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E-BIKE FIRST-TIMER - Aislin Bamber, Val Gardena
Tuesday June 19, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

With summer in full swing, we look back at a weekend of firsts last summer in the Dolomites. E-biking in Val Gardena:




Day 1: Up on the e-bike

The mountains in northeastern Italy make up a World Heritage Site.

They are spectacular, especially for a first-timer.

It was a real treat to explore Val Gardena, learning about the area's history by doing a new sport - e-biking.

Here's a look at a great weekend spent by a (former) non-cyclist in the peaceful Val Gardena:

The ValleyOver the valley at the end of the day
















We set off at 9am from Selva, Val Gardena in blazing heat.

Cycling first on the road, we then turned to dust tracks and paths making our way up through the hills to Santa Cristina and past some indifferent cows.

Santa Cristina hills and cowsSanta Cristina hills and cows
















There was a 11am stop off for aperitivo, this early in the day consisting of prosecco and canapés of ham and gherkins and pizza at Tirler Hotel.

It was already around 27°C.

After a 30-minute stop we filled our bottles from a spring and continued on the dusty gravel tracks.

AperitivoAperitivo at 11am




















Tirler Hotel, South TirolTirler Hotel, South Tirol











The cycling included a combination of wide gravel paths winding up and down the hills and through the forest, which was cool and a welcome relief from the sun.

It was pretty hairy descending these tracks, though, and there were a few slides from braking on the loose, dry gravel.


Making it to the top of the hill, overlooking the little town of Santa Cristina with church bells ringing, it was such a beautiful view that I was too busy admiring it and lost my concentration.

It turns out the brakes are very responsive on e-bikes and can fling you over the handlebars if you're not careful.

(Yes, it happened...)

Thankfully we were headed down to Caffe Ristoro Val d'Anna for lunch.

It is in the prettiest setting above the town of Ortisei, beside a river known for its healing properties where we soothed our feet.

Lunch was a novel starter of blended melon with melon balls wrapped in Parma ham followed by head-sized Schnitzels.

Caffe Ristoro Val d'AnnaCaffe Ristoro Val d'Anna




















Caffe Ristoro Val d'AnnaCaffe Ristoro Val d'Anna
















Heading off to our last stop:

It was a gruelling climb up to the ancient church of Saint Giacomo situated above the town of Ortisei, which we could barely appreciate due to the heat.

We arrived at a cosy family run restaurant for grappa and dessert: a bike and food tour!

This place had phenomenal views over the valley and the friendliest of staff.

The friendliest of staffThe friendly staff




































After choosing (somewhat blindly) from a case of a dozen or so different flavours of homemade grappa, we had yet another course which was some deep fried apple and headed back to the hotel for some R&R.

Tomorrow: Taking on the 59-kilometre Sella Ronda circuit.

Day 1: DoneDay 1: Done
















To enjoy the hotel pool and viewsDay 1: Done
















DAY 2 - (e)-biking excursion in the Dolomites:

An incredible thunder storm all through the night and into the morning meant the morning cycle was cancelled.

We set off at 12pm, rather than the planned 8am, and took on about 20km of the 59-kilometre Sella Ronda circuit.

After flying off the bike the day before, it was a welcome delay to rest a little in the hotel's spa.

Cycling on normal roads around the Sella - rather than the dusty gravel tracks of yesterday - was easier.

But despite the Sella Ronda being the big attraction, the journey we took the day before was more enjoyable and picturesque.

Cycling right next to the rocks of the Dolomites was still magnificent, though.

Day 2 - off to a late startDay 2 - off to a late start





























I knew very little about the area, the skiing, the summer options and the history before arriving.

It seems I missed a trick for somewhere so beautiful, close to home and with great food, oh and biking trails...

Here are some interesting things - I hope - I heard during an ideal e-biking trip to Val Gardena.

Fun facts:

The area spreads across 3 different Italian regions, which means it can be difficult to make decisions on things like closing the roads on Sundays so people can enjoy it as a protected area - you have to deal with all three departments.

Reinhold Messner - the first man to climb Everest without oxygen tank - is from the next valley (Villnöß ) and he believes Val Gardena to be the most beautiful.

Tourism started 200 years ago with the first arriving on skis from Scandinavia; As these visitors skied down it was thought they were the devils arriving.

E-biking allows you access to many tours that you might not otherwise be able to complete.

You can see locals everywhere using e-bikes to take their children to kindergarten or go to the shops in summer when there's no snow.

The architecture in the area is very Tirolean compared to the rest of Italy; The identity of the Dolomites is both unique and in a bit of crisis as it is neither.

Language: Rheta Romanish - a mixed language from when the Romans conquered middle Germany and north Italy. 

E-biking in the DolomitesBiking bruises

Back home and showing off the bruisesBack home and showing off the bruises















Val Gardena Summer Fact Box:

  • We flew with easyJet on the London Gatwick to Verona route
  • Nearest airports to Val Gardena are Innsbruck, Verona, Venice and Milan Bergamo with airlines including easyJet, Ryanair, Monarch and BA
  • Inghams is the main UK tour operator to Val Gardena in summer

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

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