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northeast : Friuli

Description on Bikely: Monte Zoncolan up its west side from Liariis is the steepest climb on an all-asphalt public road bigger than 1000 vertical meters which goes over a pass in Europe or North America. It's in northeast Italy, and was (at last) included in the Giro d'Italia race in 2007. The climb starts in Ovaro, but the real steep part comes only after going through Liariis. The average steepness from Liariis to the top is around 14%, though much is a bit steeper than that. Not many views until higher up. The road generally faces sort of southwest and there's not too much shade in the lower section -- so unless it's a cool day, try to do it in the morning not the afternoon.
Reasons for showing it as a loop: (a) unlike some steep roads that just go up to an end, this one continues over down the other side, so I like to celebrate that; (b) I don't like the idea of riding back down something so sustained steep; (c) the 2nd climb and descent over Ravascletto is kind of pleasant with some sections fun; (d) that's how I actually rode it that day.
This route not checked by me since 2008.

Dolomites : Südtirol / Alto Adige + north Trentino + Veneto

Description on Bikely: Gives a couple of ways to get between the Adige river valley and the main pass to the "heart" of the Dolomites -- which avoid some of the higher-traffic sections of roads. Also the road through and above Steinegg is rather pretty -- I'd ride from Bozen up to the ridge above Steinegg and go back the same way just for fun even if I didn't care about getting to the Karerpass or the Dolomites. To me the key is to avoid the long tunnel at the bottom of the Eggental road (even though it's closer to Bozen). The only disadvantage to going through Steinegg to the Karerpass is that you end up on the main Eggental road anyway -- but higher up where it has less traffic. And the bike path from Bozen to Blumau is kind of interesting in itself.
This route not checked by me since 2008.

Description on Bikely: Big views traversing around the top of a big valley, lotsa apple orchards, pleasant riding thru villages -- much more down than up. Afterward we rode north to Tramin + Kaltern back to the base of the Mendelpass cablecar. For more details + links to other routes, see www.roberts-1.com/b/x/it.

Labels on map points have details and alternates, especially check the detailed instructions for the tricky road junctions by Rocchetta (click on Show, select Cue Sheet). I rode it all it once in 2005, then the upper section again in 2008 -- but not with a GPS, so I might not have gotten all the turns + roads exactly right. Anyway there's probably some better route thru the Val di Non, and I hope somebody puts it out on the web -- but what's here is roughly what we rode, and we enjoyed it plenty then. This route not checked by me since 2005.

Detailed instructions at Rocchetta: what we remember doing here in 2005: Just after merging into the new main highway, see sign for Rocchetta, just above two half-circle traffic lanes with a parking area in the middle. Exit left from the main highway onto the half-circle with signs for “Cles” + “Passo di Tonale”. Just before the end of that half-circle, look straight across the northwest-bound traffic lanes and see the single-lane road going into the woods. This single-lane road started rough + dirt, soon got better. Sometimes it's called "old SP29".

We did it by starting at the bottom station of the Mendel-standseilbahn cablecar near Kaltern / Caldaro, and riding the cablecar ujp to Mendelpass. It was the first lift up on a mid-week day, and they had space open in the cablecar, so they let us bring our bike aboard and up with us to the top station. After we reached Mezzocorona, we rode the last part of the Trento - Lavis - Mezzocorona - Tramin route to Tramin, and then continued north on the Weinstrasse / Strada del Vino to Kaltern / Caldaro and back to the bottom station of the cablecar.

see more info on this route + alternatives

Trentino

Description on Bikely: We wanted to ride from Tramin to Trento and back without using the Adige bike path in both directions -- so we found this route going on roads, so we can use the Adige bike path for one half of our loop and this route for the other half. Mostly gentle, but some significant hills (total around 275 vertical meters) near the north end on the Strada del Vino / Weinstrasse -- but they're rewarded with big views and fast downhills. For more info + alternatives + connections to other routes, see www.roberts-1.com/b/x/it. There's at least one significant section along a high-speed high-traffic road, but it's difficult to avoid it without riding either some steep hills (see route on Bikely, "Mezzocorona - Lavis - Trento the hilly way") or the Adige bike path. This route not checked by us since 2009.

46km (28.5 miles) with around +275m (900 feet) vertical of climbing.

Description on Bikely: Interesting pretty way between Mezzocorona to Trento that does not use the Adige bike trail much, and has some big views from up in the hillsides on east side of the Adige valley. But it's got some serious hill climbing, about 500 vertical meters total, perhaps including a section about 70 vertical meters at steepness around 12-14% grade. For more info + alternate routes + connections, see www.roberts-1.com/b/x/it. This route not checked by me since 2009.

24km (15 miles) with around +500m (1650 feet) vertical of climbing.

Description on Bikely: pretty loop thru Palu + Val di Cembra + Faedo + Pressano. Lots of grapes, some apples, some quiet villages, big views over Cembra + Adige valleys. First section thru Palu offers a quieter way into Val di Cembra than the main road up from Lavis. Two steep climbs about 300m (1000 feet) vertical each with steepness around 8-12% grade. Not checked by us since 2009.

Description on Bikely: This is the way I know to exit with least motor traffic from the bottom of the beautiful Val di Non (near Cles + Spormaggiore) to the larger Adige valley near Mezzocorona + Trento. Can be used to connect between the main Adige valley near Trento and any of: (a) from the north Val di Non around Fondo + Mendel pass; (b) from the west around Cles + Male + Passo Tonale + Madonna di Campiglio; (c) from the southwest by Spormaggiore + Molveno + Dolomiti di Brenta.

