ConnectingRides… what’s that supposed to mean?

If you know me from BMW Motorrad, you might have expected “ConnectedRide”… digital stuff for motorcycle tours, navigation and mainly app features I’ve been working on for many years.

Looking back to my free time activities over last more or less 15 years, it was largely connecting one motorcycle tour with already planning the next, connecting with friends I haven’t seen for a while during these rides and connecting with other people in that special way a road trip makes possible, especially when on a motorcycle.

And whenever my friends and me reflect about past rides, unique uniting memories turn up. Riding motorcycles together is in itself a connecting experience. I’d like to share that with a summary 2007 to 2013 and 2014 to 2022. If you are riding yourself and you are interested in route details, gpx files, etc. just reach out to me.

This page is to keep friends and family updated and whoever might be interested. And yes, I know, I am soo far behind in keeping the blog up-to-date. But I am inspired by President Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger in the Simpsons movie (“I was elected to lead, not to read”) – so I am here to ride, not to write 😆 Hey, but at least the live tracking is up-to-date…

Live tracking 2024

Powered by www.greenalp.com with corresponding Android app Real-Time GPS Tracker 2.


Latest Posts

2023 stuff from Ireland, France and the Transitalia Marathon will follow soon… I think… But a map says more than a thousands words anyway 🙂

Those were the 2023 days… Tracking in Tuscany partially interrupted to comply with Transitalia Marathon regulations.
Click map for details.


Scotland: Kingussie→ Girvan

313 km

August 16, 2023


Scone Island

Almost unspectacular trip South to Woodland Bay near Girvan for some days at the beach before heading to Ireland. Became somewhat spectacular when a giant scone appeared on the horizon. Turned out to be Ailsa Craig, an island also known as Fairy Rock. That’s at least something if I can’t get a giant scone.

Girvan Beach and Woodland Bay offered prime spots to watch the sunset. Decided (not a very difficult decision) to honour a friend’s tradition of riding the motorcycle to the beach having a wee whisky sunset (invented in Wales, but also works adequately on the Western shore of Scotland, empirically validated).


Scotland: Tain→ NC500 → Kingussie

632 km

August 14-15, 2023


The North (of Scotland, this time)

Very happy to have spent time talking to Dennis, the owner of Shandwick House B & B (highly recommended!). On the one hand because I got to play with his adorable Dalmatians. One the other hand because Dennis convinced me that the famous scenic road North Coast 500 is nice but very crowded especially in the West whereas the inland roads near Shin Forest and Loch Naver are beautiful and empty even in high season. Went there, marvellous.

Luckily I remembered that driving on the left means I should make the trip along the remaining coastal road to Dunnet Head (Scotland’s most Northern mainland location) and John O’Groats in clockwise direction for better views. At the end of a small gravel track I stumbled across a very remarkable pier that could be part of the “Scotland’s most instagrammable locations” collection with rocks and sea and green and everything. Still a hidden gem however, happy me.


Scotland: Glasgow → Ellon → Tain

638 km

August 11-13, 2023


Magic

I have been to Stirling several times and the Wallace Monument never fails to fascinate me when it pops up on the horizon. Pretty sure J.R.R. Tolkien had that thing in mind when describing Sauron’s Barad-dûr tower.

Another piece of magic: Small twisty roads through the Scottish Highlands even look lovely when it’s raining.

And in Ellon I found something that looked like magic as there are usually not too many shiny blue two meter tall bunnies in broad daylight.

As I witnessed the phenomenon even before hitting the BrewDog brewery later that afternoon, I was delighted to find out it was part of a charity organisation’s raising awareness to things presumably associated with colourful extra large hare.

Higher-order magic is wielded at BrewDog. Started by 2 people (+1 dog) in 2007 with 1.000 hl beer to more than 1.800 people and a million hl beer in 2023 is massive.

Not a sign of magic but of natural human stupidity was Culloden Battlefield. Hmph.


Scotland: Kintyre → Inveraray → New Lanark → Glasgow

386 km

August 08-10, 2023


Glimpses of Utopia

Unexpected things… While nice scenery, lakes, more lakes and lakeside lakes were in the realm of the common things, the village New Lanark really was a trip back into that part of the 19th century where knowledge started to arise that human beings could also be treated as such even in a cotton mill. While the improvement in living conditions in the beginning was more in the range from completely and utterly unacceptable to just unacceptable, the visionary mind of Robert Owen gradually established social and welfare programs while keeping the business successful. Quite impressive.

