ROUTE 2: A ride around Borgo San Dalmazzo, Piedmont
Want a motorcycling adventure in an unspoilt mountain wilderness? You’ve come to the right place.
“If it wasn’t for the pink line on the GPS, I’d have said we were lost” says Weeble when we stop. He takes a second to look around at the scenery. “It’s not bad here, though, is it? What did you say this place was called?” It’s called the Colle dei Morti: the hill of the dead. It’s tucked away in the high hills of Piedmont, outside the tiny town of Demonte. I was shown it years ago and I’ve been itching to come back ever since.
The road is exactly as I remember: narrow, bumpy, gravelly… rough. In other words, perfect terrain for an adventure bike like the Tiger Explorer. Riding this road is an adventure, as it spirals upwards past grazing cows and fat marmots, running along a rock ridge high above the valley to reach a statue of Italian cycling hero Marco Pantani at the top.
Just past the 281m summit we turn left, heading to Marmora to pick up the Colle di Sampeyre. This really is adventure-bike territory, as the road surface degenerates from average to awful to absent. Whilst I’m nervously threading my way down a short but steep and genuinely unpaved slope on the Tiger Sport, Weeble’s standing comfortably on the pegs of the Explorer, laughing. “Someone needs to call the Italian minister for roads and tell him his pass is broken,” he jokes. Progress is slow, not helped by having to thread our way through a herd of donkeys roaming free among the trees and across the road.
“I enjoyed that” says Weeble. “It’s not the kind of road you’d want to take a pillion on, but it’s perfect for adventure bikes”. For me, it sums up what riding a bike is all about: unlocking the kind of wild, beautiful and unusual places you’d never bother visiting in a car. Despite the name, the Colle dei Morti makes you glad to be alive - and on two wheels.
Download the GPX files: Rides around Borgo San Dalmazzo
Route 1 (our route): Start/finish: Borgo San Dalmazzo. Distance: 200 miles. Riding time 6.5 hours. Suggested stops: AM coffee Sampeyre, lunch Col d’Izoard, PM coffee Col de Vars.
Route 1 map, Download GPX file
Please note: This page contains the route files for The RiDE Guide To Italy which came free with RiDE magazine in July 2015. These website page are not regularly updated, so please check all critical information before you travel. All route files are in .gpx format. Garmin and BMW users can download the main file, which contains all the routes and our recommended hotels as separate waypoints. TomTom users can download the individual routes and use the Tyre software to convert them. For many routes we also have Google Map links. However, as Google Maps will not plot routes over seasonally closed high Alpine passes (such as Stelvio) when they’re shut, these may not work for every route all year round.