Dolomites & Alps 2018
Quite a crowd for this tour as the Dolomite's and Alps are always a popular destination
The tour started with a Hull to Zeebrugge crossing, whilst others followed us the following day via the Eurotunnel.
Passing around Brussels we made our way to Saarbrucken on the French/German border. The traffic was terrible around Brussels due to the roadworks, fortunately most of the jams were the other way.
Leaving Germany we headed for the Black Forest with intentions of crossing the Rhine on the D2, unfortunately the Germans had other ideas and the crossing was blocked – hence we spent 30 minutes going around in circles until finally giving up and crossing via Strasbourg. The B31 was its normal choked self and we were glad to finally reach our destination on the Austrian border.
The next day was reward for all our efforts and started with a lovely ride over the Silvretta pass. The sun was shining, the skies were blue and everything was well with the world. Our great weather continued over the Timmelsjoch and into Italy for our two nights in the Dolomites.
Now it does not matter how careful you are planning things you cannot allow for everything, and so I was not pleased to hear that the mother of all cycle races were taking places in the Dolomites meaning the roads were closed. Thankfully no one was deterred and headed off to their chosen destinations, that is one advantage of the area you have plenty of choice. Some took the cable car up the mountain, others went to Lake Garda and I took a small group on some of the passes I had never ridden. This turned out to be a great day and is often the way we find new routes.
On leaving we rode over the Mendal pass and through beautiful apple orchards to our next overnight stop in duty free state of Livigno. There were several options as to which way we went, most including myself opted for the Gavia Pass. I must admit I had forgotten just how tight it was and was glad to reach the top and through the low cloud into the sunshine.
On leaving Livigno we had a day of passes as we entered Switzerland and then onto Chamonix Mont Blanc. I tried to avoid paying the extortionate yearly Vignette charge (why can’t they do a week one like other countries) by staying off the motorways, but was finally beaten by the congestion and 30C temperatures and resorted to riding the motorway.
Two nights at Chamonix, this was just as well as we had a few incidents along the way. One was that one of our lady riders slid on water around a bend in a poorly lit tunnel, resulting in her hitting the wall. Although she was airlifted to hospital as a precaution, she was just badly bruised and jumped on the back of her husband’s bike to join us next day.
We also had one of the riders get caught in Switzerland for speeding. They made him transport his bike to the Italian border where he stayed the night before riding around Switzerland to join us the next day. I believe he will have to pay a rather excessive 4 figure fine – I guess a lesson to us all.
Due to the beautiful weather the majority of people whilst in Chamonix headed for the mountains and the Aiguille du Midi in particular. I always encourage people to do it if the weather is good, as sometimes you cannot even see the mountain. The hotel there was brilliant as usual and they always make us feel so welcome. We dined outside both nights, always a treat.
The following day we passed through Geneve over rather damp Jura Mountains to a final night in the Champagne region.
Another great tour, with brilliant weather, looks like this is going to be a good summer.