Negotiating UK city traffic or the riding over the great hills of Bedfordshire no longer offer enough of a challenge? Then consider the Alps!
Only one day's ride from here (well, from Bedfordshire anyway), the Alps offer spectacular scenery and roads, and all the more if you're game for exploring off the beaten track (literally!).
The 'Stella Alpina Motociclistica Internazionale', more commonly known as the Stella Alpina Rally (or just "The Stella"), has taken place in the Italian Alps every year since 1966.
With the exception of the very first Stella Alpina, the meeting has taken place every year in the Italian ski-resort town of Bardonecchia which is located close to the Italian border with France at the end of the Frejus tunnel that links the two countries.
Whilst the term "Rally" can conjure up thoughts of a competitive event, this description does not apply to the Stella Alpina. Largely organised throughout it's 40+ years' history by Turin BMW rider, Mario Artusio, the Stella is simply a meeting of motorcyclists (and pillion passengers) who share a common interest. Whilst the highlight of the event for many is the Sunday morning ride up the largely unsurfaced track to the (9872ft elevation) Colle del Sommeiller, the socialising over the whole weekend is also a major attraction.
Don't be put off by the prospect of riding off tarmac. The Stella is intended to offer road-riders an opportunity to experience roads which they would not generally; the track can be negotiated on any well-ridden road bike.
Interested? Then the date for your diary is the second Sunday in July (every year!).