Testimonials

My marketing friends tell me that it is essential for my website to have a few kind words from people who have toured with me, so I show several below. They are unedited.


Merv – New Zealand
Tour – TOP 10+ – September 2015
Personal motorcycles – BMW F 700GS
Rental motorcycle – BMW F 700GS

Although I had ridden the Alps on my own bike 10 years ago, it was a fleeting visit and I always wanted to do it in more depth. While my inclination was to tour independently, advancing age made me decide that something organised might be a more sensible choice and I eventually settled on Charlie’s tour. It turned out to be absolutely the right decision. His knowledge of the Alps, sense of humor and general ability to bring a group together made it a very special couple of weeks. The others in the group were great fun to be with, whether on the road or around the dinner table in the evenings. The routes that Charlie conjures up are brilliant, often taking you down smaller roads to places that you probably wouldn’t otherwise see, the pace was comfortable and the scenery was magnificent. Even the weather was generally cooperative and a ride over the Brenner in snow and 0 (zero) degrees C was all part of the fun. Everything about the trip, the bikes, the hotels, the food, the scenery was the best. I enjoyed it so much that I’m planning on another tour in 2017.

 


Bill and Lois – Washington
Tour – Alps Select – June 2015
Personal motorcycles – BMW R 1200RT
Rental motorcycle – BMW R 1200RT

For some time we had been talking about riding the Alps. After much research and considering going it alone, we concluded it would be nice to have a guide with knowledge of the roads and accommodations. Riding in large groups has never interested us, but Charlie’s website suggested a different approach that looked like the right fit for us. It was definitely the right decision; we had the trip of a lifetime! Charlie’s experience and thorough interview process in the months leading up to our tour resulted in a group that was well matched in riding style and ability. He led us on roads and to places we would have never found on our own. Each day opened up new vistas that we thought couldn’t get any better! The stops were just right and we enjoyed the espressos, strudel and other goodies along the way. The hotels were charming, comfortable and with meals that always left us happy. It’s clear that Charlie has established great relationships with the owners of the hotels we stayed at and we felt welcomed because of it. We also appreciated his willingness to try new places (for strudel of course!) and his flexibility. We experienced a brake problem mid-tour on our bike which needed immediate attention. Charlie made up a quick route plan to the nearest BMW dealership incorporating a new route he had wanted to try. It turned out to be one of the group’s favorite days of riding! He has the right temperament to handle the different personalities and unexpected things that inevitably come up. We appreciated his great sense of humor and excitement over riding the Alps after all these years. We would HIGHLY recommend Charlie’s tours if you are looking for a great experience.

 


 

Mark and Katherine – New Zealand
Tour – Alps Select – June 2015
Personal motorcycles – KTM 690, Tiger 800XC
Rental motorcycle – BMW R 1200GS

Looking for the trip of a lifetime we couldn’t have chosen better. Charlie provided a quality experience in every way. The accommodations were unique, very comfortable and perfectly situated. The hotels, food, bike hire and routes could not be faulted and everything ran like a Swiss watch. Problems such as mechanical failure and medical attention were seamlessly included. As we were very fortunate with the weather Charlie’s extensive knowledge of the routes and flexibility produced the “wow” factor every day. I could not believe every day was better than the last. Even coming from a country with spectacular scenery the pictures do not do the vistas justice. The tour was run at a leisurely pace with plenty of time for rest stops and photo opportunities (much appreciated by the pillion) yet still covering the distance. Charlie’s good humour and extensive knowledge of routes and history also enhanced the stops and after dinner chats. The riding exceeded expectations and I had a grin from ear to ear most of the time. As first timers to this region (as we were) I could not imagine a less stress-free option. I now have the confidence to do this solo but, as long as Charlie is doing these tours, why would you bother?

 


 

Bob – New Hampshire
Tour – Recon France – September 2014
Personal motorcycle – BMW R1200GS
Rental motorcycle – BMW R1200GS

