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Thread: The ONLY way to See the Alps...

  1. #1
    Cowboyatheart
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    The ONLY way to See the Alps...

    Hi Everyone,

    I had the privilege of participating in two week Classic Alpine Tour with Beach’s Motorcycle Adventures (bmca.com) in Aug/Sep 2015.

    The service was outstanding with Rob and Gretchen Beach (the owners) and their staff, providing attentive care from the moment you enquired about the tour; to the moment they dropped you off at the airport at the end of the tour. Everything was taken care of, creating an unforgettable experience that one wishes to repeat, year in, year out, until you are no longer able to ride motorcycles! I have been to Europe many times, travelling through by car, train, and short haul flights.

    Absolutely NOTHING compares to riding a motorcycle over high alpine passes with switchbacks that have turning radius’s as small as a coke can, and many times even smaller! To be able to do this worry free, because your luggage is transported from place to place, your rooms are pre-paid, pre-booked, your breakfast and dinners are provided is absolutely an exquisite experience. Your only dilemma is to decide which of the multitude of routes you wish to take for day; each route laid-out in an easy to use Garmin GPS. Or heaven forbid, create your own!

    Each night Rob outlines the ‘morrows’ options with guidance on sights to see, technical difficulty of the road, and places to eat, or points of interest to just stop and take in the view. You can ride with the group following Rob, you can ride with a buddy you’ve just met, following your own desired path, or you can ride alone. Rob’s only request is that you phone and let them know if you are going to be late for dinner, and so they don’t send out a search party looking for you, when you have decided that you just want to enjoy an extended stop and a nap in a meadow!

    Are you pondering a motorcycle tour of the Alps? If so, look no further than Beach’s Motorcycle Adventures! I rate them 5 stars of 5 (Am I really constrained to only 5?)

    I know there are other operators, and some folks go it alone, but for my money, this was the best adventure, not only because of the scenery, the motorcycling, the roads - but because it was also worry free!
    And Beach's makes planning simple, execution simple and having fun your main event.

    I will be saving up for a repeat tour, and the only question is: Do I do the Alps again, or try one of the other tours Beach's offers?

    I can't recommend them enough.

    Neil Elliott

    BTW I am not connected to Beach's MC Adventures, merely a client that really enjoyed the trip, the service, the experience!
    Last edited by nelliott; 07-13-2016 at 07:49 PM.
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  2. #2
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    I second the motion. Best part is no follow the leader, unless you wish to do so, and if you do, Rob is the most experienced Alps guide alive.

    Wife and I went on a "once in a lifetime" Alps trip in 1999, luckily we chose Beach's. Well been back 9 times and did the 3 week New Zealand tour this spring. Lots of value in their tours.

    Furka Pass Switzerland

    2010 F800GS Full Ohlins package, '04 R1100S Replika
    '01 F650GS Wife's bike
    Maritime Alps and Vosges 2012
    Tuscany and Central Italy 2010

  3. #3
    Registered User gfspencer's Avatar
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    I've done the High Alpine Adventure twice (Edelweiss). Being on a motorcycle is a fantastic way to see the Alps.
    2015 R nineT

  4. #4
    Registered User
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    The only way to see the Alps for me is on Youtube. The cost of a European motorcycle trip is beyond my reach. There are some videos I have seen that give an excellent illustration of the incredible scenery and the breathtaking roads of the Alps. I'm sure it is even more impressive actually being there.

  5. #5

    My Alps Trip

    Quote Originally Posted by ducster View Post
    The only way to see the Alps for me is on Youtube. The cost of a European motorcycle trip is beyond my reach. There are some videos I have seen that give an excellent illustration of the incredible scenery and the breathtaking roads of the Alps. I'm sure it is even more impressive actually being there.
    I was lucky enough to do an Alps tour in a small group with an experienced guide who arranged for hotels, restaurants, etc. it was the high point of my riding experience to date. A pretty good video record of the trip is on YouTube. Search for Steve Follett.

  6. #6
    Out There Somewhere ricochetrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ducster View Post
    The only way to see the Alps for me is on Youtube. The cost of a European motorcycle trip is beyond my reach.
    Ah hey, man... a guided tour with rentals and hotels etc might be beyond your reach but don't give up on someday doing this, just do it on your own. Where there's a will, there's a way, and anything is doable... IF you can overcome the defeatist attitude. Granted, I know nothing about your personal circumstances, but I DO know that if a person thinks they can, or thinks they cannot do something... they are 100% correct. Thinking it's beyond your reach, or never gonna happen is one way to absolutely guarantee it never will.
    Anything is possible, brother. Anything.
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  7. #7
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    A great tour

    Or, if you are lucky you can win a great tour. Last year in Billings I won an Adriatic Alps tour that I'm taking next month. So far I'm very impressed with Adriatic Moto Tour operation. I just received a book with all the ride information and maps. They have been very responsive to email requests. I'll give you a ride report after I get back.

