Gravel

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. 

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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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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