A collection of the common questions we get from cyclists that want to cycle the Dolomites.
Q: What’s the best gear to cycle the Dolomites?
A: Assuming that you use your bike regularly and that at the end of the year you are able to ride at least 3,000 km, then the answer to the question is:
“The one you are used to cycling with!” Yes, there may be times you’ll struggle with a 39/25 (the one I’ve got) or a 34/28 or whatever, but it won’t be for long. And when you’ve already “hit the wall” it really doesn’t matter what you have, you’ll still be riding at a pace that would be faster if you walked.
Q: What time of the year is the best to cycle the Dolomites?
A: That depends on what you mean by “the best”. Let’s avoid discussions about temperatures and weather because we’re in the mountains and you may easily get days with temperatures around 20-25°C at the end of May and around 5°C on the passes in August. So, the weather does what it wants and if you plan to cycle the Dolomites you will need to carry clothes for all kinds of conditions in your bag. We start cycling in the Dolomites when people still ski – at the end of March – and continue until the end of September. In October we prefer to switch from road bike rides to mountainbike rides since speeding down the Dolomites passes with temperatures under 10°C after sweating like hell uphill doesn’t feel that great anymore.
Q: Do cyclists in the Dolomites shave their legs?
A: Not me …. I prefer to invest shaving time in riding time.
Q: How many BAR/PSI should tires be pumped?
A: 7 to 8 BAR (100 to 115 PSI) is a good compromise. On wet conditions you might also want 6 BAR (85 PSI) on your front tire.
Q: Should I use special tires to ride Dolomite roads?
A: We ride with traditional 23mm tires. Slick tires are not a problem until it’s raining, when some side profile would be useful. But the side profile wears out easily when it’s dry after riding all the hairpins of the Dolomite passes. I’ve used a lot of brands of tires and, honestly, the ones I feel more comfortable with and that have more grip on Dolomite asphalt are the Michelin Pro-Race 3. And, if you want something with some profile, then my pick would be the Michelin Lithion 2.
Q: Do I need to take a 500ml or 750ml water bottle?
A: If the Dolomites are lacking something, it’s definitely not water. Sometimes it’s really funny to see cyclists with ultra-lightweight bikes climbing the Dolomites passes with 750ml bidons filled to the brim. If you plan to go out for long rides, 2 bidons are enough, maybe one with just water and another one with a rehydration product. Then, in every town you go through, just keep an eye out for the church steeple. Churches are located at the main square of each town and in the main square there’s a 95% chance you’ll find a fresh water fountain. Many times you will find water fountains along the road while climbing some long passes.
Q: I have a question that I think should be placed in your FAQ. What can I do?
A: Just use the contact form or comment at the end of the page.