Cycling through Italian mountain tunnels

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
Andy61
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Joined: 25 Feb 2012, 10:40am

Re: Cycling through Italian mountain tunnels

Postby Andy61 » 22 Mar 2012, 8:12pm

The overall average works out at 97 miles per day, with the range from 110 to 81 miles. Everyone who has signed up knows. As you would expect the distances are (a little) shorter on the days in the mountains. We do have an alternative for the day with the most climbing (our day 7) which takes off 22km and about 1400m of climbing, for anyone who feels like (or needs) an easier day.

kawa9999
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Joined: 27 Feb 2012, 7:51am
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Re: Cycling through Italian mountain tunnels

Postby kawa9999 » 23 Mar 2012, 8:56am

Hi Andy,
sorry for late reply but I have been quite busy with my work.
I have checked your route:
- Fonzaso to feltre you have made a good choice
- Feltre to Treviso I would suggest this: http://bikeroutetoaster.com/Course.aspx?course=367555 There is a short and not steep uphill north of Montebelluna, but wonderful scenery on roads with almost no traffic. it goes via mercato vecchio with nice view on the flat below. if you are short on time, no need to stop, even passing through is very nice.
- In Onigo you are going out of SR348, but to the east, and unless there exists a road there which I have never seen before, I am quite sure that way in your track it is a non-asphalted road that you cannot really do without a cyclorosser, and definitely not on a road bike.
- I have seen you are not passing into the center of treviso. Well it depends a lot on the time I think, but you can take a view to some photos, IMHO it would be definitely worth to see it. It looks like this:
http://www.fotoeweb.it/venezia/Treviso/ ... anelli.jpg
http://www.joyfulit.it/wp-content/uploa ... so-047.jpg
http://www.venetobooking.com/uploads/Pa ... ignori.jpg
Up to you to decide if it is worth or not to stop/go through.
- I have seen you want to pick up SR515. I know the piece till the airport. Not that bad as the tunnels north of feltre, but it will be no fun, looot of traffic, also heavy traffic.
- South of treviso I have cycled much in that direction but I would suggest something like this: http://bikeroutetoaster.com/Course.aspx?course=367563
Streets would look like so: http://maps.google.it/?ll=45.539872,12. ... .26,,0,9.7

Instead of this (SR515): http://maps.google.it/?ll=45.655328,12. ... 71,,0,7.71

- I am checking also if i get some advice on accomodations near venice, but got nothing up to now.
BR
manuel


P.S: maybe one day me and my Girlfriend will be visiting England, as we do each summer a 3 to 4 weeks tour somewhere in europe. Maybe even this year. So far we were quite scared from the weather and the fact that we would have to fly with bikes there. And then we would have the problem where to put the bike case during the tour. Are you all guys from Winchester, or are you just starting the tour there?
P.P.S: I see you are planning to fly back. How is your experience with bike and flying? We had always used Train or car, indeed we would like to also fly at some point in time, but we are still quite afraid about having our bikes broken.

RichardPH
Posts: 128
Joined: 12 Aug 2011, 4:34pm

Re: Cycling through Italian mountain tunnels

Postby RichardPH » 23 Mar 2012, 12:35pm

Andy61 wrote:The overall average works out at 97 miles per day, with the range from 110 to 81 miles. Everyone who has signed up knows. As you would expect the distances are (a little) shorter on the days in the mountains. We do have an alternative for the day with the most climbing (our day 7) which takes off 22km and about 1400m of climbing, for anyone who feels like (or needs) an easier day.


Impressed! Well done for getting so many to sign up for such an ambitious challenge - are you in sales by any chance? :D

kawa9999
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Re: Cycling through Italian mountain tunnels

Postby kawa9999 » 27 Mar 2012, 8:03am

By the way, I will be also probably cycling the Croce d aune on the Easter holiday, and I have just found that you can avoid one of the long tunnels (called pedesalto) by taking the old road which just runs near the tunnel.
See: http://www.piste-ciclabili.com/itinerar ... -pedesalto

BR
manuel

Peter Bedingfield
Posts: 10
Joined: 20 Apr 2010, 10:38pm

Re: Cycling through Italian mountain tunnels

Postby Peter Bedingfield » 2 Apr 2012, 6:07pm

Thanks Andy and all other contributors.
Regarding flying, I have used easyjet a couple of times with my precious vintage road bikes, no probs yet.
Those pedalling up the Croce d'Aune say a prayer of thanks to a certain Mr. Campagnolo...... ;-)
Peter

RichardPH
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Joined: 12 Aug 2011, 4:34pm

Re: Cycling through Italian mountain tunnels

Postby RichardPH » 10 Jul 2012, 10:26pm

I've just returned from a trip to Bormio doing support work for a short tour, the riders did the following passes, may be of interest to others planning to go to Italy.

