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Old 7th July 2018, 22:42   #1
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Default To the Alps & beyond...on motorcycles!

A plan that was nearly 10 years in the making, finally came to fruition. No kidding, ever since we my friend had moved to the Netherlands for his graduate degree in 2008 and had sent pics of the great roads and the awesome destinations, we had been planning a motorcycle ride to the Alps. Years went by and our careers and personal life took us in different directions, away from the Alps. Then in 2015, we came across this travelogue:

https://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/...omplished.html

which just spurred us even more to plan such an epic ride but like most things in life, good things in life come to people who wait for them. Finally, in 2018 we were able to get all the variables in the equation in place and get all the things in place for an epic ride.

In the meanwhile, we were able to get one of our German friends along for the ride and being a local, he was able to provide us with a wealth of information which was crucial to make the ride a flawless success.

Our initial plan was to ride south of Germany, towards Swiss, cover some of the famous Alp passes, head into the Dolomites and then make our way back up to Germany. We would be riding rental bikes as I have not yet bought a bike and anyway, my friend visiting from India would have to rent a bike. We looked around for some good deals and finally settled for some motorcycles from https://www.limbaecher.de/. Little did we know that the weather Gods had something totally different for us

Our German friend had advised us against booking any accommodation as the weather in the Alps is very unpredictable and also, since we had planned the trip in April, there was a high chance that many of the mountain passes would be still closed on account of snow and ice. This was very different from our motorcycle rides in India, where we would plan our accommodation in advance, to avoid any last minute hibijibes. He had also told us to keep our options open regarding the places we wanted to visit, for the aforementioned reasons and boy! was he right. One thing was was certain though, which ever route we picked, would be kickass

One day before we commenced our ride, our German friend and his girlfriend joined us in Stuttgart all the way from Berlin. As we were discussing our plans for the forthcoming week, we looked at the weather and were in for a rude shock. Most of the mountain passes in Swiss were going to be wet and cold, with rain almost throughout the day. The Dolomites were equally bad, weather wise. Then using this app: https://www.ventusky.com/, we were able to get a very accurate map of where the rain was going and we planned our route as just the opposite of it. So, our plan now was to head south of Stuttgart, but more eastwardly, towards Austria. How we would go from there was totally undecided, the weather would be guide.

Starting with Day1: We headed out to pick up our motorcycles. We had decided on a Kawasaki Z650 for me and a Honda CB500 for my friend.

Limbaecher Stuttgart is probably the biggest motorcycle dealer in the region, claiming to have more than 1400+ bikes,new ones, used ones. Visiting Limbaecher is truly like candyland for motorcycle lovers; pretty much all brands under one roof and accessories and riding gear included


Quickly got done with the paper work ( it's important to have the IDP when renting from place in Europe, though the rental company might not ask for it. Their advice is that you should have one, in case the Police ask you to produce it) and the bikes were ready, waiting for us

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Loaded our luggage on them and we were on our way! Our German friend would meet us on the way down South.

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Some amazing roads on the way

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The first lunch stop for the day:
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After lunch, we decided to head towards the Disney Castle in Schwangau

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Sadly, we were too late to visit the castle and decided to look for a place to crash for the night. Our friend looked up a truly kick-ass place in Austria which was only a couple of hours' ride away. By night fall, which is nearly 21:00 owing to the longs days in summer, we reached our first pitstop

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Old 7th July 2018, 23:35   #2
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Default Re: To the Alps and Beyond!! Day 2

After some truly great roads and vistas on day one, we were really looking forward to day 2, since our main destination for the day Grossglockner, the highest mountain peak of the Austrian Alps.

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Being the 1st of May, there were some traditional Austrian celebrations

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The sign says snow chains required when the roads are covered with snow. Thankfully, the roads were cleared and it was the first day of the year when the Alp road was open

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On the way to the top

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The amazing view at the top:

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On the other side of the mountain, was this cafe known as Iselbergerhof, a proper motorcycle cafe. as you can tell, quite popular with the locals and plenty of history on the inside

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Found a place close to the Italian border to stay for the night, in a very remote village. Though the village was remote, it was a popular place for bikers, as the hotel owner told us many stories of his previous guests over dinner.

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Old 8th July 2018, 00:47   #3
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Default Re: To the Alps and Beyond!! Day 3

The plan for the third day was to head towards Salzburg, visiting some great places on the way. Also, our german friend and his girlfriend would head towards Croatia, as they had bigger plans to ride for nearly a week more. The view that greeted us in the morning:

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After some sumptuous Italian brunch, we headed to a nearby lake, known as Wiesensee:

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Stopped by at a Rest stop for some lunch and coffee and what a stunning view it was!!

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Continued to a popular place called Halstatt, but sadly all our electronic devices were out of juice and we called it a night in Filzmoos
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Old 8th July 2018, 01:13   #4
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Default Re: To the Alps and Beyond!! Day 4

The plan for day four was very simple, just head back home mostly using the autobahns to make some quick progress. As we headed out, some sights that greeted us


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We reached home by about 20:00 and though we had covered nearly 1800kms, we were still raring to go our last ride the next day into the Black Forest
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Old 8th July 2018, 01:36   #5
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Default Re: To the Alps and Beyond!! Day 5

On day five, we had limited time as we had to return the bikes and had decided to do a small loop in the Black Forest, on the famed B500 route.

