Text and pictures © 2012-2013 Guillaume Dargaud
Last updated on 2012/12/19
"Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment." — Evan Hardin.
Left: A nuraghe house, reconstructed from 3000 year old models.
Tired from all the climbing, a bit of biking is a good way to rest the forearms. Maybe. It seemed like a good area at the time: a trail going from the Dorgali road 1050m asl down to the beach of Cala Luna. On the map it goes straight down and then follows a flat canyon. What could possibly go wrong ?
It started cold and windy at the pass but it soon grew warmer as I biked down the easy dirt road. Which turned into an overgrown dirt road. Which turned into a fun trail... for a short while before turning into a steep trail strewn with large granite boulders. I had to carry the bike down for a good 300m.
Right: Delicate passage in a narrow section of the trail, a large and very rotten tree trunk obstructing the descent. I lowered the bike between the branches and hung it on its handlebars while I downclimbed some other way and recovered it from below.
Once down in the valley, nothing could possibly go wrong, right ? Well, the trail is about 10km long from that point to the beach, most of it consist either of overgrown forest trail, boulder fields or soft sand.
Left: Typical boulder field in the valley leading to Cala Luna. Try and bike that !
Finally upon reaching the beach it must be over, right ? Well, not quite yet, first there's a pool of water to cross in order to get to the beach itself, carrying the bike over my head. Then I had planned on taking the trail from Cala Luna to Cala Fiuli. But my timing is blown with only one hour of light left, and the people I talk to say it's a tough 2 hours of bushwhacking. Fortunately salvation is at hand.
Right: Pigs at the beach at Cala Luna.
Left: Tired from so much pushing and carrying, I get on a passing Zodiac with the bike to avoid 2 more hours of shuffling through shrubland.
Right: So avoid the same mistake which is described here or here (in french). Unless you are on foot. Which you will be anyway even if you take a bike with you.
Left: A few days later I try another itinerary, much quicker and much nicer which leads directly to Cala Gonone, much more recommended, if a little rocky. The description of the itinerary can be found here or here (in french).
Right: Semi-wild piglets everywhere in the shrubs inland from Cala Gonone.
Right: Family of hungry cats next to the s'Arena hut below the Punta La Marmora.
Left: Something like 4 pigs and 3 pussies present for breakfast.
Left: The s'Arena hut at the end of the road; closed for the season, open for yoga.
The nice surprise of the trip is that the highest summit of the island is easily doable by bike, both up and down and at a very moderate and enjoyable level. Only a short section below the summit requires pushing on the way up and some skills on the way down.
Right: Very indicative signs on the way to the Marmora. But from the end of the tracks where this image is taken you follow a trail to the pass visible in the background and then traverse for a few km until you are below the real summit.
Left: One of the many fountains on the trail towards the summit.
Right: Summit of the Punta La Marmora (1934m), the highest of Sardinia. It's like standing on a map: on a good day you can see the entire island from here.
Left: The description of the itinerary can be found here or here (in french).
A pdf file with various mountain bike trails can be found for free here.