For the high point of any tour, keep going until you get to the Austrian Alps. They’re simply amazing
I'm excited to be in Austria. I’ve been a few times and I know what quality awaits us: not just good roads… great roads. The kind that draw riders not just from across Europe but from all over the world. And today we’re going to ride one of the biggest: the Grossglockner Hochalpenstraße - the Grossglockner High Alpine Road.
Weeble has never been. I pay the tolls and lead the way – but even from a few corners ahead, I can hear the sound of his mind being blown. “It was really difficult to ride,” he says, when he catches up with me at Kaiser Franz-Josef Hohe, opposite the glacier. “I was just looking at the scenery. This is definitely Europe’s most beautiful road. There’s an amazing view on every corner.”
From the visitor centre at the dead-end of the road, we set off to ride the full length of the Grossglockner... hampered by the fact that Weeble wants to keep stopping for pictures. “I’m not going to stop on every corner... but I could,” he admits.
I’m glad to be riding back and forth in front of the camera, though. These corners not only look good but are also great to ride. That’s not a lucky accident: the road has been engineered to be a pleasure to drive. There are no diminishing-radius turns - nothing tightens on you, everything flows. Read the road properly and it can be very, very enjoyable indeed.
The only sour note is the chaos at Eidelweißspitze - the 'Bikers point' built on a spur road at the middle of the main run of the Grossglockner. Back in the 1930s when they built the road, the Austrians blew the top 25m off this small peak to create a flat area with spectacular views… but a limited amount of parking. Normally I’d stop here for coffee but today it’s so thronged with cars we just grab a hurried picture and move on.
The run down the hill towards Zell am See is every inch as good as the rest of the road – and better for not stopping for more pictures. I lose myself in the hypnotic rhythm of entry-apex-exit, flowing down the road in a blissfully zen-like state. Weeble cruises down in his own time, lost in the landscape.
And that’s why Grossglockner is such a great road. No matter how you want to ride it or what you look for in a road - whether it’s technical corners or amazing scenery - it delivers in spades. “Now I’ve seen it, I just want to do every photoshoot here,” says Weeble. “It’s the most spectacular pass in Europe.”