|08-11-2005, 08:02 AM||#1|
Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Frankfurt, Germany
Riding in European Alps for 10 days
Plan: 10 days of riding in Alps with friends, in total 3 of us. The 4th biker was with us only for 2 days. I arrived to Italy from Germany, 3 of them from Croatia/Zagreb.
I started my trip on Friday 2005-07-22. First boring 400 km on the highway through Germany from Frankfurt towards south. Speed was moderate (cca. 140 km/h all the time) to preserve my brand new tires.I hate highways but there is no faster way to eat boring kilometers. Suddenly, I saw mountains and my mood immediately got better. Fun started in Oberjoch in south Germany.
After one smaller pass I entered Austria and some 50 km later started to climb my first real mountain pass - Hahntennjoch, 1894 m. Great road, very good pavement,dry weather but not too hot. Ideal for riding.
The road went further to smaller town Imst in Austria after which I followed the roads toward Italy and mountain pass Passo di Resia. This one was hard to recognize as mountain pass since it's actually a highland. Entire south Germany, some 30-40 km before Alps is on altitudes above 600 m or even more: 800-1100 m.
After I crossed Italian border I passed Resia and drove around artificial lake Lago di Resia. It was a beautiful day and I was enjoyng very much.
Continued towards Prato allo Stelvo and further to Stelvio mountain pass. It is the most beautiful mountain pass, IMHO. The road is sensational and can be seen in its entirety from 2000 -2758 m from Prato allo Stelvio side. Motorbikers paradise. It was my first Stelvio climb theese days.
It was already late afternoon, so I continued my ride to valley and large mountain village Bormio where I joined for a day to my cycling friends. They gave me food, drinks & bed for free. Great guys ;)
My (cycling) friends woke up early since they had to go back home. Most of them decided to go over Stelvio and since I had a short ride from Bormio to Molina di Ledro, I went with them to Stelvio again. This was my "second Stelvio" :)
After one hour of relaxed talking and drinking coffee at 2760 m, my friends continued their trip following the road towards Prato Allo Stelvio and I went back to Bormio and up again to Gavia pass (2650 m). During ascending i joined a group of 5-6 bikers (mostly GS gang) and behind me was one GS and one DL650. We had very good and a bit faster ride together :) Stopped maybe 1 km before the pass on a beautiful place for photo session.
After Gavia I went to Passo Tonale (1884 m) and further towards Trento.
I missed the Madonna di Campiglio but we did it together on the very next day. Road after Passo Tonale is absolutely fantastic with many curves and great pavement so I was enjoying a lot. In fron t of me were 2 local bikers (Varadero & Africa Twin) driving faster :) Thanks guys!
Arrived in Molina di Ledro at 16h. Apartment was nice and relatively big and we had garage for our bikes. I was hungry and thirsty but wanted to have dinner with my friends. Since I was expecting them to arrive at cca. 17h I decided to wait. They arrived after 22 h... I had 2 pizza for dinner ;)
More photos + nice panoramas here.
Big ride. Following GPS with maps that do not contain the newest roads we ended-up in the fields after only 30 min of ride:
After fighting to get out we continued driving through very nice area towards Madonna di Campiglio:
where we had small break, and continued to Passo Tonale. Great, fantastic road, perfect twisties but dangerous. It was weekend day, crazy Italians on Ducatis and similar R bikes were not up to the task all the time! This photo was taken maybe one km before Tonale pass:
After Tonale we continued towards beautiful pass: Gavia (2652 m). This was my second Gavia climb but from different side. Weather was a bit worse but dry with just some occasional rain (weak) at Stelvio. At that day some local bike organization organized a trip to Gavia pass for oldtimers. Bikes were awesome - old and perfectly preserved.
Food and drinks in Bormio:
and my third climb to Stelvio (2760 m):
Return was standard through Prato allo Stelvio, Trento, Riva del Garda and finally Molina. Alltogheter 430 km, all day ride. We came in apartment after 22 hours ;) Route and altitudes are here.
Plan was to ride towards lake Idro. Like always. plan is one thing, result another. First we met some Germans that suggested us to visit one nice place at the opposite side of lake Idro than we planned to ride. I was reprogramming my GPS on the way. Bad idea. We lost the planned route, entered to some local busy road and found closed road across the hill, had to continue to Brescia, found another closed road to Garda, got stuck in traffic, get lost, ... ;) Finally, we gather together later afternoon in small place Sarezzo. Rest, coffee, consolidation :)
We had to shorten the route and ended up on Maniva pass (1664 m).
After few hundred meters we found unpaved road to Passo di Croce Domini in length of 9 km.
