Big Alps Moto Tour 2014 - English version
The Grossglockner, the Passo dello Stelvio… The evocation of these two names are enough to ignite the appetites of roads and alpine landscapes in any motorcyclist….
It is thus quite naturally that our group of buddies decided to go even further than last year (see a turn in Switzerland) . A roadtrip as we had never experienced , more than 2500 km to be buckled in 5 days maximum : on paper, this moto trip is a paradise for motorcyclists (the Tyrol, Dolomites, Switzerland).
Paradise or hell? We lived “a little” of both depending on the weather conditions, but what will remain for us is an unforgettable experiment.
(photographs: Franck, Cyrille, Marc and Jerome)
I want to thank my wife Cécile for the English translation which she managed to perform in a few hours on a rainy afternoon (she is sorry in advance for any mistake left)
ROADBOOKS TO BE DOWNLOADED - MOTORCYCLE IN THE TYROL - DOLOMITES - SWITZERLAND
1er jour Vichy (Fr) - Mulhouse ( Fr)
2e jour Mulhouse (Fr) - Imst ( Au)
3e jour Imst(Au) - Grossglockner (Au)
4e jour Grossglockner (Au) - Bormio ( It)
5e jour Bormio (It) - Interlaken (Ch)
Par buzz03 le 5 Septembre 2014 à 18:13
moto tour 2014 : 1st day Vichy( Fr) - Mulhouse( Fr) 480 km / 6h30
what I preferred on my Triumph Tiger !
- the ride on the "ballon d'Alsace": the small D455 is a nice introduction !
Report of this first day motorcycle tour 2014 Sunday, July 20 2014
After several months of waiting and preparation , here we are now !
It is 8:00 of the morning and the official departure of this “big Alps tour 2014” is officially announced .
The day before, the final preparations were carried out.
Our motorcycles are loaded .....Great holidays on a motorcycle is everybody's dream … But a c%#%* of depression is based on our beautiful country and is moving towards the East… it will be necessary to take into account unfavorable weather conditions!
8:30,it's time to head towards our first destination: the "Vosges" and its "ballon d'Alsace".
A first stop in the town of Beaune enables us to have lunch (consisting of sausages from Auvergne and of local pastry cakes…) but also to buy the Swiss motorway label at the city tourist office (I had got information about this possibility)
Well restored, we take again the motorcycle, the choice was made a long time ago to take the motorway to be as fast as possible on our first playing field, the heights of the Vosges and its famous Ballon!
The D455 secondary road which leaves Belfort and leads us to the Ballon d'Alsace keeps its promises: it has penetrated in the forest all in curves and laces,it is a true moment of pleasure, especially after having ridden all this morning so many kms without interests.
A small coffee break at the top of the "ballon d'Alsace" (summit of the Vosges of the South with its 1247 meter altitude) and we go up quickly in the direction of Sewen and of the Hundruck Pass except that .....
....... the road quickly appears barred due to automobile race ........
Dialogues and consultation of Mr. tomtom and Michelin…. Decision is made to take a small road. Oh there is a sign indicating well that the aforementioned “small road” can prove to be in bad condition but this does not concern us….
At the end of a good hundred meters and some fine gravels further, we carry on with portions of forest dirt tracks.
It is not the "Paris-Dakar" but nevertheless! Trails(Triumph Tiger 800 and BMW 1200 GS) are in their element and I acknowledge to have fun on this portion but Marc and Cyrille are not at their best with their roadsters…
Kawacyclette ZR7 will not come out unscathed from this portion: escape on the jointspy of the front fork, that leaks oil on the brakes and the front tire and can thus prove to be dangerous.
With the Hundsruck Pass, we dry ourselves the best we can and we join Mulhouse in the hope of finding quickly a rescuing dealer … a Waste of time and effort, it is Sunday. Tomorrow Monday everything seems closed, Cyrille is trying to talk us into letting him continue the road trip without him…. Out of the question! Concern is rising in the group.