This was a great tour of the French and Swiss Alps. I’ve previously toured many parts of Europe by motorcycle, primarily with my wife. We planned and mapped out routes and found hotels and restaurants on our own. Riding with Charlie made it a lot easier. He took care of all of the details. Hotels and food were always good to excellent. Breakfast and dinner were generally at our hotel. Lunch and coffee and strudel stops were frequently on top of a pass, with time to relax and take it all in. Not having to plan the trip allowed me to focus on the riding, and the riding is spectacular! And you need to focus on the riding because it is frequently technical and quite challenging. From narrow, rough single lane, obscure passes to perfect, smooth, high speed sweepers, and hairpins and more hairpins, you really need to stay focused on the ride. The scenery is spectacular, but slow down or stop if you want to take it in! The rental bikes are all current year models in excellent condition. With the exception of a flat tire, there were no motorcycle issues. The rental shop may have limited numbers of specific models available, so reserve your bike early. I’m typically not crazy about group riding, but we were all there for the same reason, got along great, and the pace was perfect. Once you’re out of the towns and villages (where they have speed limits and speed cameras!), OK to wick it up and have some fun. Europeans like to drive and ride fast, and safe passing is never an issue. Charlie has great knowledge of the roads and passes, and loves to ride. I would not hesitate to recommend a Moto Charlie tour, and hope to ride again with Charlie in the Alps.


 

Steve – Vermont
Tour – Alps Select – June 2014
Personal motorcycle – BMW R1200R
Rental motorcycle – BMW K1300R

This Moto-Charlie Alps tour was my first time in Europe, as well as my first escorted motorcycle tour, so I can’t really compare it to other tours. But in terms of my own satisfaction, this rated an A+. It had everything; good choice of bikes, an easy and quick rental arrangement, great roads, amazing scenery, and at the end of every day, a hot shower, delightful meal, and a clean, comfortable bed in a nice hotel. Thanks to Charlie’s thorough planning, the whole trip went seamlessly from start to finish. If you’re an experienced rider looking for a world-class riding adventure, Charlie can provide it. This is riding as it’s meant to be, just mile after thrilling mile, and not a care in the world. You can spend a lot more, but you won’t get better value.

Links to a couple of Steve’s Tour videos:

Steve’s/Karine’s June 2014 Alps Tour Video

Steve’s Schilthorn Cable Car Resucue

 


 

Mark – Massachusetts
Tour – Alps Select – June 2014
Personal motorcycle – BMW F800GT
Rental motorcycle – BMW F800GT

I had the pleasure of attending Moto-Charlie’s Alps tour in June 2014. Having visited northern Italy on several occasions as a tourist and student, I knew I had to return someday to ride the twisties. Prospective Alps riders should be forewarned that Charlie’s High Alps tours are strictly for experienced riders. You will want to ride fast, yet safely, because your touring experience will be more enjoyable knowing you are expanding your riding skills and pushing your personal limits. I highly recommend an MSF Advanced rider training session prior to the tour if you are at all uncertain of your skill-level. While these are not tours which emphasize opulent hotels, support vehicles, or extensive opportunities to smell the roses, Charlie’s incredible knowledge of the roads, lodging, and places to dine is outstanding. Even better is his laid-back and nonjudgemental attitude toward tour members while at the same time being able to accommodate special requests and diversions, such as the opportunity to enjoy a haybath or scenic dining. I stumbled upon Moto-Charlie’s website just as I was about to commit to an Alps tour with one of the big-name tour operators. I am very glad I chose to ride with Charlie; his leadership style reinvigorated my enthusiasm for two-wheel travel to the point where I am off to Southeast Asia next spring. I appreciated his straight-forward wit, Yankee charm, and extensive biking knowledge. Now if I could only convince him to lead a tour during the winter months to a warm location…

 


 

Frank – California
Tour – TOP 10+ – September 2012
Personal motorcycle – Ducati ST2
Rental motorcycle – BMW F800R

I discovered Moto Charlie seven or eight years ago while researching Alpine motorcycle tours and his approach appealed to me. While I knew that I wanted someone with detailed knowledge to show me the best that the region has to offer, I was looking for a less “corporate” experience than some of the big companies provide. I also knew that doing it on my own I was bound to miss a lot. Charlie struck exactly the right balance. With the emphasis on riding, an amazing variety of roads, great lunch stops and hotels, and a minimum of adult supervision I saw and did things that would just not be possible with a big tour or on my own.

I took me years to pull the trigger and take this trip. What I found was a true motorcycling paradise, the best riding in the world. If you’re even remotely considering such a trip, I’ll pass on the advice that my wife gave me, for which I’ll always be grateful: “Go, the time is now”.

The problem, of course, is that what starts out as a “once in a lifetime” trip becomes an “I’ve got to do this again” obsession. After more than ten years of dreaming about riding in the Alps, and six months of actual planning, my expectations were extremely high, perhaps unrealistically so. Thanks to Moto Charlie they were exceeded in every way. I’ll definitely be going back, and when I do, it will be with Charlie.