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We stopped at MummelSee for breakfast, a popular place with many bikers frequenting it

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We finally returned the bikes back at Limbaecher's and completed an epic ride. Just as we finished the ride, we were psyched to plan our next ride, hopefully very soon in the future.

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Old 8th July 2018, 03:10   #6
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Default re: To the Alps & beyond...on motorcycles!

Mod's note: Moved thread from Assembly Line to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 8th July 2018, 11:45   #7
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Default re: To the Alps & beyond...on motorcycles!

Hifi saar!!! A drive on the Nurburgring and now this!!! You are on a roll my friend. You are living what most of us can only dream about. One of the first things I asked my wife before getting hitched was to promise that we will ride across Continental Europe someday!!! The pictures are amazing and I'm pretty sure it must've been one helluva ride. It must be like riding on our very own Western Ghats, amplified 1000000 times, sans the potholes, crazy traffic and many 'Indian' things one usually encounters on the roads. All you have to do now is pick your own Striple RS and do the same thing again.

PS: We would love if you could give more details about the experience, how tough or easy it is to ride in Europe, how expensive can it get, how people react to bikers, how the bikes react in those roads, you get the drift, right?

PPS: Sometime in the not so near future (read, when I have sufficient Vitamin M), I'd love to join you on this adventure.
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Old 8th July 2018, 19:28   #8
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Well, the Nürburgring Ring and the ride happened at completely different times, nearly two months apart, but both certainly awesome experiences. I've asked my friend to put up a detailed cost list, so I've can get a good idea of the options and possibilities. Regarding me doing it on my own motorcycle, there's still some time before that happens, I'll keep you guys posted for sure. I eagerly look forward to riding with you, either here or back in India

Regarding the bikes, well the bikes were practically brand new, each having covered 3k or so kms and were given with a full tank of fuel. Bikes were flawless throughout the ride and that coupled with the good roads do inspire a great deal of confidence.

Another gadget that helped to a huge extent was the communication device, a Freedconn device bought off of ebay. It worked almost flawlessly and really helped keep the group together, with no mistakes of taking the wrong turns or routes. Especially for my friend who was visiting from India, knowing the route would have been next to impossible and there the comm device just helped to a big big extent. We'll could relay the route we were talking and he could just follow turn by turn instructions, even at a distance of maybe 1km. On the biker routes, people are generally very welcoming and other bikers acknowledge each other with a thumbs up and instill some confidence. One area where we were probably a bit instituted under prepared was the cold weather clothing, as the temp sometimes changes drastically once the sun goes down or one rides up the mountain
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Old 9th July 2018, 12:23   #9
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Default Re: To the Alps & beyond...on motorcycles!

Nice travelogue.

Unplanned road trip is the best way to do it, especially in winter. That is what I did during my Scotland road trip.

The Alps have some fantastic roads to drive on, and breathtaking scenery. Really nice pictures.

I hope someday I can do an Alps road trip. There are too many places to visit in the region.
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Old 9th July 2018, 23:02   #10
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Default Re: To the Alps and Beyond!! Day 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by hifisharu View Post
After some truly great roads and vistas on day one, we were really looking forward to day 2, since our main destination for the day Grossglockner, the highest mountain peak of the Austrian Alps.
Amazing travelogue and photos!

I drove on the Grossglockner high alpine road just a week after your trip. I was there during the first week of May, shortly after the reopening. It was an amazing experience, to say the least. I was driving a car, but for you on a bike, it must have been an even more thrilling experience.

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Pictures don't do any justice!

I travelled Europe - around 5k kilometres - during April-May and it was one hell of a road trip.

My travelogue is coming up very soon. Sorry for plugging my pictures on your thread. Couldn't resist.

Last edited by MandarMax : 9th July 2018 at 23:14.
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Old 10th July 2018, 11:19   #11
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Default Re: To the Alps & beyond...on motorcycles!

Wonderful thread Sharath. The roads and the views are so serene and beautiful and riding there should be truly relaxing and rejuvenating.

I will definitely plan a ride in Europe in the near future and will connect with you for pointers.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 10th July 2018, 17:12   #12
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Default Re: To the Alps & beyond...on motorcycles!

Excellent pictures and Travelogue.
OT - Interesting to see the CB 500 with a single disc upfront
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Old 10th July 2018, 18:16   #13
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Default Re: To the Alps and Beyond!! Day 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by MandarMax View Post
Amazing travelogue and photos!

I was driving a car, but for you on a bike, it must have been an even more thrilling experience. :
It was indeed a great experience on two wheels, I'll be visiting the place sometime soon in summer with my Family and experience the four wheels side as well

Quote:
Originally Posted by MandarMax View Post
Pictures don't do any justice! :
True, the pics don't do justice, but your pictures definitely do a better Job than mine do

Quote:
Originally Posted by MandarMax View Post
My travelogue is coming up very soon. Sorry for plugging my pictures on your thread. Couldn't resist.
Look forward to reading your travelogue eagerly
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Old 10th July 2018, 19:13   #14
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Default Re: To the Alps & beyond...on motorcycles!

Hey Sharath. What a nice writeup with the right amount of spectacular pics! Congratulations on the ride.
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Old 10th July 2018, 19:42   #15
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Default Re: To the Alps & beyond...on motorcycles!

Great travelogue and excellent pics. Coincidentally I was driving around the Alps on the second week of May, unfortunately the passes were still closed toward Italy side.
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