Training days: Alpine programs prepare motorcyclists for spectacular European roads

BY Cycle CanadaPosted on

Riding in the Alps presents a number of challenges to the average motorcyclist, but Edelweiss Bike Travel offers a couple of programs to help riders develop the necessary skills for Alpine roads. Edelweiss acknowledges that the area is spectacularly beautiful, but in the same breath (or paragraph, actually) says the Alpine roads can intimidate a motorcyclist who has not experienced them on two wheels before. Switchbacks, hairpins, single-lane roads, and local traffic rules can all pose difficulties for the uninitiated.

Riding Academy Alps is one way to become initiated and have fun while doing it. The program takes place in northern Italy, near the Austrian border, and runs for seven days, with five of them riding days. With a specialist instructor leading a small group of riders, the program starts out slowly, developing low-speed riding skills, and works up to what Edelweiss says are “extremely technical mountain pass roads.” Along with the training, of course, will be the experience of riding Alpine roads, so if you’re not salivating and hearing Pavlov’s bell ringing, you’re not a motorcyclist—but don’t worry about that; a few days with these guys and you will be.

Participants in Edelweiss tours often bring partners (or offspring) with them, and this course will accommodate that. Your better half can goof off in a fine European hotel while you scare yourself and turn yourself into a much better rider, all while having a lot of fun. Edelweiss doesn’t do things halfway, so you can expect to have an experience that you’ll be grinning about for a long, long time.

A One-Day Alps Prep Course is offered before the start of some Edelweiss tours and prepares riders for the excitement of riding, for instance, the Stelvio Pass. The course is held on the arrival day of whatever Alps tour you’re going on and works on skills needed to handle the sharp local roads as well as the local traffic behaviour. “Our riding training can tune your riding skills to our home environment,” Edelweiss promises.

The price for the Riding Academy is a little more than $2,000 U.S., and the one day pre-tour training program is about $600. A lot of money for a little practice on hairpin turns? Maybe, but you get more than that, and you get to do it in the Alps, on some of the finest motorcycling roads in existence. Where do we sign?

Hit www.edelweissbike.com for info, and look for “Riding Academy Alps” or “One-Day Alps Prep Course” under Tour finder.

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