Crossing the Alps on two wheels
For Hannibal of Carthage and its elephants it was a dangerous forced march. Today for (in the truest sense of the word) saddle-fast mountain bikers it is rather a thrilling challenge: the fascination of crossing the Alps.
It is a unique experience to overcome the mightiest mountain tops of Europe on two wheels, a modern adventure combining sporting peak performance and special moments in the great outdoors. Provided that the biker has not only a good bike and equipment, but also the necessary strength, persistence and cycling technique.
Normally an MTB transalp takes four to six days and the daily program includes about 90 km and many meters of difference in altitude. Why do people accept this exertion? Maybe because it is an experience that is mostly shared with chummy cyclist. Probably because it is a relatively cheap way to spend a holiday, because bikers spend the night in ordinary inns and guest houses along the wayside.
But first and foremost the efforts are recompensed with scenic and technical variety that wows every biker. You can cross the Alps trough lonely, historical and legendary trails, through gravel paths, old military roads and narrow tracks, straight through impressing landscapes, on high mountain passes and deep valleys, from classical to extreme variations.
Suggestions for crossing the Alps
In and around South Tyrol there are many possibilities for crossing the Alps by bike. Most tours start in the north, in Austria or Southern Germany, and lead across several mountain passes to South Tyrol respectively Northern Italy, where Lake Garda is one of the most popular destinations. Known transalp tours begin for instance in Zillertal or on the Brenner Pass and in Riva del Garda or lead from Kitzbühel across the Bienlücke Pass to Tauferer Ahrntal and Pustertal. Not to forget the tours crossing the Alps in Vinschgau.
The best season for crossing the Alps are the summer month July, August and September, when there is no or only little snow on the mountain tops. Of course, accurate planning is necessary for every transalp tour, as well as appropriate physical preparation and a perfectly maintained mountain bike with a comfortable saddle.