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Sardinia Holidays 2017
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  MOUNTAIN BIKE IN SARDINIA

 

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AM Berg Verlag

Our little guidebook  to the mountain biking in Sardinia (source ESIT)

SETTE FRATELLI

Aggregate vertial ascent: 633 m. Maximum height: 861 m. Level of difficulty: easy.
Cyclability: 100%
Time: 2 hrs. Distance : 24 km.
Itinerary of great interest. Map reference: IGM 2431 NE S. Gregorio.

The Sette Fratelli mountain range takes its name from the seven peaks distinguished by their jagged profile. The mountainous terrain, largely made up of granite, is situated within the Sette Fratelli forest, a splendid oasis of grenery on the doorstep of Cagliari. In the forest you can still find typical elements of Sardinian flora, such as cork trees (Quercus Suber) and holm-oak trees (Quercus Ilex), which have survived clearings and forest fires. The wildlife of the region is also very interesting: there are a lot of deer (Cervus Elapus Corsicanus) and wild boar, which although threatened by poachers find an ideal habitat in the forest. You can also spot some examples of Bonelli eagles (Hieractus Fasciatus). The proposed route goes along the Western side of the state owned forest and then follows the Riu Sa Ceraxa upstream until it reaches the base of the similarly named peak. from here, if you make a small detour, you can even catch sight of the Costa Rei coast. The dirt track continues through the peaks of the Sette Fratelli, and then down the steep descent into the Riu Maidopis valley. Starting point: From Cagliari take the SS 125 road to the Arcu Neridu pass (km 30.1; 403m), where you turn right into the clearly visible dirt road and carry on for 200 m to the Campuomu forestry department building.

PISCINA NUSCEDDA

Aggregate vertical ascent: 841 m. Maximum height: 728 m. Level of difficulty: medium.
Cyclability: 100%.Time 3.5 hrs. Distance: 52 km. Map references: IGM 234 I NW Sinnai; 234 NE S. Gregorio; 234 I SE Geremeas.
This itinerary brings you in touch with the ancient history and traditions of Sardinia as the route passes through the immediate vicinity of the giant`s tomb of Is Concas. It is excellently preserved, but not very well known or much frequented and is well worth a pause for a brief visit. Its form, seen from above, resembles the characteristic bull-like figure with apsis and exedra: you can make out the remains of standing stones and megalithic circles used for offerings and sacrifices. The excursion continues, linking the Rio Longu valley, NW of the Sette Fratelli mountains, to the tourist resort of Geremeas and Torre delle Stelle on the east cost of the Gulf of Cagliari. Before reaching the sea, there is a difficult ascent, which will put the most highly-trained cyclists to the test despite the partially asphalted surface.
Starting point. From Cagliari, take the SS 125 towards Muravera until the village of Piscina Nuxedda (km 20.3). Once past the bridge, immediately after a bend in the road turn into a small road on your right and leave your car in this area. The starting point is 20.3 km from Cagliari.

IS PAUCERIS

Aggregate vertical ascent: 825m. Maximum height: 560m. Level of difficulty: medium. Cyclability: 100%.Time: 4 hrs. Distance: 51km. Map references: IGM 234 IV SW Capoterra; 233 I SE Monte Arcosu; 233 IINE S. Barbara; 234 III NW Villa d`Orri.
The Eastern part of Sulcis is made up of granite reliefs to the west of Capoterra, and dense vegetation where holm oaks and strawberry-trees predominate in the higher and more internal areas. You might come across Sardinian deer and wild boar. In certain parts a lot of effort may be required as there are some steep slopes, but the tracks are kept in good condition, so you can keep up a steady pace.
Starting point: From Cagliari follow the SS 195 road in the direction of Pula. After 12 km, turn right for Capoterra, which you reach in another 4 km. Once you have gone through the town, take a wide dirt track that leads to the country church of S. Lucia and on to the Monte Arcosu and Santadi. After a few metres leave your car by the Enel substation: This is where the excursion starts.

