Sidecar Trip of Dreams

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It has been a while since returning from Italy but the roads, scenery and the memory of the journey won’t leave my mind. After the first night of travel from Caen to Grenoble, with only 3hrs sleep in the sidecar from 02.30am – 05.30am, the time on the road could only improve. Once we had knocked a few hundred miles off the clock it was off the motorway and the real motorbike and sidecar experience was to begin. The France/Italy border was home to a different altitude, hot sunshine and winding roads. Scenery of ski-holiday postcards and the warming smell of patisseries.

This idyllic scene was our scenery for the remainder of the journey to Bardonecchia in Northern Italy. The reason we were there?  To scale the 9872ft elevation Colle del Sommeiller via an off-road track to the summit. Our mode of transport? A 1997 BMW 850 with a home-fitted 1972 Squire sidecar.

The journey up is something few people can ever admit to experiencing, a slow and steady climb, bouncing over broken rock and gravel; the intermittent bounce and I’d lift out of the sidecar seat. The GoPro set to capture the entire body-battering journey. Corners tight and each one different to judge, taking it’s toll on my dad’s (the motorcycle driver) wrists. The ability to keep the sidecar grounded, whilst maneuvering around hairpins, still astounds me. The natural desire for the bike to tip when cornering, is apparent on each bend. But dad kept it grounded from start to finish. We pass a few people on their descent; a trickier route we had yet to complete. The want for the bike to speed up and the need to instead keep it slow and controlled on such an unstable surface is a skill that can only come with experience.

We continue to scale, currently the only sidecar on track at the time. A group of bikers begin to appear about 200m from the summit, the group has stopped as the snow has blocked the path to the ultimate summit. A little disheartened as everyone wants to touch that ‘highest point’, a moments pause as everyone realizes just quite what they have achieved all-the-same. Everyone looks around from that point, taking in the breath-taking view, discussing their journey. I take a moment to enjoy the experience, when I realise why each person is there, what the entire journey and event is about; pushing yourself, your bike, your ability, succeeding as far as you can and enjoying it with everyone that has joined you along the way, a friendship, joining of communities, nationalities and cultures. The Stella Alpina Challenge is about one, single family created merely and endearingly through the passion and love for motorcycles.

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