Torino-Nice Rally – Ridden in 2015 to explore some parts of the Alps we’d ridden by or skirted around in the past, this route is an example of how much great riding can be found this part of Europe but is often missed so that we can bag famous cols or ride the best-rated uplift spots. The route was created by linking extended dirt tracks and high cols to valleys and towns for re-supply points. Easy airport logistics were included at each end. The GPS files included alternate routes and side-trip sections so that we could adapt the route along the way. The idea of the ‘bike rally’ format is about the terrain mix and having a route that can leave some decisions open until you get there or a reason to return again, to vary the route or add that extra loop.
One reason for the ride was to test our bikes on mixed terrain, to learn more about bikes that worked well both on road and along rougher tracks. We expected to find some sections that were uncomfortably rough on our chosen bikes (a Surly Troll on 1.75″ Marathon Mondial tyres and a one-off drop bar bike with 650B x 45c tyres) – we did – and the current rally route now keeps those to a minimum, but doesn’t avoid them altogether.
During the ride we carried our bikes for a while a couple of times, stumbled upon some really scenic places via diversions or side-routes and received welcome hospitality when we didn’t expect it. The mix of road and dirt tracks suits a wide range of bikes and lets a rider appreciate the surroundings almost every pedal-stroke of the way. Like a classic car rally it should be a reliability test, an adventure with friends and a memorable experience.