Words: Tristan Hobson
Wheels of Balance: Trails, Community, Sustainability
Hidden in the Piemonte region of Italy's majestic Alps is a secluded valley described to me as a nearly pristine stretch of nature. In Valle Maira, you will find few paved roads, zero chairlifts, and a small community that savors the beauty of its wild nature beyond the wealth of big tourism.
I had also heard there is a great trail network in the valley and the locals granted mountain bikers full access, entrusting them to be knowledgeable and respectful towards nature and other outdoor users. This call of adventure made it easy to invite Stefan Eberharter, Sylvia Leimgruber, Francesco Drago, and filmer Flo Gassner for a trip to play and explore on two wheels.
After days of exploring flow trails that seemed too good to still be a secret and making full alpine explorations that tested our merits on long climbs and technical downhills, our need for two-wheel adventure was replete. But what we really walked away with were the conversations and memories from spending evenings sharing food and bottles of wine with the locals.
These late nights allowed us to discover the real treasure tucked into the Alps –– a community that prioritizes preserving its environment over the lure of mass tourism and big payouts. Not only did these locals share their insights into trail development and sustainability, but they spent time sharing the valley's history, pouring over maps with us, and giving insights onto where to find unique trails, old ghost towns, and the best possibility for loam.
We hope you enjoy our experience from Valle Maira.
A story by: Tristan Hobson
and Flo Gassner
, Sylvia Leimgruber
, and Francesco Drago
the cows are 100% Italian LOL
it's not new: in valle argentina (molini di triore) it was also a person from abroad that saw the potential of the village and valley and started a bike guiding company