Road trip to Austrian Alps

Discussion in 'Road Trips/Touring' started by cedarbrook63, Jul 6, 2011.

  1. cedarbrook63

    cedarbrook63 Junior Member

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    I've had my Sportster for 2.5 years now and have enjoyed riding it very much. It's a great bike for the twisties as I'm sure many of you will agree. I've made a few mods to it along the way - Stage 1 with SEII pipes and TFi, upgrade to 1200cc and I've added most of the requirements to make it a reasonably good bike to do some touring with - panniers, screen, detachable luggage for the rack and I've brought the bars up and back a bit too.

    There are some spectacular roads in a part of Austria I know fairly well -Salzbergerland - and seeing a YouTube clip about the Grossglocknerstrasse sealed the deal for me and made the decision that I was going down.

    My pal has an old Vulcan and we set off from south of London early Friday morning week before last. We took the train under the English Channel to Calais and then hit the road south east. We travelled though Normandy into southern Belgium and down through the Ardennes into Luxembourg. From there we entered Germany via the Saarland through some beautiful national parkland and then onto the autobahn - the A8 - bypassing Karlsruhe and finishing up for the first night in Stuttgart. We covered 530 miles that first day. The next day, Saturday, we finished our journey via Munich and the Deutsche Eck into Austria and finishing up at our destination in the beautiful Alpine town of Zell-am-See. That place is a great centre for basing a motorbike holiday with access to hundeds of miles of twisty Alpine roads - all of which are maintained beautifully.

    On Sunday we took the road up to Dienten and Maria-Alm but the weather up in the mountains was really bad and coming down the steep hills, I found the front end was slipping on the tight corners so we baled and went in the direction of dry weather. We took the road up to the base of the ski lifts which go up to the Kitzsteinhorn Glacier. There's a memorial building there to the 170 people who died in a fire in the funicular train tunnel in the disaster of 2000. You can't walk out of that memorial without a lump in your throat.

    On Moonday we went up the Grossglocknerstrasse (Grossglockner High Alpine Road) on a glorious sunny day - mile after mile of hairpin bends up into the snowline and finishing at a glacier. It's a bit of Biker Heaven as can be seen from the hundreds of bikes winding their way up and down the mountain road. When we got back from that ride, we decided to get the monkey off our backs from the bad weather the previous day so we took the road up to Dienten again to do it in nice conditions.

    On Tuesday we stuck west to see the Krimml waterfalls - another beautiful run. We left Zell am See on the Wednesday riding northwest through Germany and spending the night in Karlsruhe - we planned our journey to try and dodge some bad weather thunder and lightning storms and for the most part we managed. On Thursday we rode through Luxembourg, Belgium and into France to overnight in Lille before striking for the Channel Tunnel on Friday morning. I was back home cleaning the bike (and did it need it or what!) not long after lunchtime on Friday.

    All in all we did just over 2,300 miles in the week. I was happy with how the Sportster handled the road in terms of handling and speed (on the autobahns where there is no speed limit, we were motoring along around 80-85mph without any grumbles). On the mountain twisties, the Sporty was the business with great low speed torque for getting around turnpike bends on hills and with good ground clearance for leaning well into the bends. With all the luggage on, even at higher speeds, there wasn't a single wobble or weave. The only thing that let it down as a ride was the small tank and having to stop so often. You experienced HD types will not be in the slightest bit surprised by this but there you go. If I'm mad enough to take a trip like that in a week on a Sportster then stops every 70-110 miles have to be expected. Next time I do a tour to the continent, it'll be on a bike with more like 200 miles in the full tank than 120. But the Sporty was still great fun :D

    More photos to come.
     

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  2. glider

    glider Veteran Member

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    Sounds like you had a ball. Great pics too, if you have any more post them up.

    Thanks
     
  3. cedarbrook63

    cedarbrook63 Junior Member

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    Dienten - very picturesque Alpine village
    Kitzsteinhorn memorial and lift base - the lift funicular was never re-opened following the disaster.
     

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  4. fin_676

    fin_676 Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

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    Great write up sounds like a great trip
    Larger tanks are available for your sportster a modification worth doing i get around 160 miles from mine perhaps a wee bit more on a long run

    Brian
     
  5. cedarbrook63

    cedarbrook63 Junior Member

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    What the Grossglocknerstrasse looks like on a Satnav.
    Zell am See - a very pretty town with a medieval town centre.
    The See or Lake which Zell sits on - freezes over in the winter and used for sailing, swimming etc in summer.
    The Krimml waterfalls.
     

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  6. cedarbrook63

    cedarbrook63 Junior Member

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    The Channel Tunnel train - faster and easier than a ferry and no seasickness for those who suffer on the sea.

    Back at last and ready for a good wash - the bike too :D
     

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  7. oldhippie

    oldhippie Senior Member

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    Great pics. Thanks for posting and glad you had a great trip.
     
  8. cedarbrook63

    cedarbrook63 Junior Member

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    Don't know if any of our members have ridden on the German autobahns - apart from our moderator Brian. Many of them have no speed limits and boy do they come up tight against your rear fender at high speed when you're out in the fast lane overtaking. I've never seen aggressive driving like it :swoon.

    We knew we were going to be away for just a week and wanted as much time at our destination in Austria as possible so we went for the fast way there and back. Avoiding high speed motorways has to be the more relaxed way to do it.
     
  9. fin_676

    fin_676 Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

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    You will get cars sit on your tail and flash their lights at you to tell you to get out of their way
    there are some places where there are speed restrictions and some that only apply when it is wet
    minimum speed limit is 80 kph

    Brian
     
  10. gunnut

    gunnut Junior Member

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    Nice trip you had,thanks for posting it.I'm planning a road trip next year,to catch Hamburg Harley Days,then down to Holzminden,in the weserbergland where I used to live to revisit all my friends.From there I'm planning to go on a few day trips in and around the Hartz mountains then on to Dresden for a visit to the Sachescher alps,then up to Berlin,and back here via a friend of mine in Belgium.You're welcome to join me,and whoever else may decide to come.I'll be haveing a great time anyways,as you can imagine.BTW the bundestrassen are supherb roads,and with the bonus you'll see much more of Germany,and enjoy the ride a lot more(no tailgateing motorway drivers).Camping will be the name of the game,the camping oppertunitys and grounds are far superior to the excuses for same there are here in england.This is an open invite,and the kick off will be at Calais,or maybe (MORE THAN LIKELY)the over nite ferry from Harwch to Hook of Holland,because dover and Harwich are both a 6 hour ride from Plymouth,and the ferry will give us a nice fresh start for the road trip.