Here’s a short film from Sundays ride.
CLICK ON LINK TO VIEW
I’m pleased to announce confirmed tour dates, itineraries and pricing for next years AlpineBiker tours, so if you’ve ever fancied taking a tour in the Alps or Dolomites and don’t want the hassle of booking your own hotels or finding routes, why not check out next years tour options, and if you’re not sure how good they are, spend a minute or two to check the riders comments section on the website, www.alpinebiker.com
4 different tour options to choose from:
3 days 4 nights in the Jura/French Alps
6 days 7 nights in the French Alps
7 days 8 nights in the Swiss Alps OR
NEW for 2012
10 days 11 nights in the Swiss Alps / Italian Dolomites.
Thanks for looking!
If you are one of the 18,500 visitors to this blog since I started posting in 2009, thanks very much for your visit, and I hope you found something on here of interest to you. My blog however, is an add-on to my main website www.alpinebiker.com. which perhaps you may not have visited yet? The tour website features films, pictures and details of the types of alpine tours I offer, and have run so far.
I put a lot of time and effort into providing excellent quality and high value tours, and into giving people a really special riding experience in the amazing mountain scenery and awesome alpine passes, and from being on some of the best roads in Europe. My tours have attracted riders from all over the world, and I’m very proud to be able to post just a few representative comments from some of those riders from America, Norway and Australia, who have recently taken an AlpineBiker tour and thoroughly enjoyed it . (Check the tour website for other comments from riders from the UK, Canada, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands)
If you haven’t yet visited the tour website www.alpinebiker.com, perhaps these comments may inspire you to do so and see what these guys are talking about, and see for yourself what you’ve been missing?
Eddie (USA) “ Your passion for motorcycling and touring the Alps is apparent in your attitude and from the detailed planning and thinking that went into making the trip a once in a lifetime vacation. Thank you for sharing that gift and passion with me and the others. I would not hesitate to highly recommend you to others and to book another trip with you in the future. Sincerely Eddie”
Mike (Canada) “ It clearly takes a true biker with a wealth of experience riding in the region to put together a spectacular tour like the one we enjoyed this summer. It also takes hard work and an eye for detail in the planning phase. I think the “something extra” that assured the success of our tour was your patience, good humour and genuine interest in seeing us all really enjoy ourselves.
Thanks Paul for an amazing adventure. I am certainly recommending an alpinebiker tour to my biking friends and acquaintances, and I am looking forward to my next chance to ride with you”.
Nick & Terese (Australia) “Great ride, beautiful scenery, great company, great food and accomodation. We had an awesome time and it really was the trip of a lifetime for us “flatlanders”.
Dan (USA) “A big thanks for your efforts in having this tour exceed every expectation we had prior to the start of the journey. I look forward to our next “once in a lifetime ride with you next summer!”
Chris (USA) “Hands down one of the best trips of my life! Paul is a terrific guide with extensive knowledge of the roads. He is also a hell of a lot of fun to have a beer with! This trip exceeded expectations with both Paul’s leadership of the tour, and the quality of the lodging and food at the Le Biot chalet”.
Steve (USA) ” I would like to thank you for a once in a lifetime (well until next year) experience.Your planning, expertise and riding skills made it the thrill of a lifetime”
Rob (USA) ” Paul’s experience and organisation set this trip apart from any other. Perhaps the best biking trip I have ever taken”
Paul (USA) ” The once in a lifetime long weekend Alps riding tour experience with Paul Starmer exceeded my expectations. So much for once in a lifetime- I’ll be back, maybe Spain or the Dolomites next time!”
Cesar (USA) “An AlpineBiker tour is the experience of a lifetime. Excellent roads, challenging passes, great accomodation, breathtaking landscapes and perfect logistics let’s you worry about nothing but to enjoy and work on your riding skills. Paul’s catering to everyone’s needs and riding styles will make your experience second to none. You will leave wanting to come back and adding Paul to the list of your friends!”
Cary (USA) ” Thanks for a fabulous tour. The routes we rode, and the sights we saw are unparalleled. The lodging and food was first class; and your easy demeanour, local knowledge and flexibility made our tour an unforgettable experience. AlpineBiker.com tours is a must for those who want to ride the Alpine”
Trond (Norway) “Paul, I have had the best of times. Your tour, riding and companionship really made this an event for the history books. Enjoyed myself enormously!”