For more details and connections to other routes, see www.roberts-1.com/b/x/it. Labels on map points have details and alternates, especially check the detailed instructions for the tricky road junctions by Rocchetta (click on Show, select Cue Sheet). Not checked by us since 2005.

Detailed instructions at Rocchetta: what we remember doing here in 2005: Just after merging into the new main highway, see sign for Rocchetta, just above two half-circle traffic lanes with a parking area in the middle. Exit left from the main highway onto the half-circle with signs for “Cles” + “Passo di Tonale”. Just before the end of that half-circle, look straight across the northwest-bound traffic lanes and see the single-lane road going into the woods. This single-lane road started rough + dirt, soon got better. Sometimes it's called "old SP29".

Tramin - Cembra alternate loop -- more interesting, less traffic, harder

62 miles, hilly. Many vineyards, some apple orchards, pretty villages, sweeping views across the Adige + Cembra valleys. See www.roberts-1.com/b/x/it for info + alternatives + links to other routes. Some much steeper climbing sections than the obvious Val di Cembra loop, but less traffic + prettier. Labels on route points discuss alternate routes and give steepness measures of some hills -- can read the notes on Bikely by clicking Show, then select Cue Sheet. Only checked by me once so far, not since 2009.

GPX file with all tracks (A + B below) + key waypoints for GPS navigation

see map on Bikely | notes on Bikely

for single overall track in GPX or KML format, can download those from Bikely map

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The obvious Cembra loop route is: Adige bike trail south to Lavis, S612 east + northeast to Molina by Cavalese, S48 west to finish.

The advantages of this alternate loop are:

. * south on Weinstrasse / Strada del Vino to Mezzocorona is prettier and more interesting than the Adige bike trail.

. * going into Val di Cembra (Cembratal) by way of Palu avoids climbing with the car and truck traffic on the S612 up out of Lavis.

. * exiting Val di Cembra at Capriana avoids the less scenic less interesting northeast section of S612 toward Molina.

. * going to the S48 by way of Altrei / Anterivo avoids the tunnel with significant car + truck traffic.

You can use the alternate route for some sections, and the obvious route for others.

(Another way of thinking of this loop is that it's a way to ride around the Monte Corno / Hornspitze mountain.)

section A of Tramin - Cembra alternate loop of (hilly) 100km (62 miles). Many vineyards, some apple orchards, pretty villages, sweeping views across the valley. Some much steeper climbing sections than the obvious Tramin-Cembra loop, including two sections of 80 and 55 vertical meters at steepness around 9-11% grade, which is pretty steep for most riders, and a long section around 7-9% steepness. Labels on route points discuss alternate routes and give steepness measures of some hills -- can read the notes on Bikely by clicking Show, then select Cue Sheet.

For more info + links + connections to other routes, see www.roberts-1.com/b/x/it. The other half of this loop on Bikely is "Cembra - Altrei - Truden - Tramin". Only checked by me once so far, not since 2009.

section B of Tramin - Cembra alternate loop of (hilly) 100km (62 miles). Many vineyards, some pretty villages, sweeping views across the valley.

Some much steeper climbing sections than the obvious Tramin-Cembra loop, including a section of 125 vertical meters at steepness around 9-11% grade, which is pretty steep for most riders, and a long section around 7-9% steepness. Also the descent west from Truden is very steep, and doubt I would choose it often myself over the obvious alternative, but I've left it in the route so other riders can consider it as a possibility. Labels on route points discuss alternate routes and give steepness measures of some hills -- can read the notes on Bikely by clicking Show, then select Cue Sheet.

For more info + links + connections to other routes, see www.roberts-1.com/b/x/it. The other half of this loop on Bikely is "Tramin - Mezzocorona - Cembra". Only checked by me once so far, not since 2009.

Veneto

lake Garda

Big views from high along the east side of the M Baldo ridge. Interesting long climb sections (+700m and +900m vertical) some steep (includes +250m vertical around 12% grade). Interesting long descent. Could be used in a scenic loop around M Baldo. Gets into a remote quiet area on a narrow asphalt road. We've only checked it once so far, in 2009.

One of the steepest long climbs on an asphalt road in Europe (or the world?). Sustained steep around 14-16% grade for about +735 vertical meters (2400 ft), a brief moderation then another +100 meters at 14-16%. about +960 meters total. Comparable to Monte Zoncolan (in Friuli), but closer to other well-known bicycling areas. Views of the Lago di Garda (Gardasee) not so great, unless perhaps you stop at one of the curves. Road itself not that interesting: long switchbacks at a steady grade - (but once reach the top there's some pleasant riding south to Prada + Lumini). Not checked by me since 2009.

see also: Salite.ch | Quaeldich.de

Piave river / Belluno

Description on Bikely: Very pleasant ride on both sides if the Pieve river southwest of Belluno: part thru farmland in the valley, part with "balcony" views out across the valley from hillside slopes on south side of the Belluno Dolomite mountains. Very few farm animals, lots of maize fields (American "corn"), various villages. The lack of animals and lack of more interesting variety of vegetables usually would have bored us -- but somehow the overall setting felt great, and we wish it could have ridden lots more miles around there.
We only rode it once, so we might not have remembered or drawn some of the roads on the map correctly.
This route not checked by us since 2008.

see 2008 Report

more stories + photos

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