 


 

Ward – Ontario Canada
Tour – TOP 10+ – September 2012
Personal motorcycle – Ducati 1200 ST Multistrada
Rental motorcycle – BMW F 800ST (Voted Best Bike For The Trip By Our Group)

My 3 riding “amigos ” and I were looking for a new adventure since we had traveled the home roads, eastern USA and the Blue Ridge area. They had much more riding experience but I was a quick learner as I was returning to Motorcycling in retirement. Like other trips, we were going to arrange everything by ourselves. On investigation, this started to get complicated organizing things from another continent and in different languages.

We met Charlie online with a follow up by phone. He had many of the answers we were looking for and we saw him as an extension of our group, but bringing all the experience and knowledge about routes and hotels. We felt we could have found many of the same passes but realized on the trip that we couldn’t “flow ” from pass to pass as easily as he did. We counted 75 passes at the end of our particular adventure. Personally I think we would have done only 50-60% as much if we were on our own, keeping in mind the time to find affordable accommodation. Over coffee, I saw a major competitor (E) ride by with about 14 bikes in tow putzing along and was glad that was not me. We rode at a pace that constantly challenged me and improved my riding. There was not a boring second.

For me, this was the trip of a lifetime and a big bonus to have it arranged so smoothly by Charlie, without feeling like he was holding us by the hand. One particular one-lanner we found while Charlie was exploring and maxed in my mind how steep a road can be with constant narrow tight switchbacks and still get passenger vehicles up the hotel at the top! The Swiss Alps provide an ever-changing canvas of beauty and variety of weather for bikers. The cost of the trip became very secondary as I review the stunning pictures that I took travelling thru the Alps. The trip was way better than I expected. Thanks Charlie.

 


 

John – Queensland Australia
Tour – TOP 10+ – September 2007
Personal motorcycle – Ducati 1098, BMW R1200R
Rental motorcycle – BMW R1200R

This was my first organized Motorcycle Tour and I had some reservations about doing one i.e. could I do it better on my own etc. My first contact with Charlie was by e-mail. The information he provided me with was easy to understand and accurate. The group got along great like they had all traveled together before. If you want to go off and do your own riding then there is no problem with that either. The experience of the trip for myself is difficult to describe in a manner that does it justice. Basically a motorcycle journey you will never forget. One thing I went away from the trip with is knowing that Charlie does not look at this as a money making venture. He wants to share with you his passion to ride the best motorcycle roads you will find anywhere. The scenery is something that makes you want to stop all the time but then around another corner it’s as good or even better. I am already planning my next trip there and we will be riding with Charlie again.

 


 

Bill & Kelly – Missouri
Tour – TOP 10+ – September 2007
Personal motorcycle – Harley, FJR 1300 and More
Rental motorcycle – BMW K1200 GT

The trip was truly amazing, everything we hoped and dreamed of. The riding in the Alps is fabulous, and the scenery is unbeatable. We really enjoyed the pace of the trip, it was very much as described on your website. It was always a dream of ours to ride in the Alps, and your tour was the perfect solution for us. It was so nice not to have to worry about accommodations or finding the best routes, we could simply enjoy the wonderful scenery, marvelous food and great companions. We have done many US motorcycle trips on our own, but this was our first organized tour, so we were not sure what to expect. Right away we felt comfortable with the group and surroundings, and the entire trip felt like you were riding with a small group of friends. We all shared and enjoyed the experience and adventure together, as well as the love of motorcycling, so friendships were made fast.

Reflecting on the experience, we’re not sure there is anything about the trip that we would want to change. We have already and will continue to recommend this tour to others as the ideal way to experience the Alps on a motorcycle. The memories and pictures will last a lifetime, and we are already making plans for next summer with some of our new friends, from Australia!

 


 

Mark – Texas
Tour – TOP 10+ – September 2007
Personal motorcycle – Triumph Sprint ST, BMW K1100 RS
Rental motorcycle – Honda CBF 1000 ABS

I took the 11-day Italian tour with Moto-Charlie. A fantastic riding experience. The roads were… incredible. Switchbacks, sweepers, tight technical riding. All of it against the beautiful scenery of the Swiss and Italian Alps.

