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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:23 am 
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Hi guys,

Just wondering whether anyone could help me with a nice dilemma, I'm visiting a friend in Turin Italy, in July and was thinking of cycling for 3 weeks in Italy or France ?

I was thinking Italy, just focusing on the Dolomites. Or I could go to the mountains or France ?

I was thinking of the Passo del Stelvio, Passo di Giau, Mortirolo, Crocetta del Montello, Treviso and the Sella Ronda. I was thinking of staying at Arabba,Villabassa and Bormio and doing climbs around there - is there cheap accomodation around there ? Hows the cycling in Turin also ?


Any hints or tips for me from anyone who has done Italy or France...?

Cheers


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:43 am 
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Look forward to hearing about suggestions for Italy! :thumbup:

I asked about the French Alps and got some great suggestions for my trip. viewtopic.php?f=14&t=76253" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

And will gladly discuss my France trip last year to anyone who will listen, so if you have any questions... :lol:

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Posted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:43 am 


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 12:17 pm 
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Yep - I have many questions... :mrgreen:

I'd consider going to France for 1 week since I'm so close to it ... Briancon is very close to Turin so I'm tempted to go there ... or possibly La Grave, but I won't have a car... Do you have any suggestions - is one better than the other ? Excuse my ignorance about this, because I haven't done much research about France...Why did you base yourself in Bourg D'Oisans and Bourg Saint Maurice?


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:31 pm 
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ajmit3 wrote:
Why did you base yourself in Bourg D'Oisans and Bourg Saint Maurice?


Both are accessible by public transport including to each other (though took over 6 hours, 2 buses and a train to get between the two). Both offer a weeks worth of classic ascents.

Only when the trip was extended another two weeks to four did I decide on hiring a car so I could go to other areas which offered enough climbs for two or three days and then easily travel to the next location.

Briancon was a very nice town with the Col d'Izoard (n & s) and Col Angel worth riding. Galibier (s) can be ridden from here, though the more classic Telegraphe - Galibier ascent from the north could be done but would be an out and back. Alpe d'Huez could also be ridden from Briancon, but you would be riding over the Col du Lautaret to get there (140km return to the base of Alpe d'Huez).

La Grave has only a very limited bus service from what I could see.

Another option if just one week is to stay in St Jean de Maurienne. Public transport with climbs Telegraphe - Galibier, Col de la Madeleine, Glandon and Col de la Croix de Fer at your doorstep...

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 2:24 pm 
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Bormio is the usual location for the big climbs, otherwise if you're looking for something with interesting stuff to do even off the bike Id suggest the usual Lake of Garda.
I cant comment on prices on first, but on 2nd choice there's plenty of affordable accomodations.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 2:35 pm 
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What micky said. Also, with a bit of googling, you will find a multitude of blogs posting about Italian riding in the Dolomites with suggestions for hotels. There is quite a market and a number of hotels across all price ranges that cater to cyclists and motorcyclists doing these rides.

One suggested resource: Italy Bike Hotels - a listing of Italian hotels that cater to cyclists, usually offering a safe bike garage, access to tools, quick washing of jerseys, availability of cycling snacks for rides and post ride "refueling" not centered around meal times, connections to local shops for bike hire/maintenance, etc.

I have used Italy Bike Hotels for training camps (not in the mountains, but rather in the Riccione area) and was always satisfied.

Usual disclaimer: I am in no way associated with the Bike Hotels group or any individual hotel, just thought it to be a potentially useful resource.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:10 pm 
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Powerful Pete wrote:
... a listing of Italian hotels that cater to cyclists, usually offering a safe bike garage ...
Don't people usually keep their bikes in their room? I know I do. The only reason to store it elsewhere would be if it were safer (from theft), a significant other wouldn't accept it (if so, did you really choose the right significant other?), or you're staying in a Japanese or similar type micro hotel into which literally you and your bike can't fit at the same time.

Of course, I'm talking about serious bikes, not some piece of junk for cruising around town at 15 km/hr by some non-athlete - yeah, put those in the bike garage.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:26 pm 
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I have spent the last few Summer holidays in mainland Europe in both France and Italy
I definitely reccommend Italy, and especially the Dolomites (over the Italian Alps)
Better roads than France, better food than France, more careful drivers than France, better climbs than France and much friendlier people than France.
The main reason I went to France was to cycle on the Le Tour climbs and to become a member of the Club de Cingle, I did this but was not blown away by the experience.
The Dolomites were a completely different experience. For starters the area is the Tyrol which is different to stereotypical Italy and they love their mountains.
I based myself in Cavalese (Val di Fiemme) which allowed me to cycle all the major passes; Pordi, Sella, Campolongo, Gardena, Lavaze, Pampeago, Manghen (the hardest of all from Telve), Valles, Rolle, San Pellgrino, Fedaia, .....
It is an excellent experience so friendly and cyclist friendly with lots of others out on the road
Go To Italy


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:47 am 
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Are not the Dolomites part of the eastern Italian Alps?


