In the sublimely-soundtracked Earthed 5, quite possibly the best mountain bike film ever made, a pair of juniors chase each other through a set of dusty turns. The sun is shining and the grins wide. The caption reads “Finale Ligure“.
Before the ski lifts of the Alps start rotating for summer, this is where Europe comes to ride. Bikes rattle on trailers winding into the Ligurian hills.
Close to the coast, the trails near the ancient town of Finalborgo are relentlessly rocky. La Ruggetta became an early favourite, and the view at the end of Bondi was exactly what I hoped for.
A few gelatos into the trip, we went in search of flowy backcountry riding on Finale Freeride‘s Wild Enduro tour. Here the character of the trails was different: more alpine, a monster Surrey Hills, with drifty woodland turns. A day at Nava Freeride in Pornassio offered similar delights.
There’s a happily international crowd in Finale and over a few weeks we shared a ride and sometimes a beer with Slovenian, Swiss, German, Austrian and Swedish riders. It’s also somewhere you’d be pretty delighted to be on holiday, even without the fantastic riding. You can submit yourself to lolling on the beach, devouring delicious treats and wandering the cobbled streets if you’ve a broken bike or bruised body.
On my very last ride I had the surreal experience of rolling through the aftermath of a rave at the abandoned Nato base. Bleary-eyed stragglers mixed with espresso-powered riders. I pushed on to the top of Monte Alto for a swoop down the fantastic Stragroppo, finally running out of talent five corners from the end and hugging a tree. Molto benne.
Trail snack: Limone gelato from Bar Centrale in Finalborgo
Bike shop: Evolve did a nice job on my wonky wheels. They do uplifts to the Nato base and Din (top of Rollercoaster) for €10 too.
Trail nose: Trailforks has the main attractions covered, but you can check out the full map and interactive map too.