Ride

Sondrio | Road 50 km | The definitive Valtellina road ride – vineyards, orchards, tiny roads.

In winter it’s hard to know which roads are still passable by bike – is that stretch of tarmac getting any sunshine at all? A safe bet is to keep high on the south-facing slopes. That’s exactly what this sublime route does. A breath-taking excursion into Valtellina’s wine territory. We think it is unrivalled!

You’ll head eastwards up the valley along the main road for a short stretch – it’s very quiet though. After a few minutes of pedalling you’ll find yourself on back roads that careen along the bottom of the valley, taking you on a whistle-stop tour of the orchards to Chiuro. Once you reach Chiuro, there’s the beautiful Castionetto climb that takes you up to the Panoramica. That road, the Via Panoramica, is something else entirely. Unbeatable views, fairly quiet on the traffic front, it’s a real pleasure to cruise along. This route doesn’t follow it for long though; you’ll be spewed out onto back roads that bypass the bigger villages and go all-in for authenticity. Expect little archways, ancient buildings and a whole lot of character through the vineyards.

This route starts and finishes at Sondrio train station, which even in the winter should get a fair amount of sun.


Have a good one!

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Basso Valtellina | MTB/Gravel 64km | Crank up the bass in the basso valley

So many variations are possible with this route, and it's always an option to shorten the climbs. There's an extra one above Talamona, just 'cos. No pressure to ride it and you have to come down the same road anyway – it just gives you another perspective on the valley. 

Once you've crossed the valley floor and started climbing up towards Cino and Civo, there are countless cement, cobbled and gravel diversions that bypass the road. Take as many or as few of these are you feel like – they tend to be significantly steeper than the road. The real jewel in the crown of this route is the high altitude gravel track that traverses the south-facing mountain slopes. Depending on your bike handling skills, you could get away with a sturdy gravel bike here. Best ridden in late spring, summer and early autumn.

 

Buglio | Gravel 26km | Lost lanes and adventurous climbs

A solid route of tiny tracks, disused and half-finished gravel roads, some cute villages and views galore. Starting and finishing at Sesterzio. 

Year-round but watch out for the descent down from the reservoir at Lotto as shady tree-covered corners could be a bit icy in winter. 

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Sondrio/Valmalenco | MTB / Gravel 54km | Vert metres for Valmalenco

Riding out of Sondrio on the Sentiero Rusca isn't the most inspiration start to a mountain bike ride so some might argue that you don't really need a mtb for this route. However, there are trail diversions galore once you've got those vertical metres in your legs in Valmalenco. 

Summer and early autumn only. 

Chiuro | Road 58km | A for adventure, B for b-roads, C for Chiuro

Loose description of 'road', this one wouldn't be averse to somewhat extra grip on certain roads on the northside of the valley. The first half is almost totally traffic-free until you reach the main pass road down from Aprica. In summer this gets a little busy so just watch out for motorbikes careening their way up the pass, in a mad dash to overtake lorries. It's not great but it'll whizz by. Then you're back onto small roads. You have to rejoin the main road super briefly before you start the climb to Teglio, but it isn't a dealbreaker, we promise. 

A hilly route, but unfortunately off the cards in winter. All of the climbs will be worthwhile. 

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Morbegno | MTB 10.5km down | An uplift day

Get in touch with the guys who run 360 Valtellina bike and arrange an uplift day. Not only will they be stoked to share Basso Valtellina's sickest and most gnarly descents, they're also a great laugh.

Here'a an jaw-shaking, adrenaline-inducing major descent off the Passo San Marco. Best to have a guide if you're not sure about the terrain. Steep and slippery. 

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Mortirolo | Road 137km | A more mellow approach

From Sondrio you'll first ride the Passo Aprica before a long, swooping descent to Edolo. From here it ramps up gentle to Monno before a steep climb under a canopy of trees takes you up towards the Passo Mortirolo. You'll ride a few kilometres along the top before hitting the pass sign and the top of the much steeper side. Start going down that descent but take a right turn towards Grosio. Safer and a lot less steep, this narrow downhill pops you out on the far side of Grosio. From here, follow the small roads or even the Sentiero bike path back towards Tirano and Sondrio. 