The solution will come from new technologies. On the Web , we realize that the nearest German kawasaki dealer works on Mondays, and that it is about forty kms of Mulhouse (in the town of Lorrach).
Eureka ! we will be able to fix this first mechanical problem !
Par buzz03 le 5 Septembre 2014 à 18:13
moto tour 2014 : 3rd day imst( Au) - Grossglockner ( Au) / 400 km - 7H30
What I preferred on my Triumph tiger !
The pass of Jaufen : impeccable road ,nice bends , this is real pleasure !
Report of this third day motorcycle tour 2014
In the morning of the third day, I wake up physically and morally tired . I slept very little during the night and the weather is still quite gloomy (when will it stop? ).
I know that a very long day of riding is ahead of us (more 7:30 hours of mountain roads), not easy even in good weather , just imagine under the rain .....Moreover, it is during this day that we must see the most beautiful of Austria that is to say the pass of Jaufenpass (Monte Giovo); Timmelsjoch(Passo del Rombo), Gerlospass and especiallymythical Grossglockner!
It is in the characteristic sound of my tricylindre that I carry out the group on a good rhythm in the direction of our primary goal:Timmelsjoch, fifth higher Italian pass!
In fact, It marks the border with Austria and the High Adige Italian area. Like for many Austrian touristic roads you cannot go up without paying an expensive toll which includes a splendid motorcycle sticker!!!
((Small remark on the way: In Austria there are tolls everywhere!!!!! on the motorways (in spite of the purchase of the label (we did not understand!), on tourist mountain roads, everywhere ..... it is thus necessary to envisage a budget not too tight to ba able to see spectacular sights….)
Relatively little cars or courageous cyclists go through the toll section along with us. It should be said that the rise is carried out in the fog and the drizzle, the visibility is quasi void….
Jéjé goes in front, I follow his rear light while trying to appreciate all the same each curve of this rise!
Suddenly in a “rather easy” part the stop light of the 1200 GS flashes. I vaguely distinguish through the fog a black mass in front of Jerome's motorcycle. In fact it is a cow (non quipped with anti fog fires) walking right in the middle of the road: a big surprise for Jerome there!
Some bends further, we arrive at the top (2474m) and each one takes the time to take some pics of the place.
Grosses gouttes et grüss gött !!! : (French pun on words, sorry...)
Tiger and sheep...
To celebrate this event, I also take the opportunity to stick my first moto-sticker “Riderbuzz” on the pass sign. (like everywhere in the Alps, on all the largest passes signs, you have to notice,there are stickers of clubs cyclists, motorcycles…)
Glad to find ourselves here, we immortalize this moment on “film”.
The descent of the pass begins with the crossing of a long tunnel. And there… second morning surprise: the sky is clear for the first time since our entry in the Alps! Some clouds remain but what a contrast with the other side! the tops finally appear.
The mountain tops reval themselves...
While my comrades drink a coffee while “conversing “ with the charming saleswoman, I take out my photo/videoequipment again to make you enjoy the point of view (really I sacrifice myself for you! - click on the picture).
I take the lead in the group in the descent. And there third incident of the morning: at the time of a stop due to roadwork,Cyrille by going up the line, goes closely to my level . I start again touching his right brake handle with my suitcase without neither of us realizing-->again large surprise with the first bend for my friend "Princess" (in the purest Joebar style)!!! …
We then fix Kawacyclette in the homemade way!
Going down theTimmelsjoch :
The descent of Timmelsjoch is splendid and is practically connected with another great moment of this day: the rise of Jaufenpass (Passo di Monte Giovo).
The weather is finally nice, the road is extra,the bends are rather easy to negotiate and through the pine forest: let's have fun!
In front of me a couple of German, each one in Ducati, goes up on a good rhythm, I cling to their path.
VRAOOOOOOOOOM ........ Second bend,third, my Tiger is howling in pleasure… and immediately the next bend is already there: Jéjé also sticks to my tail with its BMW..