MONTE ARBU

Aggregate vertical ascent: 789m. Maximum height: 690m. Level of difficulty: medium.
Cyclability: 100%. Time: 2.5 hrs. Distance: 38 km. Map references: IGM 234 SE Geremeas; 234 II NE Solanas; 235 IV SW Castiadas
. An escape into the greenery of dense vegetation and undulating rock spurs where the Sette Fratelli mountains descend gently to the sea. The return route back along the coast is also of interest with its continual curves and slopes, but the potentially enchanting scenery with its mountain and sea coast appears to have been spoilt by tourist intervention, which has sprinkled this stretch of the coast with cement right to the beach. The successful process of "Riminisation" is happening right now and what`s more, it seems to be unstoppable. It is just as well that the track goes along the coast, because seen from the sea the situation is even worse, at least for those of us who have been lucky enough to have visited these places in the not to distant past. However, the outing will have a pleasantly invigorating effect, perhaps triggering off the urge to try out other demanding itineraries in the region. Starting point: From Cagliari, take the coastal road to Villasimius. After 36.5 km you reach the built-up area of Solanas, in the district of Sinnai. You keep to the main road until you come to a turning on the left signed S. Barbara- Castiadas. Leave your car and carry on towards Castiadas. The starting point is 36.5 km from Cagliari and 12 km frmo Villasimius.

CASTIADAS

Aggregate vertical ascent: 979 m. Maximum height: 699 m. Level of difficulty: difficult. Cyclability: 100%. Time: 4 hrs. Distance: 44.8 km. Itinerary of exceptional interest. Be careful not to get lost. IGM maps and compass essential. Map references: IGM 234 NE S. Gregorio; 234 I SE Geremeas; 235 I NW Oliaspeciosa; 235 IV SW Castiadas.
This itinerary offers endles possibilities for mountainbiking enthusiasts. There are many bridle paths, footpaths and dirt tracks that wind their way through the hills and valleys of Sarrabus. Paths that used to be used by wood cutters or shepherds to reach distant shepherd`s huts on the higher pasture. Part of this network of paths has been lost as nature encroaches on any that are seldom used. Opportunities abound however, even if you might come across some completely overgrown tracks and have to turn back. For its varied scenery and for the athletic and technical skill it requires, this is destined to become a mountainbiking "classic" in Sardinia. Starting point: The starting point of the excursion is Castiadas, an agricultural area situated in the hinterland of Costa Rei. From Cagliari, you reach it by taking the coastal road to Villasimius. It´s 50 km from Cagliari, 13 km from Solanas and 23 km from Villasimius. You start in the old main square, originally the site of the prisons in 1800s.

LANAITTO

Aggregate vertical ascent: 158 m. Maximum height: 180 m. Level of difficulty: easy. Time: 1.5 hrs. Distance: 20 km. Map references: IGM 208 IV NW Cantoniera Manasuddas; 208 IV SW M. Oddoene. The green valley of Lanaitto is the ideal starting place to reach the Supramonte of Oliena and Dorgali, following the old paths used by coal miners and shepherds. Sometimes these paths disappear in the rugged and wild countryside, but the route is relatively easy for those who can find their bearings in the mountains. The excursion to the Sovana plain is much more demanding. It is a vast karstic area south of Monte Cusidore, where you can plunge down the valley towards Badde Pentumas, a spectacular canyon with vertical rockfaces; you need to have had quite a lot of experience of using rappels to be able to handle all those jumps in mid-air. Interest on the ground is no less than that on the rockface. Infact, the same climatic alterations, which have shaped the rocks and produced deep cracks in the limestone have also helped to create an incredibly rich and varied subsoil. Two examples of these natural masterpieces are the caves of Sa Oche (The voice) at Lanaitto (so called because during periods of heavy rain the water gushes out with a roar at the entrance to the cave) and the caves of Su Bentu (so called because of strong wind – Bentu – blows inside them) which have been explored and developed up to 16 km in. This outing in mountainbike is within everyones reach. It passes through all the starting places of the most important Supramonte excursions and can be considered an easy way of getting to know the Sardinia mountain environment before undertaking any of the more demanding itineraries. Starting point: From Oliena take the provincial road for Dorgali, after 6 km turn right following tourist signs to Su Gologone. You pass a large hotel complex on your right and then come to a clear crossroad. Here, to the right, there is a wide dirt road with wooden signs informing you of all the possible treks in the area. You park in the space to the left, near some springs. The starting point is 20 km from Nuoro and 200 km from Cagliari.

GOCEANO

Aggregate vertical ascent: 669 m. Maximum height 1110 m. Level of difficulty: easy. Cyclability: 100%. Time: 2.5 hrs. Distance: 30 km. Map references: IGM 194 III NW Bultei.The public-owned Goceano forest is made up of three distinct parts, which are very near each other and situated along the Goceano mountain range. The woods are mainly composed of holm-oaks and durmast, but near the forestry department building there are some non native species introduced for experimental and ornamental reasons, cedars, sequoias, firs, larch-pines etc. The panoramic views across the southern side of the range and the plentiful springs, which allow you to ride the route until late spring make it particularly attractive. It is difficult to find more extensive itineraries in the area, because of the intensive sheep farming and the presence of many folds which mark out territory with fences and walls, breaking up the continuity needed for such routes. The itinerary is open to cyclists of all levels. It goes through the sections of Monte Pisanu and Anela in the Goceano public forest. Starting point: From the village in Burgos Forest to towards Bono. After 5 km turn left following signs for Forestale di Monte Pisanu, where the itinerary starts. The starting point is 61 km from Sassari and 45 km from Nuoro.

