Lucky Bastards Motorcycle Tour #2 – Part 2
After the MXGP, it’s on to Erzberg in Austria for an extreme Enduro. The only thing between me and the next awesome event is about 1,500miles (2,400km) and a few countries to ride through, all good, I’m riding a wonderful motorcycle and don’t need to be there until Thursday morning.
So, looking on the map, the best way for me was to go back the way I came, hardly a problem seen as I’d ridden in on the BEST motorcycle road I’d ever ridden, however there was another way around the Picos de Europa National Park so I intended to go and find out more about the wonderful place.
The same beauty was on show as I rolled up to Riaño, only this time it was sunny, really sunny and looked even more gorgeous than before. So this time I switched sides and rode the other way around the National Park and I was instantly stunned by the views, the beauty and again, motorcycling roads from the gods.
Instead of climbing high and into the clouds, this road mainly stayed low cutting through the hillsides and it seemed like I was going down hill most of the time. Once again the corners were non-stop, coming at me like never ending computer game, but this was no game, it was real and the sights combined with the amazing corners was like a dream, just magnificent! And joins the the other side of the park as my #1 road = 1st! (sorry but they are both truly brilliant, wonderful and very special).
With all of the amazing sights around me it was easy to glance up and, take a look and find yourself missing a corner and facing trouble so my eyes were focusing on what was coming up as this wonderful road left no room for error.
Once out of the National Park, I didn’t go straight to the main road, instead I switched and ran across the the N-621, again on a brilliant road but there were a few more cars but the views were spectacular all the same. Once I hit Santander I was well behind my schedule of getting to Austria so I hit the fastest roads I could find and clicked by the miles, I wasn’t bothered as I’d had more than my cornering fix for the day so I didn’t care about hitting the Peage, anyway my mind was still switching left and right although I was going mainly straight for hour after hour, tank of gas after tank of gas long after the skies had gone dark.
My bed for the night was well out of Spain and into the south of France, finally bedding down next to a country road and grinning myself to sleep. Once again I’d found a very special motorcycling road and felt very fulfilled and extremely lucky.
Next stop is more loads more twisties in the South of France then onto Monaco where I’ll be meeting up with a buddy of mine who I used to race 250’s with, he is a lot faster than me, hence the reason he lives in Monaco and how I now spend most of my time sleeping in a tent, I hope he let’s me take a shower at his place as I am starting to wiff a bit….
The next morning I took off an hit the French countryside, the sun was blazing and it was a gorgeous day to ride a motorbike. My plan was to be in Monaco later that day so I spent a good few hours going here, there and everywhere, taking roads with lots of bends in them and staying off the main roads as I knew I’d have hours on the Peage later and be surrounded by cars, trucks and lots of maniacs.
Somehow I came across a cave, it was wonderful to see and ride through, my best tunnel yet, hope the photos give you a feel of what it was like, after it was more and more french countryside before hitting the motorway and trying to get to Monaco before it came dark.
I just managed it, hours and hours of motorway riding, oh how boring and it was also busy and I had to be careful as some car drivers just used their vehicle as weapons and couldn’t care less you were on a motorcycle.
Anyway, finally in Monaco and I met up with my old 250cc buddy who is now the current World Superbike Champion, Max Biaggi and his gorgeous family. I’ve not seen him for about a year and in that time he’s had a son, Leon, who looks like a champ already.
Thankfully he let me use his bathroom so with a quick freshen up we headed off to a friends beach party as Monaco was celebrating the start of the summer….how lucky, one minute I was on a motorbike, smelly and I was thinking of where i should get a cheap bit of grub and the next I’m at a flash party with free food and drinks!! HeeHaaa!
Max let me stay at his new apartment (which he has not even stayed in yet as it’s being refurbished) so I slept on the balcony and enjoyed the views and atmosphere of the unique place. Next morning I was awake before sunrise and hit the roads early to get in some serious miles of 2-wheeled fun before meeting Max for Breakfast and updating MotoGeo.
After a tasty Cappuccino & croissant I left the glitz and glamor of Monaco and headed off to Asolo Italy, the home and HQ of Alpinestars and where I’d be meeting my old home town friend Seth who is still in a bit of recovery after he broke his back in a MX fall last year.
For sure it scared him and after the accident, he sold his bikes and went back to a normal car life. But after seeing how much enjoyment I have been having, riding here there and everywhere, he couldn’t stand it any longer and bought himself another motorcycle, a BMW sports tourer in fact. So, Seth set off from Holmfirth, England on Monday and by the time I arrived after my rather boring motorway ride to North Italy, he was waiting for me with a huge smile and many stories of being back on 2 wheels once again, brilliant. That night we ate fresh Pasta and planned the next stage of the journey, a 500 mile journey to Erzberg, Austria.
Next morning it was gorgeous weather in Asolo and made even better when Alpinestars donated some brilliant sports touring gear to Seth, a special Birthday present to him and one that really made him feel better after having a rather rough 12 months.
The day looked like being a cracking one and as we headed off to Austria, the vibe was good. Then the tables started to turn, firstly because of the route we’d picked was riddled with traffic – Trucks, cars, Motorhomes and some motorcycles that didn’t like to pass anything. It was a struggle and no matter which way we went, many others seemed to be on the road ahead of us and if that wasn’t bad enough, it then started to get cold, then turned windy, then came the rain.
Next was a road closed sign, a diversion that took us high up into the hills, behind trucks and traffic, around many slippy corners and after being on the road for 3 hours, got lost more than a few times, we’d hardly gone anywhere, got soaked and were slightly down beat.
Next was a fuel stop and a re-think, a new road picked that took us into Austria and this road was brilliant, again, many switch backs that went high up into the mountain but we couldn’t ride it they way we’d like as it was very slippy and was raining.
At the top we met loads of other bikers on the Austrian boarder, they all looked rather stunned, we hoped it was because of the awesome road they’d just taken but in our conversations with them it was because of the terrible weather they’d gone through in Austria and Germany to get to the boarder, oh dear.
We rode into Austria and it was no lie, almost immediately it was pouring down and wasn’t letting up. By the time we took shelter by some trash in a super market car park we were more than soaked. The roads were terrible, loads of standing water and the car drivers weren’t slowing down much so we decided on staying put for a while and see if it would brighten up a bit.
2 hours later there was a break in the clouds so we took off but really just rode straight into more bad weather and as we’d still got 300+ miles to go, it was a case now of just getting on with the job and trying to get to Eisenerz (Erzberg) or close.
It was a sketchy ride, HGV’s were on the road with loads of Caravan’s and the spray coming off these vehicles was immense, the ride wasn’t one we’d like to repeat, it was hard going and slow.
Eventually we called it off around 9:30pm, we were now only 30miles away but it was now dark, riding in the wet at night wasn’t something I wanted to endure as we were both hungry, tired and in need of some hot food and hopefully a better bed than our planned camping.
The stop was in Amont where a very friendly man wearing lederhosen outfit helped us get food and a room in a local guest house which although smelt a bit off, had terrible bed sheets, we had to sleep next to each other, plus the heating didn’t work was almost like the Ritz compared to the thought of pitching our tents and shivering to sleep.
Next morning the weather had improved quite a bit, the roads were still damp and it was spitting with fine rain but that was 100% better than yesterdays conditions and we rode a great rode all the way to Eisenerz where the first sign we saw was a picture of a motorcycle and the iron mountain looked straight at us. Mega, we’d made it, at times yesterday it was difficult to imagine ever getting here but it was a joyful sight seeing the town for real instead of a name on a soggy map and the iron mountain looked increddible, the excitement of the Erzberg Rodeo beings from here, what a proper good do!