Friday, June 29, 2018

Watching for Royal Enfields in the Italian Alps

A new Royal Enfield Classic 500 atop a mountain above Lake Como in Italy.
I spotted only one Royal Enfield on our recent vacation in northern Italy. But it was clear that Italy is crazy about two wheelers of every variety.

Motorcycles, scooters and bicycles passed us everywhere as we made our way from Milan to Lake Como and through the Dolomite Mountains. My wife Bonnie and I were always in a rental Fiat or on foot. The two-wheelers around us were always at full speed.

The bicyclists huffing up steep foot paths earned our special admiration. But the motorized two-wheeler pilots showed amazing skill in the corners and filtering through traffic. They showed stamina, too, when the weather turned cold and rainy in the mountains.

The Royal Enfield leads the way down the mountain.
There are many switchbacks ahead.
We were surprised by how many Harley-Davidson and other cruisers we saw attacking the mountain roads. But there was even a pack of scooters and small-displacement motorcycles that passed us on one steep and twisty road.

In general, the taller the mountain, the tougher the track, the worse the weather, the more two wheelers we saw. What spirit!

"I don't think we're bicyclists at all," Bonnie said, noting the contrast between our rides in warm, flat Florida with the steep grades we saw bicyclists riding in all weather in Italy.

An antique DKW RT125 motorcycle makes a suitable decoration
near the roof of a restaurant/cafe in the Dolomite Mountains.
In the same way, I felt as though the skill shown by motorcyclists there put my own meager riding talents in the shade.

On the way home, at the airport outside Milan, I noticed a magazine entitled "Motociclismo" on sale. I don't speak Italian, but I gather that the word translates as just "motorcycling" or "motorcycle sport."

To me, it sounds as though it ought to translate as "motorcycling passion."

Passion. That is the spirit I saw on the mountain roads of northern Italy.

Where but in a nation crazy about motorcycles would you find
a motorcycle sidecar outfit as a playground toy?
This was in Moena, Italy.

1 comment:

  1. Fuel must be expensive for them to use so many bicycles.


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