Europe 2014

The Party:- Region 1, IPA (UK Section), Scottish Motorcycle Touring Group


Well this will be an unusual one as things did not go quite to plan.  I received a call from BMW on 5th June to say I must not ride another mile as the bike was subject to an immediate recall because of a potentially dangerous fault in the rear suspension.  To cut a long story short (not like me) my bike, which was working perfectly well, was taken away from my hotel in Panchia during the morning of 6th June and by tea time I had been delivered a brand new R1200GS Adventure as a replacement.  Latterly the only draw back was this bike had to be left in Metz on instructions of BMW, leaving me to use planes trains and automobiles (and a Tram) to get home.  Consequenlty my trip missed out a few anticipated highlights and was shortened by a couple of days... however a good reason to head back to catch up on the bits I missed in June 2014.

Saturday 31st May 2014

Left Cupar mid morning to head Edinburgh to meet up with a couple of team members before heading to the Newcastle Ferry to meet the rest of the team then boarding for the overnight crossing to Ijmuiden, Holland.

{short description of image} DFDS Seaways


  179 miles to ferry

The "Italian Job 2014" was organised by a small team from the IPA Region 1, Scottish Motorcycle Touring, with a view to taking in an Annual IPA Italian Rally in Predazzo in the Dolomites.  The plan was basically for the "team" to assemble at the DFDS ferrry port in Newcastle then set sail for Ijmuiden...

Sunday 1st June

Ferry terminal Ijmuiden, meet with Dutch IPA team and head for breakfast before setting off for Bad Lauterberg in Harz Mountains, Germany. 3-night stay at...

{short description of image} Pension Roseneck

  338 daily mileage

Note: UK Fuel far cheaper than Dutch prices so fill to the brim in Newcastle and aim for Germany as the next fill.

Normally this ferry has a respectable percentage of bikes, however our crossing appeared to be timed with many returning home to mainland Europe from their time on the Isle of Mann watching the racing... a tad busy off loading.  However our IPA Netherlands friends were waiting at the dockside and we were ushered aside then after introductions, shepherded / escorted through the streets to a motorway services on our route east.  Combined UK / Netherlands breakfast was enjoyed by all before we continued east towards Germany with a couple of IPA Netherlands members pointing us in the right direcrtion at each junction until there was no where we could have gone other than Germany.  This effectively gace us a delayed start in to Europe, but the idea was to meet IPA members and the path finding from the dockside was much appreciated and allowed a more relaxed time and kept our Groups together.

Monday 2nd June

Bad Lauterberg in Harz Mountains, Germany.  Tour about.


  144 daily mileage

I have stayed at Gregory's place in Bad Lauterberg and had been on one of his wee trips around the Harz before so I knew what to expect.  Lovely part of the world and some cracking biking roads, which Gregory knows extremely well.  Perhaps a tad on the progressive side and light on the cultural side compared with what most had expected, however our second day was free and allowed some personal exploration of the history of the area - see my FB photos for more detail (link at the bottom of this page)

Tuesday 3rd June

Bad Lauterberg in Harz Mountains, Germany. Tour about.


   83 daily mileage


Wednesday 4th June

Leave Bad Lauterberg in Harz Mountains, Germany for Bruckmuhl (just S.E. of Munich)


  351 daily mileage

One of the challenges with trying to see quite a bit of the county is sometimes the only really effective method of eating the miles in the time available is to use the motorway / autobahn / autostrada / autoroute... or as one of my ex-colleagues would put it when we were Motorway duty... the Superslab.  So it was, like our trip from Ijmuiden to Bad Lauterberg, out trip from Bad Lauterberg to Bruckmuhl to the S.E. of Munich would be 95% Autobahn.

Thursday 5th June

Leave Bruckmuhl for Italy - Dolomites, via Zell am See, Grossglockner and 3 Dolomite passes before reaching Panchià.


  254 daily mileage

We left Bruckmuhl after fuel and breakfast at a service station then managed to avoid the main roads for much of the remainder of Germany before we crossed the Border into Austria.  First stop was the petrol station for our Vignette... we might have managed to avoid the Austrian motorway but a) its not worth the fine & b) the Vignette makes a fine souvenir sticker for the bike.  We nipped down by Zell am See then onto the Grossglockner High Alpine Road (Toll) and up into the snow fields.  Once at the Glacier itself I received the dreaded phone call advising me I must not ride my bike as it was subject to an Immediate BMW recall.  The bike had been performing faultlessly up to this point and the weather had taken a downward turn with snow blowing through and temperatures falling.  Knowing full well I have a 4 day stay at a cracking hotel in Panchia, where there would be internet and phone, I decided (at my own risk) to set aside the BMW advice / instruction and continue with the route to Panchia over some cracking Dolomites Passes, leaving the phone calls to BMW Emergency assist to the following morning once I could take stock of the situation I was in.