Also very impressive at least from my current point of view are the works of Charles Rennie Mackintosh in Glasgow. I still remember my first time in Scotland about 20 years ago and I couldn’t care less at that time… Had other things in mind than architecture and design. An interesting fact about his “House for an Art Lover” is that it was not built before 1989, yet strictly according to original plans. Although deemed to be strongly superior to other contributions in a competition set by a design magazine, he was disqualified for being late with some final stuff. I fully sympathize with Mackintosh here… Luckily, the idea was revived later on.


Scotland: Islay → Campbeltown
Scotland: Barley → malt → wort → wash → low wines → spirits → cask

120 km (+60 km ferry)

August 06-07, 2023


All about Whisky in one place

If you went to Scotland and only had time to visit one distillery you should go to Springbank in Campbeltown. It is like stepping into another world.

Springbank is an independent, family-owned distillery producing three single malts (Springbank, Longrow, Hazelburn) and the only distillery in Scotland with the whole whisky making process on-site including bottling and reassembling casks.

This is not merely a theoretical opportunity to see more, the Springbank people are strongly committed to show you everything. Sometimes you have to wait with the tour until you can enter an area safely.
Feels much more real😀
Additionally, they have a very low degree of automation. No computers in production and so many manual processing steps that they employ even more people than much larger distilleries.

Malting: Watered barley is spread out for 6-7 days on malting floor to germinate. Resulting malt is then dried in a kiln over a fire in hot air (but <70°C) and various degrees of peat (ideally: a lot).

Mashing: Dried malt goes to the mill and then to the mash tun with hot water (65-95°C). The resulting peated porridge is called “wort”.

Fermentation: Wort is cooled to 20°C and pumped into the washbacks. Yeast is added delivering a “wash” with about 6-8% alcohol.

Destillation: Wash is distilled first in the wash still, separating alcohol from water, yeast and residue. Delivers “low wines” with about 20% alcohol. Low wines go to the spirit still, where the first (foreshot) and final runnings (feints) are channeled off for reuse while the heart of the run with about 68% alcohol are collected in the spirit receiver.

Filling the casks: Spirit is reduced to maturing strength 63% alcohol before being filled in to the casks.

And then: Waiting


Scotland: Islay

189 km

August 03-05, 2023


Dreich, but great fun. And so many legends.

Brace yourselfes, it’s going to be a veeery long post with funny words.
Despite photos below showing blue skies, the headline of “The Ileach” summarizes our Islay stay almost perfectly: Dreich (dreary), but great fun.

With the Islay Hotel in Port Ellen we found a well located home base with a surprisingly ambitious cuisine and good internet and landline connections (important for our luggage hunt, see below…)
We made lots of walks on the island, e.g. to An Oa (the Oa peninsula) or to the Rhinss of Islay.

There are lots of cliff shorelines, some sandy beaches, bog, moorland, dune grassland, maritime grassland, and marsh. With rain and wind. Maybe not the most welcoming environment, but spectatular nevertheless.

The most important landscape aspect however: Black gold (peat)… And luckily fresh golden gold, barley, is also cultivated again. But it’s so difficult to grow and process that most barley is Scottish. Here, I provide some landscape photos to break the inevitable following monoculture of distillery pics.

BRUICHLADDICH. One of my absolute favorites. Not only because of the whisky. It’s the distillery, its story and the people.

First thing that strikes you in any contact with Bruichladdich is the magnificent branding with the distinctive turquoise color scheme introduced when reopening in the early 2000s, officially called “BRUICHLADDICH AQUA”. Legend has it that the ocean near shore had exactly that same color when the later owners first visited the place. Obviously no hyperactive design/marketing-persons with the need to annoy later retail personnel by choosing absolutely ridiculous color names, proving their achievements in advanced googling were involved (there are some in the motorcycle industry, I can tell you…). And I like that they are using no-nonsense functional sans-serif DIN1451 Mittelschrift from 1931 as corporate typeface.

Now to the guys that resurrected Bruichladdich. Two London wine merchants, Mark Reynier and Simon Coughlin teamed up with Gordon Wright of Springbank distillery. They already had whisky history together by opening the independent whisky bottler Murray McDavid in the Nineties.

