Motorcycling Heaven is a Place on Earth: Part II
In my last blog entry, I wrote about the radical roads you’ll encounter on Blue Rim Tour’s Five-Country Tour such as Stelvio Pass and Passo Gavio in Italy. Challenging pass roads are a big part of what I consider to be motorcycling heaven, but the people I met while on the tour made it the trip of a lifetime. Here are a few more reasons why you should ride on this trip:
The overall friendliness and courtesy of the people, especially those using the roadways, is very noticeable when riding in this area. Riding at a brisk pace, we often overtook slower, four-wheeled traffic. Upon seeing our headlights in their rearview mirror, some drivers would engage their right turn signal, slow down, pull to the right, and let us quickly pass them before the next hairpin curve. In more heavily-trafficked situations, usually in the valleys, motorists didn’t seem upset when we split lanes or passed and gathered in front of them at stoplights; in fact they often slowed down to make room for us to merge into traffic. It’s like everyone realizes we all have to use the same two-lane roads to get to where we’re going and that it’s not a race or a question of who has the biggest ego.
Of course, there are a few cautions that riders need to bear in mind: (1) never ride in the far left lane on the Autobahn, unless you are prepared to ride your bike faster than you ever have; (2) pay attention to signs that denote the infrequent no passing zones; (3) trucks and busses don’t always have room on roadways to pull over, so don’t assume that they will; and (4) observe traffic regulations, particularly speed limits in villages, and always use your blinkers to indicate turns and exits from traffic circles.
One of the most fulfilling aspects of any new experience is sharing it with others. A typical day while on the Five-Country Tour includes: a group buffet breakfast at the hotel, a mid-morning scenic rest stop, lunch at another scenic location (often at a mountain pass or a lakeside overlook), a mid-afternoon break for coffee or tea, a libation upon arrival at the hotel, and dinner as a group. At dinner the day’s happenings are recounted and our guide gives a briefing about the next day’s itinerary.
By the tour’s end, strong bonds of friendship were forged and captured in countless photographs. As I think about it now, a warm feeling of lasting camaraderie combined with Technicolor memories of vibrant sensory pleasures are sending a raging river of endorphins to my brain.
The people you choose to travel with will either make your trip wonderful or terrible. The guides, participants, and locals truly made the Five-Country Tour the most blissful motorcycling experience available on planet Earth. Get more details about the 2015 Five-Country Tour here.