To finish the 2014 motorcycle season, we went on an off-road motorcycle tour. We planned this trip for several months. For the scouting tour, we fitted two BMW F700 GS with Continental TKC-80 tires and skid plates.
The route had to be special. We chose the Ligurian border road between France and Italy. If you do an online search for “Ligurische Grenzkammstrasse” you will find plenty of information to tackle this mountain road. The trail is not too technical. Although, there were a few parts which required a fair amount of determination or as they say in France "a bit of vavavoom". The breathtaking scenery is more than worth it.
The first day, we rode from Cannes to Tende, where we stayed overnight for our 3-day trip. The route via the Col de Turini is amazing. Despite the knobbly tires, the bikes handled fine on-road. Once in Tende, we unloaded, got settled in the hotel, checked our maps over dinner and called it an early night.
After a good breakfast the next day, we packed a lunch and headed to La Brigue where our off-road adventure began. The first climb (rocky switchbacks) was a rude introduction to the day. We felt we were in for a real adventure. Luckily, the track smoothed out over the next miles and we enjoyed some spectacular scenery on the way. Then, we came to an area where there had been a landslide. The road had partially slid into a deep canyon. There was no turning back. So, we rode the track at the edge of the slide to get by the obstruction. At the top of that col we meet two fellow riders, who were familiar with the route. They assured us that we’d just passed the hardest part and the rest would be pure pleasure.
We were grateful to discover that they were right and for the next few hours had some of the most enjoyable riding and sightseeing one can imagine. After enjoying our packed lunches, we pressed on to the Col de Boaire where we gazed off into the distant valley across Italy. Truly amazing! Then we visited a fort near the Col de Tende and headed back to Tende for beers. An exceptional day!
The next morning, we took the off-road loop to the west of Tende. The ride up in the mountains was beautiful. Less technical than the previous day. We then returned to Tende, picked up our luggage and headed back to Cannes. The ride home was an exceptional example of Alpine on-road riding crossing the border from Italy to France via the Col de la Lombarde.
Click here for more pictures on Facebook. The beauty of the landscape is breathtaking. We had so much fun on this trip, that maybe there will be a KTM 500 EXC in our rental motorcycle fleet soon. We'll see. If you need any information on this trip, please do not hesitate to contact us. Keep the shiny side up.
Posted by: Jeff Fielding