    You never know when you'll have the winning ticket.
    Mary
    2007 R1200RT, gone
    2009 R1200RT, gone
    2014 R1200RTW, GREAT

  8. #8
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Since you capitalized ONLY, I hate to break it to you, it is one way, but not the best way to see the Alps. Of course you have to be adventurous.

    I had an interesting discussion on a forum a long time ago with someone who felt the same way as you do. He was going on an on about how "you would never find these roads unless you went with an organized tour" that he went on. By the way, he was on a Beach tour.

    So I asked him "what roads" were you taken on? He didn't know because he simply followed the tour guide. But he did recall this really nice road that went through these three very narrow tunnels that ended up at the top of a ski hill. It then took him into Slovenia (from Italy) and over a few passes before crossing over into Austria and into the city of Villach.

    You mean these tunnels on Monte Zoncolan? And the passes you crossed going into and in Slovenia were Sella Nivea, the Predil Pass and then the Vrsic Pass before heading into Kranjska Gora and back into Austria to Villach. He got a bit quite after that.

    The first tunnel...


    The second tunnel...


    And the third and last tunnel...


    Yup so in 22 straight years of touring these roads, I've been on a lot of goat paths that the tour operators have not been on. I mainly stick to the L, SP and smaller roads that are simply incredible.

    I'm glad you got to experience what is generally considered the best riding around.

  9. #9
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pffog View Post
    Furka Pass Switzerland
    By the way, did you know that a James Bond movie was shot there; Goldfinger I believe.

    There are a few scenes. One where the bad guy is driving eastbound on the pass road with Hotel Belvedere which you can see in the shot. The road was dirt at the time.

    The other scene is at the gas station as you enter Andermatt and which is still there (filled there many times).

  10. #10
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ducster View Post
    The cost of a European motorcycle trip is beyond my reach.
    That is why I put together a thread ages ago showing how you can go about it for 40% the cost of an organized tour for riders in your situation.

  11. #11
    Cowboyatheart
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlobalRider View Post
    Since you capitalized ONLY, I hate to break it to you, it is one way, but not the best way to see the Alps. Of course you have to be adventurous.
    Hi Globalrider, ONLY refers to Motorcycling, not taking an organized tour.

    Taking a tour is convenient and less hassle, nice to have someone sherpa your stuff and cut down on the time it takes to properly plan a tour.
    I took my own roads, rode predominantly by myself. Sometimes with others, followed the leader maybe once or twice for a couple of hours.

    So, no worries, you are not breaking anything to me that a will shatter my life, my thoughts and hurt my feelings.

    Oh, and I have read through your threads.

    One safety aspect of a tour, is that if you don't show up, they go looking for you.

    Now, if you break your leg, as I did once in the Alps, someone will eventually come across you, and help you, if you are in an area of cell coverage you can always call for help, or push the "oh **** help me button" on the In Reach SE to get someone's attention. If you ride with others, tour or friends, at least there is more immediate help (which was my situation, and I was glad I was on a tour for that).

    Since my lovely wife does not ride, I ride alone. So from a safety aspect, there is an advantage to taking a tour. Obviously, you have to assess and evaluate your own risk tolerance, the situation and how to best handle it in order to feel comfortable.

    Beach's does an outstanding job. If you a tour is too expensive for you, and you have the time and inclination, then by all means, organize something yourself and go.

    I can't stress the "GO" part enough, and by that, I mean RIDE a MOTORCYCLE through the high alpine passes of the ALPS.

    if you have the money, and not the time, then call Beach's Motorcycle Adventures - you won't be disappointed!
    Last edited by nelliott; 08-18-2016 at 04:49 PM.
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  12. #12
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nelliott View Post
    One safety aspect of a tour, is that if you don't show up, they go looking for you.
    It might be too late by then. Besides, the only time I come off my motorcycle is at a standstill.

    Anyway, having just come back from just over six weeks there, two of them with riders that I know, I have learned one thing. Know who you are riding with.

    My long time friend who I have played tour guide to on 5 tours with me is an excellent rider. The other rider who I met a few months prior, we had to wait for all the time, and this in valleys with hardly any curves. (base of the Timmelsjoch to Ötz). Then he gets a speeding ticket. Well if he would have tagged right along at the speed limit we were at instead of realizing there is a 5 km gap between us, he wouldn't need to speed to catch up. Duhhhh...frustrating to the extreme. And dangerous for me because I was spending far too much time looking in my mirrors to see where he was. Play tour guide? Never again at least not with riders who can't ride.

