We left Belgium in late spring on our Honda Cross Tourer equipped with Bridgestone’s versatile A40 tires. As far as we are concerned, the best Adventure tire on the market. And because Bridgestone plan to make the best even better by introducing the A41 in 2018, it seemed like a good idea to make this a goodbye trip to one of the tires we love most for some serious adventure riding.
Written by: Thierry Sarasyn
Some nice stops
Going straight to Rome, seemed like a boring idea. So, we decided to take some back roads to get through Germany and kept left of the Alps. The idea was to find an interesting stop for every day. Soon we ended up in Karlovy Vary. A colorful city not far across the Czech boarder, well known for is Spa-centers and the proximity to the Cezch Motocross Grand Prix. Turned out this is about all the city should be known for, because there is not much else to do. Unless you are interested in expensive souvenirs, it’s best not to stay too long in the city the English-speaking world calls Carlsbad.
Slovenia and Croatia
So after a night in a much too expensive hotel, we left in a hurry and planned to travel to Slovenia, Croatia and take a ferry that would bring us to Italy. And so we did. We did some interesting beer stops following the E49 and N19. Not to drink, but to honor two famous beer places. First Pilsen and after that Ceske Budejovice where the Budweiser beer is brewed. After that, we speeded through Austria and arrived in Ljubljana. Many special things here, but one of the most special is that it’s near Ivančna Gorica, which is the home of Akrapovic exhausts. But even if you are not an exhaust enthusiast, the Slovenian capital is worth the visit. Just stroll around for a day or two and you will not be bored.
From Slovenia, we went on to Croatia, taking the A7 that brought us to Opatija first and then to Rijeka. Old school race fans will remember Rijeka as the home of the Yugoslavian Grand Prix. And guess what: the circuit is still there. Easy to access, cheap to ride on. We were allowed a few laps on the historical track and were amazed about the lay out and the grip of the A40. On one or two occasions the paniers kissed the asphalt. Amazing. And a bit scary at first too.
We were allowed a few laps on the historical track and were amazed about the lay out and the grip of the A40. On one or two occasions the paniers kissed the asphalt. Amazing.
The magnificent N8
With a fresh dose of adrenaline running through our veins, we took the N8 coastal road. For sure this is one of the most beautiful and exciting roads to take in Europe. It’s 250 km of perfect concrete, with not a single part that goes straight for more than 200 meters. It’s like a giant stretched out track. But with an amazing view over the Adriatic Sea on the right side as a nice extra. We had a blast and spent the night in Zadar. Great place to stop, eat and sleep.
We continued following the coast on the A8 and ended up in Omis, just south of Split. Quiet and nice little town and perfect to stay away from the tourist attraction called Split. However, we did go back there to hop on the ferry for Italy. One day later the roads became a bit less nice, and Rome turned out to be busy and not so much a motorcycle city. We did pass by Bridgestone’s headquarter to salute the home of our tyres. The next day we rode North and found another great motorcycle related spot: Tavulia, home of Valentino Rossi. Luck had it that we were there on a weekend and The Doctor was riding the Spanish GP. Watching a Grand Prix in the middle of VR46’s home town, it’s something everyone should put on their bucket list.
After that we planned to cross the legendary Stelvio Pass, but due to bad weather, the pass was closed. So we turned back, took the N29 that passes Lago Bianco/Weissee and ended up spending the night in Chur. Nice but expensive.
With quite some budget spent on this last night, we decided use the German highways to get home as fast as possible. Good to know: even at a speed over 200 km per hour, the Bridgestone A40 remained super stable. Turns out this tire has all the benefits of a road tire, but just adds some extra possibilities. We were quite confident on the gravel road we took near Opatija and were more than satisfied with the wet grip on our first day in Italy. All in all, a great trip on the Honda Crosstourer and some great memories. We might just do this again. After all in a few months, the new Bridgestone A41 will be released…