Riding the trails of the Alps on a Honda Innova 125

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Godspeed
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Riding the trails of the Alps on a Honda Innova 125

Post by Godspeed » Mon Jun 10, 2024 8:45 am

I’ve always wanted to visit the Stella Alpina but I’m not keen on the heat of July for travelling so decided to take a long week off and ride down to Bardonecchia for 2 full days of trail riding.
It was a long few days riding down stopping at St Omer, Reims and Dijon then staying in Voiron just a short days ride to Bardonecchia.
I did think about renaming my bike ‘The Ark’ as it rained most of the way down and feeling a little like a shrivelled prune I only managed to take my waterproofs off 3 hours before my final destination, not great in 5 days of riding.
The Innova did well, as it always does, despite being laden with enough gear for 11 days. On average I was getting 144mpg which was making it pretty cheap for petrol.
Max speed on the Innova is about 60mph at a push but most of rural France is 50mph anyway so I was able to keep up with local traffic easily and oh how much fun it is to ride roundabouts round to the right. I’m not sure why but it feels like you can really throw the bike around this way :)
My first day in Bardonecchia was spent heading to the Sommelier Pass, the site of the Stella Alpina. The road up there was lovely, there was no traffic so I had all the gravel switchbacks to myself. The pass was closed and the barrier was down near the rifugio but I circumvented the barrier and started riding up the pass. There was absolutely no one about anyway so I’m not sure who was going to tell me off. Unfortunately the snow was still heavy and I was stopped fairly early on as there was snow across the track, a couple of foot deep, and then looking up at the route it was heavy snow most of the way up. Not to worry, the valley was spectacular and the scenery was well worth the ride.
The second day was spent riding up the valley towards Susa then turning off to follow the track heading up to Monte Jafferau. The weather was good and I didn’t meet anyone else out on the trails that morning at all. Some of the tracks were pretty rough and there was recent evidence of some major rockfalls. The route had only been open a few days before (opens in June) so I imagine it might take some time for it to be compacted and the large stuff cleared.
Again a fantastic ride. I did find the tunnel pretty daunting when you’re on your own. Pitch black, about 1km long, and with a small river running through it, equals me having visions of getting stuck in there and not being able to get out.
On the final switchbacks to the summit I turned around when the snow was blocking most of the road and made my way back down, unfortunately I took a track that looked to be fairly direct which was absolutely terrible. It was so steep that I had my front brake held on, my rear brake on, one foot down and even then I was half skidding down the track. I must admit I was worried it would get so steep that I’d have to turn around and try to get back up it. Fortunately I made it down after 1.5km, but that must have been the slowest and scariest 1.5km of my life…
Back down to Bardonecchia and took a walk into town to rest my nerves and grab pizza.
The next day I had a long ride to get to Vichy and decided that I might try the Frejus tunnel despite signs saying that a bike had to have a minimum of 150cc to go through it. The guard at the toll booth looked at my bike and asked about size. All I could do is motion that ‘it’s definitely big enough’ I hope he meant the bike, and after me gesticulating ‘big enough’ multiple times he just waved me through. 12.87 kilometres is a long old tunnel and it got surprisingly hot in there, but it was a different experience to use a toll road for a change. From there I made my way up to Vichy, then onto Chinon (one of my favourite places) and then St Malo where I stayed the night before catching the ferry in the morning back to Portsmouth and then riding home.

All in all a really good 11 day adventure. The bike did well, I held up ok, and the trail riding around Bardonecchia was brilliant.

As usual my stats:
Total: 1,635 miles
Petrol cost: £81.26
Food cost: £136.31
Walked: 69.7 miles

Thoughts for my next adventure: the Innova is getting a bit tired (or rather I am) for 250 miles in a day, and anything longer than 150 miles on small back roads is enough. So it may be that the PCX is going to be used more for distance now and the Innova for shorter trips… does this mean I need another bike?? Nah 🤪

Godspeed
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Re: Riding the trails of the Alps on a Honda Innova 125

Post by Godspeed » Mon Jun 10, 2024 8:46 am

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Godspeed
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Re: Riding the trails of the Alps on a Honda Innova 125

Post by Godspeed » Mon Jun 10, 2024 8:48 am

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Godspeed
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Re: Riding the trails of the Alps on a Honda Innova 125

Post by Godspeed » Mon Jun 10, 2024 8:48 am

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Capitano
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Re: Riding the trails of the Alps on a Honda Innova 125

Post by Capitano » Mon Jun 10, 2024 9:00 am

Excellent write up and photos as usual.

Thanks for sharing ( and not dancing)

8-)

Godspeed
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Re: Riding the trails of the Alps on a Honda Innova 125

Post by Godspeed » Mon Jun 10, 2024 9:13 am

Capitano wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2024 9:00 am
Excellent write up and photos as usual.

Thanks for sharing ( and not dancing)

8-)

Getting too old for that now 😂

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Re: Riding the trails of the Alps on a Honda Innova 125

Post by Bogger » Mon Jun 10, 2024 11:23 am

Well Done God, keep up the good work.

Bogger

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Re: Riding the trails of the Alps on a Honda Innova 125

Post by 125erCrazy » Mon Jun 10, 2024 12:56 pm

Nice adventure "you should have PM'd me as I'm only about an hour from Chinon & could've put you up for the night as the Royal Enfield crowd have left.

The third Sunday of the month is always market day in Chinon but can be dear as it's a monied area with ex-pat Brits/Australian's/Americans

Yes French fuel prices are still eye watering expensive compared to UK & Spain

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Re: Riding the trails of the Alps on a Honda Innova 125

Post by horobags » Mon Jun 10, 2024 5:52 pm

8-) great read.

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Re: Riding the trails of the Alps on a Honda Innova 125

Post by Capitano » Mon Jun 17, 2024 9:04 am

Godspeed wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2024 8:45 am

Thoughts for my next adventure: the Innova is getting a bit tired (or rather I am) for 250 miles in a day, and anything longer than 150 miles on small back roads is enough. So it may be that the PCX is going to be used more for distance now and the Innova for shorter trips… does this mean I need another bike?? Nah 🤪
Looking at the photos, and hearing your descriptions of the tracks, I'd say the Innova was probably ideal for this trip. 8-)

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