You are here: sethdepot>TripsBiking2008Alps (2013-04-07, RoLaUser)

Biking in the Western Alps 2008-09

This year again - for a final longer motorbike trip before winter starts - I returned to the Alps, with final stop in Torino. This time I travelled one way by myself and just returned via car train. By this setup I also sampled the Vosges and Switzerland, where I made an effort to avoid any highways (saving toll on the way, ain't I clever?).
Next year I plan to go again both ways by car train, because Switzerland (compared to alpine pass feeling) is not worth the side trip, which costs more time and the same amount of money compared to the car train. And the Vosges mountains are a fine weekend trip from my place anyway, just need to do it!

This time I depended on tourist information offices for accomodation. I wanted to be more flexible - and it's too much hassle trying to fix places to stay in remote locations over the internet. This was a wise choice, because I had to change plans on a daily basis, trying to avoid the rain. I was quite successfull - until the last day, when I was scheduled for Torino and could not avoid the hailstorm on the way.

Special this year: I brought my brand-new Acer Aspire One with me, so I was depending on wireless Internet access. Unfortunately I just spend most of the time tweaking the Linpus Linux (and I anyway forgot all my passwords back home) - but I am confident I can use it next time :-)

This years costs come down to 180€ car train and 560 € travel costs.

The Route

Day 1: Pfälzer Wald and Vosges Mountains

After some short arrival trip right into the slopes.

Distance 170 km
Route Neustadt an der Weinstrasse (D) - Pfalz - Vosges - Saverne Google Maps
Pictures Pfalz and Vosges
Accomodation Hotel Arial in Steinbourg - expensive (provided by tourist information)
Internet was broken
Highlights nothing particular

Day 2: Crossing over non-toll roads into Swizerland

Distance 240 km (goal was Bern, but was too far)
Route From Steinbourg - Stop in Nidau (goal was Bern, but was too far) Google Maps
Pictures Switzerland
Accomodation Youth Hostel Lago Lodge in Nidau
Nice setting near the lake and city center
Very good price for shared room (26 CHF, next hotel was 75 CHF)
Unlike german youth hostels everybody can stay here, without any membership
High recommondation
Internet free WLAN
Highlights nothing particular

Day 3: Leaving Swizerland behind, avoiding rain in Aoste valley

Planned was going to Charmoix Mont Blanc, but weather report scared me off

Distance 220 km
Route Nidau - Montreux - Martigny - Col du Grand St. Bernard - Aoste Google Maps
Pictures To Aoste
Accomodation expensive (by tourist information) in Aoste
Internet WLAN 3€/1h
Highlights nothing particular
Lowlight Col du Grand St. Bernard is said to be the best pass in the Alps - but the whole italian side was under construction
Only recommend it when you're into kitch bernadine dogs in all variations

Day 4: Inner Alp Riding

The best riding day of the whole trip, even with some rain splashing in the evening.

Distance 220 km
Route Aoste - Col du Piccolo St. Bernard - Bourg St. Maurice - Val d'Isere - Aussois - Modane Google Maps
Pictures Val de Isere
Accomodation Hotel in Modane (lost the name), Cheap but nice
Internet Newly installed WLAN in hotel was not working yet, but found free WLAN in Pizza Place 5min by walk
Highlights Col du Piccolo St. Bernard, quiet minor road over Aussois parallel to B6

Day 5: More passes

I wanted to tackle the whole Col du Galibier, but I turned back half-ways because of heavy clouds on the other side of the pass.

Distance 160+80=240 km
Route Modane - Col du mont cenis - Claviere - Briancon - Col du Llautaret - Col du Galibier - Valoire - le Monetier les Bains Google Maps
Sidetrip After taking accomodation just some free driving Google Maps
Pictures Passes en masse
Accomodation Gite le FlouRou in Le Monetier les Bains, Shared accomodation, but nobody else in room :-)
Place is said to have hot natural spring, unfortunately didn't manged to dip into
Internet No WLAN, pub which had free WLAN was closed because off-season
Highlights Perfect curve combinations from Le Monetier les Bains until Col du Lautaret

Day 6: Changing to Torino

The last day in the Alps, the evening I was scheduled to arrive in Torino.
Unfortunately, upon entering Italy I was welcomed by heavy rain and a hail storm.

