Coming from NZ it’s hard to envisage that you could do this with ease, but Europe is altogether different and when you set yourself the goal of riding as many mountain roads as the snow conditions will allow, you inevitably are criss-crossing over Passes that form the borders between countries. So for us to go Chamonix (France) – Aosta (Italy) – Zermatt (Switzerland) – Schaan (Liechtenstein) – Garmisch (Germany) – Innsbruck (Austria) was as natural as riding Wanaka-Haast- Hokitika- Arthurs Pass- Springs Junction. At just over 1,000kms the distance isn’t great either and the scenery of these Alps is every bit as stunning as .what our Southern Alps offer, the mountain roads much more spectacular, challenging – particularly the balcony roads that have you feeling as you’re literally clinging to the side of cliffs, and then coming down on 17 degree plus sloped roads, keeps you focussed.
Indeed it’s a bit like getting up and watching a scenic movie everyday, the only difference being that if you lose concentration you don’t just miss a bit, you die. This we were to see on one of the tight Pass roads where a motorcycle and car had a head on – with a cliff on one side and a stone wall on the other there was not even the choice for the bike to go over the side. Seeing the aftermath of that helped us stay awake for the rest of that day.