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Alleghe is a modest sized town, built around a lake and is the home of the annual Civetta Superbike race, a very tough 46kms course that starts and finishes near the base of the Civetta cable car station.
Located towards the southern end of the Dolomites at just under 1,000 metres, Alleghe is more accessable from Venice Marco Polo (EasyJet) or Treviso (Ryanair) airports than most of the Dolomite resorts, taking around 2 hours from either airport. The town itself is very quiet out of season, but June or September are great times to enjoy the trails that start from the town, going off in all directions.
For an exhilarating downhill ride, take the Civetta cable car & the chair lift to the top of the Col dei Baldi and follow the 'Civetta Superbike' signs that bring you winding down the slopes back to the cable car station.
Take care when the path narrows and the mountain drops away to the left, and towards the end you will find yourself squeezing between the houses and gardens as the town rises to meet the lower slopes.
The Hotel Alleghe is geared up for Mountain Bikers and the owner, Silvano Rudatis, is very helpful in arranging routes and guides, and is quite likely to join you on a day's trek. The hotel is excellent value, comfortable, wholesome food and with bike storage facilities. They will also collect you and your bikes from the airport, which can work out considerably cheaper than car hire.
It is worth using a local guide as the maps of the region are not always accurate and definitely don't show all the best trails. Your guide is just as likely to take you off across a meadow with no apparent exit route and suddenly you'll be charging downhill on the most amazing singletrack, where no cyclists who follow the guide books will ever reach. Have faith in your guide, even if you find yourself carrying your bikes along a steep-sided Via Ferrata for a few hundred metres... The rewards will be worth it!
One useful tip is to book your guide in advance and ask if they will arrange a 2 day trek, staying at a mountain 'Rifugio' or Alpine Hut overnight. Silvano will organise it for you. A great place to stay is Rifugio Rosetta. A great days ride away from Alleghe, that fortunately culminates with a cable car ride to the top, as the rifugio is almost 2,600 metres high & warm clothes are essential at the top, even at the height of summer.
The real reward is the next days biking, downhill almost all morning, moon-surface traversing followed by narrow mountain paths at the side of near vertical drops, ending up with mile after mile of tracks that wind around the mountain, with plenty of fast cornering opportunities to overtake your mates - or spectacularly wipe-out!
Apart from mountain biking, Alleghe also has a large Ice Skating Stadium for light relief, and you can take out pedalos on the lake in the hot summer sunshine, or just enjoy the spectacular views, eat pizza and chill out around the place.
All in all, an ideal base for mountain biking, and from the UK it makes a very manageable long weekend break at an affordable price.