3 weeks in Italy or France ?

Questions about bike hire abroad and everything light bike related. No off-topic chat please

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Gearjunkie
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by Gearjunkie

I agree with much of what others have said.

I too would prefer the Italian Dolomites over France, but both are fantastic for climbing.

If you're thinking of France and the Bourg area, I'd suggest staying in La Grave. Fantastic little town, great local feel. Just up the road from Bourg and lots of climbs handy. Easy to do one of several loops down to Bourg, up the Alpe and down one of the alternative descents to La Grave. Remember to take commuting lights for the tunnels - the Gendarmes are pretty hot on cyclists not having lights in the tunnels, as Contador found out. He was detained in the local lock up (just a couple of doors from our ski lodge hotel) while we were there last year :lol:

Take plenty of on bike food - very hard to find good muesli bars and gels.

Also don't forget your eye wear. The descents are so long and fast you definitely need the eye protection.

Travelling from down under, definitely don't do the LA transit. Bad experience, locked up for hours without food, teased by the duty free and cafes just the other side of security (not allowed out).

Enjoy!

GJ

Dalai
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by Dalai

c50jim wrote:I've ridden a lot in both France and Italy and have to say that the drivers there are generally a lot more tolerant of us cyclists than North American drivers. I remember being in small town France on my first ride there in 94. I was going (slowly) up some hill on a backroad barely two cars wide. I could see a car approaching and heard a truck coming behind. I was watching for the best place to ride off the road when I heard the truck start gearing down well back of me. I think that's a lot more common there than here.


Does take a bit to get used to. :wink: There would be stretches where you could hear cars come up behind but realistically not enough room to pass. Back home they would (include one or more following options) - Still gun it squeezing you / sit agressively just behind your wheel / hurl abuse when they pass. In France it just never came, they just sat there calmly and finally passed when they had plenty of room to do so... Pure bliss!

by Weenie


Dalai
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by Dalai

If you had only a couple of days for a flying visit to Italy (minimum 4 days - fly in, 2 days riding and fly out) where would you suggest?

I ask as I am heading to Europe again this year and looks like I may be able to sneak away for four days - hoping to perhaps even get a few extra days but at least the four is looking likely...

Best option I have devised so far is to fly into Milan with Air Malta - drive the hire car to Bormio where I'd ride over the Stelvio to Prato return and the second riding day over the Gavia to Ponte de Legno return. Sound reasonable? Or is there another spot in Northern Italy you would recommend for such a short trip?

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ultimobici
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by ultimobici

Dalai wrote:If you had only a couple of days for a flying visit to Italy (minimum 4 days - fly in, 2 days riding and fly out) where would you suggest?

I ask as I am heading to Europe again this year and looks like I may be able to sneak away for four days - hoping to perhaps even get a few extra days but at least the four is looking likely...

Best option I have devised so far is to fly into Milan with Air Malta - drive the hire car to Bormio where I'd ride over the Stelvio to Prato return and the second riding day over the Gavia to Ponte de Legno return. Sound reasonable? Or is there another spot in Northern Italy you would recommend for such a short trip?

Lake Como.

Day one, ride to Bellagio, over the Ghisallo, stop at the chapel dedicated to racing cyclists, drop back to Como via Colma di Sormano, check out Il Muro (100km odd). Day two, loop around the lake (160km dead).

No need for a car, less than an hour and €12 from Malpensa.

airwise
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by airwise

The drive from Malpensa to Bormio is a bit of a pain but worth it for me.

Rather than out and backs, ride from Bormio down the valley to Mazzo, up the Mortirolo, descend to Edolo then do the South side of the Gavia ( by far the best anyway). A final descent into Bormio makes a great ride.

The next day, again just before the summit of the Stelvio, turn left and descend the Umbrail into Santa Maria. Head along the valley to Prato then chill until early evening before climbing the Stelvio and descending back to Bormio. That way you get to enjoy the climb without feeling like you are on a motorbike test track.

If you have time, do the ride from Lecco to the Madonna above Lake Como on the way back. It's only short and a good warm down.

