A facebook tour of Europe

03/12/2012 Mal Jarrett

By Mal Jarrett form Triumph Australia

14 June at 15.20
Well folks, here I am at Triumph HQ in Hinckley near Birmingham in the Midlands picking up my ride for the next 2 weeks, a new Tiger Explorer! And of course the UK has sent down a shower in my honour! Thanks, but you really didn't need to bother. My plan is to attend Tridays in Austria via France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Germany and the Netherlands, taking in as many of the best bike roads on the planet including the famed ‘Stelvio Pass’.
14 June at 19.49  
New tyres on slimy B grade roads made for some interesting moments on the ride to my first overnight stay...thanks Triumph for the traction control on the Explorer :)
15 June at 18:00
Today was just a transport stage down south to Croydon to meet up with daughter Beth, who is going to join me on the adventure and be our photographer for the trip.
‎5.45am and it's up and at em’ for the 1.5 hour ride down to Folkestone and onto the ‘Chunnel’ for the 8.20 crossing to Calais! Weather please be kind today!
It was a big first day for Beth today. 450+ km started off with fighting really strong side and head winds on the motorway, but we somehow managed to dodge the rain. Got off the motorway ASAP and made our way through the countryside to Paris, with less wind and real’ Tour De France’ scenery along the way. We also stopped for a break at the Australian National War Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux near the town of Amiens, approximately 190 km’s south from Calais in Frances Somme region.
We spent the remainder of the weekend sightseeing in Paris, but big day in store tomorrow with approx' 550k's to Geneva to cover. Weather forecast looks good so fingers crossed!
A long day but we made it to Geneva today by mid-afternoon. The motorway tolls are going to be the death of me (or should I say our budget), as we got hit with a 23 Euro toll today! (approx $30). Spent the evening exploring the city then got lost trying to wind our way out of the maze of one way streets aarrgghhh!!!! Anyway finally made it back to our accommodation and now time to hit the sack ready for our ride to Milan tomorrow via Mont Blanc.
O.M.G, the scenery is unlike anything that I have seen before....awe inspiring! Have just come through the Mont Blanc tunnel which was a bit spooky given its history, and have stopped for fuel before heading to Milan about 182k's away. I agonized over taking the tunnel or the Alpine way, but didn’t want to hit Milan at peak hour, and besides we’ve still got plenty of Alpine roads ahead of us.
In Milan tonight after a very hot ride over from Geneva. Not that I'd be silly enough to complain about it within this medium, but it was a scorcher today, and couldn't wait to get to Milan. The temperature jumped by about 15 degrees as we exited the tunnel, so we’ve started peeling off the layers and opening the ventilation zippers on our Triumph riding gear.
Time to get up I reckon...going to be another scorcher here in Milan. Can't believe we slept through to 10am, must have needed it though.  A day of sightseeing in Milan and then we’re riding down to Parma later in the day.
Another day of exploring Milan and then topped off the day with a 'quick' ride to Parma to meet the good folks from 'Cafe Racer Parma' ...best hit the hay, for tomorrow we ride to Tridays in Austria via 'The Stelvio Pass'!
Well we've still got about 150 km to go to reach Neukirchen, (or Newchurch as it’s known for Tridays), but have pulled over for a rest and a bite to eat. Been on the road since 8.00 and it's now 6.15pm. The Stelvio Pass was mind blowing. Couldn't get over how many cyclists were riding it...many beating the motorbikes on the way down. A couple tried it on us, but I just threw the odd elbow and knee out, and gave the bars a bit of a wiggle and they soon backed off :)
 
Well we finally got here! What a long day, 12 hours in the saddle all in all, with hardly a freeway in site. It was only 523k's but all of it was stop-start alpine riding where you rarely get out of 3rd or 4th gear. We have been really lucky with the weather (so far!), hardly a drop whilst riding, though we had a massive storm hit town just after we arrived! Talk about timing...
Big night tonight...we had the reveal of the new Trophy Tourer for the international press at the top of the mountain overlooking Newchurch this evening and then it was back down again in the cable car the to experience what Tridays had to offer once darkness fell. Unfortunately darkness wasn't the only thing to fall as it fair peed down! But it didn't dampen our enthusiasm as we kicked on into the night. It was great to meet the guys from British Journalists from Bike, Ride, MCN, Visor Down and Motorcycle Sport and leisure. Hopefully the weather will clear for tomorrow, night all.
 
