In the fall of 2019, noted motorcyclist and explorer Martynas Majauskas started planning his journey to the mecca of motorcycle roads — the Alp Mountains.
In America, all the motorcycle road trips led to California. And various adventure seekers were heading to the West, starting their roads in cities, passing canyons, and ending up on the golden coasts of California.
In Europe, on the other hand, most pilgrim journeys led to historical hubs of European civilization. The motorcycle roads pass the paradise of the Alp Mountains, which for many, is the main reason for having a motorcycle. Blessed with amazing views and sublime paths, this is a fantastic destination for a two-wheel holiday. And that’s what Martynas Majauskas took advantage of.
To find the best route, he was heading to the South of Europe. He planned to get up early, ride around 500 km a day, and cover most of the Alpine passes in two weeks. The road trip is about the journey and not the destination, and Martynas enjoyed every bit of his exciting experience.
He started near Monaco, taking a famous Napoleon Mountain Road, connecting Geneva Lake to the Mediterranean Sea. Later on, he switched to the notorious “Route des Grandes Alpes.” Then, he moved on to Switzerland, passing Furka, Susten, Neufen, Gottard, and Grimsel. During his trip, Martynas had the pleasure of seeing some of the most magnificent views. Few mountain routes are so spectacular that some riders travel half the continent only to experience this beauty.
Later on, his journey continued to Italian Alps and glorious Stelvio, the same height as Col d’ Iseran in France. However, most of the passes there are getting closed for the winter holidays. Thus, to have a chance to ride it in Autumn, you have a months window gap starting from the 1st of September till approximately the last week.
“While getting up and down, your gear needs to fit this rapid change of temperatures. Alpine weather can make your journey tricky. There is hot and humid Mediterranean climate down below and when you climb up it gets very chilly . Although nobody argues that the best choice of protection is the second skin of soft leathers with titanium or carbon inlets, but traveling in such versatile environment with leather protection is quite exhausting. So, I decided to use technical textile pants from Pando. Bought my first pair of Karl pants way back in 2015 and they are still like new and very comfortable. And they absolutely can go for regular jeans in the evening.
Also, when I was in the bikers fair in Milan (Eicma), I realized that people travel around the world on any transport they can only think of. Even old beetles or vintage motorcycles. We tend to create reasons why to stay at home, but the truth is that everyone can travel. For instance, around ten years ago, a rider Nick Sanders proved that it is possible to go through mountains and deserts, even on Yamaha R1.
Long routes do not require fancy motorcycles or assistance, as done by Evan McGregor. I chose what was the closest to me – Honda Varadero (2004 year), which costs just around 2 thousand euros. During the journey, I realized that less is more, as there are not that many chances that something will get broken. But Alps are full of expensive BMW GS or Ducati Multistrada, and it made me feel like I was an “underdog.” “
During his travels, Martynas covered about 9000 km in the tight map area from Napoleon route starting near Monaco in the West to the Dolomites, reaching Slovakia. And while burning 500 liters of benzene and spending 14 days mostly on Alpine roads, he came up with several conclusions:
“When in doubt, if you see something interesting, stop – you probably won’t see it again. Be decisive: take a picture, eat lunch, take that side road, go up the mountain, say “Hi” to that person. By the time you finish overthinking your decisions, you might already miss out on the opportunity.”