Highlights and tour details
They say that exhaustion is sacred, just like the surrounding nature on this route that is ideal for experienced bikers, although, of course, it depends on the pace. In any case, the sacrifice is well worth it. From the carpark, where we leave the car, close to the historic centre of Stazzano (01) we cross over at the crossroads and continue with a slight incline. After just under 100m, we turn right, immediately right again, and find ourselves in front of the oratory.
We immediately take a left and climb the steep tarmacked road that leads to the Castle.
We follow the CAI 200 signs, taking the path that runs alongside the Castle and leads into the woods. We continue along the path that is steep in parts, keeping to the main track and ignoring the tracks either side. When the path levels out, we turn right onto the dirt track that quickly turns into a tarmacked surface that we follow in the direction of the Madonna del Monte Spineto Sanctuary (02).
At the crossroads, we keep to the left, continuing uphill, and quickly reach the start of the Via Crucis. We continue along it until we reach the entrance of the tunnel that passes under the sanctuary until we reach the first balcony, We turn left and find ourselves in front of the entrance, where we enjoy the magnificent views over Valle Scrivia and Val Borbera. On the left hand side of the façade, we find a fountain for a quick refreshment! We now turn back and continue until we reach the tunnel exit. Here, we take the path signed CAI 200 that goes down to the left. The first part is steep and fun to ride down, it then gradually levels out and becomes a dirt, sandy track. We continue along the level until we reach a crossroads where we take a left, uphill turn.
After riding along the hills, we descend to reach the Bocca del Lupo (03), we continue straight on and at the next crossroads, we take the main road on the left. After a pleasant flat stretch, we reach a crossroads where we turn right and climb a very steep ramp. When we get to the top, we turn left, ride past a farmhouse, and descend quickly on to a dirt track. We bypass the farmhouse and take a gravel path the goes up to the right, at the following crossroads we keep to the main path that follows round to the left until we reach a slightly uphill stretch to the Cascina Rughé (04). Here we see a poster about the Sentieri della Libertà (Paths of Freedom); in fact, this area was stage to the Resistance, during the World War. At the next crossroads, we take a left downhill turn into a beautiful wood, along a forest road. After roughly 200m, we turn right along a level surface, ignoring the tracks off to the left and descend to Campolungo.
At the next crossroads, we turn left up a steep ramp; go past a farmhouse before finally going quickly down the hill to the Madonna della Neve o Cà del Bello Sanctuary (05). The sanctuary is worth stopping at for a rest and refresh – there is a fountain behind it.
Then we are off again, taking the white road that runs behind the sanctuary, still following the sign CAI 200, we quickly climb up over the hills, just after passing a large refurbished farmhouse on our right. At the next crossroad we keep going downhill, keeping to the left, the white road becomes a tarmacked one once we reach the hamlet of Albarasca (06). We continue downhill and when we reach a fountain on our right, we turn left in steep decline. The tarmac becomes a paved trail and after a group of houses, a dirt, sandy track.
We continue in the direction of the fords, following the track that descends quickly. At the first crossroads in the wood, we keep to the left and continue to descend until we reach the narrow trail passing through narrow streams. This part is great fun, especially in the summer when it is also a chance for a welcome cooldown.
The pace is varied: brief uphill spurts followed by equally brief nosedives in the water, keep to the path that goes through the woods and that at a certain point goes round to the left through thick vegetation. The fun continues uninterrupted until we leave the woods. We cross a track signed CAI 145: if we were to turn right we would climb towards Malvino and Bavantorino, but instead we go left where we quickly reach a tarmacked surface, close to the Coquello cemetery (07). On the main road, we turn left and find a water fountain immediately on our left. We follow the road into Sardigliano (08), we go through the village and begin to climb in the direction of Stazzano, and we ride over the hills close to the sanctuary before descending quickly. After a few kilometres, we find ourselves back where we started. By Cristiano Guarco
Points of interest
places passed through: Località attraversate: 01_Stazzano 220 m, 02_Monte Spineto 429 m, 03_Bocca del Lupo 389 m, 04_Cascina Rughè 445 m, 05_Madonna della Neva 485 m, 06_Albarasca 501 m, 07_Coquello 242 m, 08_Sardigliano 239 m
Departure, arrival and municipalities crossed
15060 Stazzano (AL)
Alessandriasee on map