I absolutely loved riding this pass!
Arrived at the top everyone stops to recover from“his emotions”. The German couple leaves us with a friendly salute as we are remembering this beautiful rise !
283 kms… this is what remains to be made from Monte Giovo to rejoin Grossglockner. 283kms that I will find the longest since I am riding a motorcycle….The first part is done on the motorway of Innsbruck, despite a dense rain which makes its reappearance.We leave the motorway in the direction of Zellamndt Ziller and the Gerlospass.
There is dense traffic and many roadworks on the way: besides it is necessary to go up the files along the white lines, to overtake cars and trucks in every occasion (the motorists not very pleased about this, quite to the contrary… another culture! ), in short… advance at all costs.The pavement is slippery again, the rain has got through my gear, I am cold, I cough, I cansee there almost nothing under my helmet but tiredness due to my lack of sleep of the night before: I can feel it now. For the first time since the departure, I 'm wondering what I am doing here !
After the pass (with nothing to be seen), we dive in one of the major touristic site of the country: “Krimmler Waserfalls” of the Hohe Tauern national park : the highest falls of Europe. There are many tourists on the car park in spite of the rain. For me : just a quick picture taken by the road.
We continue… I scrutinize the tomtom from time to time… still 3:00… 2:00, 1:00 to go… this connection seems endless to me .
We finally arrive in front of the toll of the unmissable Grossglockner (and yes to have the opportunity of going up there, it is again necessary to pay!!) and like a reward, the rain has stopped.
I know that this road is a “must see” of the Alps, which any motorcyclist of the world must have done. Extraordinary bends, drawn for the pleasure of any motorcyclist. A mythical place as well because it is here that an old motorcylcist race was disputed (there is also a museum devoted to this race at the top). A place where, in each bends, the landscape is a sight for sore eyes… I know this because I saw the photos and I promised it to my fellow travellers.
I thus pay my toll passage right of 18 euros without regret as I am trustful and driven by such fantastic perspectives…. My vain hopes are quickly dissipated at the end of a few hundred meters of rise!
OK, once again, we have to cope with the lousy weather; then in the absence of the grandiose landscapes, we nevertheless take some nice pictures in the fog and the rain.
Our inn situated in the middle of the Grossqlockner is in sight at last!
What a day!!!
moto tour 2014 : 2nd day Mulhouse ( Fr) - Imst ( Au) / 370 km - 6h30 - 7 H
what I preferred on my Triumph tiger !
- the ride under the drizzle and in the fog of Furkajosh (first pass of the day)… but I quickly will have enough of these weary conditions !
- descent of Fernpass: impressive on a wet road !
Report of this second day motorcycle tour 2014
Monday morning, the German dealer opens at 8:30, we thus leave early Mulhouse after having absorbed the sad breakfast of the hotel (it will be better in Austria…)
I take the lead in the convoy and a half hour later, we are in front of the concession. The technician examines “Kawacyclette” and delivers his verdict: it is necessary to repair because it is” Kaput “and “gefährlich”, no question of going as far as Austria so… 2H30 of work (Oops…. in other words we can cross the Black Forest off our trip ! ) and
230euros (Oops again ….).
We visit Lorrach, drink a coffee, and do some shoppings for today's picnic.
It is finally approximately 1:00 PM when we set out again in the direction of Austria.
we cross the borders between Germany and Switzerland without very realizing it. we progress but it is however necessary to stopin Sankt Gallen (in Switzerland) to supply our motorbikes and to have a lunch .
And it is truly there, while setting out again, that this B#@¤#*! depression has caught up with us. We thus make a triumphal entrance in Austria under a heavy rain!!!
This part of the roadbook (between sankt Gallenand and Imst) is in theory made up of roads crossing the typical villages with yesterday's charm of the Alpine valleys but we absolutely saw nothing ! ….Just rain and very slippery roads.
At half way we attack our first Austrian pass (Furkajoch) in pea mashed potatoes… we do not see anything of the landscapes (see photo(wikipedia) in comparison with Furkajoch by clicking here).
