Nove Colli etc. Spring 2016 – Saturday May 21st

Cesena to Fano by train — Furlo — Piobbico — Monte Nerone — Urbino — Pesaro — train to Rimini & Cervia — Pisignano (192.68 km, 2463m)


Gabriele thought it was unwise to make as long ride as I was going to do on the day before the Nove Colli race and surely he is right about that if all that matters is doing as good as possible in that race, which was not really all that interesting to me. I was merely interested in doing well and taking part in the race. Much more interesting to go cycling when I had the opportunity, so today was a long day as usual with the main aim of visiting Monte Nerone, that I failed to get to while in Rimini some years ago on the last day there as I had all kinds of problems that day with flats and also the planning was over-optimistic anyway.

I took the train from Cesena in the morning to Fano, I forgot a ticket for the bicycle, but was lucky and got there without problems. Had my saddle adjusted a little in Fano at a bike shop and a coffee before starting.


I stopped again after Fossombrone by a grocery. Fossombrone was the most southern place I was at on my previous visit to Rimini and apart from Sicily the most southern place in Italy so far. This time I was slightly more southernly at Serravalle di Carda. It was a hot day and likely that was why I wanted to stop so often. I stopped again in Piobbico (345m) by the foot of Monte Nerone (1507m) and had a good sandwich and coca-cola, as seen in the photo here, by the first grocery there.

I then returned a short stretch to the turn-off just before the village up to Monte Nerone on the famously hard way up there. This also turned out to be hard since there was not much of pavement left at several places along the road. A very obscure road if located elsewhere. The main road one goes up from Piobbico goes to Secchiano and Cagli, but one turns off again at the first asphalted road up the mountain. When One eventually gets out of the woods near the top the road becomes better again.

Monte Nerone

One then goes around the mountain before turning up the last stretch to the mountain where it again becomes a little steeper but on a wider road. The last stretch to the locked gate at the top is maybe the steepest part. Now you are greeted with lovely views all around!

The thought of going back down the same road was bothersome and not really something one would want to do on a road bike as it would be a very slow and hard time going down. So even though I had so planned and the road down the other side would be much longer to get back to Piobbico, it looked like a big road all the way and it looked better. In the photo at the very top with the Brevetto del Nerone sign that a cycling acquaintance has put up there. Not sure what the brevetto is about, but think one is supposed to climb up here from at least two directions in one day. It is a long climb from any direction, so had no time for this now.

Monte Nerone

Here you see the last way up the mountain and the road down to Serravalle di Carda, which looks inviting (in stark contrast to the road I went up).

Monte Nerone

Here is the view down the northeast side.

Monte Nerone

Looking back up to the fenced off sender at the top of Monte Nerone.

Monte Nerone

Had to stop at the viewpoint area below to take some more photos and quite a fine place to view the area from in this fine weather.

Monte Nerone

Looking back up a last time before descending. Now, the roads in this area are horrible and I cannot remember the roads around here was anywhere nearly as bad from my visit in Rimini in 2010 as now. There were some occasional bad roads then also, but nothing quite like this time. The road down to Serravalle looked good, but was washed out asphalt with some problems here and there, so hard to go down fast. Then I thought the road could not be quite as bad as the main road was up to Piobbico from Furlo for the last part, but the road down from Serravalle north to Pian di Molino and down to Piobbico was a joke in the most diplomatic language one could use. You will be happy if you get down there alive, but Italians never bother about bad roads and always goes 100% speed no matter if it is through big stones, disappearing road surfaces, etc or smooth asphalted roads. Maybe it is the earth quakes … .

If you thought you have seen bad roads, you have likely not been in this area yet. I have later heard that roads should be rather bad south from here in Italy too and they rapidly gets as bad north of here too, so very few places in Italy with good roads nowadays. Gabriele thinks the roads have always been bad outside of the Dolomites in Italy, but I know for sure he is wrong there, at least when talking about the Alps areas. Also the roads in the Dolomites are getting worse every year now. But the roads in the Nove Colli was horrible and I travelled parts of the same roads in 2010 and they were all better then, but maybe Nove Colli event choose just the exceptionally bad roads in the area, which might be the case. I stopped in Piobicco again for an ice cream and coffee, I think.

Best paved roads of Italy ...

On the way back I took the road over to Urbino (nice village) and occasionally the roads were better then. But then took the same road as I did in 2010 from Urbino and that was like the best road I saw back in 2010 and now it looks as in the photo here – if you consider this a well-paved Italian road, well then I am complaining a bit too much, as this was likely still the best road in this whole part of Italy (not sure if it includes the motorways also or not). There only exists mule tracks with traces of asphalt anywhere below the Po river in Italy now (ok, slight exaggeration, but not with much).

I eventually got down to Pesaro as I had to hurry back now to get to Pisignano while the trains still were running. I missed the train I had planned to take and the next train had no connection up to Cesena, but found a connection up to Cervia, but to late to get there while it was still light outside. It really turned dark as I got to Rimini already. I found my way in the dark from Cervia back to Pisignano and prepared myself and clothes for getting up early the next morning sometime after 5 am to cycle to Cesenatico.

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