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Offline Iain

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Alps trip report.
« on: June 28, 2014, 12:36:13 pm »
Allright. 3500 miles through the Alps and the best roads Iíve ever ridden on. I canít keep it all to myself so here goes, a report on my adventure!

After running down through Scotland I take the ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam. This must be the best way of getting to Europe from Scotland or the North of England. Beats running down to the channel ports surely. Good food and entertainment onboard. You arrive in Amsterdam about 9am after a good nights sleep-or hung over as the case may be-ready to hit the road!

Day 1. A long run through Holland and Germany on the Autobahn. Itís very hot, showing up to 30℃ on my dash. Make good progress initially but inevitably the traffic comes to a halt with something happening ahead. Eventually it clears and weíre moving again but Iím tired, hot & dripping in sweat so call it a day and find a hotel in Speyer. Iíd hoped to have made it to Basel but that was overly optimistic.

Day 2. A better day today and make good progress passing through Basel around midday and arriving in Chamonix by late afternoon. I discover Chamonix is a bit of a tourist trap, a beer is 7 Euros! Great views of Mont Blanc.

Day 3. My first real day of riding in the Alps! I pass through Megeve, Flumet then do Col des Saises and onwards down to Beaufort. Climbing again and up to Cormet de Roseland. Best run so far! Very steep and twisty, tight hairpins on descent. Cross into Italy and itís onto Col du Pt St Bernard. Great run to the top and again challenging on the descent. Make it to Aosta and find a hotel for 60 euros. Good day!

Day 4. Torrid time of it last night,it must have been that raw beef thing I ate in Chamonix. A visit to the nearest pharmacy is requiredÖeventually get sorted and dept Aosta about 10am and itís onto Col du Grd St Bernard. Another great run to the top. From there itís back into Switzerland and we head for the famous  Furka pass. It just goes up. And up. And up.. Very challenging again and some bonkers overtaking by local bikers on their sports bikes. Let them go I sayÖbut those Ducatiís sound so goodÖ Same on the way down, going for overtakes Iíd never dream of. I head for Andermatt, find a hotel and call it a night. Two great passes done so a good day.

Day 5. Very good day today! On the road just after 9am I head north from Andermatt and Sustenpass. What a run! My favourite so far. No real tight hairpins just lovely flowing roads that go on and on. Then onto Grimsel Pass and itís just as good. Lovely bends and great surfaces, all really great riding. The Trophy acquits itís self brilliantly at this sort of riding. Itís no sports bike and Iím not going to bother trying to keep up with the locals but I donít notice any drop in power as I climb higher, the triple does so well.

Then I head to Nufenen pass and the weather changes. Low cloud comes in and it starts to rain. Visibility drops to a few meters and suddenly this is not fun anymore. Temperature shows 4℃ and the frost warning is on. I get back down and make for Andermatt and find a room.

Day 6. Another good day. Dept Andermatt just after 9am and leave by Oberalp pass and onwards to Chur. Iím heading east for Stelvio and Grossglockner! On the way I find a lovely road and a lovely pass which hadnít been on my radar at all but turns out to be up there with my favourites. Itís the run from Chur to St Moritz taking in Julier pass. What a glorious biking road! Itís true the best bits are the things you find yourself. Lovely sweeping bends that are a joy to ride. Our Trophy is such a pleasure on roads like this.

I keep going hoping to make Stelvio pass by evening, which I do. This is the scariest pass yet. Very tight hairpins and a very steep climb from Bormio but I get there, Iím at the top! Whilst there I meet my only other Triumph Trophy on my whole trip. So far Iíve seen millions of bikes of every other kind. Harleys, Sports bikes, Nakeds all the BMWís including the ever ubiquitous GS. But this is my one and only other Trophy! I decide Iíve done well today and leave the descent of the Stelvio till the morning. Temperature as low as 1℃ on the dash.

Day 7. I leave early and start my descent of the Stelvio. I have to admit defeat with some of these real tight hairpins on the way down and walk the bike round some of them. The right-handers I can do no problem but for some reason the left-handers cause me problems. Itís psychological I know, all in the mind but I donít care. Dropping the bike would be a disaster and itís all gone well so far. I donít care how long it takes me to get down!

I continue to head east for the Grossglockner and take in a little of the Dolomites on the way there. I make it to Cortina and find a room.

Day 8. Great run over the Grossglockner today! What a road! Can there be anything like it anywhere? Again millions of bikes out today. I stop several times to take photos and have lunch at Franz Josephs Hohe. I continue then to Zell Am see and find a hotel. 

Day 9. What can you do the day after riding the Grossglockner? Turn around and do it again! Itís 24 euros a time but what the hell, who knows when Iíll come here again and itís just as good the other way around.

I get down and have a lovely run back through Lienz and back into Italy. This too is a great road to ride. Perfectly surfaced and long flowing bends that are a pleasure to ride. That triple just runs so sweetly on roads like this.

I head for Cortina again and do a couple of the passes in the Dolomites, Pass Pordoi and Pass Di Sella. Both with lots of tight hairpins and bonkers busy with local bikers showing me how to really ride these roads but again I donít care if Iím last I just want to do it with out having an incident.