IS CANNONERIS

Aggregate vertical ascent: 1020 m. Maximum height: 840 m. Level of difficulty: difficult. Cyclability: 100%. Time: 5 hrs. Distance : 71 km. Itinerary of exceptional interest. A particularly difficult course, advised only for well-prepared and expert cyclists. Map references: IGM 240 IV NW S. Margherita; 239 I NE Domus de Maria; 233 II NE S. Barbara; 234 III SW Pula. This excursion takes us into Sardinia& acute;s biggest green oasis. About 400 square km of high Mediterranean scrub and dense holm oak forest cover this territory. It is rich with potentially torrential rivers and streams, bordered by brightly coloured oleander trees. Many species of animals find their ideal habitat in this wilderness. Golden eagles, peregrin falcons, buzzards, wild cats and more common wild boar can all be spotted and admired with a bit of luck along the way. Some examples of Sardinia deer can also be seen. The whole region is looked after by forest rangers who have their bases at Piscinamanna, Is Canoneris and Monte Nieddu. Cyclists will certainly find excellent opportunities for relaxing and riding (slipping and sliding, too!) in this stimulating environment. The dirt tracks in the area are plentiful and, being maintained in good condition, don`t require any particular technical skills (be careful though on the long downhill stretches), but good basic preparation is necessary as the route is very long. Starting point: From Cagliari take the SS 195 towards Pula/Teulada. After 21.4 km turn left for Sarroch. The starting point is in Sarroch`s main square and is 22.4 km frmo Cagliari.

MONTE ARCOSU

Aggregate vertical ascent: 829 m. Maximum height: 735 m. Level of difficulty: medium. Cyclability: 100%. Time: 3 hrs. Distance: 36 km. Map references: IGM 233 I SE Monte Arcosu; 233 II NE S. Barbara. Monte Arcosu is one of the biggest protected areas in the Mediterranean: holm oaks, hundred-year-old cork trees, strawberry-trees and numerous carobs form the natural habitat and refuge of the Sardinian deer. The whole area, 3000 hectares of rocks and impenetrable woodland, is owned by the WWF. Deer, wild boar and also rabbits, hares, martens, weasels and foxes together with innumerable birds make up the protected wildlife of the territory. The proposed route doesn`t present any difficulties for those simply wanting to reach the forest lodge of Monte Arcosu. It is possible to book the Lodge beforehand and use it as a base for numerous excursions on foot to the most beautiful parts of the reserve. Contact the regional WWF office in Cagliari beforehand. Starting point: From the town of Capoterra ask for directions to the rural church of S. Lucia or for the way to Santadi. Once out of the town, follow this country lane until you reach the R Marmueri food. Having past this you turn left to reach the large open square in front of the church where you leave your car. The starting point is 21 km from Cagliari.

MARGANAI

Aggregate vertical ascent: 915 m. Maximum height: 730 m. Level of difficulty: medium. Cyclability: 100%. Time: 3 hrs. Distance: 33 km. Map references: IGM 235 III SW S. Benedetto; 235 III SE Grottadi S. Giovanni. The Marganai forest is characterised by young and dense holm oak woods. It is protected by the regional council`s forestry department, who have been working for ten years on a reforestation programm for the impoverished woodland. This itinerary merges a nature lover`s trail with a "mining trail" featuring the abandoned mines of Reigraxus, S. Benedetto, Malacalzetta, Arenas and Sa Duchessa. Mining activity in Sardinia has interisting historical and cultural connotations. The extraction process was already known in the nuragic period and therefore has roots in a very distant past. The fusion of these different elements, the presence of hills and valleys of some importance and the good quality of the tracks allow the cyclist a fulfilling excursion, both in terms of cycling and discovery. Starting point:  From Iglesias take the SS 126 road to Fluminimaggiore. After 43.5 km, 5 km from Iglesias, take the turning on the right signed for S. Benedetto. Leave your car in the village near the yellow sign for the "Foresta demaniale Marganai"; this is the starting point for the excursion. The starting point is 8 km from Iglesias and 65.5 km from Cagliari.

