We not always start a journey with the absolute certainty of the paths we are going to ride, indeed, often if we try to plan it in advance on the various maps and apps in detail, but during the journey we find ourselves changing the path. Sometimes we change the planned road because it’s closed, or not suitable for bicycles, other times we change it because we meet someone who suggests a better option. This is the case of our Bam 2021!
Our journey started a few months ago when we had begun talking about it with some friends from Turin, Milan, and I, coming from Bologna (this time). Almost all of us had been to the 2020 edition, and for all of us the challenge was to make the new edition as unique and unforgettable as the first one had been.
Myself, Fabio (160cm), Guido (Cicloturismodazero), Silvio and Andrea, met on Friday in Desenzano, our friends from Turin had already cycled the day before starting from Bergamo, but my trip started from the stage on the Garda’s Lake. A simple and very touristic tour that took advantage of the green cycle paths of the area to reach the lake enjoying the local views from the hills to the lake, between vineyards and the beaches. A perfect day with a pale sun and a few drops of rain. From Desenzano to the lake it has been easy to follow the signs of the cycle path that leads to Salò on Garda’s Lake and then continue to Maderno where we jumped on the ferry that took us to the other side of the coast. Cycling around the lake in one day tour is also feasible, it is about 250 km, but not in a day like ours, when we meet at 10.30 at the station and traveled with heavily loaded bikes. It would not have been possible or at least not really enjoyable as our tour has been. The connecting ferries are often part of my traces, moving through an imaginary way like the one of the marine route is something I like to do, even if it is very touristy. I like to enjoy the air on my face, watch the coast that goes away to come closer again, the splashes of water that sprinkle people intent on taking pictures.
We landed in Torre di Benaco where we could follow the cycle path along the lake which, unfortunately, is not complete in that part and sometimes signs get lost, so we found ourselves cycling along the main road up to the junction for the cycle path called “from the lake to the parks” which returns towards Verona through small country roads and some canals. We arrived at sunset at the Corte Finiletto Agricamping, a small campsite between the vineyards and the state road, unfortunately, the proximity to the road makes it not ideal for those resting in tents. Fortunately, we were tired and after dinner at the pizzeria Un Angolo di Lessinia (to stay on the subject 😝 ) we withdrew into our small tents and passed out.
We have been talking about how to reach Lausen lodge for months. Since last year when we found ourselves to climb an impossible concrete slop, we wanted to find a more enjoyable way to arrive and surprise Bam as it surprised us last year! My initial plan was to continue towards the higher area of Lessinia park, I had found a path towards the Lodge through 5 km on gravel and then for the last 600m through a walking path that was going down and up again. Not knowing the roads to get to this entrance, I had chosen a long trace with a moderate slope to make the climb easier for all participants.
The meeting point was established from the Piazza dell’Arena in Verona, we had an appointment with other cyclists, including Angela (un sogno a due ruote) and the Ciclozenith group (EnoGastroCicloCulturale) who would accompany us to the summit and then descend before the sunset!
After a coffee and a little chat with the people who, like us, had gathered in the square before the climb, we decide to leave. The convoy was going to move towards the track when a cyclist with a red shirt approached us and asked: “Where are you going? What trace are you following?”. He knew the area and advised us to follow him towards a road inside a gorge that rises slowly and which has the advantage of being shaded. Immediately it seemed an interesting proposal, he was very convincing, he said that the road we had chosen was the busiest, we must decide quickly, at the first crossroads we had to take a decision and we decided to follow him, towards a “plan C”. The unexpected route, a route different from the one we planned as a “plan B” from the one recommended by the organiser. This change of plan has been the beginning of our adventure towards Bam, the route suggested by Bobo (Roberto) was a pleasant discovery, immediately after the city we entered a small road between fields that shortly afterwards began to immerse itself in an environment made of rocks and trees, the “Pissarota” gorge that continued to rise for about 20km. A gentle and pleasant climb a route that continuously crossed the one followed by other cyclists who were also directed to Bam. Our new local guide knew the area perfectly, he is the patron of the Gran giro del Garda, an event that is normally held in September around Garda’s lake. Bobo not only knew the roads, but he told us about his bicycles, his tricks, his choices for the fastest wheels, for the best trimmed bikes. Meanwhile, we continued to follow him through small climbing roads, the heat began to be felt and the moments we stoped to gather were plenty. We crossed small villages like Campari, San Francesco, Rovere until we reached the roads of Lessinia.
During the journey I insisted with Bobo to take us to our destination through the path of the “Alta Lessinia” park, he claimed that some friends had traveled that track during the week and that it was closed, but I was stubborn not to abandon my idea of the alternative route that could have brought us to Bam coming from the mountains instead of the road. Being stubborn sometimes is a virtue and in this case, our route took us through the views I was expecting to see, the white roads of Lessinia, first on asphalt and then on gravel. The landscape around us was wide open, the gaze led towards the mountains, at 5 pm we were arriving at the Lausen Lodge, we sow the coloured tents in the distance while we were proceeding on the grass through a path closed by gates. We were surrounded by cows and a few hiker still in transit towards sunset.
As soon as we arrived we put up our tents where we could find a spot still available, and like last year, on a slope, but the view from that side of the hill is always the most beautiful. Happy and sweaty, we refreshed ourselves with a cold half shower in the Lausen fountain before getting ready for the relaxing evening talking to other cyclist, eating whatever we could and drinking beer. A lot of traveller were arrived before us, but others arrived later in the evening, the atmosphere is what makes the event unique, the speeches of the adventurers is what inspires the most.
The evening flew away, the stars and the fresh air accompanied us to the tent, waiting for the morning to start again from breakfast and then after the morning meetings the quick and easy journey home. Another Bam is gone and now we just have to look ahead, imagine new itineraries and hope to meet many of the travellers who have come to Lausen along our routes.