Level of difficulty: medium
Length of route: 8,600 km
Type of road: grit
Average time it takes: 1hr 30 minutes
A hundred metres from the large car park below Napoleon's Villa in San Martino and past the stalls that sell souvenirs, you can follow a wide, uphill road that goes right through the heart of some lush greenery.
Very soon the road starts to get narrower and steeper, and after three kilometres ends up at the old military cartroad for Colle Reciso, near an old windmill. From the ridge that the windmill stands on, you can see both the northern and the southern sides of the island, with all the gulfs of Portoferraio and Lacona.
The road is quite uneven but level more or less the whole way, with a thick holm oak wood and the odd pine and cork oak, as well as typical Mediterranean scrub plants like strawberry trees, lentisks, cystus and rosemary on either side. At kilometre 5,600 in Buca di Bomba, near a disused farm house, turn right into a large clearing with a beautiful view of the gulf of Procchio to the north west, and that of Marina di Campo to the south west. Keep going for another hundred metres or so, and when you get to a crossroads, take the second on the right, that goes uphill into a dense pine grove.
Keep to the path on the right for the next two kilometres, with the north east side of the island to your left, until you get to a fire break, one of those artificial clearings to prevent fire from spreading. You will now start to go downhill along a demanding road that takes you back to where you started.
Lo Scoglio - MTB School - The school organizes mountain bike lessons and excursions, surrounded by the Mediterranean bush with beautiful views of the sea round the Island of Elba. All instructors are S.I.M.B. who will teach you all you need to know about mountain bike excursions and also a little mechanics.
If you need any information or wish to book:
CICLI BRANDI - Via Carducci, 33 Portoferraio tel.0565.914128
Information from Riccardo Burchianti