PISCINA IRGAS

Aggregate vertical ascent: 785 m. Maximum height: 815 m. Level of difficulty: medium. Cyclability: 99%. Time: 2.5 hrs. Distance: 30 km. Map references: IGM 235 III SW S. Benedetto; 235 III SE Grotta di S. Giovanni.This itinerary is set in the Oridda region, geologically one of the most ancient areas in Sardinia. In this part of the Iglesias region limestone-dolomite formations dating back to the mid Cambric period are to be found. These are also the origin of the karstic phenomena of the zone, an impressive example of which is the S. Giovanni cave. The region in general is rich in caves and chasms and so is very popular with caving enthusiasts, likewise the high limestone rockfaces attract more and more mountain climbers. The abundance of lead, zinc, copper and tin deposits has meant that this zone has been a meeting point between different cultures and civilisations since ancient times and one of the most important mining centres in Italy. The dirt tracks which are in reasonable conditions, allow you to pedal along and fully appreciate your surroundings. Starting point: From Cagliari, take the SS 130 road towards Iglesias. After 7 km turn right heading for Domusnovas, 48.3 km from Cagliari. In Domusnovas follow the tourist signs to Grotta di S. Giovanni. Once you pass the cave, park your car. The starting point is 4.3 km from Domusnovas and 52.6 km from Cagliari. 

ANTAS

Aggregate vertical ascent: 814 m. Maximum height: 606 m. Level of difficulty: medium. Cyclability: 98%. Time: 3 hrs. Distance: 33 km. Map references: IGM 225 III SW S. Benedetto; 225 III SE Grotta di S. Giovanni.The setting for this excursion is of con sid era ble inte rest bot h fro m an archeological and a caving point of view. The temple of Antas can suddenly ben seen after the first few easy kilometres of the route, on the left of the Antas valley. A pause is essential even for inattentive cyclists in a hurry! From a geological point of view however, the main interest lies in the complex and developed hydropraphy hidden in the depths of Monte Conca S`Orru (616 m), whose massive figure dominates the Antas valley and where the springs of Gutturu Pala (300 lit/sec) and Su Mannau (70 lit/sec) are found. The tracks we follow are in good condition with the exception of one on the way back which follows the river Rio Maccione upstream: you have to push your bike along a steep ridge. There are, however, more relaxing stretches, especially around the Gutturu Pala spring, when you can stock up with water and get a breath back. Starting point: From Iglesias take the SS 126 road towards Fluminimaggiore. Once past the Genna Bogai pass (550 m) after 15.9 km take the country road to your right which leads to the Rio Antas valley. A little further on leave your car. The starting point is 15.9 km from Iglesias and 69 km from Cagliari.

GUTTURU CARDAXIUS

Aggregate vertical ascent: 854 m. Maximum height: 551 m. Level of difficulty: medium. Cyclability: 100%. Time: 4 hrs. Distance: 44 km. Map references: IGM 224 II SE Buggerru; 225 III S. Benedetto.
This itinerary is technically and athletically not very difficult and is set amongst hills and valleys, on easy and quiet roads. This however doesn`t detract from the environmental beauty of the picturesque Gutturu Cardaxiu canyon and the panoramic views that the rest of the route provides. Starting point: The starting point is the Genna Bogai pass (550 m) near km 49.8 of the SS 126 road which links Iglesias to Fluminimaggiore. The starting point is 11.5 km from Iglesias, 86 km from Oristano and 64.6 km from Cagliari.

ISOLA DI S. PIETRO

Aggregate vertical ascent: 306 m. Maximum height: 167 m. Level of difficulty: easy. Cyclability: 100%. Time: 2.5 hrs. Distance: 33 km. Map references: IGM 232 I SW/ II NW Isola di S. Pietro.The island of S. Pietro is a "further" island, in the sense that Sardinia seen from Carloforte, the main centre of the island, appears to be the mainland and for those who live in Sardinia, S. Pietro represents a foreign land as far as customs and even language are concerned (the dialect is of Ligurian origin). We suggest that you leave your car at Porto Vesme and board the boat with just your bikes. Two wheels are ideal for a visit, you save on the ferry ticket and above all you avoid unpleasant surprises for the return journey: often car places are sold out on Sunday crossings. With a mountain bike you can explore the cliffs of the coast, crossing the island from one side to the other and visit the hidden corners of the old town. Starting point: You can get to Carloforte by boat from Porto Vesme (70 km from Cagliari) or from Calasetta (on the island of S. Antioco, 110 km from Cagliari). It is a good idea to find out the times of crossings by phoning the Carloforte tourist information office (0781854009). You can book accomodations in the Caletta campsite and other small hotels or through private agents who rent out rooms and flats even in the low season, at relatively reasonable rates. 