The company was named after Reynier’s Scottish grandparents’ side: Murray and McDavid.
Reynier, Coughlin, and Wright bought the ruins of Bruichladdich distillery for GBP 7.5 million, thereof 5 million for the still aging whisky casks and getting all of the distillery for 2.5 million. But this can only be regarded as a bargain from today’s point of view knowing about the later success. Back then, it was a brave and fearless investment as whisky sales were low and tons of investments had to be made. They even renovated all the original Victorian equipment, disassembling everything and putting it back together after renovation. Which was so much more expensive than simply buying new stuff. Fun fact: there are still no computers in production!

The mean thing with whisky is that the return on investment comes so many years later when the first product is sold. But they managed all challenges, produced finest spirits by making (later) legend Jim McEwan master distiller in 2001 and letting him do his magic. They have really earned the product and financial success. Bruichladdich was sold in 2012 to Rémy Cointreau for GBP 58 million and the new owners didn’t change anything.

CAOL ILA. A Coal Ila was actually the first whisky my wife liked more than 20 years ago. But as much as we admire the whisky, the distillery marketing did not fully win our hearts, a bit over-professional. And they vigorously pointed out at any possible occasion that Caol Ila is the Islay part of blended whisky Johnnie Walker. I don’t get it.

It’s like when you are making champagne, but you insist on telling everybody that you are world-renowned for your white wine in plastic containers.
Anyway, the distillery tour was fine. They tried a modern all-senses approach in telling the story of whisky and our young female host was extraordinarily competent.

LAGAVULIN. Then (different day, of course), we enjoyed the Lagavulin Warehouse Experience. That’s the official title as everything now needs to be an experience. In that case I’d rather call it: The Iain McArthur Exerpience. Or: Drinking cask strength whisky before noon and getting properly baptized (see photos below). Iain McArthur is an undisputed living legend with 53 years in the whisky industry.

Although rather small in stature, he has an incredible aura and a voice actually twice his size. This 40 years work anniversary clip is well worth watching.
He even managed to explain why the hell they are still using colorants and chill filtration: Because the second they stopped, people would loudly complain all day long as something looks a bit different. I really can relate to that.

Iain started his lecture with a bold statement promising to provide us with the “best whisky you can get” accompanied by the crucial question to the audience which he seemed to know a definite answer to: “Which one is the best whisky?”

While we were still contemplating about (ideally) a smart reply or wondering if he really wanted us to say “Lagavulin” out loud to keep the peace, he burst out laughing “The one you get for free”.

Our first whisky came as a surprise addition on top of the degustation list, it was just recently bottled. As it came without any additional cost it was… ehm: the best whisky 😄

I think what surprised me the most at the tasting were: 1) How good a Lagavulin can be – in cask strength without any further processing. And 2) how much love and energy Iain invested to makes his guests happy. I mean, he’s been doing this for quite a while now…

TOOLS. I am an enthusiast when it comes to tools and machinery. I like high-tech stuff and smart home amenities, but at the same time I aprreciate craftmanship and the use of traditional hand tools. My new favorite is the valinch, a long tube for extracting spirit from the cask by applying negative pressure (i.e. sucking).

It is used for sampling whisky via the bung hole without having to empty the contents of the cask.

A fine and simple solution but the lower the filling level gets, the harder it is to fill the valinch. At the last and almost empty cask, all of us visitors failed. Fortunately, the suction force is strong with Iain.

Then I was thrilled to learn about a failed business model: Porteus and Boby malt mills. They were the best. Almost all distilleries in Scotland have one or the other. They were so good, never broke down or needed to be replaced. That’s why in a field with a limited customer base needing only one device both companies went bankrupt. The youngest mills are from the beginning of the 1970s, most are older. Still going strong.

I also understood that ladders are very important in any distillery as you are constantly climbing at, in or above large filled or empty volumes. Bruichladdich has the best ladder.

In all independent distilleries we visited, they used sophisticted production process spreadsheet tables.
No need for computers indeed. They got everything covered.

Coming now to the true expert malt processing tools of which I hope to use the correct termini technici: malt blower for blowing malt around, different malt movers for moving malt around and Whisky Thor’s malt hammer for hammering against pipes and tuns if the grain got stuck.

