Lago Maggiore and Lago Lugano had been on my list of places to see for a while. Finally I was heading there.
Turin & northeast
Started off riding in the same direction as the day before. First on the E70, then onto SP24 in direction of Turin. I very much wanted to avoid big city riding. Surprise (not!), things don’t (always) work out as you’d hoped. Or when do they ever.
Coming from the northwest the road systems, plus the landscape, acts more or less as a funnel. A funnel that eventually leads you onto larger roads. There are small roads but these will take you up into mountains. And as a result one have to spend quite a bit of time making any progress.
SP24 leads more or less directly into Turin. If you ever come this way, and don’t want to go into the city, get on motorway E70. Then over onto A55, in direction of A4 and, eventually, Milan. Just take my word for it, especially if you do, or plan to do, this in the summer months.
And of course, as every seasoned rider knows, when on the motorway you’re less likely to get fried, or boiled.
Anyhow. so there I was, trapped in a road-wise situation that very much resembled one in Berlin back in 2019. Finally I got through the northern parts of Turin and onto A4 in direction Milan. Which by the way is the second large city in the region you likely should avoid. Unless of course big city riding is what you want.
Took off from the A4 and onto A26 north in direction of Lago Maggiore and Lago Lugano. Had I known then what I came to realize a couple of hours later, I probably thought twice about riding along the coast of Lago Maggiore.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful region. The whole area is a spectacle in it’s own right. That impression is further enhanced as you come into Stresa, and perhaps make a stop to marvel at the lake with it’s surrounding mountains.
From the beach side you see Isola Madre, looking like a fairy tale island.
What is slightly more uncool, is the traffic around the lakeshore. Unbearably slow. I’d thought that it would not be quite so bad this late in the year. I should have known better. As temperature ventured past 33C it wasn’t so wonderful anymore. Had to make a stop to change gear. Rukka is among the best but utterly useless in high temperatures.
Full stripping on a parking lot close to the lake. And on with mesh jacket and mesh pants!
A view to behold
Arrived in Baveno at lunchtime and stopped down by the lakeside. Corona restrictions or no, the place was packed. Managed to get a table under a parasol, and ordered a pasta dish. Of all the things Italians know well, pasta definitely is one of those. Full and satisfied I hopped back on the bike some 30 minutes later, and continued north at pedestrian pace, across the border to Switzerland.
In Lucarno I finally had it with slo-mo riding. Took off from the main road and began ascending on the mountain side. The chosen road climbed steeply up the mountain side. Didn’t take long before I could feel temperature dropped several degrees! Unfortunately Via Monte Brè (the name of the road) is a dead end.
But regardless, a cool, winding and narrow road, with overarching trees.
Made a stop at a parking lot to take in the view of the lake, a view to behold for sure. The road ended just a mile or so further up. But I wasn’t here for hiking. So turned around and began riding down again.
From Lago Maggiore to Lugano
Reaching the northeast end of Lago Maggiore I turned southeast, towards Lago Lugano. It was getting later in the afternoon and the obligatory question emerged. Where to stay for the night? Italy, or Switzerland? Coming down towards Lugano, the first thought was to keep on riding east. Which meant crossing the border, and ride into Italy again.
But riding east on Via Cantonale, Mordor like darkness loomed in the east. Clearly I was heading right into bad weather. No thank you! Went on on booking.com and found a hotel down by Lake Lugano, over in Italy. So I turned around, crossed the border back into Switzerland, rode past Lugano, and continued southwest along the lake.
Crossing the border over into Italy further south I was stopped. First time on this adventure. But the policeman just looked at my plate, and waved me off. Shortly after I was in Brusimpiano. The hotel looked pretty nice. If it hadn’t been for Corona probably too pricey for my liking. But the deal was good.
Dinner was had down by the lake and so ended another good day for a tired motorcycle rider.
Below a part of the riding around the lakes.