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I'm looking for a pass in the Alps that I can cross with my mountain bike. I know that if there's a road, I could just use it, but my question is a little bit more special.

Ideally this pass shouldn't be very busy, for example if the main road uses a tunnel to cross the pass. Additionally, it should be worth the effort, e.g. because of the great view and landscape.

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@Roflcopter: You might consider asking a version of this question on the bicycles Stack Exchange site too for a wider audience and potential complementary answers. –  hippietrail Sep 9 '11 at 16:47
    
@hippietrail I think you're right, not a lot of answers here ;) –  RoflcoptrException Sep 12 '11 at 12:38
    
I was going to suggest the Stelvio Pass until I realized you wanted an off-road route. It's a great question since only an expert could answer! –  hippietrail Sep 12 '11 at 20:17
    
Yes Stelvio is not bad! But there is really a lot of traffic there. –  RoflcoptrException Sep 12 '11 at 20:43
    
Indeed and lots of narrow bits. We were really surprised how many cyclists were on it when we drove it a few years ago. –  hippietrail Sep 12 '11 at 20:45
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1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted
+50

I did some researching the last days and since no one else has answered this question, I'll do it.

During the winter, but also in spring or late autumn, passes are often closed for cars, because of the weather and road conditions. If you're lucky, you can catch a day when the pass is still closed for cars, but it is already possible to drive over it. This occasions are rare, but sometimes it is possible. To check the current conditions and status of passes in the Alps, you can check this site. It is in German, but the meaning is really obvious.

At least in Switzerland, there are a lot of signed mountain bike routes. These routes also climb over passes and if not using a separate way for bicycles, at least one lane on the main road is reserved for bicycles. For example this route crosses the Albula pass.

In some countries in the Alps, there are also a lot of roads that can only be used in one direction at one time. So it is not car free, but at least the traffic comes from only one direction. An example for that is the road to the Gigerwald lake.

But maybe the best option is to look for hiking treks that are also accessible by bike. On most Swiss hike treks, it is not forbidden to also use a bike. Choosing this option, it is very important to prepare the tour carefully, to be sure that the whole trek is really ride able. A famous example is the Pasubio passage, that is also part of some famous transalpian competitions.

Last but not least, there exist some old paths, built by the Romans, that are still visible today, or where a new road is built at the same place. These roads are less traveled and it might be a good choice for bicycles. A famous example is the Via Claudia Augusta.

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I'm not an expert, but I wouldn't plan to be doing this anywhere between November and March, as you have a high risk of being blocked by snow. –  Benjol Dec 14 '11 at 8:49
    
Yes obviously you shouldn't do it in winter. A lot of passes are closed or are not passable during winter. –  RoflcoptrException Dec 14 '11 at 8:59
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