July in Alps/Dolomiti

Discussion in 'Europe' started by zigyphoto, Mar 24, 2018.

  1. zigyphoto

    zigyphoto PAY ATTENTION

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    Someone said that July in French alps very busy; I'm intending to spend about a week riding in the
    Bozen area, and while my experience is that usually August is more busy there (having spent a lot of time in the Engadine area). Thoughts on Alps further east?

    And if we were going to base ourselves in two different towns for a few days each and ride daily from there, which would you suggest? Merano or?

    z
    #1
  2. Grumpy old Man

    Grumpy old Man Been here awhile

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    For me the Dolomites are a no go now. Years ago it was fabulous, but nowadays its overcrowded. And not with motorcycles. Busses, cyclists, campervans, hikers, cars the lot and all restricted to 60Km/h.



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  3. glitch_oz

    glitch_oz Long timer

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    Given the July/ August time slot I fully agree. With a billion+ Europeans on school holidays any EU holiday destination and the Alps in particular are jam-packed everywhere, Italy/ France/Austria/Slo/De/CH...whatever.
    Go pre or post season and things can look quite different....at least off the beaten track :-)
    There sure are still a good number of quiet pockets around...and some breathtaking backroads to boot.
    #3
  4. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    Not in the high Alps maybe, but timing can play a big part. Get out of your pit at dawn and ride for a few hours while the masses are still sunning themselves on the hotel terrace/camp ground..
    You can throw away the tourist guides and find areas with very few tourists. Not big tall passes, if that is your only criterion for a decent ride then it will frustration all the way.
    It is surprising how many campers (the biggest pain) dawdling cars, slow bikes and cyclist only use the well known and much reported routes (the ones repeated here too) so seek out the lesser known passes and roads, of which there are enough for lots of holidays.

    Google doesn't differentiate much between the various smaller classes of roads, but they are clearly marked and differentiated on even the "cooking"
    Michelin regional maps at 1:200,000 (the yellow ones. But not the small area version, you will likely out ride those in an hour or two).

    If you like maps, then there are the much better quality paper and printing, the larger scale IGN 1:100,000 - mine are called Serie Verte. The name and colour may have changed.
    They have contour lines and terrain shading and all the detail you could wish, detail down to foot paths. I have used them to find gravel tracks that cross vineyards and olive groves for example.

    In France at least, the season starts at Easter with a rush, then slows down to Pentecost. After then, things are mostly open, but with few tourists - although the "grey powered" campervans and would be TdF cyclists will be visible but not overpowering.
    May to the end of June are great, lots of flowers and new growth, very nice, very beautiful. Apart from the highest passes snow is not so likely, although in places possible at any time of year.
    Warm at lower altitudes obviously, but quite likely cold higher up and in the evenings. Why I no longer camp at this sort of time.
    The maddened holiday rush ends. like a light switch, the end of August, and many campsites close on the 15th September. Again, cooler evenings and nights drawing in noticably towards the end of the month.
    Lower altitudes can give bearable temperatures right into December - if you are a hardened northener. As in outsideable for lunch. Usual caveats because <weather>.
    There's me, tee shirt and shades, the locals have double jumpers, thick coats, scarves and hats.

    If you only want to ride the popular high passes, then it is shitty, not just in high summer, but most weekends when it is not a blizzard. The ease of access for a days ride from so many urban areas in CH and De. mean it is not likely to be anything else. But there is a self limiting factor. They don't explore much.
    So seek out the places where the others are not. Lots of them to go for, even if they don't have big altitude numbers, they have often escaped the inexorable spread of "improvements", the widening, straightening and easing that ruins decent biking roads IMHO.
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  5. Grumpy old Man

    Grumpy old Man Been here awhile

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    The Dolomites are breathtaking with their scenery and worth a visit. It is not as bad during weekdays. But still, I give them a miss. Been there, seen that. My advise, go to the French - Italian Border Region. Countless passes also with high altitude. Because that region has so many options, traffic is never bad, even on weekends and vacation days.
    #5
  6. ztrab

    ztrab Long timer

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    late May, early June will avoid the summer crowds but I did wake up to a snow covered bike a few times in the Dolemites/Swiss alps... still the relatively empty roads were well worth the chill.
    #6
  7. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    BTDT - only to ride down into the valleys and 35C temperatures. Nothing like combining winter and summer riding in one day.
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  8. GiorgioXT

    GiorgioXT Long timer

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    Dolomites respect other mountains are like f***king respect work , even a bad f**k is better than work ... :-)
    (I'm partial , but is the simple truth...)

    Let me say that crowding is avoidable even the 15 august (the absolute peak) with some attention. ,
    in July if you come in the real heart od Dolomites , the Belluno province (that has the max amount of these) it will be difficult to find tourist apart Cortina d'Ampezzo .
    Pieve di Cadore, Auronzo di Cadore , Santo Stefano di Cadore with its Comelico valley will offer you large amount of rides (even gravel ones) Cibiana di Cadore the "painted hamlet" , Zoldo valley and the most secluded Zoppè di Cadore with its Forcella Chiandolada pass are mosto of times all for you ...
    #8
  9. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    Listen to Giorgio.
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  10. zigyphoto

    zigyphoto PAY ATTENTION

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    Giorgio, ti ringrazio. Adesso sono in Ravensburg, Germania, e parto domani con un amico tedesco per il nostro piccolo giro degli alpi Dolomiti.. non so essatamente dove andiamo,, ma andiamo anche a Merano, dov'e sono stato nascito.

    Come vedi, tu parli l'inglese meglio che parlo io l'italiano.

    Mi piacerebbe incontrarti quando siamo in Merano o il vicino.

    Zigy (zigyphoto@gmail.com)
    #10
  11. glitch_oz

    glitch_oz Long timer

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    Hi

    If you're coming from Ravensburg and drifting towards Merano....
    maybe this might be of interest :-)
    #11
  12. GiorgioXT

    GiorgioXT Long timer

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    Thanks Zigy
    In this period I'm busy at work , but let's see how goes, maybe could snatch a dayride.
    #12