Category: Switzerland

Great Roads: Kick-Ass Mountain Passes From Our Euro Trip

Great Roads: Kick-Ass Mountain Passes From Our Euro Trip

In September of 2010, Kenny and I met up with our friend Patrick in Italy and spent a little over a week riding around in the mountains. Our travels took us to Italy, Switzerland, the teeny-weeny country of Liechtenstein, and Austria. The trip was, in a word – monumental.

Even though months have passed, I still find myself reliving fragments of the trip in my imagination. The Alps are a motorcyclist’s paradise.

Though it was difficult to will yourself to stop riding, we did manage to snap a few photos of some beautiful roads along the way.

(Click all photos to enlarge)

Stelvio Pass – Italy

Looking down at the Stelvio Pass

Fluela Pass – Switzerland

Fluelapass Switzerland

Julierpass – Switzerland

Julierpass Switzerland

Splugenpass – Italy/Switzerland

Splugenpass

San Bernardino Pass – Switzerland

San Bernardino Pass Switzerland

Nufenen Pass – Switzerland

Nufenen Pass

Grimselpass – Switzerland

Grimselpass Switzerland

In Case You Missed It

Here are some posts from that trip:

How About You?

Have you traveled any of these roads? Which were your favorites? Are they on your bucket list for someday?

Riding the Alps with a GoPro Hero Camera: Is This Thing On?

Riding the Alps with a GoPro Hero Camera: Is This Thing On?

Kenny and Pimmie both rode with GoPro Hero HD cameras throughout our Alpine trip. Kenny mounted his on the side of his helmet for a “you’re seeing what I’m seeing” point of view and Pimmie mounted his GoPro on the front of his Tuono near the right mirror stalk.

Each day, they shot about 4 hours worth of riding video. In order to conserve the battery, this meant turning the camera on and off on less exciting stretches of road or during extended stops.

While looking through the videos, I found that many video clips start with a view of either of them looking into the camera with an “is this thing on?” expression. Kenny’s signature move was to look into his left mirror to see if the record light was flashing, while either Pimmie, Kenny or sometimes both had to look at Pimmie’s bike from the front see if his light was flashing.

It’s interesting to note some of the backgrounds, scenery, cars and bikes going by. This is like one big photobomb blog post. These photos are some of those video still frames:

click all photos to enlarge

Is This Thing On?

Kenny on Falzarego Pass Italy

Splugenpass Stelvio - Is this thing on? Alps Tour
Timmelsjoch - Is this thing on? Kenny Alpine Tour Heading to Jaufenpass

Is this thing on?

In the Dolomites Heading to Stelvio Riding in Austria
Motorcycling in the Alps Riding in Italy Riding in Italy

Stelvio Pass

Photobomb Gallery - Alpine Riding Tour Alps Tour Alps Tour
Alps Tour Falzarego Pass Heading to Falzarego Pass

Heading to Bormio

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I Spy: A Peraves Ecomobile on the Fluelapass

I Spy: A Peraves Ecomobile on the Fluelapass

While riding on the Fluelapass in Switzerland we passed an Ecomobile. You can file that under something you don’t see everyday!

What am I talking about? It’s a Swiss BMW K-bike powered, enclosed motorcycle with outrigger wheels that come down when you slow to a stop. I think the model might be called a Monotracer, but please correct me if I’m wrong.

Ecomobile Monotracer on the Fluelapass in Switzerland

I’m not sure if it’s a wee bit of the claustrophobia talking or what, but something about the idea of riding in one of these bubbles creeps me out. How about you? Would you ride in one?

Motorcycle Nirvana: Riding The Splügen Pass

Motorcycle Nirvana: Riding The Splügen Pass

In typical case-of-the-Mondays fashion, the weather report didn’t look promising. But, the fact that the fog was burning off and the sun was elbowing it’s way through the cloud cover was a encouraging. Three sets of wheels hurtled towards riding nirvana.

One beautiful thing about the alpine mountain passes of northern Italy and Switzerland is their proximity to each other. You come off of one pass and with just a few turns you’re heading towards another. Having spent the night basically at the foot of the Maloja pass, we were in prime position to set our sights on the Splügen pass.

When you head up the Splugen pass from the city of Chiavenna, the road wriggles it’s way up a mountain along a terraced roadway. Hairpin turns are stacked against the earth rising up, up up and you find yourself riding through unlit tunnels on the side of the mountain. Hairpin turn in a tunnel, anyone?

Splugen pass tunnel hairpin

The Italian portion of the approach to the Splügen pass and it’s terraced turns and tunnels is viewable on Google Maps street view. If you have some time to poke around, take a look for yourself! It will give you a feel for what the climb was like.

Pimmie goes to work on the Splugenpass

On many of the passes it seemed that there was a personality shift when you reached a plateau. With Splügen, when the road started to loosen up a bit you are treated a view of Lago di Monte Spluga and the turns become much more gentle and flowing. When I say gentle – I mean more like a sidewinder instead of a coiled rattlesnake.

Shortly after Lago di Monte Spluga came in to view, I came around a corner only to have to throw on the anchors in a hurry. There were cows parked in the middle of the road. That was an… interesting moment.  When I finally made my way to where Kenny and Pimmie were parked, they too were having fun with cows. You can see Pimmie making friends in the video clip:

Near the Italian-Swiss border the feeling of the pass changed again. The road became a ribbon of turns that worked it’s way down into a valley. When my eyes first caught a glimpse of what was spilling out before me I actually said “wow” out loud and immediately stopped for a picture. Unfortunately no photograph I ever took could do justice to the magnificence of this delicious roadway making its way through such a beautiful landscape.

Splugenpass on the Swiss Side

View from near Lago di Monte Spluga splugenpass Lago di Monte Spluga splugenpass Kenny follows Pimmie on Splugenpass
Kenny and Pimmie heading up Splugenpass to Lago di Monte Spluga Bikes parked in Splugen Switzerland Cows on Splugen pass

When we reached the end of the pass in the town of Splügen, Switzerland, I swear I wanted to hi-five somebody. But then I’d have to kick my own ass. The riding and the scenery of the pass were amazing. On a day that was off to an iffy start with Pim not feeling well and the threat of rain, we’d just made out like bandits. And this was just the beginning…

Splugenpass
Splügen Pass - Photo by Adrian Michael
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