Days 8-9 - Alps and ride home
This was the route I did that day:
Malvaglia – San Bernardino Pass – Bernina Pass – Gavia Pass – Stelvio Pass – Umbrail Pass – Fuorn Pass – Fluela Pass – Amden
After I did the Nufenen, Grimsel, Furka and Oberalp passes the previous day, I ended up in Malvaglia for the night as there was the cheapest hotel in the area. When I checked weather forecast before I went to sleep last night, it was going to rain. To my surprise I woke up to this:
Blue sky and not a single cloud – perfect. Packed the bike and set off towards San Bernardino Pass.
Just before the pass, stopped at the petrol station to fill up. There was a big car park beside it so went there to clean and lube the chain in my bike.
There was also a small park and a small wooden shop with sandwiches, so got my breakfast there (was really good) and enjoyed the sun for a while. Just after I finished my breakfast, a bus of Chinese tourists arrived and one of them started taking loads of pictures of me. I found it strange and asked why is he taking pictures of me but he wouldn’t say anything. I was just about to leave anyway so went to do San Bernardino Pass.
It was the best pass I did on this trip. I don’t know if that’s because of weather, or because corners were just perfect, there were not many hairpin bends, but still nice and twisty, was just perfect.
Somewhere on the way to Bernina pass:
And Bernina pass:
Here’s the video from San Bernardino and Bernina passes:
After Bernina Pass, I was not sure whether to go straight to Stelvio Pass or if I have enough time to do Gavia Pass as well. I decided to do Gavia Pass first. Weather was perfect.
And the video:
The road surface on Gavia Pass was good at first, but further towards the top in turned into one of the worst out of all mountain passes I did on this trip. I wouldn’t recommend it for the sports bikes but it’s doable and I would probably do it again anyway!
Then I continued to Stelvio Pass. When I was setting off for this trip I had no idea how far I would actually get – I didn’t know if it would only be Pyrenees that I would manage, Pyrenees and maybe a little bit of Alps or Pyrenees and all Swiss Alps. But I did Pyrenees, French and Swiss Alps and there I was, ready to get on Stelvio Pass.
My helmet camera kept switching itself off which was getting annoying as Stelvio was the pass that I was looking forward to the most. Still, managed to get most of it recorded.
I heard that Stelvio Pass is usually very busy since it’s one of the most popular passes, but it was late in the afternoon so it was actually very quiet (squeezing Gavia Pass in was probably good idea!).
I didn’t take many pictures on Stelvio pass at all which I regretted later, but at least I’ve got the video:
After Stelvio it was time to start heading back home. It was already late in the afternoon but I still had 2 or 3 hours of daylight left. I decided to book a room in Amden, which was about 2 and half hours away from Stelvio. On the way to Amden I also did Umbrail Pass, Fuorn Pass and Fluela Pass that were on the way.
When I got to Amden, it turned out to be the nicest place that I stayed overnight on this trip. As I was always booking the cheapest rooms I could find, I wasn’t expecting much, but that one was really nice. AmdenLodge – Bienenheim Naturhostel. View in the evening and in the morning:
Breakfast was included in price, so I had my breakfast, packed the bike and set off for a long ride home. I had some 1100 miles to do.
First I had to get through Zurich, and then long way through France. It was so hot, I couldn’t stand riding in all my leathers any more. First I took my gloves off. My hands started getting tanned pretty quickly. A while later I took my jacked off as well and strapped it to one of the panniers.
For the rest of way through France I rode just in a top on. It didn’t help much though. It was so hot, that even at a speed of 100mph it was just as hot as standing still.
At some point I overtook a group of bikers on the cruisers. Small while later I had to stop to get fuel and some food, and they happened to stop there as well. They asked me if I want to use their sun cream, as I was really starting to burn… Talked to them for a while, one of them said that if he was on his own he wouldn’t be going that slow (I think he felt a bit embarrassed being overtaken by a girl).
Once arrived in Dover, first challenge was to put jacket on… It was really sore already. Once I got my jacket on, I just had to ride through the night back to Glasgow. Got home about 5 in the morning. Good thing about having burnt skin was that because it was sore, it helped me to stay awake all night. Bad point, well, it was sore to touch for another week or so…