by Bicycling Magazine
Granfondo Cycling Tours
Recommended by BICYCLING the world’s leading bike magazine!
Featured in one of the 7 cycling wonderlands and a “Must Ride”
AS YOU PLAN THIS YEAR’S VACATIONS, SET ASIDE A FEW DAYS – OR WEEKS – TO PEDAL AROUND ONE – OR – ALL OF THESE 7 CYCLING WONDERLANDS. BY BRUCE HILDENBRAND
If you’ve ever pleaded for help, or a merciful end to your suffering, midway through one of those “easy” training rides that closes in on you like an iron maiden, you know that cycling needs a patron saint. If you’ve ever been climbing the local cloud-tickler and lost track once again of how many turns you’ve already made, and thus how many turns are left, you know that we cyclists could really use numbered corners on our legendary ascents. And if your hard-riding body has ever craved a feast when you power it solely with high-carb fuel, you know that even for cyclists, meals should matter as much as wheels.
Here are seven great riding spots that deliver these, and other, necessary pleasures of cycling: pedaling paradises that combine amazing roads and trails with surprising delights and the riches of the world that lies beyond our handlebars. Be sure to ride at least one in 2006 …
This northern Italian hamlet lies at the core of a trio of legendary climbs, the Gavia, Stelvio, and Mortirolo passes. The Gavia (shown above unpaved in 1978) is where, in 1988, Andy Hampsten battled a fierce snowstorm on his way to winning the Giro d’Italia. The treacherous south side was mostly dirt back then, but it’s now paved, with a tunnel circumventing the most dangerous section. The plateau on top of the pass was the scene of the fierce fighting in WWI described in Ernest Hemingway’s A Farwell to Arms. Among European cyclists, the Stelvio, Europe’s third highest continuously paved pass, ranks as the most popular alpine ascent. Its not the most difficult, but the 48 numbered switch backs plastered on its improbable-looking north side make it unique. On top, you can purchase a certificate commemorating your ascent and get your picture taken next to the Fausto Coppi memorial. The savage Mortirolo rises 4,000 feet in 7 miles-an average gradient of over 10 percent. BEST TIME TO GO: The high passes are clear only in the summer months. IT’S MOST FUN IF YOUR THIS FIT: Mountain goats only-or those as stubborn as goats. GET THERE WITH: Granfondo Cycling Tours.