Shuttlen in bike-mekka: Finale Ligure
We’re going to Tahiti! At an twelve hours drive from the Netherlands. Camping Tahiti, ofcourse. In the middle of bike-mecca Finale Ligure (Italy) where our campsite is for the next 5 days. We drove one night to be able to sit on our bikes at 09.30 in the morning. It didn’t sound as a good choice, riding our bikes after this long night, but after a few turns on the trails we knew tha it was!
Final Ligure is known as the last EWS race of the season. Last season (2017) Sam Hill won the title of Enduro World Series champion. On his endurobike with 165mm rear and 170mm suspension, we saw how to fly over the trails. Which bike will we take with us? Full-on downhill bike, endurobike or a hardtail? Once we are in Final Ligure, the choice is clear: one with as much spring travel as possible. We will be shuttling 3 days with Bike & Sun.
Choose your weapon
And you are going to use that suspension! The trails are rough and rocky. Our warm-up trail that we climb and descend on day 1 (climbing and descending four times) is the Briga Right and Briga Left trail, which ends in the village. Easy to find (via Trailforks), but the area has so many options. We can hardly reach them all by bike: Melogno, Nato Base and Le Manie..
On day 2, guide Matteo is already waiting for us at 09.00 for the first (private) shuttle day. We start immediately high-up, at the Rollercoaster trail. There are no higher options than that, because above 1000 meters there is still snow (end of March). The expectations of Matteo is immediately clear: “an easy trail”, there is one with half-meter drops and studded with stones. And “do not break on the black rock” means: to avoid it absolutely! But this is pure fun man!
Once arrived, our shuttle is ready to maneuver quickly and agile over the narrow roads. We start at the same point again. Final Ligure would not be Final Ligure if there were no more trails to be found at this point. So at the top we will enter another trail. More steeper than before. We did Toboga, Cacciatore, Kill Bill # 1 and the beautiful Madonna della Guardia – named after the church on the hill. We pray that we get through the merciless rockgarden 😀
Time for lunch! Make no mistake at the first plate: a delicious pasta is just the starter. And we are ready for the next ‘beating’ after a strong espresso. The focus is back! Ready for the flowy Ingegnere. Then we stay on a smaller hill for another 3 descents, including Little Champery. We could never do so many runs without guide and shuttle!
Our private shuttle today has no less than 2 guides: owner Luca and guide Matteo. We now know the latter well. With a mischievous smile and compressed cheeks under his full-face helmet, when we get stoked again at the end of the trail. Luca is here today to show us the trails along the coast. It promises to be a sunny day, so we will be treated all day with the views over the Mediterranean.
And that’s right! We drive twice over a beautiful ‘ridgeline’ with dry trails with loose rocks on both sides and at the bottom of the sea. Here much less is driven, even on the busiest day of the year (spring and autumn are high season here). The trails do not even have a name yet.
That is different in the afternoon: after a lunch at a bikers camping we start at the Womens DH. This trail is (logically) next to the Mens DH. If you Googled on Final Ligure, then this is the photo you find of this bike destination. Dry, open, rough and with .
The last bike-day, and so Matteo proposes to return to some trails for the previous days, so that we can really shred them. And guess what? The trails from Nato Base (Madre Nature and H Trail) are now accessible. The last few days the trailbuilders have done some work and we are the first to ride this trail this season. Smooth from the humid air and fog, but absolute fun to drive.
Matteo explains us that the fog and drizzle is the worst weather condition in Finale Ligure: the stones are always covered with dust. There is a wet layer of fog or drizzle that changes that in the super smooth top layer. Rockgardens are therefore better to ride in case of hard rain (that flushes the dust off), than in drizzle.
We dare to ride more trails on high speed. Perhaps also a bit inspired by Matteo and EWS driver Jonas Bähler, who is riding with us today. We are looking forward to the Legnaia trail, which we already drove on the first shuttle day. We thought it was flowy, but after 3 days in Finale Ligure it turns out really heavy for the arms and legs and we fight trough the red rocks.
Check hier onze video: A Road Trip To Finale Ligure
Komen we terug?
We know trail hunters who finish their ‘summer bike season’ every year in Finale Ligure. And that intention sounds very good! The coolest trails you can think of, thick enduro bikes on every street corner, professional guides and shuttles, good accommodation and not to mention good food!
And the damage (in addition to the standard scratches on our shins) of a rugged Finale Ligure is not too bad:
2 flat tiers
broken rear shifter
jamed chain and chain guide
rocker bearings broken