Versys Forum

Please login or register.

News: Join Now ! Members have access to areas that guests cannot see.

Author [NL] [FR] [ES] [DE] [SE] [IT] [NO] [MY] Topic: Mountains and Motorbikes  (Read 13552 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Zipperhead

  • Versys Pro
  • ***
  • Posts: 251
  • City / Town: LONDON
  • Country: gb
Mountains and Motorbikes
« on: Nov 28, 2020, 01:38 AM »
This should really be titled “Mountains, Lakes and Motorbikes”, but that would break the alliteration.

This trip was first suggested to me by my brother, ” why don’t we go to Lake Como for  the bi-annual Moto Guzzi Open House weekend in early September.” He obviously possesses one of these Italian machines which he says is “full of character”.

For a variety of reasons the plan didn’t progress much further until we got back from our previous trip, in early August.

“Do you still want to go?” he asked.
Yes, give me the dates and I’ll arrange something
“OK, I want to arrive on Thursday 5th, and leave on Monday 9th”

I still had some holiday to use up, so I had a look at the map to see where I might spend some time with my wife and then opened negotiations.

Dearest wife, would you like to go on holiday to Annecy?

“What’s there?” she asked.
Well, it’s at the end of a beautiful lake which is surrounded by mountains. The old town is very pretty and has rivers running through it, indeed it has been described as the Venice of France.

“How would I get there?”
You could could fly to Geneva and I’d pick you up from the airport, it’s not very far.


The stage was set.


26 Aug 2019

Early on Monday morning I set off for Folkestone to cross under the sea. I came out of the train at about 9:30 to a lovely cloudless sky and stopped a little way up the road to adjust my particulars and check the map.

I now became very confused - I had booked a (cheap) hotel that night in Troyes, because it was about half way to Annecy, and I was expecting the distance to be roughly 330 miles, but it was showing about 200 to go.

The fog of stupidity gradually burned off in the morning sunshine. It was indeed about 330 miles to Troyes. From home. So keen was I to get on my hollibobs that I had discounted the UK part of the journey as it’s not very pleasant. Now, having ridden from home to Folkestone and made the subterranean journey I had travelled 130 of my 330 miles - leaving “only” 200 to go that day.


My plan had been to arrive at Troyes late in the afternoon or early evening, because I had no idea what it was like, now I had a surplus of time so what should I do with the day?

I looked at the map and considered various options, until I had a brainwave. It’s a lovely warm summer day with a perfect blue sky above, so instead of cruising along the motorway why don’t I stick to small roads, head across country all day. If it were taking too long I could always go back to the motorway.

What a great decision that was. Riding along roads which were almost deserted through the gentle slopes of Northern France. Slow down for the little villages, enjoy looking at them as I passed through and then speed up a bit when leaving. I should have taken more pictures that day but I was just enjoying the ride.

I headed into Arras for lunch, where I had been only three weeks before, and then onwards as the crops slowly changed into grapes nearing Reims.

I went into Reims, not to see the Cathedral (I did glance at it going past) but to look at somewhere else.

This is now, fittingly, an International school. The small sign next to the door tells what momentous event occurred here.

After that I was bored, so hopped on the motorway for the last 80 miles to Troyes, stopping only at the Golden Arches for some calories before going to the hotel and having an early night.

Distance for the day 354 miles on the bike, 17 on the train.

The next day I had the thick end of 300 miles to cover, but as I was close to the center of Troyes I thought I should check it out. Just in case.

Next time I pass that way I think I’ll spend some more time there!

Another sunny day, with a lot of it spent on the motorway, but after lunch mountains began to appear in the distance, and then after stopping for fuel near Bourg-en-Bresse the road went into the mountains. 80 miles of breathtaking views.

The place that I had rented was out near the railway station, and had a parking space round the back. After sorting out the keys I unloaded the bike and went to the shop around the corner to get essentials and something for later.

That evening I went out for a ride, a 25 mile loop into the hills, which was very pleasant apart from the two stupid drivers who tried to kill me. Fortunately they failed so I was able to enjoy the sunset views.

