September 10, 2015

What's going on? I'm back!!

I haven't posted much lately. For one, work at the shop has increased quite a bit and always keeps me busy. On the other hand, I just came back from a month long holiday in Italy, where I had the chance to ride some amazing bikes.

So, this will be a bit of a lengthy post, telling you about my riding experience in the Italian Alps, sprinkled with cool pictures and of course, all amalgamated in some of my German humour, if there's such a thing.

My first trip of the holiday was with my parents on their Goldwing, while my brother lent me his trusted Moto Guzzi LeMans MK1. Such a great bike! The handling is just superb, in fact, you would think you're riding a sporty 125cc, such is the easy of curving. The Stucchi pipes give the LeMans not only a more aggressive look, but fill the riding experience with a massive roar. She was screaming at me "Give it to me baby" that's just what I did. :-)
The LeMans, despite it's great handling, is not a bike for the faint hearted. It needs a firm hand to squeeze out everything she's got. The clutch lever and the throttle control are hard beasts and after a couple of hours you start wondering if you're really man enough for her.
It is what it is, and I love her.

This Sunday ride took us to one of the most beautiful high altitude lakes in South Tyrol, the Karersee. For those who don't know where that is, South Tyrol is the Northernmost part of Italy and was once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, before being cheekily annected by Italy. For this reason, people speak both German and Italian there and all street signs (among other things) are in both languages.

History lesson on the side, South Tyrol is a truly spectacular place and a much loved destination for tourists and riders from all over Europe. The pictures speak for themselves, I guess.

On another occasion, my brother and I did a short ride around Bozen (the capital city of South Tyrol). He took his Ducati Scrambler 450 and I rode my Yamaha SR500. Another perfect day in what was the hottest Summer in recorded history. Being used to Thailand's temperatures, it was no big deal for me, but you should have heard the people complaining there.... Pfffff, lightweights!

August was remarkable not only for its heatwave, but for the fact that it hosted my birthday, too! And this year I got a very special gift!
So, the story goes that my brother got an immaculate Ducati 998R Testastretta with little more than 3.000km on the clock. A beauty, let me tell you. I knew how much he cares for it and that he wants to keep the mileage low, but I couldn't help myself nudging him from time to time. I've ridden every other bike he owns, but this one was a hard bargain.
Finally, on the day I was born 41 years earlier, he ASKED me if I wanted to go for a ride on the 998! HELL YEAH!!

And what a ride it was! It took me a long time to find a comfortable position that would not put too much pressure on my writs: I tried sitting close to the tank, sitting all the way back, putting pressure on the tank with my knees, sitting more upright, leaning down, and finally.....I gave up. A small price to pay to experience the awesome power erogated by the mighty twin. Only 700 in the world, and I was on one. Grin factor: mastodontic
I wouldn't give you a decent account of the ride if I would fail to mention the SOUND (yes, in capital letters) that pervades you to the very core. It starts with a pleasant summing and deep gurgling , a sort of forebode of (naughty) things to come. By opening the throttle a bit more then, a full symphony erupts between your legs, culminating in what sounds like an assault of a thousand tigers. I think that should give a pretty good idea, right?

The only defect (apart from the impossible seating position) is that you get confident very easily, and that could also easily be your very downfall.

Thanks bro for the best birthday present, ever!

How about this perfect place for our pictures?

That's one happy Southtyrolean right there

On this occasion I was bored to stay at home, so I took the good old SR500 out for a spin on our back door mountain. I know, I'm a lucky bastard.

Interlude at a bike shop: a brand new 1982 XJ650 TURBO. And when I say brand new, I mean 0km and never even started! 10.000Euros if you want it.
Also for sale, a nice 1981 Moto Morini 3 1/2 Sport with 26.000km (3.490Euro).

One morning I got an SMS from my brother "real bike trip today?". You know me,...I was ready before he even had a chance to put down the phone. And so it happened that we had the most amazing day riding up and down 3 mountain passes (Tonale, Gavia and the famous Stilfser Joch) and doing over 300km of pure curving pleasure.
For this trip, my weapon of choice was a Moto Guzzi Daytona RS, one of (I think) 390 worldwide.
The Daytona is another of those 'real man' bikes. Known to be plagued by fueling problems, this particular bike was no exemption. While at city altitude there was a noticable 'hole' around 2.500-3.000 rpm, by the time we reached the Stilfser Joch, the hole had expanded to basically the whole rpm range. But don't worry, a new EPROM and mappings are already on the way to solve this problem.

The Tonale Mountain Pass (1.883m)
Passo Tonale with war monument, in memory of those fallen during WW1

The Gavia Mountain Pass (2.652m)

The Daytona RS, coughing its way up

The Stilfser Joch (2.757m)

The majestic Ortler in the background

The way down
At the foot of the mountain there lives an eccentric artist called Lorenz Kuntner who exhibits his creations in his garden and around his house. I just couldn't pass without taking some pictures.

We were pretty knackered the next day, but that's just part of the whole experience. Luckily for us, we caught the last sunny weekend as just 1 week later the first snow fell and covered the Stilfser Joch in 20cm of snow!

Now we're back in our (very flat) corner of Thailand and I already miss my mountains. 

But my wheels never stop turning, so stay with  me for more bike stories coming soon!



ED nyc said...

that looked like an awsm time!! that's so #onmybucketlist

OmegaRacer said...

Yes, definitely worth putting on the bucket list!