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Thread: French Alps by motorcycle

  1. #1
    One left in the chamber Global Moderator TC's Avatar
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    French Alps by motorcycle

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    This June I'll be heading south from Stockholm to the border of Germany and Switzerland and start a journey via the Alps down through France ( Rhone alps) to the Mediterranean coast at San Raphael. ( near Cannes) It totals some 6000km in about 10 days travel, with some of the worlds best MC roads, and scenery beyond belief.

    I plan to keep a day by day journal ( if possible on-line) with photos, and hope to build a data base with different traveled roads broke up in sections with Google earth links. The bike I'm riding is a Honda Transalp 600 V twin, also called the eternal engine due to its legendary reliability over long distance, one guy did a run from Taiwan to Holland via the silk road of China, some 22,000 km without a hitch.
    Last edited by TC; Apr 2nd, 2011 at 1:42 PM.

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    . Global Moderator Fut004's Avatar
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    I have never been this jealous of another person before!

    Looks like you chose a good touring bike for this adventure. I hope the standard position is comfy enough, you're looking at over 8 hours of riding a day. My back and legs usually start to get sore after like 4 or 5 hours.

    Have you had the bike for a long time? How long have you been riding?

  3. #3
    One left in the chamber Global Moderator TC's Avatar
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    Oh boy... hmmm. I had my first motorcycle at 13, and old triumph cub, learned to ride the high desert of California with it. Then went to an AJS 500 single...loooong stroke..lol then probably 10 other machines over the last 40 years, the last was a Norton 800cc, lovely bike.

    I did Sweden to Morocco back in 84 on a 250 Honda, averaged around 900km a day... sometimes a little more. And only had a tent...lol Smelly..

    This time I figure around 500 or 600 a day with a nice warm hotel .....lol makes all the difference in the world. Also the Transalp is a vary comfortable machine for distance, I put a tank bag on it, so you just rest in a slight forward riding position, plus I added a GPS with helmet earphone and throttle lock..... ( you know how your wrist feels after a long ride)

    Anyway, the daily mileage will hang on how I hold up..lol

    *Edit.. here is a real cool link for some of the best rides in the world.

    http://www.bestbikingroads.com/
    Last edited by TC; Mar 31st, 2011 at 12:14 PM.

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    One left in the chamber Global Moderator TC's Avatar
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    I fitted the fuelexhaust system on the transalp, it has no baffle (loud) but equals the dyno back pressure demand of the V twin. Better top end speed, and the plugs are a light brown color, so its not running rich.

    The best thing is it sings at 5000rpm (no more lawnmower sound) I figure it will run a little cooler on the autobahn high speeds.
    Last edited by TC; Aug 21st, 2011 at 5:32 AM.

  5. #5
    One left in the chamber Global Moderator TC's Avatar
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    Moved the start date to the last week in July. I decided to use the ferry link from Stockholm to Gdańsk Poland, it saves about 900km in distance. I'll shoot over to Berlin and then down to Heidelberg, and then on to Geneva. From this point we'll ( two friends from England) start the run to the coast.

    Here's a link of the route, ( in French)

    http://www.grande-traversee-alpes.co...des-alpes.html

    We hope the weather holds...

  6. #6
    Fuq Haters Contributor Nu Kua's Avatar
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    Wow TC I don't know exactly what it is, but when I clicked on that pic for a close-up, it kind of made my heart soar.

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    . Global Moderator Fut004's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TC View Post
    Here's a link of the route, ( in French)
    http://www.grande-traversee-alpes.co...des-alpes.html
    Don't take this the wrong way, but that route totally gave me a hard-on.
    Couldn't be more jealous of you right now, TC.

  8. #8
    One left in the chamber Global Moderator TC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nu Kua View Post
    Wow TC I don't know exactly what it is, but when I clicked on that pic for a close-up, it kind of made my heart soar.
    I've been down there every year for almost 20 years ...and it still moves me like the first time. It heals the soul, honest.

  9. #9
    One left in the chamber Global Moderator TC's Avatar
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    Ok most of the stuff is mounted, luggage box, new chain, 12V plug and the mount for the GPS. A must when doing Poland to the German border...lol as the roads suck.

    I plan to skirt Switzerland along the French border, ( Jura region) as they just passed a dumb law forbidding the use of POI ( position of interest) with speed cameras... A 300 Euro fine and confiscation of your GPS, if caught) This was a vital tool to avoid getting nabbed, but its legal elsewhere in Europe. Right now I'm waiting for a window with the weather fronts across the Baltic states, its been raining all week...lol

    I'll keep a day by day journal on this thread starting the 28th of July. ( via the Net) when WIFI is available. ( ya gotta love McDonald's and the free on line use)

    Cheers. Russ

  10. #10
    One left in the chamber Global Moderator TC's Avatar
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    Day 1

    Did the boat trip to Gdansk...18 hours of bordom.... hit the polish roadway at 1PM and the rain was pissing down all the way to berlin late last night.