Back at the flat I called my wife to tell her about the place, views etc. and as we were speaking a massive thunderstorm started. Lots of lightning and the crashes of thunder echoing off the mountains. Lots of rain as well. Hopefully it would go away before breakfast time.

Distance for the day - 317 miles, including the 25 mile loop.

Not many pictures so far, but there are a lot to come.

Offline uralrob

  • Versys Mega God
  • ******
  • Posts: 10558
  • Bike: 14 V 650 15 V1k
  • City / Town: Bridgewater NS
  • Country: ca
Re: Mountains and Motorbikes
« Reply #1 on: Nov 28, 2020, 12:01 PM »

 A great start to a foggy Nova Scotian morning. Thanks for that.

 Looking forward to more  :37:.

Don't take Life too serious, it's not permanent.

Online jdoyle

  • Versys Pro
  • ***
  • Posts: 152
  • Bike: Versys 650 Mk1
  • City / Town: Wicklow
  • Country: ie
Re: Mountains and Motorbikes
« Reply #2 on: Nov 28, 2020, 08:49 PM »
That looks like a great trip
Looking forward to seeing some more photos :-)

Offline Oldplodder

  • Versys God
  • *****
  • Posts: 1817
  • still lovin' it
  • Bike: F850GS - GL1800
  • City / Town: Buckley
  • Country: wales
Re: Mountains and Motorbikes
« Reply #3 on: Nov 28, 2020, 09:56 PM »
That is the sort of ride report I like to read!!
Please can we have more of the same.   :152: :152:

Dave T
Lord, Please make me into the person my dog thinks I am.

Online TowerMan

  • Information Guru
  • Versys Mega God
  • *
  • Posts: 8412
  • V.I.G.S. rules OK
  • Bike: V650Mk1 + V1kMk2
  • City / Town: Biggar, Scotland
  • Country: scotland
Re: Mountains and Motorbikes
« Reply #4 on: Nov 28, 2020, 11:16 PM »
Richard    :001: 


Online Stewie

  • Versys Mega God
  • ******
  • Posts: 7300
  • No longer The Sorcerer's Apprentice
  • Bike: Honda CB1000RA
  • City / Town: Barwell, Leics.
  • Country: gb
Re: Mountains and Motorbikes
« Reply #5 on: Nov 29, 2020, 08:39 AM »
Come one now.
You cannot tease us with the start and then not follow up with new chapters.

Offline Zipperhead

  • Versys Pro
  • ***
  • Posts: 251
  • City / Town: LONDON
  • Country: gb
Re: Mountains and Motorbikes
« Reply #6 on: Nov 29, 2020, 09:05 AM »
I had better put a fresh nib in my keyboard....

I'll post  some more later.

Offline Clunkyboy

  • Versys Mega God
  • ******
  • Posts: 9447
  • Scratchin Bros Rider
  • Country: gb
Re: Mountains and Motorbikes
« Reply #7 on: Nov 29, 2020, 09:44 AM »
Loving the look of Troyes
MT 5, KH 100, IT 175, XR 250, GPZ 600, GPZ 900, GPZ 750, GSXr 1100, XJ 1100, XJ 1200, Super Tenere, GSX 750, 10YR Break, VERSYS Mk1,VERSYS Mk2

Offline riggerjim

  • Versys God
  • *****
  • Posts: 1731
  • Country: gb
Re: Mountains and Motorbikes
« Reply #8 on: Nov 29, 2020, 09:50 AM »
Great trip and report more please

Offline Zipperhead

  • Versys Pro
  • ***
  • Posts: 251
  • City / Town: LONDON
  • Country: gb
Re: Mountains and Motorbikes
« Reply #9 on: Nov 29, 2020, 05:55 PM »
Wednesday 28 August

When I got up the storm had gone and it was another sunny day. I walked the short distance to the old town (5 minutes) and picked one of the cafe’s to sit outside and have breakfast. A pretty good start to the day.