The Stelvio.. the tunnels on the south side of the pass all have at least some lighting and all but two are wide enough for two cars to pass. The gradient on the south side is more consistent, the north side has some 10%+ stretches towards the summit. The surface is largely good. We did the pass on Saturday and traffic was mixed, there were lots of cyclists doing the climbs, a fair few cars, almost 100% courteous and well behaved, the odd bus and truck, but not many, the switchbacks are too tight. What spoils an otherwise spectacular experience are the wannabee Rossis, a signifcant portion of whom are an absolute nightmare, aggressive, dangerous, careless of cyclists, ridng the racing line without a care for others, frankly they are a menace to all.

The Umbrail... climbs from Switzerland, meeting the Stelvio at the Italian border. A lovely pass for cyclists, in a large part because there are fewer bikers and much lower car traffic compared with the Stelvio. It's a little bit steeper overall, but doesn't have anything that would be considered impossible. The views as you climb the many switchbacks from the valley floor are stunning. There is a 2km stretch of gravel about midway up the pass, it's a very smooth hard packed surface with a light coating of fine gravel on top, actually probably your friend because it's likely what keeps the hooligan bikers away.

The Gavia.. we only did the climb from Bormio side. On the lead-up to Santa Caterina there are a number of tunnels and gallerias each with typically a potholed road surface. After the pass proper starts the road kicks up with some challenging pitches at times, it's not a consistent climb rate. It's narrow, but still has plenty of German BMW tourists, however the width, drops and poorer surface seems to discourage the more dangerous bikers.

The Foscagno.. this is a very busy main road to Livigno and appears to be a transit route for Artic tractor units, don't bother unless you must, tunnels also have poor surfaces.

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ConRAD
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Re: Cycling through Italian mountain tunnels

Postby ConRAD » 11 Jul 2012, 6:49am

RichardPH wrote:...what spoils an otherwise spectacular experience are the wannabee Rossis...

...curious expression, but I understand and share your disappointment :roll:
Image

kawa9999
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Re: Cycling through Italian mountain tunnels

Postby kawa9999 » 17 Sep 2012, 3:18pm

So Andy how was your Trip???

andymiller
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Joined: 8 Dec 2007, 10:26am

Re: Cycling through Italian mountain tunnels

Postby andymiller » 23 Sep 2012, 11:00am

Too late but some general comments:

- in the (autonomous) provinces of Trentino and Bolzano I came across a number of tunnels that were off-limits to bikes, although in all cases there was an alternative route;

- legally you are required to wear high-viz in tunnels - although personally I think a bright blinking rear light is more sensible. I've only come across one tunnel that was completely unlit, but riding in this part of Italy without a set of lights is just mad (although lots do);

- in very many cases where a tunnel has been built the old road has been abandoned but is still rideable. These are almost never signed (all you might see is a red circle on white road closed to traffic sign, but local riders use them;

- in this particular case going via Cesiomaggiore, and the Canale del Mis would have been a simple and straightforward alternative.

I don't recall any tunnel on the road fro Santa Caterina to the Passo di Gavia and there aren't any shown on my map.

RichardPH
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Re: Cycling through Italian mountain tunnels

Postby RichardPH » 9 Oct 2012, 8:09pm

andymiller wrote:- in very many cases where a tunnel has been built the old road has been abandoned but is still rideable. These are almost never signed (all you might see is a red circle on white road closed to traffic sign, but local riders use them;

I don't recall any tunnel on the road fro Santa Caterina to the Passo di Gavia and there aren't any shown on my map.