  13. #13
    Biker gunnert's Avatar
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    ...not for all.

    I organized and executed a 13 day trip to the Alps in '10. Had absolutely NO issues with the entire trip. I rented out Munich, 4 nights Hinterthal, Austria, 6 nights Arabba, IT, 3 nights Garmisch, GM. Had a blast, did it my way, and saved a lot of money compared to contracting via a company. A lot of the enjoyment came from planning the trip before departing. Day rides were decided each night over wine in a local Bavarian hotel based on what I had seen, local maps, and talking to others. I'd never consider going with a tour company, but that's my .02...
    NoVA
    '12 K1600GT

  14. #14
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    I just stumbled across this thread (never got past the garage area before...).

    I did an Edelweiss tour this past July ('16)(Central Alps Tour - more about that below). Amen to riding being the best way to see the Alps. When it doesn't rain a lot.

    We drove to the Innsbruck area from near Frankfurt, Germany. The point being that I tried riding and driving twisties (not the same roads, though). A car in the tight twisties, IMNSHO, is... you gotta be kidding.

    Five days of passes and the occasional bit of non-pass road is hard to beat. Not only is the landscape awesome, but I learned a lot about riding. I definitely came away with a different approach to riding the places where the road doesn't go straight.

    In broad brush, some of the passes are easy with turns that aren't uncommon in the States. A couple of passes were to the level of "oh? that was a pass?" But one pass and one road were serious tests of riding skill. Stelvio is "all that". Coming from the north side, there are 48 hairpins (and a sign that counts each one down to the top - I was verrrry happy to see "!"). The road is the Zillertal panoramic high road - somewhere between 1 and 1 1/4 lanes, no guard rail, and a serious drop in places. And of course, tons of blind turns around the rock wall on the other side.

    Edelweiss... at least for me, the group never really gelled. From what I've heard, and what I read in the pre-tour info, there were supposed to be some get acquainted events (including the group picnic that's supposed to be a hallmark of the Edelweiss experience). None of that happened. Everyone was left to sort themselves as best they could.

    There were 19 bikes and two guides. One guide got the more conservative riders and one guide was heavily into "if you're not fast, you're seen for too long". The conservative group had a couple of riders that literally scared me. Nothing like seeing someone come within 4-5" of sideswiping a raised curb at 40-50 MPH not once but twice. And was totally unaware of it. Somebody in the group dropped their bike coming up the Passo dello Stelvio road. So I rode with the other group but found myself pushing much harder than I really wanted. (And almost stuffed it twice - Not Good) To make it worse, the groups wound up with 7-8 in one group, and 11-12 in the other group. There should have been some to pick up some of the excess and keep the groups down to manageable size.

    We were given a "how we'll spend 5 days" booklet in advance. Which was almost completely ignored. Any hope of a bit of rubbernecking was almost completely lost. At one point I asked someone if the saw (I forget what - something of passing interest). "No, I was too busy riding." And you came here why?

    This was an "out and back" trip. That is, we didn't change hotels every day. Which was fine with me; living out of a suitcase isn't a big fave. The hotel was spendy and only OK. Nice people and all that, but if you're not there all day and knackered at night... meh. A nice pension (sort of a scaled up B&B) would have been fine. And far less expensive.

    I really, really wanted a K1600GT, which is available on some tours. But Edelweiss said "no way!"; I got a '15 R1200RT instead. And two late sign-ups got H-D baggers. Say what???

    I know people who took the same tour (at another time) and were totally enchanted with the experience. But for me, between the group dynamics, the oversized groups, far too much loosey-goosey from the guides (for example: great sermon about obey traffic laws and then breaking them left and right), and paying way too much for the hotel... I'm done with Edelweiss.

    But I'm already planning a return to the Alps. This time I'll make my own arrangements.
    Some people are wise. Some people are otherwise.

  15. #15
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBEmerson View Post
    But I'm already planning a return to the Alps. This time I'll make my own arrangements.
    Now you know why some of us have been going back year after year....22 straight for me.

    If you liked the Zillertaler strasse, you'll like Passo Manghen and the Kaiserjägerweg to name a few along the same lines.

    And the Alps are one of the few places where you never end up wasting any part of a tire, because they get all used up from edge to edge. The last one still had some rubber in the center...hell, I could have sent that one back home and finished it off on our mostly straight roads in North America.

    Yee-hawww. No comments as I am a safe rider.
    2016 Tour - Worn Tire - 1.jpg

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