    This morning I´ll make my way south to Heidelberg, around 600km, with hopes of better weather...lol

    I´m on a borrowed laptop, so I´ll post some pics later.

  11. #11
    One left in the chamber Global Moderator TC's Avatar
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    Day 2.

    Made Heidelberg at dusk, the rain stopped around Leipzig, and clear skies the rest of the day. Tomorrow I'll push on into the French alps at Geneva. Then some good pictures....

    The bikes running good, although the chain needs a lot of oil due to the Autobahn speeds, and man do the bugs slam you at 95...lol

  12. #12
    Huh? Rabid1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TC View Post
    Day 2.

    Made Heidelberg at dusk, the rain stopped around Leipzig, and clear skies the rest of the day. Tomorrow I'll push on into the French alps at Geneva. Then some good pictures....

    The bikes running good, although the chain needs a lot of oil due to the Autobahn speeds, and man do the bugs slam you at 95...lol
    You see this is something I think most Europeans take for granted. In the Us we have two choices for visiting neighboring countries and both are just different levels of our own until you cross into South America. The cultural diversity and dramatic landscape changes in Europe are just mind boggling.

    When I have talked to online acquaintances who just blah talk a trip through Germany or Spain like someone in Montana may talk about a trip to Idaho, it kills me.

    Glad to see you out there soaking it up TC!
    Mr. T made his van go twice the speed of light because he wanted to prove that quantum physics was a bunch of jibba jabba.

  13. #13
    One left in the chamber Global Moderator TC's Avatar
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    Whooa! just made Geneva. Beautiful weather all the way from Heidelberg. I'm gonna grab some food ( God knows what) and have a shower....road dirt...lol Tomorrow I start the route Napoleon over the pass via Annecy to Grenoble and down into Provence. I'll take lots of shots.

    Looks for bottle of scotch...yippy.

  14. #14
    One left in the chamber Global Moderator TC's Avatar
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    Day 4 Rhone Alps

    Here´s some shots of the upper part of the "Route Napoleon" from this morning. Beautiful isn't enough to describe it.... stopped at a little cafe and just sat for an hour taking it all in...incredible.

    This road got its name from when Napoleon To avoid the Rhone valley and getting caught, he decided to head north and cross the Alps between Digne and Sisteron to get to Grenoble. From Cannes, Napoleon and 1200 men went up to Grasse and then followed small trails and mule tracks all the way to Grenoble to over-throw King Louis 18th

    Its probably one of the most beautiful roads to drive in Europe. Ending at the beach at Cannes.

    Click on the images for a larger view.

  15. #15
    One left in the chamber Global Moderator TC's Avatar
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    Day 7.

    Well its 36c outside...(96f)...I'm little worried the engine oil is too light, gear changing is becoming tough. I'm now in Saint Raphael France on the Riviera coast. Seems strange to have gone from the 62 latitude to 44, like being in another world with the cactus and palm trees..lol

    Anyway here's a few shots from two villages that where crusader strongholds a thousand years ago. Sisteron and Castellone Beautiful stuff.

    Tomorrow I'll head west to the Roman ruins at Frejus, the site where Cesar took on the Gauls in his first attempt to take France.

    Click image for better view..

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    One left in the chamber Global Moderator TC's Avatar
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    Day 8.

    Pushed up from the coast at Cannes, drove through the pass at Valance ( south of Lyon) to Pont-en-Royans. and beautiful ancient town at the mouth of a huge gorge, it was famous for having feuded with the large land barons who refused to pay for the water rights. The town is literally built into the cliff wall.

    I'll be heading through Grenoble again on the way back to Germany, and eventually Poland.

    Here's a few photos of Pont -en-Royans.



    click on the image for better view.

  17. #17
    One left in the chamber Global Moderator TC's Avatar
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    Ok here's the link to the nose camera I mounted on on the bike...its the D531 road between Pont-en-Royans and Grenoble....fantastic road.

    You'll need an AVI video player to watch this without skips and jumps.

    AND...shut off the audio...its just engine noise..lol

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogK5I...ature=youtu.be
    Last edited by TC; Aug 9th, 2011 at 2:43 AM.

  18. #18
    . Global Moderator Fut004's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TC View Post
    Ok here's the link to the nose camera I mounted on on the bike...its the D531 road between Pont-en-Royans and Grenoble....fantastic road.
    That road looks like an amazing ride, TC! It's a bit hard to tell from the video, but some of the corners look pretty tight as well. Were you doing a lot of jumping from 2 to 5 on this stretch?

