4 - 8 May 2017
From Trento, I rode 230k north up the valley past Bolzano to Merano and from there west to Zernez in Switzerland. Until Glorenza 12k from the Swiss border, it was mostly a small gradual incline riding up along the river. The first day was overcast with constant showers (sometimes a drizzle and sometimes heavy rain) while the second day was beautiful and sunny providing stunning views of the valley, river and snow-capped mountains. I had considered doing a detour up Stelvio Pass, but the low-lying snow and potential bad weather changed my mind, which turned out to be the right decision. In more bad weather, I climbed over the Ofenpass at 2,149m with lots of snow lying next to the road. I had hoped it would be a long gradual 6-7% incline, but instead it was flat/downhill and many double-digit steep stretches. In Zernez, people told me it would be bad weather for another 2-3 days, so not long after I found a good camp spot for layover -no point biking in this weather without views, when I was early to reach my friends in Biel.
Until the Swiss border, I mostly rode the bike path. Going though towns, I often lost it because of poor sign posting but following the river, I eventually always reconnected with it. It was nice to be off the road riding up along the river through endless fruit plantations and cosy small towns/villages. The bike path was quite busy - many locals but also lots of foreigners particularly elderly Germans either couples or tour groups. As I progressed, more stretches became gravel, so I eventually went back on the main road. With 9k to the border, I made the big mistake going back on the bike path. It was marked as paved and good in the beginning, but soon it was gravel/stony and very steep preventing traction, so I had to walk the bike 4-5k up a 15-20% incline.
Camping was difficult since everything was private and often signposted "No camping" - I'm sure the locals are tired of cyclists wild camping especially in the busy summer months. So it took some time, but I managed to find some nice spots in forests.