I am cold but I make against misfortune good heart by singing “Flower of Scotland” under my helmet at the time of the rise (it is not really the place butthat seemed to me all the same of circumstance! )
This day there, we do not ride on a good rhythm because of slippery roads and of the flow of circulation (there are always many trucks and cars to be overtaken in the Alpine valleys), GPS makes its crisis of the style “turn left”, “turn right” and “make half turn as soon as possible” in the same intersection! In short sometimes it is better to rely on a good Michelin map !
It is thus approximately 6:00 pm when we arrive at the bottom of the last pass : the Fernpass.
Jéjé engages the first but quickly stops in front of a red light : the pass is closed!!!! A little further our two linguists (Jéjé and Marc) go to knock at the door of a country cottage. The inhabitants explain us that because of intense rains of in the morning there was a crumbling and that the passage is impossible! Only solution according to them, to turn back and make a detour of 1H30 by the close valley! (Oops again ! ).
Hardly gone up on its 1200 GS, Jerome sets out again in an angry howling bicylindric in opposite direction.
Too much quickly however, because while passing in front of the intersection of the pass he does not realize that light has just turned green! (great luck , during our conversation the road was reopened).
He joins us to finish this wet end of the day in the vertiginous descent of the Fernpass to Imst and our inn.
The evening continues then in front of a good meal ,poker game and a spa session for the boys while I study the route of tomorrow and reload all my “electronic devices”!
moto tour 2014 : 4th day Grossglockner( Au) - Bormio ( It) / 400 km - 7H30
What I preferred on my Triumph tiger !
- The beauty of the Dolomites ( Gardena Pass, Sella Pass)
- Stelvio Pass: you must do it to believe it!
Report of this fourth day motorcycle tour 2014
Wednesday morning, 6:30 AM. During the last evening, the doubt has settled deep in everyone's mind as the previous was so challenging.
My fellow travellers start to evoke the possibility of zapping part of the route (and thus the Stelvio) if we must, like yesterday, face again the rotten weather.
This enventuality seems to me inconceivable as thePasso dello Stelvio seems to me the climax of this trip. But I must confess to have mixed feelings : it is raining cats and dogs and the temperature is not really summer representative!
It proves really difficult to load the motorcycle under such conditions and to set out again for more than 7 hours! Everybody in the team is lacking energy and moral.
We do not take the time to reach the terrace of “Franz-Josephs-Höhe” to admire the glacier of Pasterze,the fog is so thick.
This is a real frustration, as we cannot appreciate the Grossglockner and Austria in general to the full!
On the other hand low in the valley, the weather conditions are improving. Besides a beautiful rainbow greets us when we cross the toll of Helligenblut.
Kawa, Triumph et Bmw keep on their pace accross the Trentino-Südtirol region.
Stopping for some refreshments allows us to note that even on the Italian side, people speak a German dialect. Jerome ( a good historian) then takes the opportunity to explain its origin: this province was attached to Austria-Hungary before the Great War.
We then feel more intelligent getting back on our bikes. Today we are heading towards the Dolomites!
There is once again a lot of traffic (coaches,trucks, camping cars) but the blue sky and the sun shining is a relief for everybody.
At the time of the layout, I have make the choice to cross Dolomites by two of the most beautiful passes and I do not regret it because, during this trip, the landscapes were absolutely amazing!!
The Gardena Pass is the first one : quite simply exceptional in beauty; the occasion to hum the wind at its rhythm and within a splendid site.
At the top of the pass, the lookout is extraordinary, you can juge by yourself :
It is enough to turn the head to admire another panorama quite as remarkable! Each one among us benefits from the present moment, we stop several times to take as many pictures as possible.
We meet and salute many other bikers from everywhere in Europe .
The Sella Pass offers a magnificent panorama too .
These mountains are like no other : we have the impression to be in front of Monument Valley with 2500 m high! Sublime.
