Cycling in Bormio

As part of our European roadtrip this sumer, we stopped for four days in Bormio to do some road cycling on the famous roads and high passes around and above Bormio.

We arrived in the afternoon and started off by visting the tourist office in town where we got hold of an excellent description of all the cycling routes. The weather forecast promised quite cold weather for the folowing day so we decided to start of with the Mortirolo pass, one of the lowest of the famous passes.

Day 1: Passo Mortirolo

Mortirolo is famous for being very steep, and after our first day of cycling I was able to confirm this. The average gradient is above 10% for long bits. Since I had never cycled in the alps before I wasn’t sure what to expect and was a bit surprised by how steep it was. The road winds mostly along the mountainside, through pastures and forest.

My girlfriend almost gave up a few times and I had to give her a helping hand on the back to finish up to the pass together.

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The altitude of the pass isn’t very high, but since theres first a couple of hundred vertical meters downhill from Bormio, we had to do almost 2000 vertical meters which was quite a lot for our Swedish flatland legs.

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On the way back we stopped in one of the small villages for a snack before pushing ourselves back up to Bormio.

We saw very few people and there was almost no traffic making the route very nice. It did lack some of the more alpine nature of the following days though.

Day 2: Passo Stelvio

The stelvio pass in the Stelvio national park is supposed to be the high point of cycling in Bormio. We were blessed with sunshine and comfortable temperature in the morning and steadily made our way up. The downside was the insane traffic. There were a lot of cars and motorbikes on the narrow road, with many motor bikers driving extremely fast and showing a provoking lack of respect for cyclists (as well as other motor vehicles).

The climb to the pass has more vertical meters than Mortirolo, but the incline is lower and it somehow felt easier than Mortirolo. Maybe we were just a bit more more mentally prepared.

The road follows a spectacular valley up to a first steep step with a bunch of hairpin bends, and then through beautiful alpine meadows before making the final climb up to the pass.

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Alpine meadows before the final climb to the pass

Upon reaching the actual pass, it was like entering a completely different world. There was a chaotic mixture of cyclists, tourist, shops and restaurants everywhere.

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The crazy chaos as the pass

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The famous view to the east from the Stelvio pass

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Stelvio pass

We had a grilled sausage and some soda and enjoyed the views for a bit before heading back down towards Bormio.

On the way down we also stopped a few times to enjoy the spectacular views at the top of the lower hairpin bends.

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After riding all the way down to Bormio we made a stop at one of the cafes in the historic city center for some proper Italian gelato.

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My conclusion from the day was that it was nice to have done the Stelvio pass, but that I will probably never do it again because of the insane traffic.

Day 3: Torri di Fraele

For our third and last day on the bike we wanted to do something a bit more mellow and decided on the Torry di Fraele. It starts just above Bormio with a steady, but comfortable, incline followed by a series of hairpin bends.

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The nice viewpoint at the top of the hairpins

From the top of the hairpins we followed a gravel road up to a huge dam at the Lago di Cancano. We had a look around before having some (not so amazing) pasta bolognese, enjoyed the scenery, relaxed a bit and then headed back down the zig-zaging hairpin road.

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The huge dam at lago di cancano.

This was probably the most enjoyable of our three tours. There was very little traffic, there were spectacular views all the way and the incline wasn’t terribly deterring. Had it only been a bit longer it would have been an instant classic.

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On the dam

We were blessed with wonderful weather during our three days of cycling in Bormio. The following day, which was spent in the car, we awoke to pouring rain, fog and around 10 degrees. We got in the car and drove to the start if our next adventure: Madonna di Campiglio.

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