I mention several different times on this website that my tours are for “experienced riders”. What do I mean by that?
It means that you have enough riding/touring experience to feel comfortable with anything the Alps can throw at you short of a blizzard, ice storm or landslide and that you have that comfort level from day 1. My tours are designed to ride together as a group. You are more than welcome to go off on your own and I will be glad to help you sort out routes that give you what you want. However, if we ride together we ride together.
The Alps require a certain amount of skill. You will be turning, and braking, and shifting much, much more than you do riding American roads. You’ll be overtaking cars and buses all day long going uphill and downhill, and sometimes the only clear view to pass with the motorcycle will be going through a turn. None of the high roads have any guardrails to speak of, so you need to be careful. We ride rain or shine, especially on hotel-to-hotel days (where we have fixed reservations) and we can frequently end up riding in and out of the rain all day on cloudy days with a little snow or slush thrown in when we crest a pass at the highest, and coldest, part of that road. Temperatures can be in the 70’s – 80’s one day and close to freezing the next – so you need to know your gear and be prepared.
I’ve been lucky over the last 19 years and have only had 1 or 2 riders whose skills did not match their rhetoric. We use the first day of every tour to get acclimated to the bikes and the roads, and each other. I route us over a little bit of everything, back roads, autobahn, gnarly little 1-lane roads, sweepers and villages so that we see what we are in for and how to pass safely. It is not intended to be an “Alps” riding school, but it does prepare you for the rest of the tour all while letting Tour members enjoy some neat, out of the way Swiss back country that most tours never ride or see. It’s some of my favorite riding.
Riding a motorcycle properly requires skill no matter where you ride but definitely more so in the Alps.
If you have any questions or concerns about the skill required, please feel free to contact me and I will be glad to share my experience with you.