Finally: More evidence that the world would be lost without cable ties and gaffer tape. Including the world of whisky and its malt moving tools 😄


Scotland: Islay → Glasgow Airport → Oban (and back)

332 km (+154 km ferry)

August 01-02, 2023


Unexpected(ly nice) roundtrip to Oban

Felt lucky and went to Glasgow Airport first in the hope to talk to real humans there instead of hotline chat bots. And – wow! – our luggage just arrived from the transfer airport Frankfurt.

Went on to Oban with more time for tourist things than we thought. Picturesque harbor town with really yummy seafood. Had less healthy food on the ferry back to Islay for balance.


Scotland: Glasgow → Islay

226 km (+64 km ferry)

July 29-31, 2023


Islay (but not for long)

Had a rough start on our tour to Islay because my wife’s luggage did not arrive. It was quite unclear how, when, or even if it will get to the island, because Swiss Air, Lufthansa and Glasgow Airport luggage handling did not know where it went missing. But all three parties were absolutely convinced that it was the fault of one of the two other companies involved and initially denied any responsibility even in locating the luggage.

Went for shopping to get at least some additional clothes and basic toiletries. The clothes part was remarkably difficult as Islay is really a veryvery small Island. And of course, it was Sunday…
So we kept ourselves warm with a first distillery visit at Laphroaig. Highly recommended!

And after even more time in hotlines queues, we were convinced that they won’t help us in near future. As Glasgow was the next city with adequate shopping facilities, we decided to go back there the next day.
Luckily, a very friendly guy at Caledonian MacBrayne solved the difficult ferry situation for us by finding a ferry connection with open vehicle capacities for getting back to Islay via Oban. Kind of nice to unexpectedly win a road trip to that very nice town! Funny side note: Swiss Air answered to our (not positive) customer feedback about two weeks later (!) with a helpful tip. Guess what? They recommended to contact the airport 🤪 I guess you can safely say that all airlines are the same crap. Better ride motorcycles.


England: Harwich → Scotland: Glasgow

767 km, 2 days

July 27-28, 2023


Bonnie Scotland

I was very much looking forward getting to Scotland, but the way there was also worthwhile. Made a sightseeing stop in Cambridge (sorry, Marcus: I meant “the other place”) and gladly accepted the opportunity to explore state, matter and condition of the real world at the Reality Checkpoint in Parker’s Piece. Not sure about the outcome due to the occurrence of a lonesome wiener dog walking (or emerging?) into the scene. According to McCracken (2014), Plato uses animals to represent choice of lives. The dog “models a philosophical disposition for a particular kind of philosophy student, one who has civic, military, or political aspirations” (p.541)1. Ok, makes sense at Cambridge.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is a fantastic green meadow wonderland to ride through and when I finally stopped for a break at the Tan Hill Inn I learned that it is according to the Guinness Book of World Records the highest Inn (528 m above sea level) of the British Isles. Hmm… how can you get a world record with a national reference?

Anyway, after that I finally arrived in Scotland and spend some time in Glasgow until my wife arrives for our journey together to Islay. Got a new set of tires at Douglas Park Motorrad (thanks to Scott for the outstanding support!!). I also found out that there is fine street art in Glasgow and barking is prohibited.

1) McCracken, J. (2014). Dogs and birds in Plato. Philosophy and Literature, 38 (2), 446-461.


Germany: Neustadt in Holstein → England: Harwich

655 km road, 198 km ferry

July 26, 2023


Full English Breakfast

Ferry day! Always excited to use ferries with a motorcycle. Feels like a bit of adventure. Normally the staff positions bikes in front of the vehicle crowd, providing a nice petrol heads meeting for free. But before getting there, I had a 600 km + stretch ahead of me. Decided that a slight detour does not really matter anymore and visited the Bert von Zitzewitz motorcycle dealership. What a fantastic place! Located in the middle of nowhere (23758 Karlshof), the motorcycle workshop and sales rooms are based in beautiful former farm buildings with old brick walls and a very estate-like atmosphere.

Good thing if you want to go for a test ride: You are right in the middle of the nicest landscape. But the best part is that they keep the family racing history alive at that place. Trophies from three generations everywhere. And bikes! Davide was so kind to help me out with some nuts and bolts to upgrade my luggage fasteners. I can’t help the feeling that my motorcycle goes somewhat faster ever since 😊

Bert, Davide: Thanks so much for showing me around. Henceforth, I name thee (Motorcycle) Kings in the North 🤩🏁🏆🏍️💨🔥

After a quite boring highway stretch to the port in Hoek van Holland and the most comfortable ferry ride I ever had from to Harwich I woke up in England.

