Cycling the Alps in April
Replies: 41 - Last Post: May 1, 2013 8:11 AM Last Post By: adamdalziel
Feb 3, 2013 12:38 PM
Cycling the Alps in AprilI'm looking for a cycle buddy to cycle across the Alps around April time.
I was thinking of Nice to Vienna via Switzerland, something like the following although avoiding the main roads where possible:
It's approx 1000 miles (1600km) so I was thinking of doing this in 3 weeks which would be a very realistic 60 miles (100km) per day.
Although the above is my preferred route I think it'd be more fun to cycle in a group as opposed to going alone so I'm flexible and open to ideas.
Feb 3, 2013 1:47 PM
1Be aware that you will have to make huge detours: the following legs will most probably be closed in April (snow and/or danger of avalanches):
(Briancon - ) Col du Lautaret - Col du Galibier - Col de l'Iseran - Val d'Isere
Pre St. Didier - Chamonix (tunnel, bikes forbidden)
Oberwald - Furkapass - Oberalppass - Sedrun
Davos - Fluelapass - Susch
Meran - Jaufenpass - Sterzing
BTW: most of your itinerary is on main roads. It's of course posssible to use secondary roads, but it will last longer.
Feb 4, 2013 2:00 AM
2The onyourbike branch will be better to find company for cycling. For reasons painted by neckervd cycle as long as possible south of the Alps - playing it by ear re temps and snow .
So Italian Riviera. Maybe you can ride the Col de Tende to Cuneo and to the Italian lakes.
Disclaimer: don't know about recent improved possibilities to cycle there.
Feb 4, 2013 3:01 AM
3E.g. the Nice / Mergozzo track has bee desctibed-outlined here: http://www.fietsvakantiewinkel.nl/2www/images/kaarten/albenga.jpg
Feb 4, 2013 8:29 AM
4Nice - Alba - Lake Viverone - Lake Mergozzo is the other extreme.
I would rather recommend something like
Nice - Grasse - Castellane - Chaudon - Digne - Seyne les Alpes - Lac de Serre Poncon - Briancon - Salbertrand - Lanzo Torinese - Levone - Cuorgne - Ivrea - Oropa - Alpe di Mera - Varallo - Omegna - Intra - Ferry - Laveno - Brinzio - Porto Ceresio - Arogno - Osteno - Menaggio - Chiavenna - Malojapass - St. Moritz - Scuol - Nauders - Meran - Bolzano/Bozen - Bruneck - Innichen - Sexten - Sappada - Forni Avoltri - Paluzza - Pontebba - Nassfeld - Freistritz - Kleinkirchheim - Turracherhoehe - Mur Valley - Oberzering - Hohentauern - Trieben - ......
Feb 4, 2013 11:36 AM
Feb 4, 2013 11:58 AM
6Thanks for your responses. This information is really useful.
After doing some research your right, most passes of 2000 metres and probably lower will be shut in April so I need to try and find a way that stays in the valleys, probably below 1500 metres. Apparently there's a train that goes under Furkapass so I need to try and piece all these possibilities together.
Yeah, I'd defintely avoid the duel carriageways and cycle on the corresponding b-roads. I need to research what the traffic will be like on such roads. Would prefer not to have traffic stacking up behind me on windy single carriagways!
This post is duplicated in the bike forum btw: http://tinyurl.com/bjlnsne
Feb 4, 2013 3:06 PM
Feb 5, 2013 5:59 AM
8"Is this what you mean, neckervd?"
Yes, more or less. But have a look at local maps in order to improve your itinerary. There are often smaller and more scenic roads more or less parallel to those you marked in your maps.
Avoid French National roads (N), Italian State roads (SS), Swiss main roads (pink on the Swiss maps) whenever possible.
http://www.geoportail.gouv.fr/accueil for France
http://map.veloland.ch/?lang=en for Switzerland
http://www.austrianmap.at for Austria
http://www.wandermap.net/ for the whole alpine area
Some detail remarks to "your" maps:
leg 1: there is a direct road from Digne to Seyne (D900) and a more scenic alternative (D900A-D7)
Laveno - Porto Ceresio: take the more scenic local roads via Capo di Sotto - Sangiano - Caravate - Gemonio church - Anzio - Brinzio - Ganna - Cavagnano - Cuasso al Monte. More strenous than the direct road, but unspoiled small villages and panoramic views to Lake Lugano and the Alps.
