We have created an amazing, one of a kind tour on the magnificent Italian island of Sicily. We have linked some of the most interesting trails from the beach of Cefalu to the slopes of Mt.Etna.
This bike tour takes us through the three largest regional parks in Sicily: the Madonie Mountains, with their almost Dolomite styile peaks; Nebrodis, wrapped in thick and mysterious forests; and Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe.
The route will wind through forest tracks, paths covered with ashes, old military roads with ancient origins and fun single-track in the dense forest of Mount Etna.
It will be a very challenging ride from a physical point of view, with an elevation gain that will exceed 10,000 metres in about 330 kilometres, but there will be long descents like the one we will enjoy the last day: from 3,100 metres of elevation on top of Etna to 600 mt of Zafferana Etnea, our final destination!
We will stay in a variety of wonderful accommodation: from hotels by the sea and huts in the woods, to farms near typical villages, where we will enjoy good food and great Sicilian hospitality.
Sicily Off-Road is another great expedition by PA CYCLISM and that will allow you to discover this beautiful island in a way that is only possible by mountain bike.
June 13, 2015 - Palermo
Arrival of riders in Palermo. Transfer to our hotel in Cefalù. Briefing of presentation. Overnight in Hotel.
June 14, 2015 : Cefalù - Piano Battaglia
1st Stage - Kilometers 52 - Elevation 2,500 metres
We start from our nice hotel in front of the sea and move to the centre of Cefalù to take a group picture in front of the wonderful Cathedral. Take care along the cobbled road in town – it is very old and slippery, especially when wet.
We leave the sea and begin our climb to the Madonie, riding on a secondary road. After 13 kilometres and 600 metres of climbing, we enter a nice forest road that will lead us to the Gibilmanna Sanctuary.
After a brief stop we will continue on our way to reach the nice little town of Gratteri where we can refill our bottles.
Riding through the narrow streets of the town we will reach a gravel road that will allow us to ride around the Pizzo Dipilo. After a brief technical single-track section we will start a fast and very scenic descent to Isnello where we will stop for lunch. The second half of the day is still uphill, first on an old military road and then on secondary road in a dense forest of beech. We will reach our hotel in the heart of the Park and can have a taste of the typical cuisine of the Madonie.
June 15, 2015: Piano Battaglia - Mistretta
2nd Stage - Kilometers 76 - Elevation 2,000 metres
We start our day with a brief uphill to Portella Colla followed by short but scenic downhill that will show us some of the most beautiful scenery in Madonie Park, also called the Dolomites of Sicily.
After less than 5 kilometres we enter the forest road that brings us to one of the highlights of this first part of the tour: Madonna dell'Alto, a stunning viewpoint from where we can already spot our destination, Mt. Etna. With a fast, fun and slightly rocky descent, we will arrive at Petralia Sottana in time for lunch. The second half of the day is easier with continuous up and down and a wonderful view of the town of Gangi. We will then ride up to a long line of wind turbines before entering the last valley that goes to our final destination, Mistretta
June 16, 2015: Mistretta - Nebrodi Park
3rd Stage - Kilometers 56 - Elevation 1,750 metres
We leave the little town of Mistretta and enter Nebrodi Regional Park. We are not going to meet any other towns until we reach the end of the Nebrodi ridge that we will ride for the next two days.
After an easy section that follows the wind turbine line, we enter the dense forest typical of this park. The park is home to many wild black pigs, cats and horses.
We will ride a section of an ancient Roman trail and road. We will meet our van support for lunch near the only asphalt intersection on Portella dell'Obolo and then go on along the route with continuous up and down. The last section, after Portella di Femmina Morta (Dead Woman Pass) is an enchanting downhill towards our hotel which is nestled in the woods.
June 17, 2015: Nebrodi Park - Randazzo
4th Stage - Kilometers 60 - Elevation 1,250 metres
The second day on the Nebrodi Ridge starts with an uphill back to Portella di Femmina Morta followed by a fast descent to beautiful Maulazzo Lake. On this section of the ridge the forest is less dense with open meadows that offer us wonderful views of Mt.Etna toward the east and the Tyrrhenian Sea and Lpiari Islands towards the north. The Nebrodi Ridge ends in Floresta where we will have lunch and start the long downhill to Randazzo, following the Alcantara River. After a brief stop in Randazzo for an ice-cream and a rest in front of the beautiful cathedral built of black lava rock, we will finish our stage with a short uphill to our Agritourism accommodation.
June 18, 2015: Randazzo - Etna
5th Stage - Kilometers 34 - Elevation 1,400 metres
We now begin our climb up the highest active volcano in Europe. The first section is on a road that will bring us to the beginning of the "Altomontana", a well maintained forest road that climbs around the slopes of the volcano. The landscape here is constantly changing - we will enter dense forests that have been suddenly destroyed by the lava flows that have taken place over the centuries. Once a lava flows has burned and covered a forest it will take approximately 100 years before new vegetation starts growing again.
Today's stage is not very long but it will be impossible not to stop often to admire this incredible natural show.
After lunch in a small hut we will continue for the last section of the day that includes a nice single-track section through the lava field.
Our hotel is located at 1,900 metres, the perfect place to start our final climb to the top of the volcano tomorrow.
June 19, 2015: Etna - Zafferana Etnea
6th Stage - Kilometres 45 - Elevation 1,350 metres
We start this spectacular stage start with a 13-kilometre climb that brings us just under the highest craters of the volcano at 3,100 metres. It is an incredible uphill in a unique, almost lunar landscape which is devoid of trees and vegetation.
Once we reach Torre del Filosofo we will enter a section that is only possible to cross by foot or bike. This section goes around the main central crater from where we can see the volcanic smoke.