“Do not think twice about getting one of his tours. I`m usually a do it yourself kind of guy, but this experience really was something else. If you have time, just do it. I`m quite sure you wont regret it”
PART 6- THE FINAL CHAPTER
Friday- Today we start on what will be the last leg of our journey together as a group. We will be crossing the Fluela, Wolfgang and Klausen passes to our end destination of Andermatt.
The Fluela is one of those passes that I don’t ride as often as I should, and it’s a good un, starting only 10kms from the hotel.
View back down the valley
It’s quite bleak at the top today with very little traffic of any description up here
Eddie throwing snowballs at Nick, I said it was cold up there!
On the section of motorway skirting Liechtenstein we stopped at a services there for mid morning coffee and some great blueberry buns!
There was a kids attraction called Heidiland where wooden characters appeared out of this building and music played, whilst down below goats in a pen kept small children amused.
Once off the motorway there is a frustrating section of countless small villages and 50kph speed limits, but soon enough we arrived at the start of the pass where we stopped and I warned the group to take care on the first corners which are paved.
Roadworks and a tunnel delayed initial progress but soon we are ascending and enjoying the mountains and waterfalls that make this such a great pass.
The group spent ages taking photos and I’d been at the top for a while before Nick and Terese arrived.
Church on top of pass
With Eddies arrival we went into the restaurant and ordered some food and drink and waited for Mike and Dave. When they didn’t appear we started to get worried, even asking a German who pulled up outside if he had seen anyone? Eventually they did turn up and it transpired that Dave’s bike hadn’t started way down at the foot of the pass, and he’d had to take panels off it to find the solution, which was a faulty battery connection which he was able to fix before catching up with Mike who had gone back to look for him.
So after yet more BMW dramas we resumed our journey, but only after the low level cloud which enveloped the pass had blown away.
Great valley on way down
With the Klausen despatched it was back towards Wassen and the tunnels that lead to Andermatt
Officially the tour was now over and we had some pretty impressive stats. 4269 kms and nearly 72 hours of riding time. When you consider our moving average speed was less than 60kph, you get an idea of the amount of climbing we had done, with my count being at least 56 passes!
Saturday- Departure day
Eddie is the first to leave this morning, but as he has several days left before returning to the US, his plan is to head for Zermatt to see the Matterhorn. We just hope the cloud lifts enough for him to at least see something!
As the rest of us are readying ourselves, a group of young guys on a mix of scooters and mopeds pulled up at the petrol station outside the hotel, and I watched as they poured pre-mix oil into their two strokes, which brought back memories of my early riding experiences and a two stroke Puch Maxi moped.
The weather looks iffy again and starting in waterproofs turns out to be a smart move as the Sustenpass is wet, very wet. Lights shining through the murk and gloom we make our cautious way up and over the pass which we had ridden a week earlier in the opposite direction in almost ideal conditions compared to today.
We all rode together as far as Interlaken where we stopped for coffee, to try and get warm, and to say our farewells to Dave and Mike who now had just a 20km journey to Thun to return their hire bikes before taking a flight back to Canada from Zurich the next day.
The lake at Interlaken
Mike and Dave
Now with only Nick and Terese remaining, we headed for Geneva over the Jaunpass.
I can’t EVER remember stopping to sleep when out riding, but it was now late afternoon and after 15 days I was tired and needed a power nap, so we pulled over on a convenient layby with benches and both Nick and I slept for half an hour whilst Terese guarded the bikes.
Finally back close to Geneva and with Nick and Terese installed in a local hotel just a 20 minute ride away from the BMW garage for Monday’s repair work, the tour was officially over, no more bikes in the rear view mirror to check for, no more packing and unpacking of bags, no more mountain passes, just “normality”.