(I'm in front ;) It was late afternoon, foggy but dry, a bit mystical. It was really beautiful... I remember I was a bit scared when we found big horses at the middle of the street. It took us a while to pass this 50 meters ;)
Some 50 km from Molina we got lost again. Two of us wend right (GPS!) , the other two turned left. Right was longer way, but sensational! The road between lake Idro and Garda is short (some 20 km) but with so many curves that you can't imagine. DL was like a supermoto bike, the guy on Fazer 600 lost me after only 2 curves ;) It was late, after 22, street was empty, asphalt fantastic and I was very motivated. Great night ride...
At the end we had to ride the famous twisty road above Garda:
After descending we had to ride some 60 more km to Garda and finally Molina, altogether 380 km. We entered our apartment after 23 hours ;)
map01.jpg shows what I had planned, I did the route from map.jpg and the other group the route from map02.jpg. They could be seen here.
On the road again. Plan - east part of Lago di Garda. Molina->Riva->Roverto and then in the hills. Roads were just perfect:
See the photo in large format. This pavement just asked for more. Fantastic... In small place Valmorbia we took a short break. It was hot ;)
Unexpectedly, we met one older Croatian guy working on the road that recognized our talks. He joined and while chatting, he told us about one really interesting thing for us - house of famous Tito's (former Yugoslav president) grandfather was just a few km away - in the small, very small place called - BROZZ. Tito's surname was BROZ! Here is the house:
So, Tito's origins were Italian. This was a great surprise for us!
We continued towards Fugazze pass (1156 m) were the temperature was at least 10 stC lower than in the valley. It was a great place to take a rest:
After that we had one less interesting part through Schio but right after this city we reach fantastic road with 10-12 miracle serpentines. From there again perfect ride. It was realatively late. We started to climb Passo Coe (1608 m) when it was already very late (22 hours) and after that reach one fantastic road that was actually closed but we took our chances:
The road was so narrow that 2 motorbikes would have problems if met from the opposite sides. But since it was very late (23 hours) and road was closed, we were absolutely alone. Road was extremely steep. My guess : 15-20 % most of the time. It was really an adventure ride ;)
It was past midnight when we entered our appartment. Great day... Route and attitudes are here.
More to come.
vstrom screwed with this post 03-26-2007 at 05:42 AM
|08-11-2005, 08:05 AM||#2|
Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Frankfurt, Germany
On coffee break we had the day before, we decided to go to Switzerland to visit my friend and stay there 2 nights. This was a plan. As you probably guess, we messed up a bit ;) GPS was programmed according to map01. I don't know why but I just wanted to go to Umbrail pass, so we did the trip shown on map02. Not a big difference, ha? Oh, it was... First route, 350 km, second almost 500. Too much for one day. Look at altitudes. Look where we ended up - on 2300 m ;)
We first rode our already well known route towards Passo Croce Domini (1892 m) and then directly to Bernina pass (2330 m) in Switzerland. Few kilometers before Tirano my GPS was forcing me to turn left. I thought, you stupid machine, we have to go right, TO BORMIO! Yeah right. This was of course wrong, but who cares. We had great day at the end. Half an hour later we started to climb Stelvio. Me for 4th time ;) Actually, we didn't go to Stelvio, but turn left just before it to Umbrail pass (2501 m) and Switzerland.
Very beautiful road, some 3-4 km unpaved, nice waterfall.
As soon as we entered Switzerland, we noticed a change. Swiss is one perfect country - everything is so well organized and tidy you can't imagine. Austria is one example of beautiful/tidy country but Switzerland goes to extremes ;) Continued towards Ofenpass (2149 m).
Road was great with nice and tight curves, fun to ride. Then I turned my GPS on again and smart little machine was telling me to turn left at one funny place - right into the mountain. Actually, tere was one special tunnel - small (only one line, traffic controlled by traffic lights), very cold and expensive (7 E). We again crossed the border and entered Italy!
Lake Livigno, interesting road:
We ended up in Livigno, luxury place, famous ski center. It was full of tourists. Without making breaks we continued towards Livigno pass (2301 m) and entered Switzerland again! One of my friends was totally confused ;)
After pass, fantastic Switzerland again:
Few kilometers away, few great twisties and we reached Bernina pass (2328 m).
We took a break for taking photos, and I was checking my GPS. It was 19 hours, nice but late. When I saw how far is our destination, I got shocked - 200 km more to ride... No way, to far away. I asked my friends about sleeping there, at the pass cause Livigno or St.Moritz are significantly more expensive, and we found a free 4 bed room 500 m away from where we were:
It costed 27 E per person + dinner. Breakfast was included in the price. Night was cold (around 0 C), but air was great, cold, clean and atmosphere was calm so we had a great night for sleeping. On that day we did the route from map03. It was a great day, beautiful weather again, great roads. Maps, altitudes and more photos could be found here.