From 3,100 metres, we will start a fast, fun downhill that goes directly to Piano Provenzana. The views from here are absolutely amazing.
After lunch in Piano Provenzana we will enter an incredible single-track section that ends near Zafferana Etnea.
June 20, 2015
In the morning transfer to Catania International Airport and fly back. End of tour and services.
Arrival at the Palermo Airport (PMO) before 2.00 pm - June 13, 2015
Fly back from Catania Airport (CTA) after 11.00 am June 20, 2015
Choose your dates, for groups of at least 6 person
Contact us for more informations.
The individual cost of participation is: 1.550 each.
Minimum number: 6 people
Maximum number: 15 people
The price includes
The price does not include
About a stage: We will wake up early and after breakfast and the personal preparation the organization will start the daily stage. The departure is scheduled between approximately 8:00 am and 9.00 am, depending on the mileage on the program. It is recommended to take the ride everyday with calm and try to enjoy the wonderful scenery surrounding us. The excursions are not a competition but will require good preparation. At about 15:00-17:00, depending on the pace,the stage will end: it is time to rest and regenerate. After dinner, the Organization holds a briefing on the next stage. End the day chatting about the day’s ride.
Support: There will be one support vehicle that will carry your luggage and support us for the lunches. It can also carry you and your bike if you feel like taking a break or in case of emergency. Due to the nature of the route, there may be extended times throughout the day where vehicle access is not possible. The organizers reserve the right to change the route during the tour to safeguard the safety of all participants.
Travel Documents: Each participant must have a passport and a valid visa for Italy (in the event that passport holders from your country need one). Passports must be valid for six months from the date of departure. Projecting Adventure Cyclism will not be held responsible for invalid passports, visas or other necessary documents as required by the Italian Government. Please contact the Italian Consulate in your country for more details on required documentation.
Medical Assistance: Throughout the trip a first-aid kit will be available in the support wagon. However, due to the nature of the route, there may be extended times throughout the day where vehicle access is not possible. If the nature of assistance needed is greater than can be treated by first aid, local medical assistance will be sought out. If you have allergies or other medical conditions you must notify us at least one week prior to the start of the tour. Riders who have specific medicinal needs should bring enough medicine for the duration of their time abroad. In the event that a local doctor deems you unfit to ride after an accident or for whatever reason, Projecting Adventure Cyclism reserves the right to not allow you to continue the ride and you will not be compensated for lost riding time or additional travel expenses incurred if you need to leave the tour. Any activities engaged prior to or after the specific dates of the trip are your own responsibility.
Wheather: June is usually an excellent month for riding in this part of Italy. However, rain, and even snow at higher elevations, is possible. All riders are expected to take extra care in wet conditions. On warm or sunny days, it is a rider’s responsibility to stay properly hydrated and apply sun protection. Please bring your own sun screen.
Mechanical Assistance: Everyone is responsible for their own repair of flat tires, cleaning of the chain or other mechanical problems. So it's essential that everyone brings with him a kit for repairs. Each participant can bring spare parts from home, that the organization will carry on the vehicle and give to the rider at the end of the stages. In any case the organization will help anytime it will be possible.
The organizer will not be held liable for bike damage as a result of improper packing, maintenance or transportation, accidents, or whatever other reason. While local parts are available, they may not match those of your specific bike or equipment. In the event that your bike is unrideable, we will make every reasonable effort to find a suitable replacement bicycle. The rider will take responsibility for incurred rental costs and you will not be compensated for possible lost riding time.
Which Kind of Mountain Bike: This is of course a very subjective and difficult topic. First of all, you don’t need the latest mountain bike. Full suspension bikes are really useful, especially in the downhill sections. Front suspension are lighter but require a a higher level of handling and concentration. Suggested tires: 2.0/2.2. The brakes: it’s not important which kind of system you use, they must be fully operational. If you do not want to carry a backpack, we recommend a little rear carrier. In any case the bike needs to be in perfect condition and recently checked by your mechanic. We are big fan of 29ers.
Important: In the first two stages, in the Madonie Mountains we could have frequent flat tires due to the presence of thorns and thistles. It is highly recommended the use of tubeless tires with sealant or self-repairing tubes.
How to pack the bike: Your bike must be packed in soft bike bags or boxes. Remove the wheels. Deflate the tires. Disassemble the rear derailleur and wrap it in something soft. Remove the pedals
Bike Bags: We will have a reduced space for carring the luggage so we will not bring with us bulky plastics baggage for bike. Please use soft bags or carton box. Any bulky baggage will be shipped at the hotel in Zafferana Etnea at the owner expenses.
In order to achieve the greatest effectiveness we believe it convenient to adopt some basic rules.
a. Equipment needed
We will have a limited space for the transport of the equipment of the expedition, so each person must carry strictly what you list below:
b. Lunch bag
Before departure of each stages, the organization will deliver to each participant a bag of food supplies that they bring with them in a backpack.
Each participant is responsible for helping protect the local environment. Hold on to any garbage until you meet up with the support vehicle or find a wastebasket / recycling bin. Stay on the main trails as much as possible.
Without trying to limit your riding enjoyment, we ask all participants to ride responsibly in order to reduce the likelihood of injuries to themselves and others. Ride conservatively on technical sections and reduce speed when appropriate. Be aware of pedestrians and other vehicles. Helmets are mandatory at all times. Alert the staff if you notice any problems with your bicycle.
e. Right of the organization
The organization reserves the right to change the route for the safety and security of participants. We also reserve the right to terminate the tour of any participant who refuses to ride responsibly or repeatedly puts other at risk. No compensation will be provided for tours cancelled as a result of non-compliance.
f. Waiver of Liability
All participants will be asked to sign a waiver before the start of the tour. If you have any questions, please contact us in advance.