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  1. #1
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    NE Italy + Dolomites mountain roads questions

    I've been riding some of the high passes and mountain roads of northeast
    Italy, and now I've got some questions about them:

    (a) Which of the passes and mountain roads in Italy are you most eager to ride over again? Why?
    Which ones to you plan to avoid riding again?

    I've ridden several of the obvious passes over major roads in the Dolomites, but I notice the map has lots of other smaller roads (unpaved?) over other passes close by.
    Which of those are especially interesting?
    Which ones are not worth trying?

    (b) riding from Spondinig/Spondigna to Meran/Merano: I've always avoided riding this because I didn't like the looks of it from driving the road several times. Seemed like lots of high-speed vehicle traffic going between the Reschenpass / Passo di Resia to Meran + Bozen. And a fair number of curves on a road not wide.
    What your experience?
    Are there ways to avoid much of the distance on the main road?
    Or is riding mostly on the main road not as bad as I'm imagining?

    (c) riding from Meran to Bozen: There might be several ways to do this.
    (1) I've heard there's a bike path along the valley floor;
    (2) over Gampenjoch / Passo Palade and Mendel pass / Mendola high on the west side;
    (3) lower roads on the west side;
    (4) roads thru the hills on the east side.
    Any thoughts on which ones are more pretty and interesting, or which ones to avoid?

    (d) Passo San Pellegrino and Passo di Rolle (somewhat south of Canazei): It looks like there's some different options for riding through or around there:
    What's prettier and more interesting?

    farther east:
    (e) Passo di Monte Croce Carnico (or Ploeckenpass) (1360m) is northeast from Monte Zoncolan on the Italy / Austria frontier: I think the Giro d'Italia has ridden over it twice, but what's it like with the road open for normal vehicle traffic?

    (f) even farther east, do some of the mountains still have pointy peaks and sharp ridges like in the Dolomites (at least somewhat)? Or are the summits all more rounded and moderate? Or are there other things about the terrain that might make it worthwhile to continue riding east across Italy (perhaps with some crossings thru Austria?) to
    reach like say Kranskja Gora in Slovenia?
    what about riding over passes in Slovenia?
    (g) Or would it be more interesting to ride more south to finish say in Trieste?

    farther west:
    (h) west from Stelvio and Mortirolo and Tirano is Passo di San Marco (1985m) -- anybody tried that?

    Thanks for the help and ideas,

    Ken

  2. #2
    Senior Member dorkypants's Avatar
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    There are well-marked bike-only paths (paved) between Kalterersee and Bozen (north-south primarily). I don't know about bike paths on the east-west axis, other than that the one between Bruneck and Toblach has a lot of unpaved stretches, and there are side roads between Naturns and Latsch I've ridden, more-or-less paralleling the SS38 on the south side. The SS38 is not a road I'd want to bike on. There's a regional train that runs between Bozen and Malles that allows bicycles. Mendelpass isn't bad, but it's not a must-do.

    Between S. Pellegrino and Rolle, personally I think Rolle is more scenic.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorkypants View Post
    There are well-marked bike-only paths (paved) between Kalterersee and Bozen (north-south primarily). I don't know about bike paths on the east-west axis, other than that the one between Bruneck and Toblach has a lot of unpaved stretches
    Good to know about those. On my last trip I saw some signs for long-distance bike route called "Lunga Via delle Dolomit" / "Langer Weg der Dolomiten" -- seems to go more north/south like thru Toblach + Cortina + Pieve di Cadore + Belluno + Feltre. But I don't know what parts are on or off road, paved or unpaved.

    there are side roads between Naturns and Latsch I've ridden, more-or-less paralleling the SS38 on the south side. The SS38 is not a road I'd want to bike on.
    Good to know about that side road. If I can put enough of those together, might not be much need ride much on SS38 between Spondinig and Meran. My paper road maps show lots of km along the SS38 thru there with no side roads. On the other hand, Google Maps shows lots and lots of alternatives. But my experience trying to cycle on roads not shown on the TCI 1:200000 maps is that it often gets bumpy or muddy or blocked. So it's good to have reports like yours of actual experience on the ground.

    Mendelpass isn't bad, but it's not a must-do.
    I really like descending the west side going south into the Val di Non thru the apple orchards. Done it twice now. But that's not really on the track from Meran to Bozen.

