Table of contents
- Alpine special Three weeks at the top
- Alpine special (info)
- Consequences of the war in the Alps
- New ways
- History of the formation of the Alps
- Alpine Special (2)
- Profile Beta Alp 4.0 – Three weeks with Beta
Three weeks at the top
Either over 1800 meters high or under three meters wide ?? nothing in between please. A trip on extreme routes from Slovenia to the Maritime Alps, following the high mountain arc with relish and daring.
Monika Schulz, Annette Johann
It’s 11.30 p.m..
Drug mountain. We have been on it for a week. Or is it five? Time no longer matters, just the feverish search for ever more alpine trails between Slovenia and southern France. We haven’t made the route for a long time. Since the first serious gravel passage over in Friuli on Monte Paularo. We tortured ourselves around like Franzi van Almsick on her last 200-meter freestyle track. Really not to look at. And there were no excuses. Both the Suzuki DR 350, which had been screwed down preventively for weeks, and the brand new one beta Alp 4.0 gave their best. It was up to us. It would be a bad feeling of gravel at the Olympics. Relax, girls.
When the knot finally burst, we were literally torn up. Every bump, every drift, every steep stretch of sheer luck. And a deep sense of freedom. No mobile homes, no souvenir shops, no geranium tubs ?? just mountains, wind and the distant clink of some goat bells. Exactly what we had hoped for when our plan to cross the Alps on the smallest of trails matured.
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Stream passage between Lake Garda and Lake Idro.
And almost a little macabre. Because the piste on the Paularo was not built for fun, but, like most military roads in the Alps, to fight the First World War at the iciest of heights. Fortified with heavy rock calibers, they carried cannons, ammunition and troops to the remotest peak regions. Paths that were paid for with thousands of dead, who never helped decide the war and whose victims against the murderous battles on the western and eastern fronts were almost forgotten. Today they open up a beautiful part of the highest mountain regions.
The church tower clock in Monno strikes half past seven, the thermometer shows seven degrees, Adamello is gone. Thick clouds over Lombardy, light rain and no decent pub to sit out on. Down to Edolo, where all the main roads come together and one cafe follows the other. We choose the “Bella Edolo”, park in the shadow of a Duisburg BMW K 1200 LT. Seat heating, stereo system, Louis XIV paneling. The man at the handlebars unpacks the map of Europe ?? 1: 1 million. He wants to go to Rome. Aha. Left early yesterday in North Rhine-Westphalia. Oha. Riding a motorcycle can be so different.
Our starting shot was given as the crow flies about 300 kilometers from here: Kranjska Gora. Winter sports center of the newly crowned EU member Slovenia. And Kranjska Gora looked like it had just been painted. Highly motivated by tourism. A conspicuous number of bus travelers: aging, gigantic English people eating hamburgers in brand-new “bistro snacks”, German-speaking bowling clubs in a loud battle of words about the rotten prices. We fled over the partially paved Vr ?? ic saddle towards Mangart. Flanked by the impressive towering rock faces of Triglav, held in suspense by perfect high mountain scenes, stopped by the most piercing green of the northern hemisphere: the Soca! Top-class white water, radiantly beautiful, Mecca for all kayakers.
At least as beaming, the campsite manager from the “Ufer-Camp Klin”. Like Lilo Pulver once as Piroschka in the unforgettable Hódmezovásárhelykutasipuszta, she solemnly explains the complicated campground rules to us in German and ends with the moving sentence: ?? You don’t have to remember all of this, please. ?? Somehow characteristic of the sometimes adorable improvised tourism in Slovenia.
Alpine special (info)
Even if an Alpine tour is nothing unusual for Central Europeans, good preparation in the mountains is essential. Because nature is intensely noticeable there.
Gravel or asphalt?
First of all: gravel passes and old military slopes are so beautiful for enduro fans? they are not required for a brilliant high mountain tour. Anyone who uses good 1: 200,000 road maps (Mairs, Michelin, Kummerly & Frey, see MOTORRAD 19/2004) endeavors to find the smallest, often white or colorless, connecting streets, and experiences the highest levels of motorcycle and landscape pleasures even on asphalt. But be careful: In terms of driving technique, the routes are not inferior to some enduro riders, so narrow, steep and unsecured these minimal roads sometimes screw their way through the mountains. Safe motorcycle control and extremely anticipatory driving style are therefore essential.
In the high Alps, summer is limited to a few months. At altitudes above 2200 meters, the slopes are often blocked by snow until mid-June, and by the end of October at the latest it becomes uncomfortable again due to the cold and precipitation. Off-road drivers should also avoid the French and Italian summer holidays in July and August so as not to collide with the hikers. The favorite is September, which is also considered to be the most stable month in terms of weather.