It is time for lunch break, we settle naturally at the edge of a bend to admire the many motorcycles (but also sport cars) which are heading towards the pass. The occasion to have a chat between pals.
The contrast is really seizing compared to the previous day, this time we really feel like on holidays on our motorcycle!
Going down again of the pass we experience a new technical incident: the screw of the crutch contactor of the Triumph Trident is gone,Marc can now start with a deployed crutch which can prove to be dangerous.
A technical stop in the town of Bolzano is thus necessary, I program the tomtom to find a car garage (in the absence of a motorcycle one). the GPS then leads us to the SIMONETI Brothers..... And there my friends, what a welcome!!!
Marc, thanks to his Italian origins, goes to meet the two very busy brothers.
The mechanics come to see the problem and they immediately put on a new screw (they even give us another one just in case….).
The youngest brother insists for us to come and visit his garage. In fact he wants to introduce his motorcycles, a er6n but especially a superb Tiger 1050…from there follows discussions of motorcyclists ,advices are given on the passes of the area to be made absolutely, he even takes the time to consult the weather forecast for us: really nice, a beautiful human experience!
Leaving Bolzano, I pass in front of, well decided to rejoin Stelvio as fast as possible while there is still no rain!
A little more than one hour later (in the surroundingof 6:30PM) we are finally at the bottom of the “monster” of the Alps.
I had read, on many forums, that the ideal was to start either early in the morning, or at the end of the evening to avoid the procession of the hundreds of motorcycles (or cars) in the bends..
I thus traced the route consequently, the conditions are perfect: nobody on the road, the Stelvio belongs to us!
Riding to the top is stunning! Marc passes in front, I stick to his wheels; the first bend is approached…. Good god how stiff and tight it is! We end up on the left side!
Second bend we will try to do better: a glance to the top to see whether a vehicle goes down, we set off a little on the left of the roadway as starter and we try to cast our glance as far as possible to the next bend: it is physical and technical but it goes better! (good revision of the half turn of the licence but with a slope of 14%!!! )
The bends are numbered (there are 48 of them on our side and 36 on the Bormio side); some passing places make it possible all the same to take pictures or seize the imposing decor of our playing field. Here is one of my favourite photo of this motorcycle tour:
Arriving at the top of the pass there are only 4 motorcycles, two Triumph, a BM and a Kawa : ours. The Stelvio is to be made and we did it well!
And each one among us is grinning with happiness.
I take the opportunity to stick my moto-sticker on the sign (mission accomplished!)
After the pass there is a small Alpine Valley, the opportunity to take more pictures :
It is then time to take over the lead to Bormio in an impressive descent with its small wet tunnels to cross in a depressing darkness!
We had rented a self-catering accomodation.
After a good meal of Italians specialties (mainly containing 1 kg of pasta) and a good poker game (won by Princess), I fall asleep on the slopes of the Stelvio!
moto tour 2014 : 5th day - Bormio ( It) - Interlaken( Ch) / 332 km - 7H30
What I preferred on my Triumph Tiger
- a Swiss breakfast with your mates at the Bernina Pass
- Finally discovering the panoramas of Susten Pass.
Report of this third day of our motorcycle tour 2014.
In the morning of this fifth day, everyone is conscious that it is the last true day of this motorcycle tour 2014, so everyboday wants to get the most of it!!
After a little housekeeping in our accomodation, and we take our motorbikes to the “very close” Switzerland.
Marc takes the precaution all the same to tighten each screw of his Triumph Trident (it should be taken care of, it is an English lady with character! )
Within some kms of Bormio we cross a first pass in the morning fog, the “Passo del Foscagno”, the road is wet and somehow damaged at places; we must drive with caution.
We need to refuel our motorcycles, so we head towards Livigno and the first station in the vicinity. New surprise: the super 95 is 1 € 15 / litre!
The commune of Livigno enjoys indeed a free zone status and, so it is some taxes free, such as for example the VAT.