    Between S. Pellegrino and Rolle, personally I think Rolle is more scenic.
    Thanks, I'll be sure to adjust my route to reach it when I next ride near there.

    Ken
    Last edited by Ken Roberts; 10-29-08 at 07:05 PM. Reason: fix a couple words

  4. #4
    Senior Member flavio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Roberts View Post

    (a) Which of the passes and mountain roads in Italy are you most eager to ride over again? Why?
    Which ones to you plan to avoid riding again?

    I've ridden several of the obvious passes over major roads in the Dolomites, but I notice the map has lots of other smaller roads (unpaved?) over other passes close by.
    Which of those are especially interesting?
    Which ones are not worth trying?

    (b) riding from Spondinig/Spondigna to Meran/Merano: I've always avoided riding this because I didn't like the looks of it from driving the road several times. Seemed like lots of high-speed vehicle traffic going between the Reschenpass / Passo di Resia to Meran + Bozen. And a fair number of curves on a road not wide.
    What your experience?
    Are there ways to avoid much of the distance on the main road?
    Or is riding mostly on the main road not as bad as I'm imagining?

    (c) riding from Meran to Bozen: There might be several ways to do this.
    (1) I've heard there's a bike path along the valley floor;
    (2) over Gampenjoch / Passo Palade and Mendel pass / Mendola high on the west side;
    (3) lower roads on the west side;
    (4) roads thru the hills on the east side.
    Any thoughts on which ones are more pretty and interesting, or which ones to avoid?
    (a) I like Resia pass, because it links Italy to Europe via Adige Cycle Path / Inn Cycle Path. We followed that way in 2008 tour, and will do the same in the next 2009 tour. You travel by bicycle forgetting the existence of traffic.
    It is unpaved only for a few length along the lakes of the pass; anyway surface is good also there, and road race bicycles go there too.

    (b) I don't know where is Spondinig/Spondigna, anyway from Resia pass to Meran/Merano there is the Adige cycle path, with road signs everywhere. Wonderful!

    (c) I suggest absolutely the cycle path along the Adige river. Nothing of special, but it is one of the few long distances cycle paths we have in Italy!
    (Around Meran/Merano it is under construction, so in reality it starts few km after; anyway there are road signs).

  5. #5
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    Hello folks! I came through this interesting forum and read about Bolzano, mountains, bicycle tours etc.
    So I would like to speak about what in our region has now become a good practice for quite a number of people: commute with a Frisbee electric bike! Yes, it seems funny, but I tried it myself, as I have bought a Frisbee e-bike some time ago, and it's a fine experience, if you do not want to cycle as a purist. Consider that you have to pedal, otherwise the batteries will finish early! Since I have it, I cycle one or more hours every day, very often just for fun! What is your experience?
    Look at this e-biker, he has become quite a legend riding near all Dolomite passes at more then 20 km.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOy06fwTXbM&feature=fvsr and more on their homepage: www.frisbee.eu

    Nice to meet you all!

  6. #6
    Senior Member flavio's Avatar
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    Thank you for the commercial advertising, they are so rare that here we were all only waiting for it

  7. #7
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    Ken,

    I just got back from a trip in Slovenia. In Northwest Slovenia there are very few roads---literally. Of the more main/secondary roads there are 3-4 with solid climbs from what I could gather-----the best town to base in is called Bovec---about 8 miles east of the Italian border. Between Bovec and Kranjska Gora (where they hold world cup ski events) there is but one road---it goes up and over Vrscic (pronounced verseetch) Pass------on the south side all smoothly paved ---one the north side a bit sketchy only because when the road was built in 1916 by Russian prisoners of war in WWI they used cobblestones in all of the switchbacks to enhance traction for the carts back then---and have yet to pave them over for historical reasons. All switchbacks are numbered----25 on each side of the pass-----there is actually more than that but they for some reason only numbers 50-----from Bovec to Kransjska is about 25 miles---didn't get total climbing but it is fairly hefty---lots of riders though and cars going slowly.

    From Bovec, you can also climb west over the Predin pass into Italy---a bit easier than Vrscic as it is the road the locals take to drop into Italy and head north into Austria. There is another road that also heads west over the mountains into Italy but I didn't catch what pass it was called. South of Bovec about 15 miles there is a town called Kobarid. there are some smaller climbs---steep and less than totally smooth pavement in that area.-----certainly a good part of the world if looking to get away and find some climbs not many from the States have tackled

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