Subtly incorporated on the fork of our Cicloprato gravel bike, you’ll find the profile of a series of climbs. They represent the route up and over the Dorsale Lariana, a ridge that divides the southern end of Lake Como. One of the most beautiful areas of Italy, this promontory of land extends into the lake, with the famous village of Bellagio forming its northernmost point.
Riding from Como in the south, it’s possible to combine a trek up the high path with a return journey along the waterfront. Long popular with hikers, it’s also one of the most popular gravel rides among the staff at Passoni. As such, it’s helped inspire the creation of the firm’s off-road capable machines.
“From Como, the first climb on the route is to the town of Brunate,” says Matteo Visentini, Passoni's product manager. “It starts paved and then it’s gravel and rocks up to Monte Boletto, in the Triangolo Lariano, which in English would be ‘the triangle of lake Como,” (Larius being the Latin name for Lake Como). Connecting the area’s two most remarkable attractions via a mountainous spine overlooking the lake, it’s a ride everyone should attempt at least once.
“When we designed the graphic for our newest gravel bike, we thought a lot about how to communicate our roots and our territory in a simple visual way,” says Matteo Visentini, Passoni Product Manager.
“This is one of the ideas we came up with. We’re very proud of it because many people ask for it as a paint option. However, not everyone necessarily knows about its specific meaning. Then after some months or years, they come and ask about it”.
One Passoni owner from Asia was so intrigued he made a particular trip to come and complete the ride. It’s also a route that the owner of Passoni, Matteo Cassina, knows well. It’s near enough to his house to be easily accessible, and as a result, it’s where the firm’s gravel-going Cicloprato got its first proper test ride.
“With the Cicloprato, we were trying to create the perfect bike for these very demanding roads, the same kind that attracts these enduro motorbike riders. So this route quickly came to mind”.
Able to take on both paved and unpaved roads along with forest tracks, the Cicloprato gravel bike aims to provide excitement regardless of the surface beneath its wheels. It’s the exact mix of specialisms required for anyone taking on the route depicted on its fork.
“On one side of the fork, you have the mountain”, says Visentini. But on the inside, there’s the way back from Bellagio to Como. You can see that it’s almost flat and it’s represented as a nearly straight line”.
A sedate and scenic return leg to ride totalling around 70 kilometres, the path beside the lake is welcome after 1,200 metres of climbing. Taken as a whole, the ride perfectly encapsulates what’s great about the terrain of Lombardy.
“We wanted the route and the graphics to be a kind of easter egg for our owners to discover,” says Visentini.
Perhaps now a little less secret, the path over the Dorsale Lariana remains an inspiration for Passoni - and the perfect testing ground for our off-road capable bikes.