This was the most beautiful morning. At 2300 m, clear sky, 5 C degrees in peak summer time.
We had calm breakfast. Since we split one big one-day ride into 2 days, we had less then 200 km to ride. And the weather was marvelous in the most beautiful Alpine landscapes you can imagine. Few kilometers from Bernina we got a clear open view to most fascinating Alpine glacier I've seen until now:
Some 40 km more and we reached St.Moritz. The one who never-ever heard anything about this small but beautiful Alpine city, please rise your hand. We stopped again, sat down and ordered an expensive coffee. But it was worth.
Our road continued further towards Maloja pass with great serpentines. Oh how I loved my new Pilot Roads - they were really fantastic. And bike also, with increased rear hight. I love my new setup. We entered Italy again. My friend was totally confused and he stopped counting. After some time we stared to climb Spluengenpass (2100 m). This one have one of the most difficult hairpins I have ever seen until now. Inner curve is not rounded but have real V shape. It is impossible to make a turn without being really slow and turn easily without leaning too much.
At the top we had a big rest. And immediately after that, lunch
After the pass we entered Switzerland. Again ;) My friend finally got lost and all his counters were reset ;) The road on the Swiss side was fantastic:
Going up again to San Bernardino pass (2066 m):
Going down from Bernardino was major fun. Fantastic road allowed us to scrape our pegs and stay safe. Ah, how I love this road from Bernardino to Belinzona... :)
We had break again, coffee, chatting. It was the most relaxed day until now and we all liked it that way. Since we were a bit too early [FONT SIZE=7](for the first time until now since all our rides were ending deep in the night)[/font] because my friend works until 20 hours, we went to some small road that brought us to 1500 m at the dead end. It was nice and just a perfect ride for the end of the day:
Another hour and we reached Locarno and my friend. Maybe the most beautiful day, starting from Bernina pass, passing Maloja, Spluengen and Bernardino, having all day for some 240 km with lot of breaks and sightseeing. More photos, map and altitudes could be found here
My friend and his wife had to wake up early to go to work. We were up at 06 AM
We wanted to start early to avoid traffic around lakes Lugano and Como. But we didn't manage. As soon as we entered Italy, we entered traffic madness. After 2-3 hours fighting with heat and millions of cars and after we left city Morbegno, we were fine again. Fun started with Marcopass (cca 2000 m). Finally...
We were in the mountain area all the way from there to Molina. Mountains were not dramatic, but landscapes were beautiful. All this area is populated and heights are around 1.000 m:
At the end of the day, we did Croce Domini once again. For the last time. Although not higher than 2000 m, it is very beautiful:
We had longer pause. Weather was beautiful, calm and it was a pleasure to sit outside and drink late coffee. On the way to our apartment we had to use our already "standard" route to lake Idro and further to Molina:
We were in apartment before dark and that was the last night there. More photos and altitudes could be found here
Finale. The last day we'll ride together. Initially, I had a plan to start towards west and reach Schwarzwald in Germany in one day. It was 500 km distance and after experiences from previous days, I changed my plans. We decided to go to real Dolomites to make this trip even better.
We started lazy. This was a view from our apartments balcony:
Ride started at 11 AM. We took nice local roads at the beginning. Perfect asphalt, some small passes (cca. 700 m), beautiful serpentines, etc in the first 60-70 km.Then we reached typical Italian traffic madness and spend a good hour fighting with heat and big queues. Luckily, we followed some Italian bikers that were splitting lines and even use pedestrian paths. Hey, this is Italy, more things are allowed here
Finally we reached the local road to Pordoi pass (2239 m). Asphalt was just perfect, serpentines big and well constructed, so my tire was used from side to side :
We stopped in one small village on the way for lunch and rest. Continued our way to Pordoi in about one hour later. I was a bit faster so I pulled aside on Pordoi pass in order to wait for my friends. They passed just few minutes later without stopping. After 15 minutes I was sure that they were gone so I continued my ride. Suddenly, I noticed that asphalt is no longer that good - my first and last tire slipped a bit in one curve. In front of me were two local bikers on BMW's riding slowly. This was enough for me to ease down. Few minutes later I spotted my friends parked aside. One was photographing, the other signaling to stop. I pulled aside, put down my helmet and asked them why didn't they stop at Pordoi? They were confused and thought that I went away. And they told me that Kawa rider (Kresimir) had just fallen! Holly shit :(
His mistake - he didn't anticipate the bad pavement and was giving to much gas at the curve exit so the bike just slipped away. Luckily, there was not traffic from the other side and he was not hurt, just scratched. Bike also. After 30 mins of rest we continued. After the very next curve, I saw one German female rider on the ground because of the same reason. I quickly pulled aside, put my helmet off and run to help her. We managed to lift her bike immediately and because she was in full leather suite so she was OK.If you go there, watch out - road to Pordoi is in bad condition. Drive carefullly. While resting we have seen many bikers having troubles there. Grip is miserable :|
But, life goes on. We were at the beautiful place so we continued our trip:
After visiting all major passes there (4 or 5 higher than 2000 meters - see map), we continued to Marmolada, the highest Dolomite peak : 3343 m.