One of the most important factors in the mountains. You should be able to interpret the signs of the heavens if you don’t want to be surprised by thunderstorms or sudden weather changes at dangerous heights. The small volume »Bergwetter« from the Bruckmann publishing house for 8.90 euros and »Donnerwetter« in MOTORRAD 9/2004 provide initial basic knowledge.
The Alps offer accommodation in a sufficient selection and in all price categories. Those who are not afraid of communal showers and bunk beds can experience a particularly intense alpine atmosphere in some (accessible) mountain huts and refuges. They are recorded in the relevant hiking maps. Camping enthusiasts will find by far the most beautiful and nature-loving campsites in the Alps in France. Even wild camping is sometimes tolerated. In second place is Slovenia with a few but very attractive places in the Soca Valley. In the other Alpine countries, unfortunately, caravan and long-term camper areas often block off the best spots.
For decades, the Bible for Alpine freaks has been the 22nd edition of the Denzel Alpine Road Guide for motorists and motorcyclists, which is published in autumn. The 576-page, 36-euro work meticulously describes each pass road in terms of location, course, gradient percentages and degrees of difficulty. There are also two smaller special volumes for motorcyclists, the Eastern Alps for 34 euros and the Western Alps for 29.90 euros. The three Alpine volumes of Edition Unterwegs also offer exciting reports and detailed route suggestions for all Alpine countries. Available for 16 euros each in bookshops or in the MOTORRAD shop. Telephone 0711 / 182-2424 or motorradonline.de.
Consequences of the war in the Alps
Roads for war. The alpine arch, up to 4807 meters high and 1200 kilometers long, always represented a barrier that was difficult to overcome for people and animals alike. In the early days, the traffic routes were only laid around the mountains. It was not until the second Punic War, 215 BC, that Hannibal managed to cross the Alps for the first time with his war elephants and an army of around 55,000 men. Presumably the crossing was on Mont Cenis. This can no longer be determined so precisely today, but it can be said that the action cost almost 30,000 soldiers their lives.
25 BC to 15 AD, the Romans took over the terrain and increasingly subjugated the tribes in the Alpine region. In doing so, they laid the first paved pass roads with solid substructures, and trade across the Alpine chain could begin. Even today, a number of modern transit routes such as the Brenner Pass and San Bernadino Pass run on these historic routes.
Another great wave of alpine road construction was the First World War and its harbingers. Especially in the Eastern Alps between Brenta and Triglav, countless slopes were driven into the mountains in order to be able to carry out the battles between Italy and Austria-Hungary as far as the border mountain ridges. Many of the connections that are still navigable today, such as the Vr ?? ic or Plockenpass, claimed their deaths due to avalanches and landslides during construction. Thousands followed them in the high mountain war that began in 1915 when Italy left the Triple Alliance. Guns, troops and supplies were transported to the iciest of heights for this merciless trench warfare from fortresses, rock caverns and hollowed mountain peaks. In the western Alps, a similar military infrastructure was built on the Italian-French border. However, due to the union of the two allied powers, the fighting did not take place there.
In the 80s, off-road adventurers rediscovered the old slopes. Their level of awareness and popularity rose rapidly. More and more motorized pioneers “like to give themselves real gravel for a few days”. Until the authorities imposed a driving ban on many routes. Since then, more and more mountain bikers have been enjoying it. At best, there are still fights between the various user groups. Which, however, is sometimes bitter. The French gendarmerie even monitored the closure of Mont Chaberton at times by helicopter after a hiker had been hit there.
Alps in transition. From the crisis area to the amusement park, since the Schengen Agreement and monetary union ?? with free admission and flat fee.
Hikers, mountain bikers, skiers, mountaineers, paragliders, climbers, high-altitude campers, motorcyclists: around 120 million holidaymakers pay homage to the largest and highest mountains in Europe every year. With their 61 peaks over 4,000 meters high, the Alps support a quarter of world tourism; It is understandable that things are getting out of hand. Tourism is essentially concentrated in around ten percent of all Alpine communities, while other areas are still threatened with emigration.
The ecological balance is also threatened by the mass influx. And let’s not fool ourselves: Excessive enduro tobogganing is just as unsuitable for the mountains as the nature killer sport of skiing. Only far less common and so frowned upon by middle-class alpinists that it is forbidden almost everywhere in metropolitan areas. Aside from the geranium bucket tourism, there are still a number of trails on which responsible motorcycle hikers can experience alpine pleasures without putting too much strain on the environment. Finding these usually takes a certain amount of skill and expensive hiking maps on a scale of 1: 50,000. Experience has shown that the best are available in local bookshops and souvenir shops at prices averaging eight euros.