Skipped ferry breakfast for more sleep and immediately started cultural immersion. Had a full English Breakfast at the “Foxes Den” in Assington and fancied a noice cuppa tea.

Ok, and immediately after that I fancied a cappuccino even more because 1) it really wasn’t easy for me to switch to “hot brown water” (Ted Lasso) for breakfast and 2) far more importantly because Vanessa and Steve of the Foxes Den were operating their espresso machine with so much love I simply needed to try it.
Will definitely return some day, even if only to drink their coffee again. And for the breakfast. Ideally both.


Germany: Goldern → Neustadt in Holstein

902 km, 3 days

July 23-25, 2023


Heading up North

Starting my solo tour this year to Scotland, Ireland and France. The first part in Germany was reserved for visiting friends and places I have not been to for a while.

The first stopover was in the cozy historic town Coburg. My route then led me to friends in Lüneburg. I accidentally went to full tourist mode when I passed the Lüneburg twin ship lift (Schiffshebewerk). Being built in 1974 as the largest ship lift in the world at that time, lifting 2x up to 12 thousand tons in a vertical difference of about 40 meters. Didn’t know all that so I was very much surprised to stand in front of that concrete giant dominating the flat landscape.

Next stop was Lübeck for some sightseeing. Felt very Hanseatic. And I felt very old remembering that the Holsten Gate was depicted on the old German DM 50 banknotes. Printed until 1991.

Finally, ever since I’ve read “Ein Sommer in Niendorf” by Heinz Strunk I feel the urgent need to get a Krabbenbrötchen (local crab sandwich) at Klüver’s harbor smokery when I am in the area.

For the next night I stayed in Neustadt in Holstein and met with friends for dinner. Meanwhile, my bike was located at the most secure parking space of the entire trip.


Italy: Sarentino → Germany: Goldern

462 km, 1 day

July 15, 2023


Penser Joch, Austria, Bavaria

Last day of our trip. Sebastian, Marcus and me are heading home. Sometimes riding home can bring a bit of blues… The remedy: Starting the day with one of the best breakfasts at one of the nicest placest we know in the alps, the family-run hotel Höllriegl in Sarentino. Don’t go there, only disadvantages: Even when staying only one night you will inevitably and substantially gain weight because of the excellent restaurant and the aforementioned breakfast. And you will not be able to start riding early because the rooms and beds are far too comfy (and… uhm… maybe because of the fine selection of regional wines on the evening before).

And if you would go there, our chances of getting rooms will decrease because it is a charmingly small place 😋
So starting from the hotel you should not go to, we were directly on the road to our favorite pass in the alps, the Penser Joch. There may be passes with more curves or better view points, but for us it became a very special place over the last years being either the first or the last highlight of so many tours. Then we went to Austria, Pustertaler High Mountain Road, Thurn Pass, via Kössen, Chiemgau and small twisting roads finally back home to Lower Bavaria.

Music: “Whiff of Lightness” (c) by Tomasz Raszko licensed under CC BY-NC-ND

Italy: Piacenza → Sarentino

340 km, 1 day

July 14, 2023


Trento & Lago(s)

Ok, I have to admit it: I do not like Lago di Garda that much and always tried to avoid it and the surroundings. Plenty of trips West and East of it, but to me it was always too much traffic, too many people, too many uniformed persons on the street side taking pictures… While that is not wrong, I was wrong nevertheless because I missed out on so many beautiful lakes and if you do not take the coastal road at Lago di Garda itself traffic is perfectly fine and the streets are wonderful (as presumably everybody except for me already knew 😄).

We started our lake day in Carpaneto Piacentino and drove quickly via Cremona on the motorway to Brescia. Then South East of Lago di Garda to Lago d’Idro, via Passo dell’Ampola and Lago di Ledro back to the North side of Lago di Garda. Passo del Ballino to Lago di Molveno and via Sella di Andalo to Lago di Andalo to the Lago di Santa Giustina and finally via our beloved Passo della Mendola and Bolzano to our stopover in Sarentino.