It was late and we had to found a place to sleep. We couldn't have more luck. At 1850 m, some 200 m below Fedaia pass 2050 m we found a great place, not too expensive and our bikes were in the garage. This was a perfect day. Great finale.
More photos, altitudes and map could be found here
The very last day of my adventure. Woke up early. It was raining a lot so we had a long breakfast combined with route planning:
An hour later rain stopped so we started our final ride. Plan was to ride some 40 km together. We were then about to separate : my friends towards Cortina and further to east to Slovenia and Croatia, me to NW towards Brenner, Innsbruck and further to Germany. This was the last break we had together:
I continued alone. Weather was OK, dry until Brenner and Austrian border. Then it started really bad, for the first time in 10 days. My GPS receiver that was semi-waterproof (should not be submerged into water) was shortcircuited. I noticed this because my console was reset twice - like after giving initial contact, but engine was working fine all the time.Few kilometers before Imst rain stopped, so I climbed my last big pass (Hahntennjoch, 1900 m) on dry pavement.
In about 2 hours I reached south Germany and big state highway A7. This was the end of fun-ride and what was left was just a boring highway. Again, easy, spririted ride to preserve my belowed tires. And I did it fine. At cca. 140 km/h tires to not wear too much and speed is more than adequate. More photos, altitudes and map could be found here.
What to say after all? This is why I like motorbiking and why I own V-Strom. It is just a perfect bike for touring like this one.
vstrom screwed with this post 03-26-2007 at 06:02 AM
|08-11-2005, 08:07 AM||#3|
Joined: May 2005
Location: Sherman Oaks
Looking at that road in Stelvio always gives me wood! Beautiful pictures, roads, scenery...keep 'em coming!
BMW F 800 GS - Indigo Blue
|08-11-2005, 08:15 AM||#4|
Joined: Jan 2004
Location: Oxford, UK
Great report, nowhere near enough photos though........
Don't forget to complete your profile so that we know where you live.
|08-11-2005, 08:50 AM||#5|
Joined: Jun 2003
Location: Gates of Moscow
With the exception of that dead-end road you guys took, I got to ride all the passes you named when I was posted to Brussels for 6 years. You didn't take a bad picture in that whole post, nice work. Helps that the scenery is there, don't it?
I miss the Alps.
I guess your get up and go needs a coffee. - Drif5
|08-11-2005, 08:51 AM||#6|
Allergic to Asphalt!
Joined: Oct 2004
The Alps always make for great riding.
The weather can be finnecky and often traffic can drive you crazy. There is nothing worst than getting stuck behind a colunm of cars on a great Passo!
Nice report, thanx.
So Many Idiots, So Few Comets!!!!!!!!!
|08-11-2005, 09:10 AM||#7|
Joined: Sep 2003
Location: Springfield, MA
Professor for hire.
|08-11-2005, 12:15 PM||#8|
Joined: Nov 2003
Location: Bay Area, California
Two weeks, six days and I'm in the Alps again
Thanks for a great report
Crusader of Slack
|08-11-2005, 12:53 PM||#10|
Joined: Aug 2005
Location: Schertz, Tx
Great report and photos. A 2 week European bike tour is on the list of things to do for my wife and I in June 2007.
|08-11-2005, 01:16 PM||#11|
Sofa King Bueno
Joined: Feb 2005
Location: Moran Nation
vstrom, fantastic. I have ridden most of those places you have, and love the alps. Some of you pics brought back some good memories for me.
BTW, I live near Nurenberg, so if you are ever down this way, stop by for a beer.
Come to the darkside, we have cookies.
"Make sure you got clean underwear," Mom always said. I always figured that'd be the least of my worries, but now I'm older, I see there's a lot you can't control and some you can control and clean underwear is one of those you can...for the most part.
|08-11-2005, 02:13 PM||#12|
Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Frankfurt, Germany
|08-11-2005, 02:27 PM||#14|
Joined: Nov 2001
Location: Canada & the Alps - N 46° 31.714' E 010° 27.212'
Great report, great photos and all too familiar.
Did you take the road from the top of Passo di Croce Domini to Anfo...mostly gravel? A nice narrow road with great views.
All the best,
Euro & North American Travel & Technical Stuff for the R1150 GS & Adventure
Euro & Alps Motorcycle Tours - Priced Right, How to go about
Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.....A. Einstein
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