared with Albania, between the Pindus range and the Ionian sea. Its mountainous mass offers virgin forests and the legendary Dragon lakes, natural scenery shared harmoniously with archaeological sites (such as the Dodoni theatre), monasteries, traditional villages (look for Zagorochoria). In the vicinity you can reach the Vikos canyon, the second deepest in the world, with an ecosystem of 1,700 plants and 182 animals.
THESSALY – A lot to see. Mountains, rivers, beaches, lake Plastiras, the Valley of the Temples, the incredible Meteors, the most breathtaking and photogenic orthodox monastic complex of Europe.
THRACE – a land to explore at leisure, where Nature is king. The rivers Evros, Nestos and Ardas, lakes Vistonida and Ismarida; Dadia forest and the delta of the river Evros, the endless expanses of white-sand beaches.
CENTRAL GREECE – not to be missed is the archaeological site of Delphi and the Oracle of the god Apollo; the picturesque sea towns (such as Galaxidi, Itea, Nafpaktos). Those who love adventure will find thrills riding in the heart of Greek nature: ravines, impressive waterfalls, rivers with rapids, mount Parnassus.
ATTICA – It is the peninsula of the Aegean Sea that hosts the capital Athens, with its extraordinary Acropolis and, scattered along the whole basin, significant places like Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon. The list of things to see is incredibly long but by bike it is possible to include many of them along a well-thought itinerary that ends at the Piraeus, the biggest and most important port in Greece. Here you will be able to board the ferries for the islands.



Greece is part of the European Union and is part of the Schengen Agreement. Consequently citizens of the EU can enter the country with their passport or ID card valid for foreign travel.
Visa is not required for owners of valid ‘non-EU’ country passports who intend to visit Greece and stay in the country for a maximum of 3 months (90 days) in a 6-month time frame.
We remind you it is good practice to carry with you a copy of your personal and bike documents.
Citizens of states members of the European Union in Greece can use their national driver’s licence; citizens from other countries must present an international driver’s licence, along with their valid national one.
Bike tourers who enter Greece with their vehicle can use it privately without declaring it at customs and registration for 6 months, continuous or distributed over a year. This duration can be prolonged for further 9 months, with the premise that the bike or scooter be used privately.
The Green Card, issued by your insurance company and without which it would be impossible to travel in many countries, is not required if your country has stipulated bilateral agreements with Greece. It is anyhow advisable to have it always with you.



The road network in Greece is vast and constantly expanded and modernised. Those who choose to cross the country with their vehicle will not find any particular problems.
Border crossings to enter Greece from the bordering Balkan states are Exochi for Bulgaria, Evzones Kilkis for Macedonia, Kakavia for Albania and Kipoi Evrou for Turkey.
Following are the main road axes: Athens-Thessaloniki (E 75); Athens-Corinth (E 94); Corinth-Patras (E 65);
Corinth-Tripoli-Kalamata (E 65); Patras-Pyrgos-Olympia (E 55); Thessaloniki-Kavala-Alexandroupoli (E 90);
Igoumenitsa-Alexandroupoli (Egnatia Odos motorway); Canea-Agios Nikolaos (Crete E 75).
The constant change of the Greek road network is connected to some advice you must absolutely follow: do not trust old maps. If you do not like using sat navs buy a recent map of Greece once there.
If your route includes off-road itineraries in the region of Thrace… especially in proximity of the border areas with Bulgaria (Rhodope mountains) and Turkey (Alaxandroupoli, the Evros delta and the Orestiada area) you must know that you need special permits.
In case you park in no parking areas, the Police, besides giving you a fine, sometimes also confiscate the licence plates. You can collect them only after paying the fine and showing the ticket which indicates the date you will leave the country.
In case you get fined we recommend you not to sign any Police papers written in Greek if you are not able to understand them. In practice you need to insist on having the assistance of a translator, in accordance with local legislation.
If you plan on hiring a bike or scooter, especially on the Greek Islands, you must be very careful. We remind you that the use of a helmet is compulsory in the whole country. Always make sure the insurance policy of the hired vehicle adequately covers damage to third parties, passengers, theft and damage to the vehicle (fire and vandalism). We recommend you ask to undersign the rental contract also in English.



Avoid, especially in Athens, leaving you bike in unattended car parks by night.
Never let your guard down on the islands: here too motorcycles get stolen.
In the unfortunate event of involvement in a road accident, remember to take pictures of the vehicle’s damaged parts for insurance claims.
In the case of problems with the local Police Authorities (being held in custody or arrested) we recommend you inform your Embassy or Consulate.
Generally the degree of safety is in line with the rest of Europe, including the possibility of terrorist attacks.



Capital: ATHENS
Population: Around 11.3 million
Area: 132,020 square kms
TIME ZONE: One hour ahead of Italy (GMT + 2 hours)
Language: Modern Greek; English and to a lesser extent French and Italian are spoken.
Religions: Orthodox Christian majority.
Currency: Euro. Main credit cards are accepted. Cash machines to withdraw money are common.
The electric network: in Greece it’s 230V AC (50Hz). North American electronic devices may require a transformer while British ones the classic adaptor to plug them in.
Telephone: The area code for Greece is +30 (following is the local number that usually begins with the number 2, or 6 if you are calling a mobile phone).
Emergency number: 166
Police: 100
Fire department: 199
Tourist Police: 1571
Emergency doctors for house calls: 1016
Hospitals and duty chemists: 1434
Greek phone number search: 11818


Greek National Tourist Board: Via Santa Sofia, 12 – 20122 Milan – Phone: +39 02 860470
e-mail: – Sito web:
ITALIAN EMBASSY: Odos Sekeri, 2 106 74 Athens Phone: 0030/210/36.17.260 – 36.17.263 – 36.17.273/4
e-mail: – homepage:
Consulate: Odos Patriarchou Ioakim, (Kolonaki) , 38 – 3rd floor.
10675 Athens – e-mail:
Phone number: 0030 2109538 180 – Mobile phone: 00306932204060 (active for emergencies only).
There are almost 20 Italian consulates (between honorary consulates and consular agencies) distributed over the country.