But be careful: Spreading so-called insider tips on a large scale could rack up your pants. Only enough wildly determined enduro riders have to show up and there is vinegar for freedom. Take Friuli, for example: yesterday it was still an “insider tip” for off-road drivers, today there are all brand new blocked signs (wiewiewie.could-that-happen? Com). Example number two: “Motorcyclist Pig Going Your House” was greeted by a huge lettering at the end of an old military runway in Piedmont. Who always went nuts up there ?? Such tirades of hate are not by chance.
Everyone bears responsibility. That’s why MOTORRAD has refrained from publishing detailed information about remote Alpine trails for years. Although the writers often itchy fingers? after all, the job is to disseminate knowledge. And it worries that most competitors in the media industry, calling every newly discovered stone by its first name, take certain advantages.
History of the formation of the Alps
How did the fish get on the Matterhorn? When you find fossilized marine animals at an altitude of 2,000 or 3,000 meters in the middle of the Alps, it seems a bit strange. Although there is no mystery behind it, but the long history of the Alps.
Here is the short form: About 200 million years ago a huge sea sloshed between Eurasia and Africa ?? the Tethys, often called the original Mediterranean. At the bottom of this sea corals, fish, mussels and materials that were brought in by rivers were deposited over millions of years. Solidification and increasing pressure allowed the deposits to flourish into sand, marl and limestone. Sometimes these layers of sedimentary rock piled up thousands of meters under the surface of the water.
As the trigger for the big bang, flow processes in the earth’s mantle are held responsible, which about 100 million years ago gave the African plate the impulse to set course for the Eurasian plate. The consequence of this northward continental movement were huge thrusts and folding of the horizontally deposited layers on the sea floor, which were now almost vertical. The weak points of the earth’s crust were broken, the European plate almost submerged under the African one.
A mountain range begins to emerge? formed by pressure, folding and the rising of magma. During this process, wind, water, heat and frost attack loose material, it erodes and is deposited around the mountains.
The Alps rose to high mountains around 30 million years ago. A process that continues to this day at a rate of one millimeter per year. Raising and lowering of the earth’s crust are ongoing processes that can be traced back to magma movements in the earth’s interior and as a result of which continents are constantly drifting.
The Alps received their final great polish through several ice ages. Glaciers and mighty streams of meltwater transported rubble and stone to those places that we take for granted today. The most recent ice age was just 18,000 years ago. In terms of geological history, the Alps are a very young and also active mountain range, as Africa is still on a collision course with Europe.
Alpine Special (2)
Out and about in Piedmont.
What the Soca was to the canoeists, the Mangart off-roaders were until the former Eastern Bloc state, soon after its independence, imposed a comprehensive off-road ban in the Triglav National Park and had the twelve-kilometer-long Mangart slope paved. Sticking to the wall almost perpendicularly one above the other, the steep serpentines climb to 2055 meters above zero through a mystical mountain world ?? and a series of pitch-black natural tunnels. Football-sized boulders suddenly appear in the shaky headlight cone, while breakthroughs already show the next chain of the Alps in glaring sunlight. Shortly before the high plateau, snowfields stopped our storm on the cloud-shrouded summit. At Mangart there is still an ice age in mid-June.
The Bella Edolo is now jam-packed, the espresso machine no longer stands still, the thermometer at 14 degrees. It starts at 18. We’ve already frozen enough on this tour. The worst at the Passo del Cason di Lanza, which we took directly after the Monte Paularo, motivated by the committed “Paulaner”, their interested questions about where from, where to and of course about the machines. In Friuli, the furthest corner of Italy, strangers are an exciting change.
The way to Pontebba is precisely described to us. One of those streets that branch off without a greeting between two courtyard entrances. Just squeezing our elbows between the flower boxes, we putter up the narrow alley out of the village. In the air the smell of hay meadows. Then forest. Sparkling streams, glowing yellow gold rain and always this thin, rusty railing that separates the increasingly narrow and deteriorating roadway from the abyss. Optimal 350 terrain.
On Monte Saccarello in Liguria.
It is late and freezing cold until we reach the picturesque pass of the Cason di Lanza. A small alpine pasture on the left, a picnic area on the right, the pass descent in front of us: closed. Red, thick and bold. A bigger construction site, says the farmer, but after a quick glance at our motorcycles, we should go quietly. He doesn’t say that some of the road doesn’t exist anymore, instead there are solid rocky steps that know neither percent nor mercy. When we clutch the coffee cups in the village pub in Pontebba, shivering from the cold, our puffy existence is finally behind us. A couple of Dutch people suddenly appear at the bar: ?? Come and see! Germany-Holland is on television. Football EM, completely forgotten. How long ago was that now? Five days? Or seven? In any case, a lot has happened since Lanza: for example South Tyrol. After the wonderful stretches between Pontebba and Sappada, the big turning point at the Kreuzbergpass, where South Tyrol replaces the provinces of Friuli, Belluno and Veneto. In terms of enduro technology, nothing went there anymore. Every initially charming branch path into the border mountain ridge or the southern Dolomites turned into a dead end. Just like the entire Pustertal with its careful tidiness and the carved balconies. At some point we knew every bay window fortified Hotel Edelweib, every suspicious hiker and then also the road to the Three Peaks: ten euros toll for six kilometers! In Cortina d’Ampezzo there was a final shift: 20 forefingers raised for 200 meters of unauthorized rolling in the traffic-calmed city center. Without us.
