Cycling in the Dolomites

Join Collett's guest Peter Bevan on his cycling adventure through the Dolomites with Collett's Mountain Holiday.

30 July 2019

I’ve just got back from a week at Haus Valentin in Badia and was lucky enough to spend the whole week road cycling in glorious weather. We went on a family holiday with Collett’s in Corvara a couple of years ago, but this time I went on my own, rented a car at Venice Marco Polo and a bike for the week from ‘TopBike’ in Badia. By removing the parcel shelf and folding the seats I was able to pop the front wheel off and easily transport the bike, which meant I could tackle all the great climbs in the area whilst keeping the distances manageable.

My Dolomites Cycling Routes

First off, after collecting the bike, was Passo delle Erbe from San Martino in Badia. A lovely quiet climb except for the odd car club and groups of motorbikes, with coffee and studel at the top – 4400ft including the 750ft of re-ascent on the way down. I still had time in the afternoon for a quick hike up the interesting Sass de Stria above Falzarego.

Sunday was Dolomites Bike Day when they close the roads to traffic over Campolongo, Falzarego and Valparolo passes, so I joined up with some other Collett’s cyclists at Corvara and enjoyed a relaxed circuit with no traffic – with 5400ft of ascent.

On Monday I drove over to Cortina d’Ampezzo and cycled over Passo Tre Croci, past Misurina and right up to the road end at Tre Cime – a brutal climb after the toll booth which was scarily steep on the way down! The route loops round the back of Monte Cristallo with a lovely descent back into Cortina – with 5600ft of ascent. On the way back to Badia I had time to explore the Goiginger tunnels on the side of Sass di Stria.

On Tuesday I decided to tackle Passo Giau, which is definitely a step up from the regular Dolomites passes (except for the traumatising Tre Cime!). Starting from the outskirts of Cortina I went up over Passo Falzarego then skirted across to Codalonga on the very scenic SP251. Giau was pretty hard going – I had to have a little lie down and a gel on the way up.  6600ft of ascent. For some reason I stopped in La Villa on the way back and went down and up the Mür dl Giat – a sharp little climb used in the Maratona. Attacking it with all the power of a middle-aged mediocre cyclist who’s just climbed Passo Giau, I posted 5834th place on Strava – a result destined to tumble further when the Maratona passes up it in July.

On Wednesday I granted myself the morning off (the bike) with a hike up the airy Kaiserjäger trail to the top of the Picollo Lagazuoi and back round via Forcella Salares. In the afternoon I polished off the Sella Ronda anti-clockwise for another 5900ft. The last couple of hours were gorgeous with very quiet roads and the sun setting on the Fanes, and I still made it back to Badia just in time for the main course in Ustaria Posta.

For my last day I drove over to Arabba and went up Passo Pordoi before dropping down to Canazei for the climb up Passo Fedaia under the dramatic Marmolada. Luckily I’d read the Collett’s laminate and swapped the direction so that I went down the 18% side rather than up it! I forked off before Caprile on the charming SP563 through Digonera with lovely gentle zig-zags back up to the Arabba road for a final 8000ft of ascent.

I’m a bit sceptical about the amount of climbing reported by Strava – I’ve used my recorded activities rather than the activities converted to routes which seem to inflate the figures yet further, but it looks like I’ve done in excess of 30,000ft in 6 days. If you like climbing then the Dolomites is a superb destination for road cycling – spectacular in every sense.

Thanks to Peter Bevan, a Collett’s guest from June 2018, for his superb blog.

Join our mailing list