Today I checked “Ride a motorcycle around the Alps” off my bucket list.
I rented a Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 NTX from Hills & Wheels in Turin, Italy. I rode into France for a fuel stop, then hopped into Switzerland for a coffee, rode back into Italy and had a pizza for lunch before heading back to Turin to return the motorcycle. Three countries in a seven hours. No borders. Absolutely loved it.
On the two occasions when I rode my motorcycle through snow covered mountains (Ladakh and Annapurna) the road was in such a pathetic condition that I really couldn’t feast my eyes on the beauty that I was passing through. At least not until I stopped for rest and took the time to looked around. But today while riding through the snow covered mountains of the Western Alps I really didn’t need to keep my eyes on the road all the time. The tarmac was as beautiful as the mountains. It was such a joy to ride the three border mountain passes I crossed today – Italy to France, France to Switzerland and Switzerland to Italy.
Being a Sunday, there were a lots of people riding their motorcycles waving at each other as they crossed by. Today was a nice day. A very nice day.
My ride around the Western Alps was 400 kms long and I covered the distance is just 7 hours including stops for rest, coffee and a meal. This was possible only because I chose to ride the expressways instead of taking the old winding road. The expressway significantly reduces the travel time as it bypasses all villages and uses long tunnels to pass through mountains instead of climbing up and down their sides.
This GoPro pic picture pretty much sums it up. The old road winds around the side of the mountain, while the new expressway drives straight through it. While riding through the tunnel I could see the old road criss crossing above me on my GPS.
My initial plan was to use the expressway to ride to France and Switzerland and then return using the old winding road. But then I figured that I would not be able to make it back to Turin to return the motorcycle on time and didn’t want to be charged for an extra day.