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TDST2020 – Day2, South Tyrol – Dolomites

Today is our official first day off – we wake up to a grey day with us not really being able to fully take advantage of our awesome suite-style room with huge balcony so obviously designed for the lazy consumption of a sunny day!

Southern Tyrol, view from our hotel room

Southern Tyrol, view from our hotel room

After a hearty Austrian-style breakfast my wife and I start our trip with a traditional TWIKE pilot team picture. With me traveling long-distance with my TWIKE since 2008, there are many of these pictures – maybe I’ll create a page for them someday.

Team TWIKE picture

Team TWIKE picture

Not much later, I spy a first real Italian bar and stop to get my first fix of proper coffee!

My first taste of my favourite Italian drink

My first taste of my favourite Italian drink

The weather however, stays bad and the further up we drive the more it’s snow, making our progress slow and tedious.

Worsening conditions

Worsening conditions

At a certain point we had over 10 cm of snow on the road and we were getting worried that we would have to turn around. Fortunately, after a while, the local road services started clearing the roads and things got slightly better driving-wise, but it stayed cold and wet.

Even worse!

Even worse!

We stayed on small roads and drove from village to village – we will need to come back and drive this road again – the landscapes promise to be beautiful when the weather is nice.

Swiss road blocks

Live road blocks

Our last pass for the day was the most critical – snowfall, sub-zero temperatures, bad visibility and ICE! Driving up things got progressively worse until we arrived at the top and found out that on the other side of the pass there was even more snow and icy conditions together with steep roads down to the valley.

We could either drive back down to where we came from and potentially have the same risks of losing control or continue – very, very slowly – and try to make it back to the valley in one piece: which we, after some deliberation, did.

Thanks to TW560’s very granular recuperation and the higher total weight on both tyres, we made it down in one piece and without any critical or dangerous moments. We definitely were ready for a drink when we got to our hotel for the night!

Critical conditions at >2000m alt

Critical conditions at >2000m alt

Many people ask me: how is it that a TWIKE is this safe in winter and how to you still get all this traction even if there aren’t any real winter tyres for the TWIKE? The answer is: Load concentration. The picture below shows the minimal surface actually touching the ground – with a total of about 400kg pushing down on 2-3 square centimetres, this will generate loads of traction!

Not too much of the tyre touching the ground

Not too much of the tyre touching the ground

We could do with some nicer weather tomorrow! Driving a full day in snow/rain and clouds isn’t too much fun!

Day 2 - TDST2020

Day 2 – TDST2020