Passo di Sella

When the road is the goal

Passo di Sella, Dolomites, Italy. 2242 m.a.s.l.

It’s November and it’s cold. The mountains with their snow-covered white caps and the white vertical rock faces invite me to a detour. I have only one goal for the day; to enjoy the roads and the nature of the Dolomites. What a privilege.

I start early and it’s still dark and freezing cold when I leave the hotel. Yesterday I spent driving the incredible Ferrari 550 Maranello. A car which easily out powers the BMW R 1100 RS I will ride back to its base at the BMW Motorrad press garage in Munich. The clock on the RS dash shows 06:30 AM as I enter the Autostrada by Modena heading north and diving into the fog which is so familiar to this area at this time of the year.

North of Verona I ride out of the fog and feel the cold creeping inside my gloves. The sky is clear and blue, and the fields are covered in white frost. It will take a while before the sun will reach down to the bottom of the valley and I decide for a stop just north of Trento for a warm cup of chocolate and a quick look at my map to confirm my route. I am going over Passo de Sella.

My time schedule is fixed. I have to reach a plane from Munich by 19:00, in the meanwhile a have to deliver the BMW. I didn’t expect the temperatures to go below zero, but I am determined to fulfil my plan and I have already had enough of the Autostrada.

The chocolate combined with a finger massage helps med get warm. At Ora I leave the Autostrada and start climbing on the east side of the valley still in the shadow. There is ice on the ponds by the road, but the road is dry, but I am aware of water on the road. I have experienced this once before on my Suzuki GT 380. A costly experience.

The BMW was impressive on the Autostrada. The engine has some vibrations at certain rpm, but is comfortable and 130 – 150 kmph was a comfortable cruising speed. The Fairing is efficient and the trip from Munich to Maranello mostly on motorways was relaxed despite a terrible rainstorm north of the Brenner Pass. Once passed the Brenner I was greeted by a warm and summer like breeze and the rainy Germany and Austria was forgotten.

The R 1100 RS do 200 kmph with ease, but it’s now, on the curvy roads up from the Adage valley and in to the Dolomites the BMW really starts to impress me. The stability I liked and appreciated so much on the motorway is accompanied by easy handling. I have respect of the tornanti, but the BMW makes the ride so easy, and as the confidence in the bike rice, so do the speed. Then the rear tire slips, but grips again. A scary moment, but soon forgotten. Now the sun has started to warm. Combined with my engaged riding I get warm and now I can enjoy the long and sweeping curves passed Predazzo in the Fiemme valley.

I follow the SS48 in the direction of Cortina. From Canazei the road I have been looking forward to starts. The climb up to the Pordoi pass has numbered tornanti, and I am to keep left just after tornanti 20 or something. The road to Passo de Sella is narrow and the curves close.

The Sella Massive stand tall in front of me and the view is breathtaking. I take a break before I reach the top. I lie in the brown grass, under a clear blue sky and a warm sun in November! Life is so gentle to me.

I stop again by the kiosk on the top of the pass, at 2242 m.a.s.l. There is now wind, no cars, just some birds enjoying the scenery and looking for something to eat. I sit down, with my feet outside the terrace by the kiosk.

I think back on my first motorcycle trip on a blue Tempo Fighter 100 and the incredible long trip around the Beitstadfjord in Troendelag. I rode 240 km that day, and arrived back home with a sore behind and the addiction to do the road by motorcycle. As I sit at the Sella pass this is the best moment in my motorcycle career so far. A baguette is followed by a can of Coca Cola as I enjoy the view.

As I struggle to get into the leather suit a happy British biker on a MZ pass me. On my way down on the north side of the Sella pass on my way to the Gardena valley I pass the heavy loaded MZ 250. He has an enforced relaxed pace but still seems to enjoy the ride. I feel like a snob as I hurry past him on the comfortable and strong BMW. We are so different but with the same goal – to enjoy the road on two wheels!

If you have not ridden the roads of the Dolomites, you really have something to look forward to.

The route over Passo di Sella can be combined with the routes over Passo di Valparola and Passo di Giau.

Where to stay:

Hotel Stella, Moena