I’m glad that I used Charlie’s operation for making the trip. His knowledge of the area and love of riding magnified the experience. Not a day, not a road, not a pass was wasted. And with Charlie taking care of the tour details, I got to focus on the riding and not about what roads to take or where I’d be staying at night. Charlie gives you the freedom to go off on your own, if that’s what you want to do. But with the area and riding he had planned on our tour, I never felt the need. The information he gives through his web site and E-mails made the whole journey go smoothly. The group I rode with was great. Friendly, interesting, good riders, and loved riding. It felt more like being with a group of friends instead of a tour.

If you’re wanting to make a European motorcycle trip, I definitely recommend Moto-Charlie.

 


 

Jim – Florida
Tour – Alps Select – June 2007
Personal motorcycle – BMW K1200LT, Yamaha FJR 1300
Rental motorcycle – BMW K1200 GT

I did the Swiss Alps tour this June and it was wonderful!!! I choose Moto-Charlie because it seemed like a no nonsense rider’s ride. I didn’t need vehicle support, liked the overnight stays in smaller towns with a more rural feeling, direct pay, and less cost for the trip.

I arrived one day early to adjust, but picked up the bike and started riding the first afternoon with Charlie. I rented a K1200GT an extra day, riding 12 days, and about 1800 miles. That doesn’t sound like many miles, but riding switchbacks on several passes a day, even at a harder pace, does not put on many miles. Then there are photo ops and lunch. We usually start riding about 9 am after brunch and quit by 5-6 pm. That was more than enough riding each day, since it is much more technical and challenging. In comparison, I will do 700-800 miles a day when traveling on the interstate.

Charlie is personable, helped with language differences when needed, was a good rider and rode quickly, as he indicates “European style”. It was nice having the bike rentals and hotels setup ahead of time. He not only took us on a lot of major passes, but several off beat one-laners that I never would have found on my own. I thought he did an excellent job as a tour guide and well worth his flat fee. There is no way I could have navigated myself and gotten in as much riding out of each day. He altered the trip one day so I could visit where my grandfather grew up east of Zurich.

Cost: I feel like the trip saved me at least $2000. Other tour operators add on a lot for solo riders, single rooms, and bike upgrades. My trip with Moto-Charlie cost a little more than listed mostly because I arrived one day early, rented a more expensive bike an extra day, and put on extra miles. I was there to ride. The roads and Alps were incredible!!!!

 


 

Mark – Maryland
Tour – Alps Select – June 2005
Tour – TOP 10+ – September 2007
Personal motorcycle – Norton Cammando, Honda VFR 750
Rental motorcycle – Honda VFR 800, KTM 950 Adventurer

I have been back home for 4 months, and I can’t stop thinking about the trip. Everyday, I look at a picture, think about a pass, daydream about a town, or read an article about the Alps. I need to get back there! Quite honestly, nothing could have prepared me for the experience, and the resulting feelings. What a trip!

The scenery, people, and especially the riding, are extraordinary. From the towns to the mountains, everything is picture perfect. Like nothing I have seen, or imagined, in the States. Words and pictures can’t do justice to the beauty and grandeur. After days of claiming this was the “best pass yet,” I found myself just smiling at Charlie when we stopped.

On top of the majesty of the place, the people are wonderfully friendly. Nearly everyone speaks English, and everyone is accommodating. It was not long before I fell in love with the country… and the people!

As for the riding, I won’t even attempt to describe it. Charlie’s analogy of an “endless track day” is a really good one. The roads are nothing short of phenomenal, and you will spend far more time leaned over than you will sitting up straight. It is a rider’s paradise!

Some advice…
Read Charlie’s website! This site does an excellent job of describing the trip and the experience. Charlie takes these trips because he wants to (the guy loves to ride)… not because he has to. This is not his livelihood. He is completely honest, professional, and thorough in his answers to your questions. He wants nothing more than to enjoy the trip with a great group of people.

This tour is focused on riding, with the sightseeing done from the seat. While Charlie is serious when he says, “this is your tour,” if you choose to spend your days with Charlie, you will be riding.

Be sure that your riding skills are very good. The roads in Switzerland have NO resemblance to the roads in the States. Many are quite challenging (especially with luggage), and to truly enjoy the tour, you need to have very good riding skills.

On a final note, I will DEFINITELY be taking another trip with Charlie. I loved the roads, the countries, the people, the scenery, Charlie’s quick paced riding style, and the way he approaches the tour. The trip of a lifetime!

