WHAT IS IT LIKE TO RIDE IN THE ALPS?

Think of your wish list for the perfect place to go motorcycling:

It would be a place where bikers are welcome and where motorcycling is an everyday part of life.

There would obviously have to be great roads with a never-ending variety of twisties, sweepers, switchbacks and straight a ways.

Great roads don’t mean much if you are forced to follow slow moving traffic up the pass road. So, you would want to be able to pass whenever you could do so safely. Also, if there is room to get by, you would want to be able to go to the front of a stopped line of traffic so as not to get stuck when the herd finally gets moving.

You would want to be able to ride these kinds of roads day in and day out and yet have each day be different.

Great scenery would be a must so that when you stop every hour or two to rest and appreciate the ride you’ll be front and center with some of the most impressive views in the world.

You would probably want it to be a place where motorcycles rule. Where on any given day 1/2 to 3/4 of the vehicles on the road are motorcycles. Where a typical parking lot might have 20 painted parking places for cars and 100 painted parking places for motorcycles. Where hotels and restaurants hang out signs that say “Bikers Welcome.”

Heaven, you ask? No, it’s the Alps.

Motorcycling in the Alps is big business. The great roads, fantastic scenery, and rider friendly on-road experience draw thousands of motorcyclists to the Alps. The hotels and restaurants of the region view motorcyclists as the “skiers of the summer” and cater to them just like they cater to skiers in the winter.

This means that no one gives you a second glance when you stroll into the restaurant for lunch in your leathers. If you happen to ride in late at night, and the hotel restaurant is about to close, it’s no big deal. If there’s no time to change into street clothes the hotel will still seat you. You may get a few looks from some of the other diners but the rest of the patrons will be fine with it and the hotel will treat you like the paying guest you are.

It also means that the hotel owners open their garages for bike storage and ask if you enjoyed the riding that day.

Combine the superb riding, breathtaking mountain scenery and inviting hostelries, and you will understand why the Alps are Motorcycle Heaven.