On my way back through Italy have my only unfriendly encounter of the trip with a service station employee after putting my plastic bottle in the wrong trash. He was severely pissed with me and was getting a bit aggressive in the end. Not a nice way to treat a visitor to your country, I canít imagine ever treating someone from anther country in this way for a simple mistake. Everyone has been wonderful so far. I try to not let it bother me and move on.

So another good day apart from the idiot at the service station.

Day 10.  Heading west and back into Switzerland again I take a slightly different return route and take in Fluelapass and Pass del Fuorn. Both easy and enjoyable with some lovely stretches. My route takes me through Davos and Klosters then Chur and I arrive in Andermatt mid afternoon. I decide to make an early finish of it today. Up until now Iíd been hitting it pretty hard, on the road early most days and on the bike all day. I can allow myself an easy day for once!

Day 11. Decide not to venture very far today and do some of the Andermatt loop again so I head off and do Sustenpass, Grimsel and Gottard once more. The weathersí better than the first time and I think I enjoy it more. These passes are a real joy to ride. Easy, no tight hairpins and perfectly surfaced. Biking doesnít get any better than this!
I stay in Innerkirchen this evening. Tomorrow I have to start making my way back into Germany again for the way home.

Day 12. I head north from Innerkirchen and pass through Luzern and onwards to Zurich. What roads these are! All these tunnels must cost an absolute fortune to construct. Such a wealthy nation, Itís apparent now why the Swiss donít want any part of the EU. Why share this with anyone?

I make it into Germany in good time and make for the famed B500 to Baden-Baden. Itís Sunday so itís very busy which is a shame because this is a cracking road but today itís clogged up with busses and camper vans. Anyway I crack on and hit E35 northwards. My next target is Remagen and the bridge! Maybe it was watching too many movies as a kid but Iíve always wanted to go there and Iím really pleased I do. Such a lovely spot by the Rhine, itís hard to imagine the scene there 70 years ago. The original stanchions from the bridge still stand either side of the river as a reminder.

A long day on the road today, over 400 miles.

Day 13. My last day in Europe is a straight forward Highway run from Bonn to Amsterdam and Ijmuden for the ferry.


Iíd waited and planned all winter long for this trip and itís been worth it. Iíve ridden the best biking roads of my life and it all went according to plan with no incidents, close-ones or mishaps to speak of. Total mileage for the trip is about 3500 so a good run out for the bike.

The Trophy performed wonderfully well and was economical returning 56.9 MPG for the trip, comfortable, agile and fun to ride. The luggage is great and easily carries enough for a 2 week trip with enough space for a little souvenir or two. The only slight worry I had was that I found it hard to see the oil level through the sight glass. I had taken a small Maglite specifically for doing that but still found it hard to see. I think itís good practice to check your oil in different situations so you get a feel for what is usually is. Checking it in your garage then out on the road are 2 different matters.
So thatís it! Just a shame I have to wait till this time next year to do it all again!
Honda VFR 2002
Sprint ST 2007
Sprint ST 2009
Sprint GT 2011
Trophy SE 2013

Offline cropbiker

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Re: Alps trip report.
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2014, 01:45:05 pm »
Hi Iain,

sounds like you had a great trip and the Trophy really looked after you!

It is just an ultimate beast for the kind of trip you had. Sweet handling..... easy going.... economical... fun... totally capable...

Hope you took some pics you can share!
Triumph Trophy! Not for every Tomaz, Dieter or Herman!🇬🇧

Offline Verdun95

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Re: Alps trip report.
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2014, 03:46:21 pm »
well done!  :047: :047: I know the feeling, have been through most the Swiss passes you mention (as well as the Stelvio, for which I totally share your opinion: scary like hell!), great rides. Just about to return to Switzerland, this year we will not do the passes but the "dead ends". You must go down the same way you went up! Our base camp will be Celerina. Very much looking forward to it. Many thanks for this very lively and entertaining report! Wish you a lot more  :062:
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Offline seadog

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Re: Alps trip report.
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2014, 05:58:51 pm »
Iain

Great write up, sounds like a great trip. Had you booked hotels. ? I did Europe a few years ago and just went "wild" ride till you stop and find a place. Never failed and all very much biker friendly. Usually safe parking for the bike too. Something we seem to miss in the UK.

That would make a good issue in the triumph mag Nacelle or Rde magazine.

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Offline sin_tiger

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Re: Alps trip report.
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2014, 07:34:25 pm »
 :047: brilliant write up, I'm saving that for musing over a map and a coffee later. Thanks for taking the time to share all that with us.  :821:

Offline Chaos

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Re: Alps trip report.
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2014, 09:41:19 pm »
Good write up :028:
Good to see you got back safely and more so enjoyed it.

Chaos
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Offline Saaz

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Re: Alps trip report.
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2014, 12:50:52 am »
Great report. Remind me to just print it off and go over to do the same!

Offline johnbut

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Re: Alps trip report.
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2014, 09:48:54 am »
What a great write up. It brought back many memories of our trips through Germany, Italy, Austria and Switzerland. The passes are great and you have certainly done your share.  If you found any particularly good hotels it would be good to know.