Distance 200 km
Route Le Monetier les Bains - Col d'Izoard - Col Agnel - country roads to Torino Google Maps
Pictures To Torino
Accomodation Friend's place in Torino (thanks a lot!!!)
Internet No time to check for WLAN :-)
Highlights Good but busy track: Col d'Izoard
Good and quiet track: Col Agnel

Day 7: Relaxing in Torino

Relax, enjoy good food and ice cream, strolling in Torino

Distance not applicable
Route not applicable
Pictures In Torino, and Way to Alessandria
Accomodation Guest House Casa della Mibilita giovaile e dell interculture, corso venezia 11
2 km from city center
Good price, private and shared rooms available
Internet WLAN 2€/1h

Day 8: Returning via Alessandria

Short trip through the countryside to the car train terminal in Alessandria. Luckily the weather cleared up in the noon, so I had a nice farewell from Italy.

Distance 100 km
Route Torino - Alessandria Google Maps
Pictures In Torino, and Way to Alessandria
Accomodation Car Train with 4 other people
Internet Acer's Live Update broke Network connection applet, so could not check coverage ;-(


Besides the sub-optimal weather it was a real nice trip again this year. Looking forward for next year, whereever and whenever I will go then.
Again, France turned out to be the travelling country: No unreasonable speed limits or overtaking-limitations, no need to register like a criminal in every place to stay, great roads and friendly people.

In Italy, you now need to provide a passport copy when you want to have internet access anywhere :-( Of course, this is for preventing terrorist attacks - the number one excuse to bully everyone with new laws and regulations. There I can only reply: "Screw you guys, I am going to France instead" ;->>

Additional Information

Planning Literature

  • Markus Golletz: Westalpen mit dem Motorrad, Bruckmann-Verlag, ISBN-10: 3765444316, German
    The author is a big enduro fan, thus please take a little bit of caution with the tracks in here.
  • Rudolf Geser: Die schönsten Alpenpässe. 50 Motorradtouren, J. Berg Verlag, ISBN 3-7658-4169-2, German
    Good overview about alpine passings
  • Sylva Harasim, , Martin Schempp: Die 100 schönsten Pässe der Alpen: Österreich Italien Schweiz Frankreich, Nikol Verlag, ISBN-10: 3937872701, German
    More passes, even small and unknown ones
  • Frankreich: Marco Polo Regionalkarte Frankreich. Provence, Cote d'Azur, Rhones-Alpes 1 : 300 000: Tl 8 (Landkarte), Mairdumont-Verlag, ISBN-10 3829737580
    Very handy to add the suggested tours from the previous books and then build your custom route
  • And last but definitely not least, not to forgot my TomTom Rider (version 1)
    I won't had as much fun without a navigation system. Just plan/program your route the evening before - and then just follow it!


  • (Similar to last year) add an relaxing day inbetween.
    For me it was a little inconvenient to keep up running all days from 9am to 5pm. And it really was sad that I did not managed any sightseeing in this great landscape. Or any hiking.


Country Emergency Numbers


  • 117: Police
  • 118: Fire Brigade
  • 144: Medical Rescue
  • 1414: Swiss Rescue Flights


  • 113: Police
  • 115: Fire Brigade
  • 117: Guardia di Financia
  • 118: Rescue Service
  • 77171: Mountain rescue


  • 15: Rescue Service
  • 17: Police
  • 18: Fire Brigade

Contact me

Topic revision: r2 - 2013-04-07 - 10:56:37 - RoLaUser



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