    You've now given me a new dream to accomplish, take my bike over to Europe for a trip. This all looks like it'd be an amazing vacation.

    Quote Originally Posted by TC View Post
    AND...shut off the audio...its just engine noise..lol
    Engine noise is half the fun. Well, at least for a little while, after a couple hours of engine/wind noise it starts to get a bit unbearable. Do you wear headphones or ear plugs at all? I usually listen to music on longer rides.

    Quote Originally Posted by TC View Post
    The bikes running good, although the chain needs a lot of oil due to the Autobahn speeds, and man do the bugs slam you at 95...lol
    I'm the worst at keeping my chain lubed, I only seem to ever think about it at the wrong times - like when I can hear my chain while speeding down a highway.
    What kind of lube do you use?

    And I can only imagine how much it'd hurt to get hit by a bug at those speeds! Hell, at normal speeds it sometimes feels like getting hit by rocks.


    Quote Originally Posted by TC View Post
    Here´s some shots of the upper part of the "Route Napoleon" from this morning. Beautiful isn't enough to describe it.... stopped at a little cafe and just sat for an hour taking it all in...incredible.
    It's absolutely gorgeous! Having scenery like that to look at is going to be a great little bonus to convincing my GF to take a trip like this.
    Seeing those sights through a helmet definitely sounds like the best way to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by TC View Post
    Well its 36c outside...(96f)...I'm little worried the engine oil is too light, gear changing is becoming tough. I'm now in Saint Raphael France on the Riviera coast. Seems strange to have gone from the 62 latitude to 44, like being in another world with the cactus and palm trees..lol
    Did you have to play around with the fuel/air mixtures for the changes in altitude at all? Won't the bike be running a bit lean at the highest places? Or it is so quick that it doesn't really make much difference.

    What kind of oil are you running for the trip?

    Anyhow, keep with the updates, Buddy. This looks like a blast!

  19. #19
    One left in the chamber Global Moderator TC's Avatar
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    OK here's the video from the road to Castellane ( also part of the route Napoleon ) its near the Gorge Verdon ( the French grand Canyon)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LV65VUvmOgs&

    Fut.
    This section had turns that dropped you to first gear...I tried it faster but scraped the faring...

    As for the noise..I like to hear the engine...it tells me everything... as for music, I was worried about the chain adjustment, so I shut down the MP3 so I could hear any problems.. at present I'm using Chain Spray and its super sticky...doesn't throw off.

    The altitude didn't seem to effect engine performance, but small town traffic made it run warm...but never boiled.

    If your thinking of doing France, you might consider flying over, and renting... much easier.

    Cheers: Russ

  20. #20
    One left in the chamber Global Moderator TC's Avatar
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    The road to Arles.

    This was a hot stretch... by 7am it was already 33C..so I jumped on the toll motorway to beat the heat. Its around 200km from Frejus to the swing north towards Orange France ( click the map)

    From Arles, I'll take the cut off at Pont-St-Esprit and entire the Gorge Ardeche....fantastic ride.

    I'l continue this route through the Canyon, then swing north towards Valance. Its now 36C outside....

  21. #21
    One left in the chamber Global Moderator TC's Avatar
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    This the Gorge Ardeche which lays on the west side of the Rhone river ( going south) its utterly fantastic... you can see the route in the pre. post.

  22. #22
    Survivalist! Reef Badlaw's Avatar
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    Great memory-making trip, TC. -Been awaiting more snippets. Don't mysteriously disappear.
    " Take Badlaw's body out to the gold-mine 'n toss it down a shaft. "

  23. #23
    One left in the chamber Global Moderator TC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reef Badlaw View Post
    Great memory-making trip, TC. -Been awaiting more snippets. Don't mysteriously disappear.
    Sorry for the gap here. I arrived home safely, but sadly my fiancé lost her mother the same day I got home. Needless to say this put everything on hold.

    Regards: Russ

  24. #24
    Lucky survivor Seasoned Member
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    Great trip and narration. Thanks. I have been on motorcycles for 42 years now. The AJS and Triumphs are before my time. I started with a Yamaha 125 AT1, remember those? My dream ride would be up the Continental Divide in the US. Damn, I could talk about m/c's for days! I don't have a tourer at the moment, but I do have a KTM 250EXCF and a couple of early 70's 2 stroke Suzuki's. Again, thanks for taking us on your trip! Robert

  25. #25
    One left in the chamber Global Moderator TC's Avatar
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    Sadly it seems the pics from this thread have been gotten the ax. But I have this vid I shot on the road to Castellane a little north from Saint Raphael near the Gorge Verdon.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LV65VUvmOgs

    I bumped this looking the photos.... nice memories.

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