I thus propose logically to Jerome to transfer the cakes and other candies into his top case (our official pantry) to fill it with petrol to the brim… But he refuses, alleging that the pilots also need fuel!
A little further, our motorcycles cross the Italo-Helvetian border, the Italian customs officers hardly raising their heads to watch us.
Even you do not realize it, you understand immediately you are in Switzerland, the road go from the “more or less degraded” status road to perfect ones!
A beautiful ride to the Bernina Pass offers varied landscapes: “rock green” (Iseran style) and some laces further the most lunar sight (Isoard style).
At the pass, unfortunately the clouds are thick and all the tops are hidden. You can always take some comfort at the “Albergo Ospizio Bernina” very close with a delicious hot chocolate and a cake containing walnut and Swiss caramel (very healthy;)! ).
On the car park, we meet a Pro cyclist team in full training. It is the occasion for Jerome to explain once again, the subtleties of the cyclism and the Tour de France in particular…
For the first time since the beginning of this motorcycle tour we took the time to have a break without running after time and the kms.
On to the motorcycles, we head our wheels towards Saint Moritz which we cross without stopping. Once again traffic is dense but offers here the advantage of admiring some beautiful cars or the very typical red train!
Here are the large curves of the Julierpass crossed with the "100% dampness" option”, just to test our behaviour in the rain.
The road leading to Disentis appears long to us because of the heavy traffic.
(without mentionning of “technical stops”!!!)
And that is how in the middle of the afternoon we finally reach the bends of the Oberalp for a ride up the east side, much more beautiful than the one carried out last year on the other side.
The Oberalppass culminates to 2046 m, it marks the border between the Swiss cantons of the Grisons and Uri. A lighthouse symbolizes the source of the Rhine.
As usual in Switzerland, the white crossed red flag floats in the wind...
A view from the pass above the lake .
Between Andermatt and Wassen the road is beautiful but also very heavy with traffic and many roadwork slow down our progression.
The Marvellous Sustenpass comes at the right moment to take us from this road stagnation.
It is time to wear out the side of our tires on the 1300 m on the slopes from the town of Wassen.In the riding up, we must negotiate large curves but also many tunnels dug in the mountain.
The road finest quality pushes to attack on more open parts, but the surrounding mountains and glaciers encourage to contemplation.
The descent on the Innertkirchen side is even more beautiful in my opinion, the road offering into many places, amazing lookouts on the surrounding snow-covered mountains.
As on this panorama where the lake sparkles as a mirror in a surrounding of rocks at the bottom of the Gletscher glaciers:
The last bends of this moto tour 2014 in the riding down the Susten...
We stop on the way to Interlaken in the village of Gsckletter to drink a pint (the curvy waitress of last year is still there! ) and I then take our small group to the youth hostel of Interlaken while riding along the sshores of the Brienz lake(very nice also).
Once showered and restored, the evening was completed by a babyfoot match (shamefully won by the young fellows Cyrille and Marc) and pool (where I could show my great dexterity by sending the white ball off the table : what a giggle!!!)
The day after and conclusion of this Big Alps Tour2014:
The following day we returned to Auvergne by the motorway our mind full of great memories.
Even long, and rainy on its first part, this motorcycle tour was exceptional all the same. I will remember, as evoked previously, a little frustration not to have been able to enjoy the roads of Tyrol to the full but it was really a “small adventure ”worth living on a motorcycle.
The layout was certainly too ambitious from the start (2500 km in 5 days), as we had to get to the pre-booked accommodation located more 7 hours from one another by mountain roads. What would have been no problem under a large sun, proved more problematic under the rain… but it was done!
Eventually, it is like last year a beautiful slice of life and of friendship between motorcyclists mates.
Also I make a point, once again, of thanking Jerome, Marc and Cyrille to have once again trusted me for this Big Alps turn 2014.Thank you guys!
See you next year for another trip, but I promise this time it will be under the sun.....
A big salute to all!
Par buzz03 le 5 Septembre 2014 à 18:18
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