MONTE LINAS

Aggregate vertical ascent: 966 m. Maximum height: 1026 m. Level of difficulty: medium. Cyclability: 97%. Time: 3.5 hrs. Distance: 30 km. A particularly difficult route recommended only to highly-trained and expert cyclists. Be careful not to get lost. IGM maps and compass are essential. Map reference: IGM 225 III NE Gonnosfandadiga. For its vastness and complexity, the Linas is one of the most important and interesting mountainous regions in Sardinia. It is made up of crystaline and granite schists dating back to paleozoic period, which makes the rock mass look like that of neighbouring Corsica and is occasionally reminiscent of alpine hills. The abundance of metal and mineral deposits has been the main cause of the almost total deforestation of some hillsides. Only recently has this problem been addressed with a partial reforestation programm. The mountain has, however, somehow managed to retain a lot of its original beauty: splendid gorges and streams are embellished with brightly-coloured oleander and cistus trees, holm-oaks, strawberry-trees and lavender. In the midst of this explosion of colour and fragrance, flowing through strangely-shaped and weather-beaten rocks, is the Spa Spendula waterfall, the highest in Sardinia where water drops over 70 m. The route winds its way through the Linas mountains reaching some if its highest peaks. Because of the steep slopes, the bad condition of the tracks and certain "off-track" stretches, the excursion is recommended for athletically well-prepared cyclists with a good sense of direction. Starting point: As you enter Gonnosfanadiga follow signs for Perda Sa Pibera. Cross the outskirts of town until you come to the bridge over the Riu Piras, where you can leave your car. The starting point is 57 km from Cagliari and 60 km from Oristano.

GIARA

Aggregate vertical ascent: 74 m. Maximum height: 575 m. Level of difficulty: easy. Cyclability: 100%. Time: 2.5 hrs. Distance: 33 km. Map references: IGM 217 II NE Gonnosnò; 217 SE Ussaramanna; 218 III NE Genoni; 218 III SW Barumini. The Giara is a plateau of highland made of bassalt on a rockbed of marlstone and sandstone 500 m high and 50 km squared. It is naturally fortified with mounds of rocks which allow access to the territory only through a few indentations in the rock structure known as Iscalas.The Giara owes its name to the numerous springs and the considerable accumulation of rainwater which the impermeable layer of basalt and the level ground retain nearly all year round, forming a lot of marshland (paulis). The abundance of sandstone, water and natural resources was a determining factor in the settlement of this area and explains why early Sardinia people defend this natural acropoli with about seventy nuraghi, unfortunately lying in ruins today. The whole area is covered with cork oaks, holm-oaks and myrtles while the marshland is rich in plants which provide ideal food for the famous Giara ponies, some of the only examples of wild horses in Europe. The Giara route is extremely easy to follow as the tracks are well-trodden and very little in height. Starting point: From the village of Gesturi follow the tourist signs for Giara to the steep, narrow and sharply-bending tarmac road which takes you to the plateau. Leave your car in the ample space provided in front of the sheepfold. The starting point is 65.5 km from Cagliari and 49.7 km from Oristano.

MONTE ARCI

Aggregate vertical ascent: 730 m. Maximum height: 795 m. Level of difficulty: medium. Cyclability: 98%. Time: 2.5 hrs. Distance: 25 km. Map references: IGM 217 III NE Arborea, 217 II NW Antas. The volcanic mountain of Monte Arci is the second biggest in the Oristano region. It is recognisable by two clearly visible basalt pillars on its summit known as Trebina Longa and Trebina Lada. The area is rich in obsidian, a black and vitreous rock used even in prehistoric times for its hardness to make work and hunting tools. At one time the whole area was a real hive of activity, with more than 100 sites working the precious stone. The northern and western sides of the mountain are covered in a dense scrub in the lower parts and woodland higher up. This itinerary is only one of many that could be followed in this huge area. To make it easy to reach the mountain, the starting point for this excursion by mountain bike is near the SS 131, the major road linking the North and South of Sardinia. The route is particularly difficult; very steep slopes mean it isn`t possible to cycle all the way. During the second part there is a steep downhill stretch on an unevenly surfaced track that likewise requires a lot of skill. Starting point: This is situated near the S. Maria Zuarbara church. Coming from Cagliari, after 75 km on the SS 131 turn right for Marrubiu then immediately follow signs for Masongiu. Carry on for 4 km until you reach the church. The starting point is 21 km from Oristano and 79 km from Cagliari.

MONTE FERRU

Aggregate vertical ascent: 660 m. Maximum height: 1030 m. Level of difficulty: easy. Cyclability: 99%.Time: 2.5 hrs. Distance: 29 km. Map references: IGM 206 III Lussurgiu; 206 III NW S. Caterina. The vast mountainous zone of Monte Ferru takes its name from the old abandoned iron mine on the western side of the mountain. Looking at it today, you can easily imagine that the whole mountain used to be covered in forestland. Unfortunately, today, only traces of it remain. The flora of Monte Ferru is particularly interesting due to the presence of yews (Taxus Baccata) and magnificent chestnut trees. The complex orography of Monte Ferru reaches its highest point in Monte Urtigu (1050 m). When the visibility is good there is a spectacular view from here which encompasses a fair part of the island. There are no particular difficulties with this route as the tracks are in good conditions and the slopes are not too steep. Starting point: Leave teh town of Seneghe in the direction of Bonacard-S. Lussurgiu and immediately turn left along the asphalt road to Bonsco di Seneghe. After 5 km leave your car where the asphalt surface finishes near a big abandoned building on the left (Osp. Scala). The starting point is 30.6 km from Oristano and 125.6 km. from Cagliari.

CODULA DI SISINE

Aggregate vertical ascent: 820 m. Maximum height: 650 m. Level of difficulty: medium. Cyclability: 96%. Time: 4.5 hrs. Distance: 44 km. Itinerary of exceptional interest. Map reference: IGM 208 III SE Baunei; 208 III NE P.ta S`Abbadorgiu; 208 IV SE Grotta del Bue Marino.
This itinerary is set in the hinterland of the Supramonte of Baunei and passes through the deep valley and vertical rockfaces of Codula di Sisine. The codule are an integral part of mountain landscape in Sardinia. They are deep canyons worn away over thousands of years by water in search of the sea. There are endless possibilities for outings in the area: from the splendid ledge of Punta Giradili to the bell tower rock that rises from the sea at Cala Goloritzè and the impressive Golgo chasm; a never ending stram of fantastic scenery where it still makes real sense to talk of adventure and escape. For mountainbikers the route is of medium difficulty and could be further simplified by reaching the S. Pietro church by car. Nearby there is a co-operative from Baunei where you can find organized outings, guides and refreshments.
Starting point: The outing leaves from the town of Baunei. The starting point is 153 km from Cagliari (SS 125), 162.5 km from Olbia (SS 125) and 80 km from Nuoro (SP Nuoro-Oliena-Dorgali, SS 125).

CODULA SA MELA

Aggregate vertical ascent: 233 m. Maximum height: 1024 m. Level of difficulty: easy. Cyclability: 99%. Distance: 21 km. Map references: IGM 208 III NW Urzulei.
This itinerary allows easy access to the secluded, hidden world of the Orgosolo and Urzulei Supramonte. The area is typified by large, exposed, rocky slabs interspersed with varying sized valleys which come together in the Flumineddu river. There are many shepherd huts and sheepfolds in the area, usually situated near springs and waterways. Today, in these sheepfolds, you can find all sort of things and thanks to cars, shepherds can go back home in the evening. Perhaps this should be considered as progress, but how nice it would be to go back in time and follow the shepherds paths in an unspoilt environment! The uplands should be covered in holm oak forest and yews (Taxus Bacata or the tree of death, so called because of the toxic nature of nearly all its parts due to the presence of an alkaloid known as "tassina"). Not many of these remain however in this part of the Supramonte. The most interesting part for the mountain-biker is going into the Coduula sa Mela, where an old bridle-path, used by coalminers, winds steeply along a ridge to the right of the rushing stream revealing an almost lunar landscape of white limestone and scarse vegetation. Starting point: The starting point for the outing is the Genna Cruxi pass (910 m) at km 177.5 of the SS 125 eastern road. Here there is a partly asphalted road (on the right coming from Dorgali), which goes round the Punta Is Gruttas. It is 6.5 km from Urzulei, 25.8 km from Dorgali, 57.8 km from Nuoro and 139.8 km from Olbia.

SUPRAMONTE

Aggregate vertical ascent: 1259 m. Maximum height: 1138 m. Level of difficulty: difficult. Cyclability: 90%. Time: 7 hrs. Distance : 59 km. Itinerary of exceptional interest. A particularly difficult route recommended only for well-prepared and expert cyclists. Be careful not to get lost. IGM maps and compass essential. Map references: IGM 207 II NE Funtana Bona; 207 I SE Orgosolo; 208 IV M. Oddeu; 208 III NE Urzulei.
The Supramonte is a vast and uneven highland plain of over 500 km squared, where mountains, valleys, and twisted gorges alternate with plateaus of karsic formation. After alpine orogeny, erosion has created real wonders of nature: dolinas, canyons and mazes of deep underground caves and rivers. There are no stable human settlements in these uplands, the various peoples that dominated Sardinia never arrived as far as this. It is the stone heart of the island, the last refuge of the nuragic population. Here is one of the caves in these mountains, near Curtigia di Tiscali, they built a village hidden from the unwelcome eyes of invaders. In more recent times it has been the summertime haunt of shepherds in search of the last green pastures for their flocks. The remains of many "pinnette", typical conical constructions in limestone blocks and juniper branches built by shepherds, bear witness to their presence. It is hesitatingly then that we reveal the possibility of access in mountain-bike to this place, which is really better suited to solitude and silence than to the screeching of brakes and the loud colours of mountain-bikers clothes. It is difficult to overstate the importance of respect for this miraculously preserved land. For cyclists, this itinerary is the most complete in the guide as far as testing your skills is concerned. The disconnected paths sprinkled with large limestone pebbles, the complex variation in height, the length of the route and orientation problems together with the extraordinary scenery make for an exhilarating but demanding compendium of off-road cycling in a mediterranean environment. We advise you to follow this route in spring when the days are long, but the temperature is still mild. There are very few streams in the Supramonte and your water supply will have to last for many hours. If it is one of the first times you have been to Supramonte, it is a good idea to contact a local guide and break up the itinerary into two days, so you could perhaps go on one of the many treks that are available from Campu Donanigoro. Starting point: The starting point is situated in Orgosolo at the turning for the road to Oliena. When you reach Orgosolo, avoid following signs for Oliena which take you to the start of the provincial Nuoro-Oliena road; instead, ask for directions to the dirt road going to Oliena. The first p art of it is asphalted, but after one km the road becomes unsurfaced. The dirt road from Orgosolo to Oliena is easy to see on the 1/200.000 TCI map. Orgosolo is 20 km from Nuoro, 125 from Olbia and 200 km from Cagliari.

LAGO ALTO FLUMENDOSA

Aggregate vertical ascent: 803 m. Maximum height: 1158 m. Level of difficulty: medium. Cyclability: 96%. Time: 4 hrs. Distance: 33 km. Itinerary of exceptional interest. Particulary difficult route recommended only for well-prepared and expert cyclists. Be careful not to get lost. IGM maps and compass essential. Map references: IGM 218 I NE Lago Alto Flumendosa.
In a guide to mountain biking in Sardinia, it would be impossible to leave out an itinerary that included the highest mountain peaks on the island. The SE side of Gennargentu is particulary interesting, because of the numerous waterways there, which flow into the hydrografic baisin of the Flumendosa, the biggest river on the island in terms of water capacity. The whole area has scenery typical of the high Gennargentu mountains; huge rocks pastures dotted with splendid woods and immense valleys that end below the peaks of Punta Lamarmora. The countryside with its many streams, graceful alders and rounded mountain peaks is far gentler than the rugged skylines, harsh gorges and vertical rockfaces of the Supramonte. It is an ideal setting for mountain-biking, you can pit your skills against all kinds of terrain and obstacles: from dirt track to ford and from descent through thorny bushes to demanding but pedalable ascents. In one stretch linking two tracks near the Genna Tedderieddu pass, you have to carry your bike on your back and be able to "navigate" in the right direction (south) keeping an eye on the compass and map. All this enriches the experience and adds spice to the adventure, however we only recommend this route to true experts. Starting point: On arriving in Villanova Strisaili cross the town in the direction of Nuoro. As you get out of town turn left, following signs for the army police barracks (caserma dei Carabinieri). Follow the narrow, asphalt road passing the Preda Marruscu area and the army police barracks on your left. When you arrive at teh Bau `e Silixe bridge with the large, aritificial Flumendosa outlet on your left, leave the car. The starting point is 71 km from Nuoro and 153 km from Cagliari.

CALA DI LUNA

Aggregate vertical ascent: 705 m. Maximum height: 471 m. Level of difficulty: difficult. Cyclability: 85%. Time: 4 hrs. Distance: 24 km. Particularly difficult route recommended only for well-prepared and expert cyclists. Map references: IGM 208 IV Dorgali; SW M. Oddeu; SE Grotta del Bue Marino.
The zone of Cala Gonone abounds opportunities for "sun, sea and adventure" holiday enthusiasts. Although it is the most accessible place in the area bounded by Cala Gonone to the North, Capo Monte Santu to the South and by the SS 125 eastern coastal road to the West, it has managed to escape the brutal urbanisation and explotation of natural heritage that has occured in the development of other Sardinian regions. On the way towards the Codula di Luna the route follows the convenient dirt roads of the hinterland and on the way back a coastal path traditionally used by trekkers which can be pretty demanding on a mountainbike. The loose-surfaced road and some steep hills along with the task of crossing some of the minor valleys means you have to carry your bike on some occasions to be able to continue. But the beauty of the route more than makes up for the added strain that this part of the itinerary involves for mountain-bikers. Starting point: The starting point for the trip is Cala Gonone situated in the centre of the Golfo di Orosei, 9.3 km from Dorgali, 41.3 km from Nuoro and 123.3 km from Olbia. 

PUNTA SU NURAGHE

Aggregate vertical ascent: 670 m. Maximum height: 820 m. Level of difficulty: medium.
Cyclability: 99%. Time: 2.5 hrs. Distance: 25 km. Map references: IGM 208 IV NE Dorgali; SW M. Oddeu; SE Grotta del Bue Marino.
The mysterious ruins of an ancient nuraghe on a rocky hillside overlooking surrounding valleys is one of the main highlights of this itinerary. You can get to the nuraghe on an old bridle-path which offers unforgettable views over the Oddoene valley to the west. From the steep path you go along on foot as you approach the Nuraghe, you can see some amazing limestone rock formations sculpted over thousand of years by the elements. In the last stretch the path passes through a beautiful stone arch. Apart from environmental and archeological interest, the spectacular downhill stretch over pebbles and limestone rocks which takes you back to Cala Gonone offers mountain-bikers a really thrilling ride.
Starting point: You leave from Cala Gonone in the centre of the Golfo di Orosei. It is 9.3 km from Dorgali, 41.3 km from Nuoro and 123.3 km from Olbia. The departure and arrival point is at km 4 of the provincial road which links Cala Gonone and Dorgali. Leave your car near the junction with a clearly visible dirt road which is on the right as you come from Dorgali.

MONTE CORRASI

Aggregate vertical ascent: 918 m. Maximum height: 1025 m. Level of difficulty: medium. Cyclability: 99%. Time: 4 hrs. Distance: 41 km. Map references: IGM 207 I SE Orgosolo; 207 I NE Nuoro.
This itinerary is set in the shelter of the limestone mass of Monte Corrasi in the Oliena and Orgosolo regions. We are in the heart of Barbagia, a region which has been influenced less than any other in Sardinia by the domination of diverse mediterranean cultures. In this land suspended between past and present, customs, habits and the prevalence of oral tradition over written still present the focus for a philosophy of life, embodied by the shepherd, in which comprimise and a justfied sense of pride reflect the characteristics of the countryside in which its roots are entrenched: a landscape of rugged unspoilt and incomparable beauty. Along the first part of the route you pedal through an immense holm-oak forest that has never been damaged by clearings or by fire. In certain parts the thick trunks and dense foliage shut out all but the occasional sunbeam. For long stretches the track surface is very uneven forcing cyclists to slalom between the oncoming, limestone rocks. Starting point: The starting point is in Oliena near the Cantina sociale as you go into the town, coming from Nuoro. The starting point is 12 km from Nuoro, 130 km from Sassari, 120 km from Olbia and 201 km from Cagliari.

ODDOENE

Aggregate vertical ascent: 600 m. Maximum height: 725 m. Level of difficulty: easy. Cyclability: 100%. Time: 2.5 hrs. Map references: IGM 208 IV NW Cantoniera Manasuddas; 208 IV NE Dorgali; 208 IV SW M. Oddeu.
Oddoene is a large valley closed in to the south by the Silana coast and bounded to the west by the ridges of Monte Oddeu and Monte Gutturgios and in the east by the spartiacque chain. Punta Scala Manna, Fruncu Mannu and Monte Tului being its major peaks. The spectacular Gorroppu gorge cuts through Orgosolo and Urzulei in the Southern part of the valley allowing the Flumineddu river to pour into the Fiume Cedrino artificial lake in Dorgali territory. The route passes through pleasant hills and in the final stretch comes to the renowned "Cannonau di Dorgali" wine. This outing in mountainbike is not particularly difficult especially as the last demanding uphill stretch is made on the convenient asphalted surface of the SS 125 eastern road. Starting point: From the town of Dorgali follow signs for Baunei/Cagliari and carry on until km 192.6. Turn into the dirt road on the right which goes down to the bottom of the valley and then park your car. The starting point is 10 km from Dorgali, 43 km from Nuoro, 125 km from Olbia and 192.6 km from Cagliari.
[Source: ESIT]

 

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