Four Routes to Ride: Muro di Sormano

Four Routes to Ride


28/02/2018

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Our Favorite Classic Lake Como Rides

Whether flat, rolling, or a 27% wall, there are roads in Lake Como for everyone! ComoLagoBike cycling tours range from easy, medium, hard, to epic. Join our professional guides for a group tour each day, or put together a custom tour catered to your fitness and interests. With the Bottecchia carbon fiber road bikes and their compact gearing (typically 34x32), any climb is doable. Some of the rides are also possible on e-bike, opening a whole world for those interested in enjoying all the beautiful views and experiences of Lake Como without breaking a sweat. A few of the classic ComoLagoBike routes to try include:

 

1) Onno-Ghisallo

Also called the Ghisallino, this 35 kilometer, 700 vertical meters loop along the lake and into the Triangolo Lariano hills is the best way to welcome your legs to Italy. This ride is also the perfect way for cyclists, both casual and appassionati, to make the pilgrimage to the Madonna del Ghisallo chapel and Cycling Museum. Start with an easy flat lakeside ride from Bellagio to Onno, then a gradual climb up to Valbrona and its Ad Onore Del Ciclista fountain, in honor of Como's cycling son, Fabio Casartelli. At the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, Casartelli won the gold medal in road racing for Italy, but in 1995 he tragically died in a crash at the Tour de France just short of his 25th birthday. Be sure to watch this InCycle video to learn more about  the life and loss of this beloved local cyclist.

 

Water bottles full, it's back on the bikes for a beautiful flat ride through the valley leading from Valbrona to Asso. The easy, gradual climbing begins from Asso when we head north through the valley to the charming village of Barni, then finally Magreglio and the Madonna del Ghisallo chapel and museum. After a visit and break for a snack, we descend along the ridgeline through the village of Civenna then let the adrenaline flow with switchback after switchback to the front door of Hotel Il Perlo.

 

This ride is perfect for: Everyone! Whether on a road bike or e-bike, this route showcases Lake Como's beautiful views, green valleys, historical and cultural sites, and stops for delicous Italian snacks.

Four Routes to Ride: Madonna del Ghisallo

 

2) Valsassina

A ferry ride from the Bellagio waterfront to the picturesque village of Varenna on the east side of the lake begins this 60 kilometer ride with 900 vertical meters of climbing. A little north of Varenna we'll turn inland for a gradual 5 kilometer climb out of the Lake Como basin then drop into the Valsassina, the valley nestled between Lake Como's Grigne mountains and the pre-Alps to the northeast. This valley is green for a reason, it's the home to many farms and shops that produce some of the finest products in Italy. Our friends at Carozzi Formaggi make some of the best cheese in the world. Hungry? Let's stop for lunch and fill our jersey pockets with our favorites to take home.

 

As you are winding along the quiet bike path that runs through the valley, look up and you'll see craggy peaks dotted with snow fields and huge mountains dissected with local ski lifts. Unknowingly you're gradually increasing your elevation to the high passo above the town of Lecco and the most spectacular descent to the lake. Steep granite cliffs and perhaps some paragliders greet you on the way down to Lecco, where you can stop at a cafè before finishing the ride back to Bellagio. Bellissimo!

 

This ride is perfect for: Everyone! Longer than the Onno-Ghisallo route, the terrain is still easy to navigate for both road cyclists and those on e-bikes. The Valsassina's dramatic valley and proximity to the Grigne mountains are a wonderful experience for visitors to Italy.

Four Routes to Ride: Valsassina bike path

 

3) Lake Lugano

Who doesn't want to invade Switzerland by bike? There are two routes to Lake Lugano, the shorter 60 kilometer and 950 vertical meters, or the longer 93 kilometer and 1,400 vertical meters ride. Both offer you a ferry ride to the west side of Lake Como and its picturesque villas, then a beautiful gradual climb through an alpine valley past churches perched on hillsides and small villages with quaint cafès, you can almost hear the cowbells high in the hills. When we finally cross the border into Switzerland, it's a dramatic descent to Lake Lugano where you'll notice a distinct difference from Lake Como. Which lake do you prefer? We know ours!

 

The longer route loops around the far side of Lake Lugano and through its namesake town, while the shorter route heads straight to the north end of the lake. From there it's a quick return back to Italy and the descent to Lake Como where we'll catch the Cadenabbia ferry to Bellagio.

 

This ride is perfect for: Road cyclists with medium to high level of fitness who would like to try a long gradual Italian climb plus a sense of adventure going to Switzerland.

Four Routes to Ride: Lake Lugano

 

4) Ghisallo-Muro di Sormano

Ready to climb like a pro? At 53 kilometers and 1,300 vertical meters gain this ride features two steep Lake Como climbs featured in the Giro di Lombardia, the final one-day Monument of the professional World Tour that has been raced each fall since 1905. 

 

Our first climb is the Salita Madonna del Ghisallo, which during the race actually begins about one kilometer down the road from Hotel Il Perlo. Instead of having a few hours under your belt like the pros, you'll start the climb out of the gate from our rental point. Put your bike in a low gear and slowly warm up the switchbacks and rollers to the Ghisallo chapel 7 kilometers above where we'll have a brief visit to pay homage, then continue to our second and biggest climb of the day.

 

After descending from the Ghisallo to Asso we will start the long climb to the Muro di Sormano and ultimately the Colma di Sormano. Don't blow yourself up, the climb to the base of the Muro is still challenging, you'll be spinning up an 8% grade most of the 5 kilometers. After the village of Sormano you have the choice of tackling the brutal Muro di Sormano (only 1.7 kilometers with an average 17% grade, maximum 27%) or the more gradual main road, both which lead to the Colma di Sormano, its restaurant, and breathtaking views of the Triangolo Lariano hills and valleys. The Muro has only been featured in only a few editions of the race, the pros calling it "...simply beastly, impossible to ride." After catching your breath from one of the hardest efforts you've done, enjoy the view of the valley below, grab a well-deserved snack, and get ready for the last part of the day's ride.

 

Continuing your quest to ride like a pro, you are rewarded for all your climbing to the Colma with the long, technical descent to the lake - but be warned to follow the cautions and conservative pace of your guide, this descent offers tricky, technical switchbacks that even stymie the pros. Once in the lakeside village of Nesso we'll take the rolling hills back to Bellagio....and then if your legs can handle it one last steep climb to Hotel Il Perlo.

 

This route is perfect for: Advanced cyclists who have always wanted to tackle these two iconic climbs of the Giro di Lombardia.

Four Routes to Ride: The village of Sormano from Colma di Sormano

 

Ready to ride? Each guided tour leaves from the ComoLagoBike bike shop and rental point at Hotel Il Perlo in Bellagio. The routes are also available by GPS if you are interested in an independent ride on your own. Contact our Booking Manager, Enrica, using the form below to discuss arranging one of these rides during your cycling holiday on Lake Como!

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