 


 

John and Kim – Missouri
Tour – Alps Select – June 2005
Tour – TOP 10+ – September 2007
Tour – TOP 10+ – September 2015
Personal motorcycle – Yamaha FJR 1300
Rental motorcycle – Aprilia Futura, BMW F800 ST, BMW R1200R

We just returned from the 10-day Swiss tour with Charlie. What a tremendous time we had, and a fantastic group of riders!

As you have seen in the other posts, the scenery is spectacular. Each day’s scenery was a beautiful as the next. Charlie’s organization was great, and all the details of our trip flowed smoothly. We were especially impressed with the hotels we stayed in and the local charm of each region.

It was a relief to allow Charlie to navigate the local roads and maps, and just follow along. The pace was good, and there was a nice mix of challenging mountain riding, and great rolling countryside.

Our group was just the right size for us (11 bikes – 15 riders). We had a fabulous group of folks, and made some wonderful new friends. We had the pleasure of spending our 10th anniversary in a breathtaking location near the French border.

We would highly recommend Charlie’s tour to anyone looking to explore the Swiss Alps in a relaxed fashion, with a knowledgeable guide. We found the trip to be very cost competitive compared with the major bike tours of Europe, and we loved the idea of Charlie’s smaller group environment. We will savor our memories for a lifetime, and hope to start saving soon for our next tour!!

 


 

Jim – Vermont
Tour – September 2004 Intermot Tour
Personal Motorcycles – Ducati ST2, Ducati M750
Rental motorcycle: BMW R1100 S

If you have always wanted to do a motorcycle tour of the Alps, Moto-Charlie is the way to go. Charlie’s laid-back approach, knowledge of the great roads of the Alps (big and small), the selection of comfortable hotels with wonderful food and a small group of riders, all make his tour feel like you’re out riding with your buddies. The scenery is just unbelievable, the roads both fun and challenging and the cappuccino is outstanding. And attending the Intermot was an added plus. Charlie rides a good pace, makes sure that no one falls behind and really knows the roads and passes that make this tour so much fun. Each day was an adventure and this trip is one I won’t soon forget. After spending 10 days motorcycling in the Alps, it is easy to see why people can’t get enough and want to return. Prior to the trip I had never met Charlie, even though we’re from neighboring states, but I can highly recommend this tour to anyone.

Feel free to browse my pictures by clicking here

 


 

Wilber – West Virginia
Tour – September 2004 Intermot Tour
Personal Motorcycles – BMW R1150 RT
Rental Motorcycle – BMW R1150 RT

Traveling with Charlie was a great experience! Weather and personal choices caused us to deviate from the planned itinerary a couple of times and he was readily able to make route modifications so that we got to where we needed to be at the end of the day. From a price/value standpoint he knows the best hotels, restaurants, and rest stops. He also knows the best locations to stop for photographs. His great sense of humor and depth of knowledge were instrumental in building a cohesiveness to our touring group, and he took a personal interest in seeing that our individual interests were accommodated. If you’re interested in riding the Alpine passes, great and small, you can’t go wrong if you go with Moto-Charlie!

 


 

Jeff and Susan – Washington
Tour – Alps Select – June 2004
Personal Motorcycles – Honda CBR 954, Honda Blackbird
Rental Motorcycle – BMW R1150 RS

We took a 12-day tour with Moto-Charlie to the Alps in June 2004. This was one trip that was the most breathtaking adventure we have ever taken. Charlie was both professional and pleasant. He went above and beyond in making our trip the most memorable experience we could be ever imagined.

We had all of our accommodations prearranged by our host, and we were pleasantly surprised, and in awe of every place we stayed. His knowledge and suggestions ordering our food, selecting the shops, and where to go for entertainment was never a let down

My favorite place that we stayed at had the most spectacular view of the water, as well as a very quaint room. It was like a picture in a magazine. The view was the most spectacular, breathtaking sight that I have ever seen, and it still leaves me in awe when I even imagine it. The owner of this spectacular place is Adrian; he is the most wonderful and pleasant gentleman that I have had the honor to meet. His kindness and generosity to us gave me the warmest welcome that I have ever experienced.

I just want to give you ladies a heads up on the definition of the time frame for shopping. Charlie took me to this awesome town to shop; which was called duty free, but the definition time for my shopping is not the same definition time as my fiancŽe. For example: My definition time is all day, and my fiancŽe’s is two hours (be sure to pack your sneakers).