Passo di Pordoij, Cavalese, Trento, from there to the Brenta massif. Because of the bears and three-thousanders and such. The overture of the southern SS 421, which only barely wrested from the rock, leads to Lake Molveno, is very promising. Molveno itself, on the other hand, is a bitter setback in southern Tyrol, which literally swells over the northern mountain ridges.
The touring bar reports 16 degrees, and all hell should be going on up in Monno. It’s 11.45 a.m., that’s a total of 15 beats! More is not possible. But aren’t we all a bit of a church clock? Always a full program! For example full throttle Lago di Molveno – Limone sul Garda. 29 hp at the limit. Enjoying every curve to the full. And without stopping up to Tignale. Caressed by the Mediterranean breath of pine and cypress scent, up the western cliffs of Lake Garda until the blue lags far below. Then Gardola ?? Idrosee and twice Idro ?? Gargnano, alone to find the most beautiful connection through Valvestino. The search for and mastering of the most minimal network of paths drew us deeper and deeper into the partly tropical-looking backward world of Lago di Garda. The crowning glory is a double Passo di Croce Domini: first the tarred, then the gravel variant.
That was yesterday. And now it’s 18 degrees. Let’s go! Adamello from all sides. We come very close three times, most beautifully through the Val di Genova, which winds its way along the raging Sarca waterfalls up to a height of 1641 meters. As beautiful as Alaska and Europe together. In the evening there is Polenta in the Bergrifugio with Carne, Alpine teaching posters, creaky bunk beds and a new plan: from here asphalt-free to the Bergamasque Alps.
Profile Beta Alp 4.0 – Three weeks with Beta
3500 kilometers in the saddle of a 350. What remains are feelings. Mainly cheerful. A tribute to little off-roaders.
So that we understand each other correctly: There are better travel motorcycles than the Beta Alp 4.0. And better enduro bikes. And better sneakers. But no better mountain goat guaranteed (real 29 HP!), Except for the Suzuki DR 350. And strictly speaking, that doesn’t exist anymore ?? at least not in new. It’s a shame, actually.
The fact is that looking for a small, light, completely normal enduro bike these days you are standing damn deep in the forest. And now nobody comes with the DR-Z 400 S: 935 millimeters seat height, 6345 euros ?? okay, maybe for solvent pole vaulters. All others inevitably end up in front of the Beta Alp 4.0 for 5350 euros. Italian on the outside, Suzuki on the inside. The extremely slim, 145 kilo trial enduro is powered by the air / oil-cooled DR-350 engine. 4.0 stands for four-stroke. One-cylinder technology that has been tried and tested a thousand times over, uncomplicated, economical, electric start.
The only drawback: From 110 km / h there is a vibration alarm, great tingling of hands, buttocks and feet and complete confusion in the rear-view mirrors. Towards top speed, which is 140, 150 things depending on the level of commitment, it gets better again. With the tingling. Not with the overall constitution of the bonsai bike, whose chassis ?? nobly expressed ?? still has development potential. Yes: it winds up. More so than is commonly known from light enduro bikes.
Just ?? who cares about mountain hiking? And that is what Alp 4.0 was made for. A motorcycle that is not afraid of the eye of a needle, can be tucked under the arm if necessary and, thanks to its unaggressive charisma, is even popular with the knee breeches club. Not least, of course, because it doesn’t even tempt to cause a sensation and stir up the dust. The fork already sets limits. Paioli brand, 46 diameter ?? a mighty piece of mechanical engineering, but essentially soft like Aunt Erna. Pops full in every hole. Is that really 220 millimeters of travel? A little tougher, but clearly less sensitive, the shock absorber. Comfort is not one of the little ones’ strengths. You sit rather uncomfortably 86 centimeters high, stand quite well, barely store your luggage and wonder about the first fall: Why didn’t anyone at Beta think of hand protectors?
And so to the cardinal question: Why a 350 and not a KTM 640 LC4 or something? It doesn’t weigh more than 150 pounds either … That’s right! But it applies much thicker. Both in terms of dimensions and pecuniary and not least mentally. After all, every motorcycle has its own claim, and chugging around with such a hardcore file in a reasonably environmentally friendly way ?? who can do that? In the high mountains, you need motorcycles that fit seamlessly into the image of local trialers.
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