Public health facilities are crowded during summer and generally barely adequate on the islands.
For the most serious cases specialised doctors and equipment are often missing. Consequently, before leaving, it is advisable to stipulate a medical insurance covering medical expenses and the possible medical repatriation or transfer to another country.
Chemists are plenty and present over the whole territory, but work on shifts.
No endemic illnesses are signalled in Greece.
Following the appearance of the West Nile Virus – transmitted via infected mosquito bites (numerous cases have been reported the previous years especially in the regions of North Greece, Macedonia, Thessaly and Attica), the Greek Health Minister has intensified both prevention programmes and coordination with local health structures. In the last years cases of autochthonous malaria have been registered (Southern Peloponnesus, Attica, Thessaly). Malaria is an infective illness transmitted by the bite of the Anopheles mosquito. Consequently we recommend adopting adequate protections with repellent sprays and clothing that covers arms and legs, especially at sunrise and sunset, during spring and summer.
Citizens of member states of the European Union can receive necessary medical treatment provided by the local public health service if in possession of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).



Greece is a rather easy destination. The country can be visited in the saddle of any kind of bike and easily also on a maxiscooter. In the period between June and September temperatures allow to travel light, starting from technical apparel, which must protect but also ventilate. A jet helmet can be tempting, but it is always best to choose a full-face, possibly openable.
A convenient backpack can be an alternative to a tank bag. If you have no room for luggage use both.
Talking of accessories, the classic set with side cases supported by a capacious top bag (convenient for trips to the beach) is more than enough.
Always useful are the first aid and puncture kits, USB cables and smartphone holders.
You can’t do without a high-quality mechanical lock and also locks with steel cable to secure the helmets to the bike during short stops.
Off-roaders will find in the new GIVI catalogue a great number of accessories dedicated to maxi Enduros.



A litre of 4-star petrol cost 1.57 euros in Greece (price on 23rd January 2017).



Greece is indicated as a nation with a Mediterranean climate. This generally means mild temperatures, many sunny days and little rain the year round.
Still, its geographical structure creates differences due to the influence of the continental climate of the North-East of the country (warmer summers and colder winters). In the whole area between land and the sea there are great variations.
In the plains winters are mild while the mountains are always covered in snow.
The same region can basically present different climate conditions in the same period.
To recap:
Mediterranean climate along the coast and on the islands, with warm dry summers and mild wet winters.
Temperate climate in the country’s central area, in Macedonia and Thrace, with warm dry summers and cold winters.
Mountain climate in Western Greece and, generally, when you move away from the sea, in areas such as Epirus,
Thessaly, inland Peloponnesus.
The advisable period to go on a bike trip is between April and October. One more thing: free camping is prohibited in the whole country.



Greek bike rental company in business since 1976. With them it is possible to participate in organised tours, also for a single day, with English-speaking guide. Among their proposals there are also some adventure multi-day tours.
Prices go from 40 to 132 euros a day (for a 7-day-minimum rental).
Contacts: – 4, Kavalloti str. – Athens, 11742 – Phone. (+30) 210 92 34 939, (+30) 210 92 20 879 –
Mobile (+30) 6936 842 842 – e-mail:

Present in Greece with various rental shops, among which all main airports. The team has been active for some time in Bulgaria with very interesting offers for bike trips. The experience they acquired has allowed them to broaden their operational horizons, opening offices also in Greece.
Contacts: – Sofia 1799, Bulgaria – Mladost 2, bl. 279, office 1 – Phone/fax: +359 24 808 553; – Motorcycle rental: Phone: +359 887 885 635 –

Offices in Athens and the main islands. It’s a worldwide organisation with a very sophisticated motorcycle rental platform, similar to the one used by the main car rental companies and with the same degree of safety.
Contacts: – phone. +44 203 769 00 23

Small Italian company, based in Civitanova Marche, with a calendar of bike trips that include Greece. At present it is promoting its 10-day tour, from 22 April to 1 May, leaving with your bike from Ancona, Italy.
Contacts: – phone. +39 335 759 6858 –

The famous tour operator proposes a ‘quiet trip’ along the roads of Continental Greece and the Peloponnesus, among the world-known archaeological sites and beautiful views of the Mediterranean. Among the alternatives: ROAD (10 days starting from Ancona, Italy) FLASH (8 days arriving in Athens by plane, bike transport from Italy organised by the company included in the price) FREE (8 days: you reach Athens on your bike on your own and then meet up with the group).
Contacts: – Regione Chinoda, 15 – 10090 Sciolze TO (Italy)- phone. 348-5621316; 011-9603716 –

Another ‘made in Greece’ option. Moto Voyager offers a calendar rich in organised bike tours covering each corner of Greece. Dates are fixed but there is the option of making a custom tour and leaving at your convenience. You can use your own bike or hire one.
Contacts: – 54 G.Schina str. – Megara, Greece, 19100 – phone. (+30) 22960 22880
– email: