MTB Travel Guide: San Remo, Italy

MTB Travel Guide: San Remo, Italy

Place: San Remo
Country: Italy
Number of trails: 10+
Predominant riding style: Enduro and downhill
Level: Advanced

San Remo is a town on the Italian Riviera and home to some of Italy’s top enduro riders as well as some fantastic trails.

Riding high up above San Remo.
Riding high up above San Remo.
Photo © Andy Lloyd.
The place

Less famous in terms of mountain biking than its counterpart two hours east along this well-known coastline, Finale Ligure, the town of San Remo is best known for its casino and the glamorous clientele that it attracts. In terms of cycling, most tourists only know the town for its prestigious Milan – San Remo road race.

The riding

Stretching up from the shores of the Mediterranean to a height of more than one thousand metres, the mountains, which in their lower reaches hold the bustling and often steep back-streets of San Remo, enter an all-together quieter stage once past the perilous and oh-so-very-Italian A10 motorway.

The climb up is lung busting at best but the rewards are worth the effort and within an hour you can be a million miles from the bustle and pace of the town and deep into forest, which clings to the steep sides.

The trails mostly traverse or plummet. That’s to say, this isn’t exactly a cross country riding paradise and you’ll definitely be wanting a bike of at least 140mm travel, a backpack with spares (rocks, stumps and more will be keen to grab at your bike at all times) and some knee pads.

Although the riding is tough – with rocks-a-plenty, drops and jumps – it is also plentiful and much frequented by not only the local riders but also numerous pro riders from all over Europe. These pros flock to the area for its tough, long and physically demanding climbs and descents, and to test products on trails that have the ability to beat up bikes of all kinds.

There are plenty of enduro style trails, which involve bobsled style runs through gulleys filled with rocks and slabs of rock, big exposed sections of tree roots and often sandy terrain.  Trails range from 5 to 15 minutes and several drop you right at the edge of town.

The most famous riding, which is high up in the hills, is at San Romolo – a small and pretty village. Hidden in the trees is a classic downhill track, which has hosted a who’s-who of downhill racing; Nicolas Vouilloz, Danny Hart and Fabien Barel amongst the famous names who have trained and tested here. Be warned though – this one is full-on!

Guiding in the area is more-or-less a must as there is no official trail map and most of the trails are fairly well hidden. Life Cycle Events provide a guiding service with their uplift days and are also very helpful in pointing any visitors in the right direction of the trails. Contact details are below.

How to get there

Flights to Nice (France) are cheap and frequent, Easyjet fly up to four times per day from London airports. From Nice it’s less than an hour’s drive or a similar length train journey directly from the airport.

Where to stay

Villagio dei Fiori in San Remo is far enough away from the centre of town to be a pleasant retreat and the ‘posh’ campsite is hugely popular with travellers from all over Europe. There are camping pitches (albeit on hard ground), caravan and van pitches and small apartments to rent, all of which lie beneath a canopy of Eucalyptus trees and back directly onto the Mediterranean sea.

Guiding and uplift firms in the area

Life Cycle Events do not run package trips but they work closely with Villagio dei Fiori and are friendly local Italians who run an uplift and guiding service. These guys often host top riders from France and Italy so if you’re lucky you could be riding with a World Champion too! The company is headed by Manuel Ducci who lives in the centre of San Remo and is one of Italy’s top enduro racers, as well as being a very nice guy and proficient in English.

To book uplift and for help securing accommodation, contact Manuel Ducci of Life Cycle Events on info@life-cycle.eu

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