SUMMARY- Looking back I would have to say this had been an eventful tour, starting from day one with the diesel episode, through 4 drops, and BMW’s which seemed incapable of traversing high mileages without problems. The list comprised: Nicks K1300GT with a leaking driveshaft seal, Daves F800GS with a dodgy battery connection, Eddies GS1200 with leaking captor seal, and my GT which inexplicably lost it’s mudguard extender somewhere on our travels! Only Mikes ST800
and the hired Deauville and Pan European (once running on petrol!) survived unscathed.
For the riders, well they survived somewhat better. Nick and I bizarrely both lost weight! Everyone’s riding improved, and they experienced pretty much every type of weather imaginable; from monsoon rains, through sleet and snow, low cloud and mist reduced visibility, and of course, some sunshine! Looking back through this report it seemed that inclement weather impacted on us almost every day, but you know what, that’s what makes alpine riding special. Sitting atop a pass watching clouds drift in and out exposing or hiding amazing views, riding through rain conditions that you’d probably normally never venture out in improves riding skills, and struggling through snow and sleet certainly focuses the mind and concentration. Considering the countries these guys came from and the challenges of alpine riding, they all “done good”. Better still they all got back in one piece, and will have memories which they’ll never forget (neither will I), and tales and bragging rights with their riding buddies to keep them going for years.
So guys (and Terese), hope you enjoyed yourselves and that reading this tale brings back some happy memories. It was a pleasure to ride with you all, hopefully we will stay in touch, and wear your tour t-shirts with pride, you earnt the right to wear them!
IF READING THIS RIDE REPORT HAS WHET YOUR APPETITE FOR ALPINE TOURING, THEN CHECK OUT THE www.alpinebiker.com WEBSITE FOR DETAILS OF 2012 TOURS- COMING SOON!
It’s been a while since I last posted, mostly because I’ve been racking up the miles. Ride reports and pics will follow soon, here is a taster of a few of the places I’ve been recently.
I am pleased to announce that due to a new accomodation option, I am now able to offer the Long Weekend Tours if there are a minimum of TWO riders instead of the previous requirement for 6.
If you have a friend (s) and would like to take a Long Weekend tour, please contact me with your ideal dates and I’ll do my best to accomodate you.
My French neighbour recently asked me if I would take steps to ensure that the snow which accumulated on top of our Lleylandi trees, fell on my side of the boundry between our two properties, and not hers! This was to save her poor husband the effort of shovelling away “tons” of “my” snow! So dumfounded was I by this demand, which was made in all seriousness by the way, that at the time I was unable to make a response. Now, months later on, and after recounting this tale to friends, I could easily have written a book of witty or acerbic replies, but the moment was lost.
I recount this bizarre tale to demonstrate, in a roundabout way, the impact that the weather makes on us. In the case above it related to personal relationships with neighbours, but on a daily or weekly basis, it impacts on our riding, how far or how high we can ride, even IF we can ride at all.
This Sunday was another example of a weather impacted day. The plan had been to ride some great roads at medium altitude in the Pontarlier region, but a check of the weather forecast had revealed that the previous day had been rainy, followed by -3 degrees C temperatures during the night. As we have developed into expert weathermen after hours studying forecasts, we quickly came to the assessment that this combination of rain, negative temperatures and altitude, would equal an icy and potentially dangerous riding experience, so yet again we had to change plans.
The ride morphed from an all dayer to an afternoon only local affair, allowing the day to warm to a heady 12 degrees C and the roads to clear. Despite it being a little windy there were to be 3 of us out today. Leaving the supermarket petrol station I heard Mark’s GSA arriving, damn noisy these twins! After a brief greeting and a reminder that he was already running late, I headed off to meet Brian at the prearrranged 13.00 start time. I was a couple of minutes late, but Mark who had yet to refuel his supertanker sized fuel tank rolled up 10 minutes late. Useless complaining as this is par for the course, although last time we made him buy the drinks a a penalty for making everyonewait. Today we can almost accept his late arrival, as having managed to run his GSA empty a couple of days earlier due to a faulty fuel gauge, he wanted to be 100% sure he had a full tank today!
With so many fallen leaves the ever photogenic Fort l’Ecluse is clearly visible today as we head out towards Seyssel and Aix les Bains.
Exiting Seyssel we joined the Circuit de Vignobles de Savoie which is peppered with lots of amazing and very picturesque old farm buildings. Must take more pics next time!