Once I’d filled my face and brought my caffeine level up to “safe” I went for a stroll around the old town, because I knew that when she arrived the boss would want some basic navigational information, such as “where are the nice shops”

They’re everywhere mixed in with cafe’s and restaurants in streets like this

The rivers? They’re there too.

As my wife’s flight wasn’t arriving until late afternoon I wasn’t in a rush so I decided to go for a ride around the lake and up into the mountains.

To give an idea of the scale, the lake is just under 15k long, and the total journey was a few miles short of 70.


I went along the south side of the lake and then along the valley to Ugine, where the road turned south and I turned north up the smaller roads into the mountains.

I might have mentioned it in an earlier tale, but I’m scared of heights. I get scared looking over the edge of the newspaper (have I used that joke before?). It takes me a few days to get used to the verticality, and stop riding along the middle of the road!

This little loop was my breaking in ride, I stopped worrying about it for the rest of the holiday afterwards. The road climbed up until it got to some ski resorts, and then it climbed up some more. The road was very narrow, with a bumpy and broken surface (I presume the winters take a heavy toll). I would have turned back, but I was too scared to turn around.

Eventually I started to descend again and eventually enjoyed the rest of the descent - but the roads were still so narrow and twisty that I kept the speed down.

When I got back to Ugine I stopped and called my wife to check that her flight was looking to be on time, and then along the north side of the lake and back to the flat to make myself a snack.

It’s only 30 miles from Annecy to Geneva airport, and about 29 of those are on motorways, with one stop in the middle at the Swiss border. Because I was about to go onto a Swiss motorway I had to pony up 40 euros for a carnet to stick onto the windscreen. It is possible to get to the airport without using the motorway, but it’s another entrance completely and as I intended to traverse Switzerland twice the following week I thought that it was worth paying now and making this journey easier.

Not everything in Switzerland is expensive - the motorcycle parking at the airport is free. Although maybe not very well signposted, I saw the bike parking and went in - it seemed very popular, but I was able to find a spot to park in. It turned out to be the staff motorbike park. But there was no barrier and they haven’t sent me a begging letter, so I think that I got away with it. And the airport motorbike parking really is free - it’s just that it’s a little further along.

When my wife got to the arrivals hall she was pleased to see me - I think she likes going on holiday carrying only her handbag and a helmet bag and knowing that she won’t have to worry about driving in a strange place.

That evening we wandered around the old town, which was very busy with tourists, and eventually decided on somewhere to eat, sitting outside on a warm evening.


Thursday 29th August.

I know that I said there are lots of pictures to come, and there are, trust me. The three days after this have more than 30 (I’ve got one day with 34 pictures lined up!)  but I’ve only got one picture and one map for today, so let’s get the disappointment out of the way and hurry up to get to tomorrow.

In the morning we walked back into town and had breakfast at the same place where I’d been the day before. After that my wife picked a different place every day (so I don’t have to mention breakfasts any more!)

We spent the whole day walking around town together, looking in the shops, stopping for coffee, going to the park by the lake. Regular boring tourist stuff.

Having looked at the information in the flat, and visited the tourist office, we thought that we would visit a medieval village that evening and maybe eat there.

But we didn’t take the direct route..

The village, Alby-sur-Cheran, is on the left where the Parking is shown, but we started by heading south and riding up Semnoz (les Rochers Blancs is near the summit). When I was planning another trip (which hasn’t happened, yet) I looked at the road up to the peak of Semnoz and it looked a really fantastic ride. From Annecy it’s about 17k to the top. From the down by the lake I had estimated that it was 500 or 600 metres high, but the road goes up to 1,660 metres, 40m shy of the summit. That’s about 350 metres higher than Ben Nevis with a wonderful ride up through the forest. I’ll return to Semnoz later with some more pictures and maybe video.

Down the other side (the squiggles on the right) and round the end of the mountain and we came back to Alby-sur-Cheran.

It is a pretty village, but there’s not much more than you can see in this picture, so after wandering around and looking at it, checking the menu, my wife said “no”, so we took the direct route back to Annecy (“I’m not going back the way we came”), walked into town and had a lovely dinner together.