Melano - Lanzo is nicer via Rovio
Paluzza - Pontebba: you may go down to Tolmezzo or you can take the more strenous northern itinerary via Paularo - Passo del Cason di Lanza.
Hermagor - Kleinkirchheim: there is no need to go via Villach. I suggest the route via Hermagor - Windische Hoehe - Freistritz - Radenthein.
Feb 9, 2013 5:54 AM
9Thanks again for your help, neckervd, I really wouldn't have been able to work all this out without your knowledge. How do you know all these roads so well?
I've revised the routes according to your suggestions. Sometimes the route is on a main road but this is just because Google Maps doesn't give me enough way-points to divert onto the parallel b-roads.
I would not ride on the N94 and A32
Pretty much as before but brought it closer to the Alps by Torino
Thanks for the tips, definitely a more scenic route.
What do you think about taking a shortcut over Ofenpass instead of via Nauders? Wikipedia says it's open in the winter: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ofenpass
I also considered Passo delle Erbe but wikipedia says this is closed until April: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passo_delle_Erbe
I've diverted as per your suggestions and also missed out Trieben this time because it seemed quite a detour.
So the route is definitely do-able. My problem now is finding a cycle buddy. Anyone?
Feb 9, 2013 6:02 AM
Feb 9, 2013 9:29 AM
11Ofenpass (Pass dal Fuorn in the local Ladin language) versus Passo Resia (Reschenpass in the local Tyrolian (German) language):
Pass dal Fuorn is open all the year round, but you will have to share this not too large road with all the motorized traffic: there is no alternative for bikers between Zernez and Punt dal Calven (Italy), except a short leg between Sta Maria and the border. The Pass is at a altitude of 2150m and some legs have gradients of around 10 per cent. In my opinion, it's not too pleasant to climb these ramps behind the exhaust pipe of a truck.
The Reschen route is longer, but the Pass is at 1500 metres only and you can do the whole journey from Zernez up to Glurns (tiny scenic medieval town, BTW) - where you meet the Ofenpass itinerary - on local roads with almost no traffic:
Zernez - right side of the Inn river - Lavin - Gonda Houses - Resgia - Guarda (beautiful chasas engadinaisas/Engadin Valley houses) - Bos-Cha - Ardez - Pra da Punt - Scuol Sot - right side of Inn river - Resgia-Serviezel bridge - San Nicla bridge - Strada village center - Martina village center - Norbertshoehe - Schloss Nauders - Pazins cableway station - Fuhrmannsloch - border A/I - western side of Lake Resia - St. Valentin - Doerfl/Monteplair - Alsack - Ulten - Mals - Glurns.
Have a look at the Swiss map http://map.veloland.ch/?lang=en and enlarge up to the scale of 1:25.000. You will never find these roads/bike trails with google maps.
Passo delle Erbe:
Passo delle Erbe (Würzjoch in German, Jü de Börz in the local Ladin language) is usually closed until early May.
Feb 28, 2013 5:37 AM
12Thanks again for your help, neckervd. Apologies for not responding earlier but I've been busy training and doing my travel-blog site over the last couple of weeks. Here it is:
www.adamsprojects.co.uk and click on "The Alps"
I've put in your route suggestion for Zernez to Glurns instead of Pass dal Fuorn, it looks fantastic, thanks.
I've meticulously gone through the route from the start at Grasse / Nice to the ferry crossing at Verbania / Laveno. The route looks really good so far apart from the following 2 sections:
1) Briancon to Susa (50km): I don't think I have any choice but to follow the N94/SS24.
2) Borgosesia to Verbania (50km): The options are limited here but I think the best choice is to head east on the SP76 then north on the SP47; the roads seem a bit quieter.
I still need to inspect the rest of the route up to Vienna but I think it all looks doable.
Mar 2, 2013 9:15 AM
14I've now gone through the route carefully all the way to Nauders, about 1/2 way:
Does anyone know if the tunnels by Menaggio will be a problem on my bike? I'm pretty sure I can bypass all of them except this one which is about 700 metres:
As crazy as it sounds I think I can enter the tunnel 1/2 way along through this side entrance and just cycle the remaining 350 metres!
I'm a bit concerned about this section of the journey from Menaggio to Zernez. There doesn't seem to be any quiet roads. Are the roads ok or is there a quiter way?
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