23 June at 22:05
Great day at Tridays again today as we awoke to clear blue skies. Spent the best part of the day checking out all the bikes on display and vendors stalls, so many aftermarket parts available for Triumphs! They had the running of the inaugural ‘Tridays Rumble’ this afternoon, which was basically an off-road short course sprint for whatever dirt biased Trumpy’s. It was a great laugh… Stunt shows by Kevin Carmichael and bands playing all day ensured that there was always something to do for those who wanted to be kept entertained, or you could just sit back with a beer and watch the passing parade, of which there was plenty to watch.
Well that's it for Tridays. Time to pack up all our gear, load the bike and get on the road again. It's been a great few days and we’ve met some awesome people. Today we head for Fussen in Germany about 250'ks away. Not that far as the crow flies, but it's all through the mountains so should be there early afternoon.
24 June at 12:00
 Just when we thought that the scenery couldn't get any better, we’ve hit the Bavarian Alps and we’d thought wrong. Absolutely stunning vista's every time we turn a corner or exit a tunnel. Snow capped peaks melting and creating massive waterfalls into lakes of the brightest blue. There aren't enough superlatives to describe it...surely it can't get any better than what we've seen today.
Have just arrived in Fussen and about to tour Neuschwansteins' Castle, otherwise known as Germany's fairytale castle. Apparently Disney world’s 'Sleeping Beauty's castle' is modeled on it.
Well, given the way that the trip has been going, I guess we had to expect at least one off day. We awoke to the sound of rain, and rain it did, almost all the way here to Mannheim. Just to top it off we arrived at our accommodation to find it at the back of an industrial area just near the Autostrada exit :( not quite what we've become accustomed to! Oh well, s!@#t happens as they say. Tomorrow we head for Eindhoven in the Netherlands to catch up with my old mate Geil, and then we'll be on the home stretch to Calais...
Just woke to a clear blue sky :) Today is going to be a better day than yesterday...The bike has been awesome so far, plenty of room to move around and the seats have proven to be very comfortable and the screen is doing a surprisingly good job of keeping the elements at bay. We’ve been averaging around 5ltr per 100km, which is pretty good considering the load that we have on board and the headwinds that we have been encountering. The cruise control no doubt helps with the fuel efficiency, as it does the comfort of long hours in the saddle. Apart from my first day on the bike the traction control light has not had cause to illuminate, and likewise we’ve had no reason to try out the ABS (Thank goodness!) yet, and I hope it stays that way…
 
Well today certainly turned out a lot better than yesterday. Arrived (dry) at our accommodation in Oisterwijk near Eindhoven to find it in the middle of a nature reserve, about 10 minutes out of the city. Then my mate Giel picked us up and took us for a tour of the canals and then for dinner. It was a really nice way to spend our last night on the continent. Tomorrow it's off to Calais and the ferry across to Dover. Looking forward to seeing their white cliffs :)
27 June at 19:30
 
A fairly uneventful ride down to Calais from Holland today and onto the Ferry. Though the wind really started to whip up again as we made our way to the coast through Belgium. Made the port in plenty of time and had a chat with a group of Brit’ bikers on their way back from their annual jaunt to the Nurbergring in Germany, although unfortunately it was a wash out this time, though none of them seemed particularly disappointed as for them the ride there and back was what it was all about. Heavy fog as we approached Dover dashed my hopes of viewing the white cliffs of Dover.
28 June at 8:00
 
Heading west across to Swansea in South Wales today to visit some relatives before then heading north again to Hinckley tomorrow, hopefully the weather holds out…it is summer over here after all!
 
29 June at 12:35
Thanks for the send off Wales, but once again you really needn't have bothered! Lashing rain and gale force winds made the ride along the 'Heads of Valleys' road through the Brecon Beacons back to Hinckley one of the hardest rides that I have done in a long time. Thanks again Triumph for the traction control and big wide handlebars on the Explorer. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather have been riding in those conditions (apart from perhaps a hovercraft). Witnessed a car coming the other way loose it and flip over on its side!!! Driver was OK thank goodness, although it added a bit of time to my ride  (how inconsiderate :)
 
 

 

So here I am back at Triumph HQ in Hinckley, 4576 km and 15 days later, back to where it all started!
Made some new friends and got re-acquainted with others. Rode some of the best roads there are and finally got to attend Tridays in Austria. Spent some quality time with my youngest daughter and saw scenery that will stay with me forever. Thanks to Triumph UK for making it all possible…now to catch that flight home.
 
 
 

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