Gripping Stories Episode 4 - Mountain Roads

By Fabio Verhelst

Jun 26 2018

A bird’s-eye view of a road, winding its way through a snowy pine forest

On a bike, you don’t just go from A to B. You float from story to story. There are gems to be found in every mile. Every bend. Every smile. With Gripping Stories, we aim to capture these moments and share them with the world.

As a motorcycle destination, Austria is hard to beat. Mountains become playgrounds, passion becomes speed.
Rik van Gerwen , Bridgestone motorcycle rider

Summary

Travel makes you humble; it reminds you that you're small. At least, that’s what our narrator, Rik van Gerwen, believes while travelling through the rolling hills of west Austria to the mountainous region of Tirol. These peaks are as close as a rider can get to motorcycle heaven, and along the way, we meet one of the most joyful riders of them all: Hubert Fritz, the president of the Ducati Club Tirol and “part-time king” of the mountains.

After a tour of Fritz’s home, van Gerwen and Fritz head to the Top Mountain Motorcycle Museum for a quick tour, but not before enjoying a beautiful ride to the top. Unleashing his Ducati’s twin cylinder, Fritz's motorbike growls up the side of the mountain, and the journey soon becomes a scene out of a James Bond movie, with tyres cruising over sun-soaked asphalt, meltwaters and even an icy corner or two. At the museum, the two discuss everything from motorcycles to tyres to the perfect riding day.

As van Gerwen heads back down the mountain, he begins to realise the memories he’s collecting from this trip are priceless. But, he’s looking for a more tangible souvenir — something with a bit of history. A bell rings in his head, and he remembers to visit Wouter, a farmer, blacksmith and traditional bellmaker. Just like the tyre creation process takes time, energy and dedication, Wouter also applies this same approach to craft his unique bells. Using techniques and machinery from the early 20th century, Wouter is one of the few remaining bellmakers creating traditional bells for farmers working in the Alps.

After retrieving his own bell as a souvenir, our van Gerwen sets out to complete the last leg of his journey, one that includes an asylum for motorcycle maniacs, fried food and a unique leather suit.