×
Spring in Friuli

Spring in Friuli

13.02.24 08:25 31Text: Daniel Oberauner (translated by AI)Photos: Christoph Oberschneider, Daniel OberaunerMountain biking in the hills between Gemona and Cividale. On still rather unknown paths through the small trail areas of northern Italy.13.02.24 08:25 219

Spring in Friuli

13.02.24 08:25 219 Daniel Oberauner (translated by AI) Christoph Oberschneider, Daniel Oberauner
  • AI generated translation
  • AI-generated translation refers to the process of using artificial intelligence, particularly machine learning models, to automatically translate text or speech from one language to another. These systems, such as neural machine translation models, analyze large datasets of multilingual content to learn patterns and associations between languages. The generated translations are based on statistical probabilities and context learned during training.
Mountain biking in the hills between Gemona and Cividale. On still rather unknown paths through the small trail areas of northern Italy.13.02.24 08:25 219

We meet Massimiliano, shortly Max, at the bar "Al Posto Giusto", the hub for everything that revolves around mountain biking in the small town of Nimis. The president of the local bike club "Maglianera" is a powerfully built, always smiling jack-of-all-trades who has meticulously planned our visit.
It is my third stay here, after Max contacted us last November via Instagram and invited us. And as always, the day begins with coffee and croissants.
After a short round of introductions - this time I have brought some of our guides and photographer Christoph with me - we head straight to the trails. The Bernadia Trail Area and the Lugnesie Bikepark are on the agenda today.

  • Spring in FriuliSpring in FriuliSpring in Friuli
  • Spring in FriuliSpring in FriuliSpring in Friuli
  • Spring in FriuliSpring in FriuliSpring in Friuli
  • Spring in FriuliSpring in FriuliSpring in Friuli
  • Spring in FriuliSpring in FriuliSpring in Friuli
  • Spring in Friuli
  • Spring in FriuliSpring in FriuliSpring in Friuli
  • Spring in FriuliSpring in FriuliSpring in Friuli

That Max is in his late forties is not really noticeable. At a brisk pace, the guide and trail builder, who works in his main job with the Italian mountain infantry, the Alpini, pedals up the narrow asphalt road, and we just have enough breath left to tell him about our detour yesterday.
We had once again ended up in one of our favorite areas, Moggio Udinese. Eva and I wanted to try out a new trail variant and Christoph wanted to play around with his drone a bit. As always with trail scouting, the journey is the destination, and most of the time, when looking at the map, one finds a worthwhile destination. And if it wasn't worthwhile, it was at least a little adventure - the perfect start to a long explorer weekend.

 At the Right Place 

Where the action is at in Nimis in terms of MTB technology
  • Spring in Friuli

Bernadia Trail Area: Handmade

The Monte Bernadia rises like a big block from the landscape of the Friulian hills, and at first glance, its flanks do not really look inviting. At the summit sits the Forte Bernadia, built in 1910, a memorial from the First World War which, lying in the second line of defense, was never involved in a battle.
Nowadays, celebrations and the occasional rave take place in the vaults.

  • Spring in FriuliSpring in FriuliSpring in Friuli
  • Spring in FriuliSpring in FriuliSpring in Friuli
  • Spring in FriuliSpring in FriuliSpring in Friuli
  • Spring in FriuliSpring in FriuliSpring in Friuli
  • Spring in FriuliSpring in FriuliSpring in Friuli
  • Spring in FriuliSpring in FriuliSpring in Friuli

Our trails are physical," Max briefly explains to us before he dives into the dense green of the first path. And indeed, we will find out that these are not smoothed out, machine-built, easy-flowing highways where you can just let yourself drift downhill.
The limestone, after last week's rainfalls, is a mix of slippery and sharp-edged, and there are repeated counter climbs that are definitely more fun if you sprint up them standing on the pedals. These paths clearly favor fit bikers - but then again, which ones don't?

  • Spring in Friuli

 Our trails are physical 

Maglianera President Max

The characteristics of the trails are due to their origin: With painstaking manual labor, the team from Maglianera has uncovered old, partly decayed paths between the individual villages and cleared them of the biggest obstacles. And this, unlike in some Austrian regions, was done on behalf and with the full support of the municipality.

  • Spring in FriuliSpring in FriuliSpring in Friuli
  • Spring in FriuliSpring in FriuliSpring in Friuli
  • Spring in Friuli

Trail Building and More

Of course, not everything is pure bliss here: Max already showed me a torn-off signpost during my first visit - you probably can never please everyone. His statement "We are outside the law" underscores the situation in Friuli: There simply is no law regulating mountain biking on forest paths. But Maglianera is also working on this and is in constant exchange with the regional government.

Generally, we have had the impression for a while that industrial forestry, as it is common in Austria, often stands diametrically opposed to bike tourism. The old beeches and pines here in Friuli or also in nearby Slovenia are at best firewood, and therefore one can move around on the MTB more freely than 40 km as the crow flies further north, beyond the border to the Alpine Republic. And during the hunting season, during driven hunts, some trails are simply closed by agreement until noon - it can be that simple.


After the Brisicul, our last trail of the Bernadia-Area and hand-shaped highlight of the day, we roll relaxed downhill and stop again for beer and panini at Al Posto Giusto.

The bar is at the same time accommodation, base camp, bike workshop, and starting point of all tours in Nimis. Chef Lorenzo, himself a member of the Maglianera Club, gladly makes his house available for after-ride drinks, but also for events. And so, we find ourselves in the fortunate position to participate in the annual meeting of the IMBA (International Mountain Bicycling Association) Italy.

