The Sardinia Off-Road Traverse is guided or self-guided tour, which starts at sea level at Barisardo on the eastern coastline, in the Ogliastra subregion. From there, over a six-stage itinerary, it climbs to the top of Mount Bruncu Spina at 1829 m – the highest peak that can be climbed on a mountain bike on Sardinia, and from there goes back to the sea.
The trip explores the biggest and most famous mountain range in the island: Gennargentu, synonymous with mountain for us Sardinians, a unique place on earth. With the lowest population density in Europe, it makes for a magic place for mountain bikers who want to feel the emotion of discovery, and the thrill of riding in open spaces, far away from civilization.
In the ancient Sardinian language Gennargentu means 'Door of Silver'. And thousands of years ago the biggest and highest mountain range on Sardinia was given this name.
This huge massif contains all of the highest peaks on the island, such as mount Bruncu Spina (1829 m) and Punta La Marmora (1834 m). On a clear day each of the Sardinian coastlines can be viewed from these peaks.
There is little human presence there: it is one of the least populated areas in Europe, which has allowed Barbagia - that's the name of the subregion that contains most of the range - to preserve its cultural and natural treasures.
The countryside in these areas is immense and never the same. Depending on the position above sea level, it alternates between pastures, valleys, forests, beaches and cliffs that fall vertically to the clear blue Mediterranean Sea. By searching on the internet the places we'll cycle through, you'll discover we've magically included a lot of the most important - and environmentally unique - places on the island. Jerzu and its spectacular rocks, the enchanted Montarbu forest, the Barbagia mountains dotted with tiny old towns, Bruncu Spina - the tallest bike-reachable peak, the huge - thousand years old - forest of Montes, Cala Luna and the Supramonte.
The Gennargentu environment, so fascinating and wild, is inhabited by a unique and protected wildlife such as the mouflon, a wild sheep and the symbol of Sardinia. Other precious species there are the huge Sardinian griffon vulture as well as the royal eagle, ravens and hawks.
But you know what? Human presence can be interesting too: small typical towns of Sardinia are really worth the visit. Iconic places like Belvì, Fonni, Orgosolo - world famous for the mural paintings. Well, we've included them all!
Mountain biking tours have long focused on crossing a region by linking up sections of dirt rather than searching out the best trails in a given area. This falsely assumes moutain bikers care more about the destination than the journey.
With this tour we decided to take a different path, offering to you what's enjoyable for us: a tour that we wouldn't get tired of riding.
We have combined enjoyable trails that link the must see natural and historical points of interest and allow us to visit - at the end of stages - meaningful towns and immerse ourselves into the social/economic reality of the heart of a the region.
So that is our dream tour, The Gennargentu Off-Road Traverse, a mountain biking trip that isn't extremely demanding, either physically or technically, and with stages that average less than 50km.
From a technical point of view, there are no dangerous sections. However, walking is required for some very short distances ( a hundred meters on the whole tour) and for some very good reasons. Some trails require good riding ability, especially when the fatigue of having ridden for several days is taken into consideation.
Accommodation is in typical small agriturismos and hotels, carefully selected to offer comfort after a day on the mountain bike, but also to experience the real local hospitality, food and wine.