The sounds of the Dolomites – I Suoni delle Dolomiti!
E-bike holiday in Trentino – Dolomites
Full of anticipation over the three days ahead of us, we travel to Italy – or, to be more precise, to Trentino in the very heart of the Dolomiti di Brenta. A trip to the magical pale mountains, passing crystal-clear lakes and glaciers, along mountain streams, between rugged rocks and enthroned castles, alongside lush green alpine pastures and through idyllic forests.
Owing to its untouched state, the Brenta group is a habitat for brown bears. Will we come across one on our path?
The smile on our lips does not leave us during the entire journey towards our holiday destination. And we are rewarded as soon as we leave the motorway, as immediately afterward winding roads take us right into the middle of the Brenta Dolomites. The interplay between clouds, sun and majestic mountains is simply amazing. But what really catches our breath is the panorama on offer to us at the starting point of our cycle tour, the small municipality of Molveno. Rugged, indeed truly picturesque mountains surround a clear mountain lake. Our hotel, the Grand Hotel Molveno, is located right by the lake and offers a brilliant view. In the evening, we briefly go through the stages ahead of us and then it is time to say buona notte!
Day 1 – 65km, 2,230 metres in altitude
Radiant blue sky. The sun paves its way alongside the mountaintops. A perfect starting situation for our cycle trip. The meeting point is at the beach of Lake Molveno. There we meet all our fellow cyclists (MTB and e-bike), as well as our guides, led by the main guide Davide. The four musicians Daniele di Bonaventura, Carlo La Manna, Elias Nardi and Corrado Bungaro will also accompany us. Right at the start, we receive a small sample of their skills. The four have developed their very own style. Probably best described as folk and mediaeval music meet jazz! A unique combination that invites one to switch off and relax. The group will accompany us the entire three days and will treat us to music during the breaks. With a buon pedalato!, the tour begins! The first section of our bike tour leads us past the lake and then along the mountain range on gravel and forest paths. It is, in part, a really adventurous route that requires a degree of technical ability. The imposing, pale, gigantic mountains repeatedly flash through between the forests and views down onto the valley below open up to us.
We now find ourselves in the beautiful Val di Non. The valley is furnished with lush apple plantations, through which our path winds.
By an idyllic, turquoise-green lake in the middle of the forest (near Flavon), we are surprised with a small picnic. After all the climbing, a snack is very welcome. And our four musicians give us a concert, too. Immediately after our rest, another adventure awaits us – the Galleria di Terres, a decommissioned 2.4km-long pressure tunnel. So it is now time to go off into the mountains at 10°C! Corrado surprises us in the middle with a violin piece. Cycling through a pressure tunnel to the sounds of a violin – that is truly unique.
From Cles onwards, it is only uphill. From 660m to the Rifugio Peller at 1,990m. However, the 15km have been worth it. The view from here is brilliant and the accommodation is perfect. The inn keeper Roberto receives us straight away with apple juice and wine. There is also grilled bread, meat and grilled cheesy niblets. After a quick shower, we enjoy our well-earned end-of-day beer at sunset. Suddenly, Roberto nudges us. We are to accompany him briefly into the kitchen and take a look into his cooking pot. Mmm, the mouth waters. There is carpaccio as a starter, followed by spinach spätzle with bacon and bacon dumplings, then a variety plate with small grilled sausages and polenta, then buttermilk-yoghurt with apple strudel or cake as dessert. Accompanied, of course, with ample wine and a grappa for digestion. It becomes a very fun and convivial evening. Our musicians also begin to play and everyone sings along. Since it is mainly Italian songs, we can join in only in the chorus to Azzuro, O sole mio, etc.
Day 2 44km, 1,950 metres in altitude
Early in the morning, we are awakened by the sounds of the cowbells. These get us in the mood for the new day. With sunshine and a legendary panorama, we set off. Now comes a challenging, short bit of meadow. With the view of the alpine world and, of course, thanks to the e-bikes, pure enjoyment! A short rest, during which Carlo recites a poem to us. Enough rest gained. Now the downhill part begins! Definitely not for beginners, as it is very stony and the paths are narrow. When the single trails then start, our group divides itself into MTBers and e-bikers. We choose the “easier” way along the forest road. We leave the Val di Non and travel into the adjacent Val di Sole. In Dimaro we are equipped with lunch packages. We find a nice spot by an old, dilapidated smithery.
There we rest, eat, refresh ourselves in the stream and – in line with the ambience – listen to the slightly mediaeval music. What now follows is another long, continuous climb as far as Madonna di Campiglio. Here we recharge our batteries again for the final climb up to the Rifugio Graffer. The view of the pale mountain ranges is breathtaking. It is so amazing that one can nearly forget to take steps. Rifugio Graffer (2,261m) is slightly higher and also more touristic than yesterday’s R. Peller, which, after all, had a very family-like feel thanks to inn keeper Roberto. Nevertheless, we are treated to delicious food here as well. At dusk, we listen to the sounds of the music with a little glass of Italian red wine on the terrace. Today, a fifth musician has joined the others – Gianluca Petrella. They are practising for the big concert tomorrow afternoon and we are given a preview. A cosy end to an action-packed day!
Day 3 42.5km 980 metres in altitude
Today is the technically challenging part of the tour. We immediately slip into two groups for the descent to Madonna di Campiglio: the single trail group and the e-biker group. We – that is, Carla, Andrea, Elias, Corrado, Carlo, Valentina, Daniel and Karin – have a lot of fun with the summit photo and the subsequent “high-speed downhill” of 700 metres in altitude. The rest of the route leads through wilder and more untouched terrain. At the Lago di Valagola, we enjoy not just our lunch package, but also the beautiful natural scenery. The strength we have gathered is now urgently required, as the next section of the route means pushing. For a distance of 1km on a steep, uphill stretch! A hardness test even for our e-bikes. The max. inclination to be ridden is 27%! At 30%, we must unfortunately give up and push our bikes together with the other MTBers. Which, with the added weight of the e-bikes (despite push assist), is not very pleasant. But even our oldest participant in the field – Carla, 66 years of age – managed it. She cycled with us for the entire stretch and always with a smile on her face. After the pushing passage, we are at the crest, from where it is just a short distance to the Malga Movlina. When we arrive here, there is already a crowd of people, who have cycled up, hiked or even come on horses. All of them want to attend the concert of our musicians. At 2.00 pm on the dot, it begins with the Sounds of the Dolomites. A thrilling moment at a concert at 1,788m surrounded by numerous 2,000 metre peaks. An experience we will surely never forget!!! The return then took us almost exclusively downhill to Stenico, where we were then brought back to Molveno by shuttle bus. We would like to thank Dolomiti di Brenta Bike, Trentino Marketing and all our fellow cyclists for a brilliant time together! We are sure to come back to this area.
The tour was simply brilliant! The landscape was breathtaking, the fellow cyclists were very nice and the accommodation was something special. The only thing is that some parts of the route are NOT suitable for e-bikes, as there are too many downhill or steep pushing passages over roots and rocks. An unforgettable adventure, that is for sure! However, our e-bikes are not designed for this type of path and are far too heavy for the downhill sections on narrow paths. According to the guides there, there are alternative routes that are adapted especially to the needs of the e-bike. Additionally, there is the RED route, which is considerably easier and better suited to our bikes. With the BLACK route, which we rode, we stretched the e-bikes to the limit and beyond.
Our tip: If you would like to do the tour, please acquire exact information from Dolomiti di Brenta Bike and you will receive a route that is ideally tailored to e-bikes.