Max wouldn't be Max if he didn't have his fingers in the pie here too. By the way, he is also the Trailforks moderator for Friuli, and to our surprise, he explains to us that trails that appear new on the platform are indeed reviewed and sometimes even deleted. A refreshing difference from other apps like Strava or Komoot.

  • Spring in Friuli
  • Spring in FriuliSpring in Friuli
  • Spring in FriuliSpring in Friuli
  • Spring in FriuliSpring in Friuli

Lugnesia: City Forest with Lines

Whole eight trails are behind us, and the locals want to show us three more in the "Lugnesie Bikepark". However, the name is somewhat misleading; the small village hill has absolutely nothing in common with a lift and bike park lines. It is more of a local recreation area, crisscrossed by walking paths. But here too, the bikers from Nimis have made an effort and created three simple lines – a perfect terrain for training sessions.
On the question of why we don't meet a single walker in this city forest on a Friday afternoon, Max has a pragmatic answer: "Italians are no outdoor people. They don't go for a walk, they rather hang out in shopping centers...".

  • Spring in Friuli
  • Spring in FriuliSpring in Friuli
  • Spring in FriuliSpring in Friuli

Border-Close Curve Dream

Google Maps has led us to the wrong destination once again. Our bus struggles up a mountain road and right there ahead, the asphalt turns into coarse gravel. We find ourselves in the middle of nowhere, even though we wanted to check out a few other trails in the area.
If you look at the map (or very modern, on an app), you can see that between the better-known biking areas of Gemona and Cividale, paths wind through the hills everywhere. And according to our information from last night's dinner with the IMBA guys, this Prossenico is definitely worth a visit.
Luckily, the gravel section is not a dead end and after 100 meters, we suddenly stand at the beginning of the small mountain village right on the Slovenian border.

We are already expected, as Roberto and the rest of the Riders Brothers Crew started cultivating the trails in the area a few years ago and are now responsible for a respectable arsenal of trails. At the same time, they also offer tours, shuttles, and help with accommodation.
Together we first go right through the village and then up a comfortably manageable forest road. Simon's Trail is waiting for us. And especially in the lower section, it's a true dream of curves.
Immediately, a difference to Bernadia is noticeable: The trails here are much more manicured, the berms perfectly shaped. And so, after Brez Maj, we also rush down the flowy Spin8 through a sea of wild garlic - greetings from the Vienna Woods! Unfortunately, also in terms of the ground, which requires solid skills when wet (as in nearby Slovenia).
It would only be a stone's throw from here to the trail center in Robidišče, where we have been guests several times. But unfortunately, the trails are currently closed due to a complaint from a local resident. A major setback for the region and the cross-border bike project.

 The trails here are much more manicured 

Around the mountain village of Prossenico
  • Spring in Friuli

Even more trails and an open score

The persistent rain from last week is still noticeable the next day. We decided to take a shuttle day and picked out some trails near San Leonardo to the southeast for this purpose.
We share the shuttle with three Italian bikers who really push the pace. Thus, we struggle to keep up on the unfamiliar and slippery paths. Before we settle down for the obligatory Aperol and ice cream in San Pietro, we tackle one of our favorite descents: the Machete Trail. Exhausted but happy, we then start the "journey home" back to Nimis.

And since, as mentioned, the journey is the destination, we will visit an old acquaintance at Tolmezzo tomorrow. Years ago, I got stuck in the snow on this mountain and had to give up, but tomorrow the conditions should be right.
Trail centers and shuttles are really great, but now it's time for something Alpine again …

Information

Trails and Regions
The hill chains between the more well-known areas in Gemona and Cividale del Friuli offer a wealth of trails, which - mostly grouped in regions -, are maintained by local clubs and organizations.
A good location is Nimis, situated halfway between Tolmezzo and Udine, whose trails spread across three hills. Taipana, Torreano, and the Natisone Bike Arena are other options. Those who prefer urban areas might choose to stay in Cividale. Just one ridge over and you're already in the Slovenian Soča Valley.

Further Information
www.maglianera.org
www.natisonebikearena.it
@ridersbrotherscrew, @taipana_trail and @bernadia_trail_area on Instagram

Useful Apps
Trailforks - lists trails by difficulty levels and allows you to directly support the trail builders with a donation.
Mowi Bike - official app for tourism regions with some elaborate 3D maps and gamification elements.

Getting There
By car, it takes us pretty exactly 1:45 from Klagenfurt to Nimis.
Of course, traveling more sustainably is done by train and backpack. For example, in 1:45 from Villach to Venzone and then about 29 kilometers by bike.

Shuttle
Paolo Dreossi (Tel. +39 347 0496345) shuttles you upon request at very reasonable prices throughout Friuli.

Accommodation
Al Posto Giusto - Bar, simple accommodation, and hub for MTB in Nimis
I Comelli - Agritourism right in the village
Sot La Mont - Agritourism in Torlano. Top breakfast

Food
Trattoria Alle Valanghe - Mainly meat. Very good value for money
Alla Trota del Cornappo - Trout fresh from the pond in all variations.
Agriturismo Blanc e Neri - Rustic and typical of Friuli

Note from the Editor: The text and photos for this story were provided to us by Daniel Oberauner, head of trailproof.com. Unlike previous collaborations, the guiding professionals will not offer a camp in the exact region described in the near future. However, with Slovenia's Wild West, the Stelvio Pass, the Euganean Hills, and the Nock Mountains, there will be equally nice alternatives in 2024!
All information and offers can be found at www.trailproof.com

  • Spring in FriuliSpring in Friuli
  • Spring in FriuliSpring in Friuli
  • Spring in Friuli