Music: “Blues Rock Soundtrack” (c) by SoundForYou licensed under CC BY-NC-ND

Italy: Imperia → Piacenza

352 km, 1 day

July 13, 2023


On Ligurian Roads

Went from Imperia to a very nice hotel in the middle of nowhere near Piacenza. In the first part in a classic maritime Italian seaside scenery followed by the most amazing twisting roads in Liguria and partially Piedmont without ANY traffic – in high season! Go to Liguria with your bikes!!
Very funny side effect of live tracking a motorcycle tour: Claudio, a friend from Italy, texted us during one of our stops: “Are you going to stay there? It’s 20 minutes from my holiday appartment. Meet for dinner?” 🤩👍

Almost unfortunate that we already booked a hotel near Piacenza. But… not unfortunate at all, as our host there sent us to the Antica Trattoria Bergamaschi da Luigi in San Protaso where we had on of the best dinners of the tour with a cook being so friendly to prepare small versions of various of their completely homemade dishes so we could try almost the whole menu. No wonder our new friend (dog Amelie, belonging to another patron) tried her best to get a share of our meals…

Music: “Action Funk” (c) by OctoSound licensed under CC BY-NC-ND


Italy: Cuneo → Imperia

146 km, 1 day

July 12, 2023


Alta Via del Sale

Finally getting to the highlight of our tour, the Alta Via del Sale or Upper Salt Road. Well, we thought it would be the highlight. Ok, it was, in a certain way. But Finestre and Assietta of the day before really were our favorite!
Before heading to the Salt Road, one of us (=me) had to be punished for being quite fallible, contrary to the belief we built some days ago on our infallability status.

Securing screws and bolts with Loctite makes sense on a motorcycle anyway. If you fail to do so, especially when going off road, may lead to an exhaustive search for lost items… or to a visit of the nearest hardware store to replace them.
Damn, I hate it not to be infallible.

But shortly after me looking disadvantageously stupid lying on an OBI parking lot under my bike, we were rewarded with beautiful skies and not too many people on the road.

Our route lead us from Cuneo to Limone Piemonte and then to the Alta Via del Sale and finally Imperia. At the beginning of the Salt Road we met a very relaxed guy on a scooter who apparently just came from the other side, thereby causing a serious dent in our “hero of the day”-feeling for riding an ambitious road. Parts of the road were later on disguised in heavy clouds. Less clear views, but great atmosphere!

When the air compressor 7.5 Amps blade fuse broke due to a short overload while refilling the tires at the end, Sebastian impressed us with a genious life hack: Simply cut the fuse in half, fix it together again so that the remains of the fuse wire slighlty overlap and start again. And indeed: When electricity kicked in again, it self-resoldered the fuse wire. I like. Original Dr. Hergeths’ self-healing fuse (patent pending) in action.

We recovered from all of that by having Aperitivos and far too much to eat. Like always. But… man: ITALY!!

Music: “Hurricanes” (c) by José Manuel González Núñez licensed under CC BY-NC-ND


Italy: Turin → Cuneo

238 km, 1 day

July 11, 2023


Finestre! Assietta!!

Breaking news: If you eat and drink too much you don’t sleep well. Should keep that in mind when growing up some day. For whatever reason (maybe because it was included anyway) we still had a surprisingly long breakfast in our hotel and a perfect start into the day with a bright sun in the sky and a friendly concierge in opening our garage and taking a picture of our departure.

Our route on that day lead us via Susa, Colle delle Finestre and Colle dell’Assietta to Cuneo.

The first highlight wasn’t off-road but the mad man’s idea of a tarmac road in the first part of the ascent to Colle delle Finestre coming from Susa. There was a sequence of about 20 180° harpin turns with straight parts of only 50 to 100 m between them. Felt more like on an ascending Supermoto track than on a real road. Have a look at the screenshot of my SatNav system. Even the Stelvio pass looks like a straight road in comparison!