We stopped alongside the Lac de Bourget and decided that we’d try and ascend Mt Chat rather than the planned Col du Chat. Brian hadn’t ridden either so was quite happy to go with the new plan, although I suspected that he might enjoy it a little less on his 1300S than either Mark and his GS or and me and my GT would!
Yet again we were thwarted though, as less than halfway up we found the road blocked and had to retrace our tracks. No problem, back to the original plan and the Col du Chat then. Stopping briefly for Brian to admire the views, Mark’s way ahead and relishing the tight bends, but at the next junction he’s stopped for some reason looking down at his bike. Not sure why, but looking back up he suggested we take the alternative road behind him rather than our normal route which was straight ahead. Decisions decisions. Still, live dangerously I say, so plan C evolved, and we set off not knowing exactly where we’d end up but quite happy to try some new roads.
Sometimes a spur of the moment change of plan reaps dividends, and this was another of those occasions. Soon we found ourselves at this viewing point overlooking the Lac de Bourget.
Although nowhere near as high as the Mt Chat viewing point we had aimed to ride to, this was nevertheless an excellent alternative.
View to the left
View to the right and direction Aix les Bains
After 10 minutes of reflection and photos, we headed off again on what proved to be an “interesting” road, and almost immediately an unseen rock came close to having me off . The ride developed nicely though and it was great to find “new” and previously uncharted roads and valleys, and only because we’d decided to go one way rather than another.
Here is another chateau, one of many dotted around here and there. This is in the village of Fulley.
After enjoying our new found playground we returned home alongside the lake near Belley and cross country to Bellegarde. Coffee and a chat at Brian’s in a village in Switzerland you’d never find again without a GPS, where we recounted the highlights of the ride and looked forward to the forthcoming weekends track days where a few of us will be seeing how competitive we really are. Home after a mere 230kms, but nonetheless we’d had an enjoyable ride, especially so as it’s still officially winter!
IF YOU ENJOY THESE REPORTS AND WANT TO EXPERIENCE SOME OF THESE FANTASTIC ROADS FOR YOURSELF, WHY NOT TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS MONTHS SPECIAL PRICE REDUCTION OFFER ON ALPINEBIKER TOURS-
SEE ALPINEBIKER.COM WEBSITE FOR DETAILS
Sundays ride was planned to be a sightseeing run passing the Chateau du Miolans and Pont d’Abime, with lunch at Mt Revard. We had a group of 5 riders and 2 pillions who braved the relatively cool weather forecast. In the event the weather was ok, but we did end up riding through low cloud on the ascent up to the 1538m summit of Mt Revard, and the view at the top wasn’t the panoramic view of Lac de Bourget that I’d hoped for!
There’s not too many pictures as the day was a little dull, but as a first ride back for almost a month after my wrist problems, I had a great time, and based on feedback, so did everyone else. Here are just a few pics.
Pont d’Abime (taken earlier this summer)
The bikes at Mt Revard. K1300GT, VFR800, K1200S, Fazer 600, GS1200 Adventure.
Sea of clouds
The trees are changing colour but it’s difficult to see the real colours through the clouds here!
Here are next years 2011 Tour dates-
May 13th-20th- Fixed base & French Alps
June 24th – July 1st– Fixed base & French Alps
I’ve planned the dates of this tour week so that race fans can springboard on down to the MotoGP round at Mugello in Italy. This is one of THE best circuits on the GP calendar and with Rossi now riding a Ducati, the atmosphere there will be electric. Don’t miss the opportunity, a tour and probably one of the best races of 2011, what a combination!
July 8th – 15th- Fixed base & Swiss Alps
Fancy extending your trip? How about heading across to Eastern Germany for the WSBK race at the Sachsenring after the tour finishes?
August 26th – Sept. 2nd- Fixed base & Swiss Alps
The San Marino MotoGP race at Misano is on the weekend after the tour ends. Why not combine the tour and a race weekend for maximum pleasure?
Sept. 9th -16th- Fixed base & Swiss Alps
Sept. 16th- 23rd- Fixed base & French Alps
An Italian round of the WSBK follows on the weekend after the tour ends ( venue to be announced).