Friday 6th June

IPA Italy weekend - Panchià

{short description of image} Albergo Panorama

Grounded whilst RT recovered by BMW and GS Adv delivered


  0 daily mileage

To cut a long story short... Joe Philipz at Motorrad Central Scotland (Dalkeith) worked a few miracles and combined with my calls to BMW I ended up with the Italian recovery folk (good guys) carefully loading my bike and taking it away mid morning and the local Italian BMW dealership delivering a brand new R1200GS Adventure to my hotel for my use.

Saturday 7th June

IPA Italy weekend - Panchià

Wee run through the Stelvio as missed the organised IPA tours on 6th & 7th


  234 daily mileage

I missed the Friday Rideout with the Italian police as I was bikeless and by the time I had things sorted out on the Saturday the day's official rideoout had left.  However a coupe of our Group who had been on the official rideout the previous day, wanted to explore on their own and ride the famous Stelvio.  I had ridden the Stelvio before but this would give me a chance to ride it in the other direction, so I joined Dougz and his son on their bikes and the three of us had a great day out, marred only by miles and miles of filtering and an enforced stoppage at the head of the traffic queue as the road was blocked by a serious "accident."  However the enforced stop was right beside a wee cafe and a quick survey of the scene led us to believe we could nip into a vineyard and cut across a few tracks to rejoin the proper road a few hundred metres on the other side of the emergency services vehicles.  The benefits of "3" mobile network's agreement with Austria and Italy meaning I had Apple maps with satellite images to help us plan this wee diversion.

A great time at the gathering in Panchia where Kilts were worn by the team and Iain (super accordionist, well worth securing his services for any function you might be organising - Cairnhill Ceilidh Band) borrowed an accordion, so really the Scots stole the show in many respects.

Sunday 8th June

Leave IPA weekend - Panchià for Lake Como.


  171 daily mileage

Another transit day with Autostrada and tolls for the most part, though some cracking wee roads at the start of the day and to end the day.  It has to be said, even with a wicking T-shirt and all the vents open, the BMW Streetguard Suit could not keep me cool in the 34 deg C.  Fine (almost) when riding at road speeds, but far too hot without the airflow when filtering or stuck in traffic... on the Autostrada!  However, a cracking wee family run Albergo for the evening where the family came up trumphs and set out a cracking wholesome meal at a very modest cost.

Monday 9th June

Leave Lake Como, Italy, for Annecy, France, via Mont Blanc tunnel.


  245 daily mileage

Yep, you guessed it... another transit day with more traffic, more autostrada and more tolls.  However we did take in the Mont Blanc Tunnel to leave Italy and enter France.

Tuesday 10th June

Annecy, France.  Wandering about lazy day in the heat... just before the Monsoon!


  5 daily mileage

Wednesday 11th June

Annecy for Luxeuil-les- Bains area....
Nice tour around the backroads generally avoiding all main roads and traffic.


  195 daily mileage

Thursday 12th June

Leave Luxeuil-les- Bains area for Metz....
Another back roads day with riding at a modest pace to see the sights and ensure we did not arrive ahead of the time the hotel were expecting us.


  70 daily mileage

Friday 13th June

Metz... should have been tour to WWI & WWII sites but day organising alternative transport home


  0 daily mileage

A pity but the Italians wanted their new BMW back and were a tad upset at the thought of their bike ending up in Scotland... I thought it would be a fine return load for the folk taking my bike from Italy to Edinburgh, BMW did not agree, consequently Friday's planned tour of the defenses was one I had to sit out and spend the day on the phone and internet making plans to get home on the Saturday.

Saturday 14th June

Leave Metz by hire car to Paris Charles De Gaulle airport.  Fly to Edinburgh, Tram to Haymarket, Train to Cupar, lift home from a good friend... far more tiring and stressfull day than any of the biking days.


  0 daily mileage (motorcycle)


The above photos only illustrate parts of the trip.  For more of the trip photos, have a look at my FaceBook photo album. The links in the text lead to Google Maps etc., and you may need to zoom in/out to get your bearings if you do not know the area.  Our routes had the odd extra miles and U-turns thrown in depending on who was leading and how slavishly they followed their GPS in preference to the direction signs... which are actually very good.

Toll Costs etc (per motorcycle):-

Austrian Motorway Vignette - €4.50
Grossglockner - €24
Mont Blac tunnel - €28.50
Italian Autostrada tolls - varied according to length.

Fuel Use 

Decided not no bore folk with the usual breakdown.  Suffice it to say my R1200RT gave an average of 60 mpg over the 1,350 miles it covered on this trip before it was repatriated.  The R1200GS Adv also gave a good fuel return over the 900 miles I rode it, but slightly poorer than the RT.


I should state that other as a paying guest I have no connection with any of the accommodation I used on this trip, however I am happy to reply to any e-mail inquiries one might have about the routes, accommodation, tours etc.

{short description of image}The next trip: Austria 2015

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