The Mortirolo doesn't usually open until late May/early June.

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Sondrio | Gravel 41km | Life lessons in Val Cervia

The road up from Cedrasco is steep, so perhaps get all your conversations out of the way before embarking on the suggested first hour of this ride. It levels off after a while and there's beautiful, wide open scenery with meadows and high, high, high mountains on the horizon. If you bring a bike lock (not that you'll need it), you can do a ciclo-Alp adventure and keep running once the two wheels have taken you as far as you can go on the gravel. 


Val Cervia is often over-looked but that's what is so special as you'll barely see a soul. Just marmots and deer. Exactly how it should be, 

 

For the descent I'd nip off to the right when you see a bumpy track. It'll add some more excitement to your ride. 

 

Summer only.

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Chiuro | Gravel 67km | Groading up the mid-valley

Set aside a good few hours for this exploratory gravel ride around the valley. Expect the unexpected: cute villages, snaking singletrack, rasping-breath-inducing cobbled climbs, and more. We expect a lot of highlights on this route. Don't let yourself be navigated though – this is one where you should take any turning that takes your fancy.

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Teglio | Road 87km | By b-roads

This is 87 km with a lot of bang for your buck. Exciting, tiny roads that wiggle across the valley sides. It might be easy to brush this route off but it's a great starting point for bigger rides. The climb from Bianzone up to Teglio is included in the Gran Fondo Stelvio Santini but gets so crowded with inept climbers during the gran fondo that it's much better to do in your own time, on your own ride, away from the masses. 

There's a section on the Statale that's almost unavoidable, but you could take the Sentiero Valtellina if you really hate the main road. 
The route back to Sondrio teases with the 'Via Panoramica', which is delightfully short of traffic and swoops and swerves its way back along the south-facing slopes. It's an exciting route that provides amazing views. There's always the option to stick to the Via Panoramica if you prefer to bypass the super scenic, slightly arduous route that is outlined here.

Year-round.

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Triangia | Gravel 39 km | Alpe Colina, the scenic way

This ride starts and finishes in Postalesio, but you could easily start from anywhere – you'd just end up climbing even further. 

From Triangia the road is tarmacked beautifully up to at least 1,100 metres where you'll find a cluster of houses called Ligari. You can fill up your bottle and nip into the 'village' for some cake and a chat at the restaurant. It's open all-year round. 
The road then worsens a little, but doesn't turn to gravel until around 1,700 metres of altitude. Then expect steep, concrete corners and rutted out gravel. Once you reach the cross at 1,900 metres, the track 'flattens' out for 6-7km before dropping down ever so slightly to Alpe Colina. The whole of this stretch is pretty beaten-up gravel so mountain bike tires are definitely recommended. 

 

From Alpe Colina, you can take the road straight down to Postalesio. The first 1.5 km is still gravel, but unfortunately in 2017 they made the decision to tarmac a lot more of the road. It's in a great condition now if you're into going fast. There are a lot of options for proper descending on trails, just look for deviations on either side of the road.

 

At 1,000 metres you'll reach Pra Lone, an opening with a few houses, and here's where the real trails start, dropping down to Ca' Moroni then Postalesio. These are not gravel bike-friendly, just sayin'.

Route reserved for summer and early autumn.

 

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Mello | Road 70km | Sunny-siding in Basso Valtellina

A staple loop that's rideable all year. Join this route from absolutely any village and add in extra  climbs if you're feeling fresh. Up and down, fast and furious. Cuteness overload with some of the villages. 
 

Year-round but watch out for the shady descent into Val Masino as it can be treacherous in the depths of winter. Your alternative is to descend to Morbegno from Dazio on a beautiful, newly tarmacked fast road.  

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