In my last three blog entries about my experience on the Five-Country Tour (Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Italy, and Switzerland), I mentioned radical roads, the great accommodations and food, and, of course, the awesome people I met along the way. But I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about how going on this trip enhanced my riding skills.
In my “past life” I worked in the corporate world, and with my busy schedule I never had as much time to ride as I would’ve liked. Over the past ten years, however, I have gotten the chance to travel across the U.S. by motorcycle and to document my stories in the pages of RoadRUNNER. So I had many years of riding experience before this tour. Still I learned a lot from our expert tour guide, Peter.
Peter is the linchpin that makes the Five-Country Tour such a rewarding experience. His encyclopedic knowledge of the area and its off-the-beaten-path routes allowed us to experience some of the best scenery and roads the Alps have to offer. Peter’s pace pushed us a little beyond our comfort zone, but wasn’t so aggressive as to cause a dangerous situation or a crash. (Every rider must remember to ride his or her own ride and not take foolish chances.)
A welcomed side effect of riding with Peter was the inevitable skill improvement I experienced from negotiating literally thousands of curves. We dealt with challenging road surfaces and steep gradients, riding in often rapidly changing weather conditions, negotiating narrow tunnels (some of which were miles long, dimly lit, or had hairpin curves), and safely riding along narrow roads crowded with all manner of motorized and self-propelled vehicles. I came back from the Five-Country Tour an even better rider than before. I believe that many motorcyclists would agree with me that challenging one’s self is one of the best parts of riding a motorcycle.