Music: “Tutorials” (c) by Tim Taj licensed under CC BY-NC-ND


Switzerland: Brig → Italy: Turin

264 km, 1 day

July 10, 2023


From Apero to Aperitivo

Our route: Simplon Pass, Domodossola, Lago d’Orta, parts of TET Italy along Sesia river, Turin.
After Simplon Pass we entered directly into the stage of stopping very often for a caffè.
Along Sesia river we tried our first kilometers going off-road on some easy flat gravel road sections of TET Italy. Although really simple, I am always astonished how strange it feels to not drive on tarmac roads on first contact after a break.
We were lucky enough to find rooms in our favorite hotel in the middle of Turin near the central station. 3rd time there. One of the main perks: We can park our bikes in the hotel backyard in a very, let’s say: “adequate” garage. But we would take any well-guarded option there as a friend once told me that it does not even take 30 minutes to get your bike stolen on a bad day in that neighborhood.

The first “Negroni incidient” of our 2023 tour happened while still being at the hotel (hmm… exactly like last year as soon as we crossed to Italy…). But there is almost no better place for a Negroni incident than Turin. And the setting is perfect to make you look like a capo (or oligarch?) during a simple phone call.
Our dinner was exceptional (as could almost be expected in Piedmont), following the advice of Sebastian’s Italian friends. And while in Switzerland an excessive amount of Swiss flags in any possible location reminded us constantly in which country we were in, the reminder in form of antipasti in the national colors of Italy was much more of my taste (haha, “taste”, because… ehm, never mind).

Music: “Driving Indie Rock” (c) by Muza Production licensed under CC BY-NC-ND


Switzerland: Winterthur → Brig

284 km, 1 day

July 9, 2023


Philosophically advanced Schwytzerdütsch

We crossed lake Zürich via the very scenic bridge from Rapperswil to Pfäffikon. Then across Etzelpass and Sattelegg, throwing a glance at Walensee, and arrived after Klausenpass and Furkapass in Brig.
Luckily we found a supermarket that was open on Sunday and could enjoy lunch with regional products near Klausenpass.

Brig is a very nice place (the town in canton Wallis, not the naval military prison in American English). Historic city with impressive mountains around and several good dinner locations.
As we were a bit late, we had to couple apero with dinner which lead to an exotic combination of pizza and Aperol Sprizz.

All of that, however, is not nearly as remarkable as the sign Marcus took a picture of near the hotel: “Nicht für Hauskehricht !! Fehlbare werden gebüsst” which in my best effort I can only translate to “Not for household waste !!”

Ok, that part was simple. But now this: “Fallible ones shall be punished.” The word-for-word translation of the second part sounds in English almost as ancient as in standard (non-Swiss) German.

If you follow that proposition to the end, it means that only an infallible person will be able to use that trash bin correctly and, therefore, shall not be punished.
The first Vatican Concil from 1870 states that the only human being to be regarded as infallible is the Pope and even only if speaking ex cathedra.

But they failed to proclaim anything about waste management. That leaves so many important philosophical questions unanswered.
But at least we were now on a mission: As we did not put anything into that green box this makes us, and of course our road trip, INFALLIBLE. I think.

Music: “Action Rock” (c) by CH JOY  licensed under CC BY-NC-ND


Germany: Goldern → Switzerland: Winterthur

426 km, 1 day

July 8, 2023


Final preparations pt. 2 + off we go

During my first off-road season with the X-Scram the heat tape around the exhaust was damaged by stone chipping. Wanted to prevent that with a Game-of-Thrones-like approach. Not sure, but it may be the first motorcycle with a chain armor (and I will now and forever get weird ads because I visited too many live role-playing websites selling chain armor).

And drinking is important, too! So the last improvement in “making an offroad-touring bike out of a 9T Scrambler” was to add a Stanley thermos flask for cold water held by custom-made leather straps hand-made by my good friend Aurel as a birthday gift (or Christmas? Anyway…).

So at the end we were finally ready to go – starting with a proper breakfast and heading towards Austria where Marcus and me will meet Sebastian. And then off to Winterthur 😊


Germany: Goldern


July 7, 2023


Final preparations pt. 1

Last year I did my first off-road stretch with the X-Scram nineT Scrambler Töff. It was great, but I only had a manual pump to refill tire pressure when going onroad again.

So I desperately needed an on-board socket to power an AirMain compressor. Luckily, Wunderlich provides one that fits perfectly into the 9T.

Unluckily it is connected via CAN and therefore only supplies up to 1 amp (which I found out after it arrived). Decided to make lemonade out of lemons and fitted a new additional second CAN bus powered USB socked for my smartphone with the Wunderlich cables while connecting the new on-board socket with a 7.5 amps fuse directly to the battery. No more manual pumping 🙂

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