August, 2015. A few things struck me as strange about cycling in the Italian mountains after riding in the French Alps, especially since Italians are supposed to be fanatical about cycling.
- There are far fewer cyclists on the roads here than in the French Alps. Where there might be many hundreds of cyclists riding up some of the big French climbs, here there are but a handful, or maybe tens of riders. And there are almost as many mountain bikers as road bikers on some of the roads.
- In Italy I have seen NO signs telling motorists to pass cyclists with lots of room to spare. In France there were quite a few signs telling motorists to pass cyclists with 1.5 meters to spare, and in Spain there were even more such signs.
- The big climbs in France all had signs by the road specifically to help cyclists. These were kilometer markers showing how many kilometers to the top, and the average gradient for the next kilometer. Most of the Italian climbs don’t have such cyclist helpful signs (they do generally have standard kilometer markers.)
It’s as if the French are proud of their big climbs and want you to enjoy them, while the Italians are like “Whatever.” Maybe the Dolomites are too popular a destination so the locals find no need to attract or cater to cyclists. Or maybe it’s because Italians.
Kilometer Markers. Most of the roads have Kilometer markers. These are often subdivided into fractions of a kilometers, with the fractional part shown in Roman Numerals. So you might see a sign showing VIII and 6, which means kilometer 6.8. In some of the descriptions I refer to these kilometer markers as KmM.
Lights. There are quite a few tunnels on the roads in the Italian Alps. I’ve seen various cyclists in the tunnels with no lights, but that seems stupidly dangerous. I’d recommend having at least a back light on your bike or helmet.
Some of the distances and elevations climbed are from ClimbByBike. Others are from my Garmin 500. All ride profiles were created with GPS Visualizer.
Links and Other Clicks
Michelin Map. A wonderful online map.
ClimbByBike‘s web site where you can see profiles of many, many climbs.