This trip was one that I would definitely do and want to do yearly. There is still so much more to see, and I am so looking forward to our next trip. I will definitely be wanting to visit Adrian’s place.

Charlie, you are the greatest host. Your pleasant personality and stories of your personal adventures you shared with us were enjoyable. You gave me the most memorable and pleasant experience riding in the Alps, and I am enjoying sharing my experience with friends and family. Thank-you and I look forward to more trips and hearing more stories from you.

Susan
Charlie, you did a wonderful job setting up our itinerary with this tour. The shop you used for the rental bikes was a great selection that had a variety of bikes to choose from, as well as meeting any ones riding style. Very convenient to have the starting hotel right across the street from the bike shop, pickup and return went smoothly with your help. The roads and the scenery were the best part for me, definitely the best I have been on. I was most impressed with the skill level of the average auto driver. I felt much safer there then here in the US. We never had a complaint about the hotels or food so that speaks for itself. I also liked how flexible you were in the day’s events. My time riding with you was like riding with a good friend back home, felt confident with your expert skill level. Thanks again and hope to do this again soon. For anyone entertaining a tour you may contact Charlie for my contact info if you wish to talk to me directly.

Jeff

 


 

Bob and Margie – Florida
Tour – Alps Select – June 2002
Personal Motorcycles – BMW K1200 LT, Honda Blackbird
Rental Motorcycle – BMW R1150 RT

Taking an Alpine motorcycle tour with Moto-Charlie was a well managed and designed tour with both a congenial and most accommodating host. Charlie is a wonderful person. He is concerned about your safety, your happiness on the tour and that your needs are being met in terms of your expectations in traveling the high Alpine country of Europe.

Having all of our first-class accommodations pre-arranged by Charlie made our hotel arrivals effortless and pleasurable stays. Being a great conversationalist, and Charlie’s “local knowledge” having ridden these roads for 20 years, makes him an outstanding Alpine motorcycle tour guide. Right from having the BMW bike ready in Munich through our return to the states through the airport, Charlie delivered. The single most important factor to us was that we never had to navigate through the Alps. We just followed Charlie, which when and if you go – you will learn is a godsend. For first timers like us, navigation would have been a real challenge and resulted in countless frustrations, wrong turns and endless miles to nowhere. It is not easy to follow the signs and get to your destinations on the back roads of Europe. Secondly, the riding is challenging and requires a lot of concentrated driving effort – at least for a first time cycle tourist in this region. Looking around and appreciating the scenery is best done from a full stop. Be prepared for long dark tunnels, endless blind curves and 100’s of switch-backs in the mountains with tour buses and trucks coming at you while riding next to sheer drop-offs – often without guard rails. The tour is not necessarily for the faint of heart, but the scenery is both a breath taking and awe-inspiring vista of the natural ruggedness and beauty of the Alpine countryside.

Even though it was June, we experienced everything from rain, sleet and hail to burning hot weather in the mid-90 degree temperature range. That made it difficult to pack, being limited to a tank bag and a pannier each, as were two-up on the bike. If you were alone, you would have additional room for a vented jacket along with a cold weather alternative, or a multi-purpose jacket and we would highly recommend this approach as we only came with leathers.

In closing, I’d say we look upon our Alpine Tour with Moto-Charlie as an adventure of a lifetime, and one that I’m sure not many of your other motorcycling buddies will have experienced. Margie and I would be happy to talk to you personally about the tour. Give us a call at 561-740-2528.

NOTE: They’re serious about talking to them. Feel free to call Bob or Margie if you want a first hand account of my tours.

 


 

Carl – New York
Tour – TOP 10+ – September 2000
Personal Motorcycles – BMW K1200 LT, Suzuki GSXR 750
Rental Motorcycle – BMW R1150 GS

Just returned from a 10-day trip through the Alps with Moto-Charlie. Decided about 6 weeks ago that I would be able to ride the Alps and was lucky to find a reference to Moto-Charlie in the BMW rag. I viewed his web site (Moto-Charlie.com) and contacted him. He was able to make all the arrangements and include me on his September trip (Sept16-26). Charlie has been riding in the Alps every year for the last 16 years and has a wealth of knowledge about the Alpine roads. His tour is a low-key affair. For a fee, he arranges for the bike rental and hotel accommodations. He does not use a van, and everyone carries their own luggage. The cost is considerably less than the more established tours. One can go off on his/her own, but the smart move is to tag along with Charlie, who took us on a most interesting tour of the Alps. We rode most of the better known passes but also took routes that only a real Alps aficionado would know about. Charlie is a great rider and kept a pace that was always exciting but sane. A great time was had by all. If you are interested in riding in the Alps, check out his web site. The usual disclaimers–I have no involvement with the business and only know Charlie through this trip.

