The Dolomites by bike
Last Saturday, the Dolomites once again had only belonged to us cyclists once again: the annual Sella Ronda bike Day entered its 17th round on 16.09.2023. On this unique public cycling day, traffic on the four mountain passes around the Sella massif is is closed to all motorized vehicles. Those who stay are over 20,000 cyclists who have the whole day to themselves to enjoy the breathtaking landscape of the Sella Ronda without exhaust fumes and engine noise and enjoy one of the most beautiful and peaceful bike tours of all. Even though the Sella Ronda bike Day is of course the perfect opportunity for this mountain ride, you don't have to wait until next summer to conquer the Sella.
What the Sella Ronda actually is, how you can do the tour and what you need to bear in mind, you can find out in this blog post.
1. the Sella Ronda
In winter the four passes around the Sella massif in the Dolomites are a paradise for snow sports enthusiasts, in summer it's the cyclists' turn. On the tour around the mountain group (the highest peak is Piz Boé at 3,152 m), you cycle over 53 km through three provinces (South Tyrol, Trentino and Veneto), over four mountain passes (Passo Gardena, Campolongo, Pordoi and Passo Sella) with a difference in altitude of up to 2000 m and spectacular views of the mountain ranges of the Dolomites - which incidentally have UNESCO World Heritage status. And rightly so.
The ride is suitable for anyone and everyone, Road cyclists can use the (very good) asphalted roads for challenging climbs and technical descents, for mountain bikers there are plenty of off-road trails and opportunities for bold jumps and even with the gravel you will also get your money's worth.
Nevertheless, it is an alpine tour and you need a basic level of physical fitness for the numerous ascents and steep descents. fitness and technical riding skills. For complete beginners this may not be for complete beginners, but a few bike toursperhaps even on the mountain, should prepare you well for the Sella Ronda, as it is largely considered "moderately difficult".
You can do the loop clockwise or counterclockwise, depending on your personal condition and your desired level of challenge. On the Sella Ronda bike Day you cycle counterclockwise, which is the topographically more demanding route but also offers less dangerous descents. The clockwise route is less demanding in terms of fitness and effort, but you'll get great scenery and plenty of sightseeing in both directions.
2. the Sella clockwise
Length: 59 km
Difference in altitude with the bike: 330 hm
Difference in altitude with the lifts: 3670 hm
Duration: 5 - 8 h
If you are on the road bike it's best to start in Corvara and then head clockwise towards Arraba over the Passo Campolongo. This is a good starting point (and direction of travel) because the Campolongo is one of the longest passes, but also the lowest, making it ideal for a leisurely start. You'll still have plenty of power reserveswhich you will need at the latest on the climb up to the Pordoi Pass. The nine-kilometre climb here is a (manageable) 7-8% gradient over historic terrain: hardly a Giro d'Italia does not touch the Sella Ronda and the Pordoi Pass in particular has often been a stage finish. The Italian cycling idol and five-time Giro winner Fausto Coppi even has a monument dedicated to him at the top of the pass...
If you tackle the Ronda in this direction, you will also end up on the steep side of the Sella (up to 11% gradient), another climb that demands strength, but the breathtaking views throughout will quickly make you forget your burning muscles and time will fly by. There are plenty of places to stop for refreshments along the route, with restaurants at every pass summit, as well as in Corvara and Arraba. But be careful not to ignore the traffic after your meal. Especially on the Pordoi and Sella Passes, there are a lot of traffic in summer. cars and motorcycles, so be careful.
With the MTB can master the tour in a clockwise direction for all those who already have a certain basic level of fitness and riding technique. You can expect many thrilling descents and the opportunity to take the cable cars back up the individual passes in a relaxed manner. Mountain bikers can also start in Corvara and tackle the descent to Arraba on the single trails. The descent to the valley station of the Fodom lift is then a little more challenging and you can cruise down long, panoramic trails to Canazei at a more leisurely pace. The crowning finale is on the single trail from the Gardena Pass to Colfosco, before continuing on an easy gravel path back to Corvara.
3. the Sella counterclockwise
Length: 56 km
Difference in altitude with the bike: 1020 hm
Difference in altitude with the lifts: 2400 hm
Duration: 4 - 7 h
Both on the mountain bike as well as on the road bike the counter-clockwise tour is a little more challenging and more suitable for more experienced cyclists. On the road bike at least, you almost never have flat stretches, which means that you either have to climb or concentrate on winding descents - there aren't really any breaks to catch your breath. But the fantastic views quickly make us forgive this.
You should have a healthy respect for some of the rather technical descents, especially the steep serpentines from the Sella Pass into the Fassa Valley. The most beautiful sections are those up to the Gardena Pass, where a 360-degree view of the Dolomites awaits you after a final climb, and on the ride from Selva Gardena up to the Sella Pass you can enjoy the breathtaking view of the Marmolada glacier. Afterwards, the Pordoi Pass offers another exciting ascent and if you stop for a cappuccino on the Campolongo Pass, you should pause to admire the picturesque villages of Alta Badia from above.
On a road bike, you should also pay attention to the traffic here: Some of the passes are even populated by coaches and campers, while the single trails are more peaceful on a MTB. Across meadows and gravel paths you can descend the passes at high speed, and the section between the Col dei Rossi mountain station and Arraba is particularly impressive in terms of scenery.
If you've now got a taste for the Sella Ronda - in any direction - you're not alone. The Sella Ronda bike Day conquers the passes twice a year for cyclists of all levels, but also on Dolomites bike Day, which takes place once a year, the roads belong only to the bikes and their riders. The route leads in a 51 km loop over three passes around Monte Lagazuoi in Alta Badia. Where you get on and off the bike is entirely up to you; the wonderful landscapes around the Campolongo are yours to enjoy along the entire route.
For the more ambitious road cyclists among you, the Maratona dles Dolomites should be one of the most exciting events on the cycling calendar. cycling calendar calendar. Every first Sunday in July, this road marathon takes place in Alta Badia, with a 138 km route covering 4,190 m of altitude and also crossing the Sella Ronda. The number of participants is often so high that it is a matter of luck to get a starting permit in the lottery. And if you really want to challenge yourself, leave the Sella Ronda in Canazei and head for the Passo Fedaia: the truly torturous of the Dolomite passes. We take our hats off to those who conquer it.
A good bike makes your Sella Ronda tour even more exciting and saves you a lot of extra effort. On buycycle you will definitely find what you are looking for, because among the 15,000 road bikes, gravel bikes and mountain bikes on our marketplace there is sure to be one for you. And if you want to switch from a road bike to an MTB for your next tour or vice versa, you can sell your old bike simply, safely and easily with us. bike sell it.
If you have any questions about the Sella Ronda, our team is always there for you and you can find everything else about cycling on the blog! It's always worth having a little browse, until then we wish you, as always: Happy browsing, happy cycling! Whether on the Sella Ronda or not.