Inspiration: Big Trip

From the summit to the sea, part 2

The motorcycle and board tour continues. On his last trip, snowboarder and bike fan Sebastian ‘Basti’ Kuhn took us to the summit of the Kaunertal Glacier. This time he and his Triumph Tiger 800 XCA are heading towards the sea in the south of France. Here he swaps a snowboard for a surfboard and dives into the waves of the Atlantic.

Two things characterise the snowboarding scene: firstly the love of the board and secondly it does not matter who you are or where you come from. Because I love my freedom and, if work allows it, I’m always on the go, this international ‘family’ is a great opportunity to see the world.

Back from my trip to the Kaunertal Glacier, I was only in the office for a week when the opportunity presented itself to visit good friends in Seignosse, southern France. In mid-May, the beach on the Atlantic coast and my surfboard offer the ideal balance to the past season’s hard winter. The Tiger is packed in no time and we are back on the road together.

After the descent to Plansee in Tyrol, I head south and around the Maloja Pass, where temperatures are much warmer giving me that ‘la dolce vita’ feeling. The pass is called the Gateway to Italy. Although the Tiger is already a lot of fun on the mountain roads, it really flexes its muscles off-road.

Of course, if I have the opportunity to ride such a bike, I’m going to take every opportunity to leave the busy roads. It might not be the fastest way but with the Tiger it certainly is a lot of fun. Thanks to her perfect handling, it’s easy to keep under control on the rough stuff.

Away from the road was also the first highlight of the trip: the waterfalls of Piuro. A breathtaking sight and the perfect opportunity to freshen up and treat myself to a first real Italian espresso. I could get used to this!

It wasn’t far to my first camping stop. I chose to set up camp at beautiful Lake Como. The full day on the bike took its toll and before you know it, I’m in my sleeping bag. At breakfast I take a little more time and enjoy some delicacies from the bakery around the corner before climbing back on the Tiger.

I spend most of the morning on the road traveling quite some distance, before reaching the Mediterranean at Savona near Genoa. From here I travel to the west and soon cross the French border. I take the southern route at Tende – I don’t want to miss Monaco! The road towards the principality is characterised by jungle-like mountains and cliffs. The off-road options make my heart beat faster and I use every conceivable possibility to take the Tiger off-road.

Upon arrival in the realm of the Grimaldis, the first view of Monaco overwhelms me. There are double-decker yachts and luxury as far as the eye can see. I prefer a little more understatement. Next it’s on to Cannes. A mix of 29 degrees and slow-moving traffic along the road bring the sweat out of every pore, which means that when I get there, it’s time to park up the Tiger and head for the water. After that I get myself comfortable in the sun with an ice cream before heading out again. The drive along the French Riviera is not only winding and varied but also offers wonderful views.

The beautiful view along the French Riviera

On the route from Marseilles to Montpelier, you cross the Camargue – an incredible landscape of up to 1,500 square kilometres. The Étang de Vaccarès is the largest of the many shallow lakes typical of this area. It’s the habitat for around 400 species of waterbirds, including the large flamingo. Other attractions include the wild white Camargue horses and very large herds of Camargue bulls.

After many more miles I finally reach Seignosse, on the French Atlantic coast, with ideal conditions for surfing. Despite the very comfortable saddle of my Tiger, after a tour like that, your body (especially your backside) welcomes a break and a dip in the sea. There is still enough time and enough waves for a quick surf before sunset.

The seven days in Seignosse are characterised by good waves, good friends and good food. It’s made even better by a new ‘swell’ that came along with me, which basically means several days of the best waves. The almost continuous sunshine tops off an already wonderful stay. In the meantime I also treat my Tiger to a little rest.

One highlight was definitely a spontaneous trip to a Ben Howard concert, which was recorded in the historic Teatro Victoria Eugenia in San Sebastián, Spain. Officially, the concert had been sold out for several weeks. As my friends, who I visited in Seignosse, all had tickets already, I went along too hoping to get lucky. Fortunately, I was able to get one of exactly two remaining tickets from the ticket office.

As the wave reports got worse, I decided to pack my things and head home. Seignosse did not make it easy for me to leave and on the last evening I said goodbye with a sunset that was second to none.

Thanks to an impromptu campfire at a stopover on the river island of La Charité-sur-Loire, I could continue the next day with dry feet. Via Saarbrücken I drove towards Feldberg and then the last stretch to Rosbach vor der Höhe in order to return my faithful travel partner to Triumph Germany with, admittedly, a tear in my eye.

All in all it was a wonderful time with the tenacious Tiger and one thing is clear; if I could I would leave for the next trip right away and take the Tiger again anytime.

Photo credits

  • Sebastian Kuhn @forealproject
  • Sebastian Geiger @sebigeiger
  • Christoph Priebsch @bifismanstagram