Molini is one of the best places to ride your mountain bike, on the planet, without question. It's endless war chest of singletrack, epic back country descents, high alpine trails, loamy forests and long exposed ridgelines make it a must do for any mountain bike bucket list holiday destination. It's quite simply incredible.
The tiny town of Molini is the polar opposite of Finale Ligure, our other destination in this part of Italy. Sitting at 780m above sea level, It's quiet, peaceful and a little more down to earth than the flashier Finale. It's a 40 minute drive inland from the nearest beach. There is one bar, a handful of restaurants and not much else, apart from the bubbling mountain bike scene that to be frank, will never get to the dizzy heights of top European destinations in numbers of riders, only amazing trails. There simply is not and never will be the infrastructure for dozens of shuttle vans zooming around the mountains, and we like it that way. Molini is a place for a peaceful mountain bike holiday, a place for adventure, exploration and discovery.
Molini di Triora
Molini has a population of just over 600 people and the neighbouring hamlet of Triora has just over 400. Quaint doesn't really cut it when as you walk through the ancient cobbled streets, a place where everybody really does know everybody and if the walls could speak they'd tell a thousand stories of the town's inhabitants. Some of the town's history is not so comfortable to read with a witchcraft museum a morbid way to kill an hour of downtime.
There is one large hotel, the Santo Spirito, which is steeped in history and has long been a base of operations for mountain bikers, with trinkets and jerseys dotted around the hotel dining room. The food in the hotel is really good, traditionally rustic Italian and sitting exactly where Italian food is at its best with great technique and ingredients providing the flavour rather than flashy presentation.
The bar Il Gallo Nero, sits directly opposite the hotel and is where you'll see the most evening action in the area, it's great fun and extremely authentic. There is a pizza place, bar Capriolo in the centre of Molini also.
Take a ride don one of Molini's classic descents with MTB Beds
But we are not here for museums and bars, we are here for the riding of the Valley Argentina, in which Molini di Triora lies. Mountain biking here takes on several different guises. You have the purpose-built trails around the town itself, best accessed with a traditional shuttle van or an E-Bike (more on that later), these trails are around 3 - 10 minutes long at a decent pace and are a great way to spend the morning or afternoon before you tackle some of the bigger rides on offer.
These trail just keep on giving
They flow well with the natural line of the hill, you will not see many jumps or any berms, more likely some shelving to connect sections and plenty of clearing work. The lion's share of the trail work over the years is thanks to Aidy, who has now left the area after years of hard trail work, with several locals including our guide, host and man on the ground Luca who holds the torch, or shovel.
Beyond the trails around Molini there are several options for riding depending on which direction you head, and it's here where your Molini mountain bike tour really takes on its epic nature.
Head west towards France
Head west towards France and Breil sur Roya and the trails become more exposed, rocky and 'Mediterranean' in character. Dependent on the height you see less tree cover and more technical switchbacks as you back and forth across the French border. The riding here is encompasses some of the best riding from the famous Trans Provence, with more incredible routes toward Muratone and Pigna once you are back on the Italian side (and better espresso).
Oh. My. Days. Epic.
Head North and directly above Molini di Triora
Head North and directly above Molini di Triora you'll find some of the most breathtaking scenery imaginable and trails to match, with long descents back into the town and into neighbouring Realdo. Trails such as the amazing Rocca di Mea and Cop Killer can be found here. These kind of routes are hard to describe if you haven't ridden them before. The first time you ride trails like this you don't know whether to stop and take photos, keep shredding or just break down and cry with joy. You only get to ride a trail for the first time once, make the most of what we say!
Head East and up the coast a little and you are aiming towards Nava, another awesome riding destination with trails that are not unlike the backcountry routes in the hills behind Finale Ligure. Long, winding, fast singletrack and plenty of it!
The best way to ride Molini
The best way to ride Molini is not an easy question to answer. You can tackle it in several different ways but all of them start and finish with a good guide. It's simply not possible to get the most out of riding here without one, even the best map readers will get lost amongst these expansive hillsides.
Working with Luca Bernadini we have unlocked a few different methods of attack to get the most out of the riding in this area. The first and most traditional way is on an enduro bike, something aggressive with at least 150mm/140mm of travel and a good, solid build kit. Anything over a long travel enduro bike will be too much here. You'll take a shuttle, a mix of 9 seater minibuses and 4x4 ex Carabinieri Iveco's are used to get you either around the shorter trails lower down, or higher up into the peaks.
You can split the riding into a few distinct categories, shorter, faster trails, and long epic trails of which are shuttled. Then you have the riding that operates like a shuttle-assisted tour of the valley, using the shuttle and some pedal power to get less quantity, but perhaps more quality in the riding. Often you'll ride a couple of shorter tracks to start then head up higher for some longer descents in the afternoon.
E-Bikes are a great tool in Molini. Because the shuttle roads can be very long and wind around the hillside so much, it's more effective to get your pedals on and connect the dots this way. It's the primary reason we introduced the E-Bike packages in Molini with Specialized Turbo Levo SL's.
There are also the long descents down to the coast which can take most of the day, depending on which route you take, this is big mountain enduro and is as rewarding as it is challenging.
Strap on and head up!
So book that holiday of a lifetime now in Molini di Triora!
At MTB Beds we have you covered, from an inclusive Long Weekend packages with E-Bike hire, shuttles and guide included to week long adventures around the Valley Argentina, we have everything online and ready to go for that Epic Mountain Bike Tour.