Stelvio Pass

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Escapes -

If you are go­ing to com­mit to one big trip it should be mem­o­rable. And if there’s one thing Stelvio is, it’s mem­o­rable.

Stelvio is a bit of a le­gend in bike­tour­ing cir­cles. From Bormio in the south to Prato allo Stelvio in the north, the SS38 runs for more or less 30 miles over the 2757m Stelvio Pass. It’s Italy’s high­est pass – the sec­ond high­est in the Alps – but it’s not the el­e­va­tion that makes it fa­mous. It’s the cor­ners. That 30 miles of road in­cludes 75 hair­pins, 48 on the north­ern slope, with 14 packed into the two miles ap­proach­ing the sum­mit, as tight as the rungs of a lad­der.

It’s a de­mand­ing road. That many tight, steep hair­pins tests your skill like no other. It’s easy to ride one hair­pin tidily. String­ing a cou­ple to­gether isn’t that hard. But 75? That’s tough.

The whole road is one hell of a ride – and the scenery is spec­tac­u­lar.

There are plenty of hair­pins to prac­tise on be­fore reach­ing the tight fi­nal run up to the sum­mit – which is eas­ier as a climb than a de­scent.

The sum­mit is al­ways busy: there’s a clus­ter of shops sell­ing sou­venirs, cafés and sausage stands, as well as a cou­ple of ho­tels. It’s worth climb­ing higher to the Ti­bet restau­rant, which has the best views of the pass.

The south­ern slope is more flow­ing, though no less chal­leng­ing in places. It has its own steep run of hair­pins, link­ing broad tra­verses of the grav­elly slopes. And when you get there, you know it was worth all the ef­fort, all the plan­ning it took to get there. The Stelvio will be one of the most mem­o­rable roads you’ll ever ride.

Ex­pe­ri­ence hair­pins as tight as the rungs on a lad­der

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