For the past few years, the question of where to start the new bike season wasn’t really a question. It was more a matter of deciding which week we should drive those six hours down to Finale Ligure. For obvious reasons, we were (and still are) amazed by what Finale Ligure has to offer.
But this year Armin and I decided to try something new. Still Italy, but this time not at the Mediterranean sea but a bit further up north – also very warm (compared to Switzerland) at this time of the year. Our destination to start the 2016 bike season was to ride in South Tirol for nine days with our basecamp setup in Bozen.

Why mountainbiking in Bozen?

For starters because none of us has ever been biking there. But also because it is supposed to have a lot to offer. Not just great and countless riding options, but great food, great wine, pleasant locals, cute oldtown, some cultural stuff like the art museum and much more. And of course three gondolas straight out of the city. Vinschgau only one-hour driving distance away, Meran 30 minutes away, Paganella Bike Park as well as Molveno only one-hour south and a couple of other riding destinations close to the Dolomites.

What did we ride in Bozen?

Based on some tips from friends we started with the Jenesien gondola, after a short uphill, we did the – probably quite famous – combination of the hiking trails nr. 11 and 9 which offer a first bite of the rocky conditions most trails around Bozen consist of. All in all the trail has quite a lot of flow and was definitely the best way to start the week of riding. When wet it will get a bit slippery in the lower part where you ride along old (but still intact) roman paths. Even dry it was difficult to stop at certain places.
Unfortunately, we didn’t bring the camera on most of the daily rides – most of the pictures are shot on an iPhone 6. The next few days we spent mostly on Ritten, riding the trails nr. 2 and 3 which are both amazing. Nr. 2 was rocky but not very technical – actually quite fast. Nr. 3 has a couple of steeper parts but not as many rocks as nr. 2. A bit more technical.

One of the longer descents was trail nr. 9 – where you have to ride about 10km and 400m of altitude to get to the start. Those 10kms count easily as a touristic trail. You pedal along farms, a huge llama colony, enjoy the view from a couple of great lookouts and finally end up in front of a 9km long downhill over 1400m of altitude. Again a lot of rocks to spice up the technical parts but still enough flowy parts to relax the hands. For sure one of my favourite trails in Bozen. Actually, this trail gets put on my top 10 list of trails!We enjoyed ourselves in between the riding days as well and did some classic city trip stuff – Bozen would be a nice place to visit even for non-bikers. If you bring your bike you just get the full package. Bozen offers a bit of everything. At some point we felt like we had to do something for our legs as well and went on a XC round at Eppan – the directions for this tour we found here: Labyrinth-trails Eppan

Kicking off the Bike Season in South Tyrol

XC Rides in Bozen – a possibility, too!

Short visit to Vinschgau

The next and unfortunately last day riding we drove into the valley called Vinschgau. In the last few years, the tourism in Vinschgau had a big focus on biking. Vinschgau offers a couple of classics like the Helly Hanson trail combined with a great infrastructure – bike shuttle, cable cars, and gondolas. I guess we found the place to start next season. Bozen is a place we have to visit again!
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Flow and dust on the Propain Trail, a great combination in Vinschgau

 Well, that’s it for this trip. We now hope that the snow in the alps melts fast enough – there are a couple of epic weekend trips planned in Switzerland as well as the odd enduro race.
Enjoying the view before dropping into the Propain Trail

Enjoying the view before dropping into the Propain Trail