Andy, if you recall I had a trip in much the same direction in August, can confirm that there was an avalanche canopy on the way to Santa Caterina and Passo di Gavia down to Ponte di Legno has an unlit tunnel of about 1km. I didn't go through, took the old road around the spur mainly because I had driven it back in 1981 and was curious. My companions went through the tunnel and nearly podded themselves apparently, very scary. We also encountered a cars-only tunnel going into Riva del Garda, the alternative cycle route was the old road, starting with a very promising scenic route and excellent surface, but halfway down the tourist board [we think] had ripped away the tarmac and converted it to a mountain bike route, not so much fun with 23C tyres and only 16 spokes, amazing views though. Memorable trip.

andymiller
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Re: Cycling through Italian mountain tunnels

Postby andymiller » 10 Oct 2012, 8:03am

RichardPH wrote:Andy, if you recall I had a trip in much the same direction in August, can confirm that there was an avalanche canopy on the way to Santa Caterina and Passo di Gavia down to Ponte di Legno has an unlit tunnel of about 1km. I didn't go through, took the old road around the spur mainly because I had driven it back in 1981 and was curious. My companions went through the tunnel and nearly podded themselves apparently, very scary. We also encountered a cars-only tunnel going into Riva del Garda, the alternative cycle route was the old road, starting with a very promising scenic route and excellent surface, but halfway down the tourist board [we think] had ripped away the tarmac and converted it to a mountain bike route, not so much fun with 23C tyres and only 16 spokes, amazing views though. Memorable trip.


I must admit I never even noticed a tunnel on the route down from the Passo di Gavia. So it's perfectly possible to do without going anywhere near a tunnel. EDIT: or maybe not - see below.

I don't know what happened with the via Ponale but I suspect it was a landslide and erosion that forced the building of a new road - rather than anyone deliberately ripping up the road. Landslides are a common problem in Italy: eg there was a huge landslide that swept away a section of the road between Sondalo and Bormio - forcing the construction of a new tunnel (and leaving the old tunnel for cyclists). It is indeed a spectacular road.
Last edited by andymiller on 10 Oct 2012, 7:58pm, edited 1 time in total.
Italy Cycling Guide - a resource for cycle touring in Italy.

RichardPH
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Re: Cycling through Italian mountain tunnels

Postby RichardPH » 10 Oct 2012, 6:39pm

This is the entry to the Gavia tunnel, you can see the old road on the right, guessing you must have taken this

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Passo+di ... 1,,0,11.21

and a pic to jog the memory..

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Passo+di ... po-3203349

The views from the Umbrail were fantastic, did you go via this route or the Stelvio?

Sounds like you also went via Riva del Garda - the old road was damaged by a landslide apparently, did a search...

andymiller
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Joined: 8 Dec 2007, 10:26am

Re: Cycling through Italian mountain tunnels

Postby andymiller » 10 Oct 2012, 7:56pm

RichardPH wrote:This is the entry to the Gavia tunnel, you can see the old road on the right, guessing you must have taken this

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Passo+di ... 1,,0,11.21

and a pic to jog the memory..

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Passo+di ... po-3203349

The views from the Umbrail were fantastic, did you go via this route or the Stelvio?

Sounds like you also went via Riva del Garda - the old road was damaged by a landslide apparently, did a search...


Oh dear how embarrassing. I checked my GPS track and there is a straight bit where the road bends - which presumably is the tunnel I can remember that day in detail - down to what I had for lunch, and what I had to drink in the rifugio - so how did I manage to forget a 600-metre tunnel? I guess if I had come up from Ponte di Legno it would be etched in my memory.

The Gavia was my easy option - it was that or the Stelvio. The views over the Adamello were spectacular but unfortunately I was too cold to want to hang around (this was the 10th of July and there was still snow beside the road.
Italy Cycling Guide - a resource for cycle touring in Italy.

RichardPH
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Joined: 12 Aug 2011, 4:34pm

Re: Cycling through Italian mountain tunnels

Postby RichardPH » 10 Oct 2012, 8:14pm

My turn to be caught out... You seem to be a different Andy to the one who started this thread? Confusing, at least for me... Co-incidentally I was also on the Gavia just a couple of days before you were there, doing support car driving for another group, who used the very same snow bank as a photo-op to prove how rugged the whole experience was. Mind you, when we rode up in August it was scorchio in Bormio, but still chilly on top.

Hadn't been to the Gavia for 31 years, then went back twice in 6 weeks, I guess that's the way it goes sometimes.

I wonder how the trip went for Andy61?

ron davidsanny
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Joined: 18 Sep 2018, 11:37am

Re: Cycling through Italian mountain tunnels

Postby ron davidsanny » 18 Sep 2018, 11:44am

Avoid tunnels at all costs. Re route as necessary. You can ride though them but believe me, you will never be as terrified on a bike again. Drivers don't think cyclists should use them and sound their horn at you, adding to the nightmare experience. Frankly, the Dolomites are over rated. Often very busy and used by bikers as a race track. Witnessed truly appalling driving there and was repeatedly ripped off at places very reticent to publish prices.Sicily, Tuscany, Spain much better. Corsica better if you want mountains.