P.S. Riding in the Alps is a major riding experience that all serious riders must experience. It’s unbelievable.

 


 

Willie and Urs – Washington
Tour – September 2000 – TOP 10+
Tour – Alps Select – June 2002
Tour – TOP 10+ – September 2003
Personal Motorcycles – Yamaha DT 360, Ducati ST-4s
Rental Motorcycle – Ducati ST-4, Ducati ST-4s

When Willie and Ursula left the United States for Europe together we had absolutely no experience in motorcycling touring within that environment. In fact, our only tour prior to this together was a short trip to the eastern part of our beautiful state of Washington. While Willie was out on a kayak trip on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Ursula was cruising the Internet. She landed Moto-Charlie. The seed was planted. Upon my return, Urs was gone on a fishing trip to a lodge in Canada, passing the baton to Willie. I sought advice from Charlie pertaining to his comfort of having a couple of elderly folks joining him for a portion of his planned journey through the most beautiful motorcycling turf offered on our planet. Charlie responded by heartily welcoming us to join his merry band. This was subtly followed by a definitive form to fill out pertaining to the expertise of this throttle jockey and his back seat driver. Willie responded by suggesting to Charlie that it might be a cold day in hell before we were going to hold them up, but on the other hand we were mellow folks. I did manage to slip in all of my motorcycle racing experience in days gone by. Now, we are really old people within the realm of motorcycling. We had rented our motorcycle from BIANCOBLU in Milano and it was a ST-4 Ducati. Charlie favors BMWs on his tours. So we came in with a whole different mind set. Here is young Charlie (in Willie years) on his German steed, and there was Willie and Urs on our Italian stallion (two up, as it were). What a great time we had pushing and pulling between the offsets of Willie and Urs with more horsepower plus age and Charlie being one-up on a bike of lesser ultimate horsepower, but more torque. What we did is cruise, and we did that as rapidly as conditions permitted. Because we were on a different pace, we allowed the rest of the group to lead. This occasionally left us chomping on the bit, but Charlie knew the routes (plus many more) so we were charitable and didn’t pass him. In a nutshell, Charlie paces the group to challenge them, but will not leave anybody behind. He was our Mother Goose. No one knows the routes better. Thank you Charlie for the great trip!

NOTE: Willie and Urs stay for a month or so every year at an apartment just outside of Lugano Switzerland. They chronicle their European adventures, plus other exotic trips, on Willie’s website. WIllie and Urs are interesting people and a treat to ride with. Their website can be found below.
www.weathergod.com

 


 

George – Massachusetts
Tour – TOP 10+ – September 1997
Tour – TOP 10+ – September 1999
Personal Motorcycle – Ducati 916
Rental Motorcycle – BMW R1100 RS, BMW R1100 GS

I’ve known Charlie personally and professionally for many years. We ride together occasionally in the states, do track days, and talk motorcycles every time we get together. I’ve toured with Charlie twice in the Alps. The most recent tour had me on a R1100GS. My wife accompanied us in a rented Audi. Most days had us directly to the next hotel in 4 or 5 hours and my wife would ride with me on the back of the bike for the balance of those days plus full days during the 2-day stopovers.

Charlie seems to know his away around. He hardly ever looked at a map as we went up and over big passes, little passes, and took turns through the middle of towns that appeared to lead nowhere but wound up going over some memorable pass that was not evident on the map. Even though we would clip along at a sporting pace we never lost my wife in the car (she is fearless behind the wheel). We frequently got ahead of her going up and down the mountains as we used the bike’s speed and agility to pass cars and buses with abandon. The rule was that if we were going to turn off the current road we would stop at the turn-off point and wait for her to catch up. While we waited, we reviewed where we had been, planned which passes we were going to attack next and-most importantly-discussed where we would be having our next cappuccino (or espresso, in my case). This program seemed to work very well, as my wife always managed to find us.

Each trip with Charlie has been mostly over different routes with different hotels, and we have enjoyed them all. My wife and I personally like the small tour feel of Charlie’s trips and we like leaving the details to him. Just get to Munich, pick up the bike, and follow Moto. It’s addictive. The only problem is to figure out how we can go every year.