Our ride starts in piazza Gramsci. Turning left, climb up to the historic centre of Montaione. At the junction, turn right towards San Miniato, passing in front of the Monument to the Fallen in the Second World War and the town’s panoramic terrace. Head down via Aldo Moro for about 1 km until the dirt track via delle Rocche opens up on the left. A slight incline begins, reaching a crossroads, forking right and dropping down next to an olive grove (on the right) and then a vineyard (on the left). The further down we go, the closer we get to the Egola torrent and the slope becomes steeper. The gravel surface tests your bike’s brakes and your ability to ride the mountain bike downhill. On the way down you’ll pass an old mill (now derelict) dating to the Second World War and, turning left and after a short steep descent you’ll reach the Egola torrent, which is hard to cross in the winter and spring due to the lack of a bridge and the rising water levels.
Having forded the Egola, it’s time to take on the hill opposite Montaione. This section starts with a really steep climb that winds its way through a wood. Soon you’ll forced to continue on foot due to the slippery stones. After about 200 metres, following the red and white signposts on the trees, the climb becomes less challenging, meaning we can get back on our bikes again. Carry on climbing up until you see the Piaggia farm buildings. The road veers to the right and then to the left after a few dozen metres, leading to a cypress-lined avenue. Continue slightly uphill along via Piaggia until reaching via Cerroni after 800 metres. Turn left onto the tarmacked via Cerroni towards San Vivaldo. Carry on slightly uphill with lovely views of the typical Tuscan countryside dotted with farmhouses, vineyards, olive groves and cypress trees.
After about 2.5km, the road starts to climb more and enters a wood, where the tree tops touch (the effect is like a tunnel). On leaving the wood, after about 850 metres, at the top of the hill and near a right-hand bend, turn left on to the dirt track into the woods. (It’s not easy to see the signpost on the left, so check your odometer or GPS.) Ride along the mostly flat surface for about 250 metres until you reach a clearing. Take the downhill trail on the left. After about 150 metres, a drop appears along the single track, where fearless riders can jump a few metres at full speed.
After 130 metres, close to a crossroads, the trail turns to the right, going through a tunnel of strawberry trees (typical of the Mediterranean shrubbery and whose yellow or red fruits are gathered in the autumn to make jam) that give this area its name: Corbezzolaia. Pedal for another 60 metres until you reach another crossroads, which can be recognised by an oak tree where the trails branch off. Take the road on the left. Carry on downhill for 130 metres. Following the main trail, veer to the left near another trail that continues to the right. Continue downhill for about 300 metres along a section that’s been eroded by rainwater – it’ll test your balance. The trail continues up and down hill inside the wood and the final climb, a little challenging, will force you to use lower gears. You come out on the tarmacked road (via Cerroni). Turn right and continue along the tarmacked road for about 100 metres before heading back into the wood, taking the dirt track on the left. After about 240 metres from the tarmacked road, your instinct will tell you to carry on downhill, but you must take the trail on the right. This point is recognizable since there are signs on the left marking the names of the trails. Turn right following the signs for the “Ameno” trail.
Start an enjoyable ride with slight inclines and descents surrounded by dense vegetation that offers some shade on hot summer days. After a few hundred metres, the road narrows to a single track before (after less than a kilometer) arriving back on the tarmacked road, where you have to turn left (via Cerroni). After 200 metres, leave the tarmacked road and turn right. At full speed, cycle past the edges of a vineyard before heading back into the forest again. At the first crossroads, marked by some cypress trees on the left, take the left-hand road. The descent becomes even steeper, more slippery and more technical. Carry on downhill for another 130 metres before crossing the small bridge over the Egola torrent. The tarmacked climb becomes really steep. After 1 km and 150 metres the road arrives in viale Matteotti in Montaione. Carry on along viale Matteotti uphill to the junction with viale Italia. Along the old castle walls you’ll arrive in piazza Cavour. Turn right into viale da Filicaja. After 100 metres, on the left, you’ll find that you’re back where you started, in piazza Gramsci.
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