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:24 am 
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Is it possible to access Cavalese or Bormio by public transport?

Edit - did a quick search and it is possible to get to Bormio by train and then bus. Still to check Cavalese...

Even if it is possible to get there by public transport. How limiting would it be without a car?

Sorry to hijack your topic ajmit3 - Italy would be the pick for my next trip with the bike OS, so very keen on everyone's answers. :thumbup:

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 4:42 am 
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Sicily an option? Great weather. Great food. Great scenery.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 4:44 am 
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I've ridden in both Italy and France several times. I've usually been with some group that looked after transportation, although I'll be going to Corvara on my own for the Maratona dles Dolomiti this year (did in two years ago with my older son, this year with my younger one).

Some general thoughts:
- people are usually pretty good in both countries. Most of the places where riding is good are ski towns in winter and they're used to tourists. Italy's probably a little better but the French tolerate my abuse of their language and treat me well and I've never had a problem there except in a swanky Parisian hotel.
- the Dolomites are, in my opinion, prettier than the Alps
- it will be tough getting around without a car. You'll have a challenge getting from Torino to Bormio and Arabba's probably tougher still. Bormio and the Dolomites are a long way even if you can drive directly. Cortina or Corvara might have more access. I suspect that getting to France would be easier, particularly somewhere like Bourg d'Oisans. There are lots of good climbs around there as Dalai has said. With only a week, I suspect you're better off going to one place since it will probably take a day to get there and a day back and most of a day to move from one town to another.
- Bormio's the logical town in the Stelvio area but it's on the wrong side of the Stelvio so you'd have to ride up the south side, down the north, back up the north and down again. I think it would be a really long day and the climb from the south would only be OK, not great. You could do the same thing with the Gavia (I've done the climb from Bormio and it's only OK too whereas the other side is the historic race route that wasn't paved when I was there in 95, although it was in 2003) or try to do a long ride over the Mortirolo, through Ponte di Legno and over the Gavia from the direction the races use. However, there aren't many other neat climbs right around there.
- Corvara offers the Sella Ronda, my favourite climb of them all. You could also do the Campolongo, Marmolada (Fedaia on the maps), and back to Corvara from Canazei via the Pordoi and Campolongo. That would be a great ride too. You could also do the Campolongo, Giau, Falzarego and back to Corvara or Campolongo, Falzarego and back. Those would be good rides and are the second half of the long or medium Maratona routes. In Corvara, anything goes up out of town except the road through la Villa but I don't think there's much of interest that way. You can also hike around there. My son and I have been there twice and hiked from Corvara itself and from the ski lifts in town.
- if I were doing the Alps and only staying in one place, I'd probably go with Bourg d'Oisans because there are several good rides near there, although some would be fairly long. You could spell yourself by doing something like Alpe d'Huez as a rest day since it's only something like 13 km up, whereas it would be quite a bit longer to do the Croix de Fer or Galibier from Bourg d'Oisans. There's also a short climb on the other side that was used a couple of times in the tour (98 for sure) but I don't recall its name.
- Unless you like French foods, the food in Italy is more suited to cycling. I've seldom had good pasta in France but seldom had bad pasta anywhere in Italy, even in little tourist joints.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:53 am 
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Dalai wrote:
Is it possible to access Cavalese or Bormio by public transport?

Edit - did a quick search and it is possible to get to Bormio by train and then bus. Still to check Cavalese...

Even if it is possible to get there by public transport. How limiting would it be without a car?

Sorry to hijack your topic ajmit3 - Italy would be the pick for my next trip with the bike OS, so very keen on everyone's answers. :thumbup:


Id rent a car anyway as public transport here can be pretty annoying.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:54 am 
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Woah, thanks for all the helpful suggestions - I clearly need to do some research and post back with a clear intinerary . I have just bought the hardcover 'Mountain High: Europe's 50 greatest climbs' by Daniel Friebe - to get a broad overview, I must say I am very ignorant of the history and the climbs of the Tour and the Giro.... This should provide a starting point.

Just wondering also - should I get a bike bag (hard or soft) ? and will I need to keep disasembling and reassembling my bike in France and Italy ? Thanks...


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Posted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:54 am 


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:11 pm 
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c50jim wrote:
You could do the same thing with the Gavia (I've done the climb from Bormio and it's only OK too whereas the other side is the historic race route that wasn't paved when I was there in 95, although it was in 2003)
DId it look like this in 95?

Image


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