I've ridden some of the best roads in Utah and California and I agree with you, you should try the roads in my home state of Arizona, they are some of the best also, oh well I guess I'm going riding again tomorrow.
Despite having spent the last 20+ years of my life in New York, I still have vivid memories of riding (a quasi-pedaling affair, actually, especially uphill) my Guzzi "Dingo Cross" 50cc moped -- and later a Morini "Corsaro" 125cc -- up from my home in Milan (near Piazza Amendola, 150 yards away from the "Fiera" where the Motorcycle show was -- and still is -- held) to Lecco, pass by Mandello in front of the Guzzi factory, and up to Chiavenna. No Autostrada along the lake at the time, only a narrow two-lane strecth of twisties. The Morini happend to be like it all way through Sondalo, Sondrio, and into Bormio (where I learned how to ski). Reaching it seemd to me to have matched Amundsen's skills in reaching the South Pole.
Yossef, your article is like a time machine. I can still re-live the smells, the chills, the colors, the thrills, as you describe these roads. I have often asked myself whether it was time to go back to Europe with my bike (an ST4) and taste again the hairpins with a more mature brain. But reading about the changes (motorbikes up the Stelvio?! Only Coppi and Bartali's two-wheels (with pedals) used to climb up there!). It was a conquest for a small 125cc to reach the 10000ft summit of the pass.. Nah! Better leave them as memories and read about them. Thanks! Next time, try the "bresaola" with your "pizzoccheri" and ride the Lecco-Bellagio-Como triangle mid-week in the fall.
Well, you certainly deserve a pat on your shoulder for reaching Bormio on a four stroke 125! God, it must have been hours on hours at what? 55mph with a tail wind? The highwayman would be proud of you!
That triangle you mention is indeed my usual "quick test" area. Especially the road from Asso to Nesso.
BTW, any chance that the Corsaro is still somewhere in Milan, neglected and in need of tender loving care?
Great article. Going through one of the tunnels on the superstrada north of Lecco you passed behind the Guzzi factory at Mandello del Lario.
Also highly recommended is going south from Milan to the northern Apennines. The Passo di Cisa is a great road going up from Fornovo di Taro. As there is an autostrda doing the route the old road generally has little traffic and no Germans!
For those of you dreaming of the Italian sunshine it's winter here too, with all the joys of freezing temperatures, ice, snow, heavy rain and flooding!
The red-and-silver "Corsaro" was actually a capable little machine (though it seemed "huge" to me at the time, coming from the caughing 2-stroke "Dingo"). Top speed was an (optimistically for sure) indicated 130km/h. Yet, you are right: 80-90 km/h was the best I could keep up with, loaded by pizzoccheri and bresaola, and it was indeed hours upon hours of riding. But it was in 1969-70, which means that I was 17-18, and did not mind or even felt the pain.
The whereabouts of my Corsaro? Sold, alas! I wish we could just acquire new bikes without selling older rides. Like chunks of our lives falling into oblivium..."Peccato!"
Thanks again for this story...emotional for me...
Oh, yes! The "orrido" in Nesso... Let's stop here, too "Proustian" for confort...
When I was working overseas, I spent a couple of summer vacations touring in just that area on my modified XT600. Why a dual-sport bike? In Italy, anyway, you can keep going up when the road ends. Great trail riding and exploring waaaaay up there!
He had been gone a week riding a bike... In Europe... He is greeted by his girlfriend and goes to bed with some TEA!?! I guess riding an Italian bike in Italy doesn't teach you italian. Great story... now I have a new dream vacation.
Open up your minds and ride something. 2 wheels, 3 wheels, 4 wheels, no wheels, pontoons... I don't care, I just want to see something about fun machines. Forget about all of the superior 2-wheel-only premadonnas.
The Crowds of 30mph Beemer-chuggers happen
in (School-holiday, Daddy has holiday too) high season. The key to the Dolomites is to avoid Weekends during Jul/August. The rest of the time its just as good as Youssef's pics make it appear.
Actually, if you're not genuinely fast and smooth yourself friday afternoons (when the Hard-core speed-freaks tend to blast in Cities north and south after finishing work early from) can be a little intimidating...
The whacky cuckoo-clock wall-decoration thing is Austrian/Bavarian not German per se and in a more moderate form quite normal and not just for the Tourists. Like Hats-n-boots in Texas...
Read it a bit late, but man what a great article. Was stationed in Aviano, Italy from 97-01 and it was the best motorcycling, bar none, I have ever experienced. Yes, there are comparable roads here, but the experience isn't even close. The cops there don't run radar in the middle of nowhere for no reason, and the vast majority of cars will actually pull over to let a bike past. Kids wave at you as you go through town. You can leave your bike and gear in the middle of a crowd and no one will touch it. I could go on and on... It truly is heaven on 2 wheels. I was immune to the August heavy traffic, because we just headed east into Slovenia during that time. Great little country. Funny that you mention Passo de Aprica, since that was our low altitude fall back ride when the snow came early or stayed late in the year. The area around Cortina was a favorite Saturday ride, and day trips were usually around Belluno. Passo de Stelvio will never be truly described in word or pictures, either. As for Switzerland, next time, stay overnight in Andermatt. There are 5 great passes within 30 minutes of this beautiful little town, and you can do day trips for a week out of it. We usually camped at Furka Pass. And if you ever have the means, the island of Corsica is the best week you'll ever spend on 2 wheels, and the road N96, I think is the best road on the earth. God I miss it...