Dalai
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by Dalai

Thanks for the suggestions! :thumbup:

Hadn't thought about riding around Lake Como so will look into it, but in reality it's the big mountains I crave...

Having said that, not sure if I have the fitness for the Mortirolo to Gavia loop. Mortirolo sounds just a little challenging! Ducking across the Italy was only thought about as a possibility in the last few days, so haven't been in the hills training like I did before last years trip.

Looks like I know what I'll be doing over the next couple of months before we leave.

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HammerTime2
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by HammerTime2

prendrefeu wrote:I suppose one's tastes for food is a matter of personal preference. In regards to an earlier comment from someone stating that one country's food is superior to anothers, that too is a matter of personal preference.

I love good pasta, but I don't consider it any more "cyclist friendly" of a food than French food, and even in periods where I'm a heavy training schedule I don't personally seek pastas over other foods. To each their own, no? :noidea:

Personally I love French food and have personally found it preferable over most Italian foods available to the average tourist, even the tourist with a nice wallet and connections to pull.

It really depends on the individual's own tastes, and I don't think we should get into a debate of one country's foods versus another's.

The question is really about environment: accessibility to routes with minimal travel between/from places of stay, comfort with local traffic/customs and language. That's it.

Given as you state the existence of personal preferences in the matter of food, then do not personal preferences also extend to the consideration of criteria of interest to a particular cyclist when traveling? Is it not reasonable for a poster to bring up certain factors and criteria for consideration, and then let each reader apply them according to their own preferences? Can not food be a criterion for consideration?

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prendrefeu
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by prendrefeu

Food was not a criterion in the OP's question, HammerTime2.
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HammerTime2
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by HammerTime2

ajmit3 wrote: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

Nowhere in this post is food explicitly included or excluded from consideration. Therefore, in my opinion, it is legitimate for responding posters to introduce it as a possible criterion for consideration. Discussion of food could be considered as falling within the scope of "hints or tips".

andyindo
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by andyindo

Dalai wrote:Thanks for the suggestions! :thumbup:

Hadn't thought about riding around Lake Como so will look into it, but in reality it's the big mountains I crave...

Having said that, not sure if I have the fitness for the Mortirolo to Gavia loop. Mortirolo sounds just a little challenging! Ducking across the Italy was only thought about as a possibility in the last few days, so haven't been in the hills training like I did before last years trip.

Looks like I know what I'll be doing over the next couple of months before we leave.


Head to the Dolomites, stay in Arabba or Corvara. You can do the world famous sella ronda, the giau and Marmolada amongst others are all close by. You can do a lot of looped rides as well. Its also amazingly beautiful, roads are good and not as busy as Bormio, Como etc.

I've been to all those places and the Sella Ronda area is the one place I return every year.

Dalai
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by Dalai

I am most likely landing in Milano, given Air Malta fly direct and only charge 20 Euro for the bike each way... So Dolomites do look good, but better for a longer trip given the extra distance there and back?

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Spindoctor
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by Spindoctor

Italy - dont you just look at the Stelvio and want to ride it?
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micky
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by micky

I'd check the weather first cause in the Dolomites there's often rain these days (usually in the afternoons).

I'd suggest the usual Lake of Como and Lake of Garda simply cause they give more options both on and off the bike than going to Bormio (wonderful for riding but a bit boring after that).
In your case as you're landing in Milan Lake of Como is rather close.

Enda Marron
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by Enda Marron

Just to let you (and everybody) know - I will be in the Dolomites 26th - 31st July; based in Val di Fiemme in a great town called Cavalese
Get in touch if you wish to join me for some climbing and bike chat

Dalai
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by Dalai

Nice Enda Marron.

Thank you everyone for your suggestions. :beerchug:

Looks like it will be only two riding days in Italy this trip... So although the other areas sound great, I think for such a short visit I will ride the Stelvio and if I feel up to it the Mortirolo Gavia loop (though reading about the Mortirolo has me worried :shock: ) as airwise suggested. Now planning on being there a little earlier (mid September rather than start of October) so hopefully the weather will be more stable.

Hopefully next tripI can organise more time and head to the Dolomites.

by Weenie


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