Consonno by Mountain Bike

Approach

The route starts at the head of Lago di Lecco at Ponte Nuovo. Keep to the eastern edge of the river flowing out of the lake and follow it along its shore heading south east. Cross the road at Ponte Vecchio (but keep to the same shore) and continue following the river as closely as possible. At a sharp turn pass under an arch and turn right at the end of the short passage to rejoin the river. Turn left and once more follow the river passing through a cobbled piazza. The path now becomes well surfaced, passes under the main road to Milano and curves around to the swimming pool. At the swimming pool turn sharp right passing the Soccorso Alpino and the sports fields. Continue for 2km until reaching the end of the cycle lane at a mini roundabout. Hop onto the road and taking the sharp left to pass over the railway track. At the main junction turn right heading for Calolziocorte. Just entered Cololziocorte turn right at some traffic lights (signposted Milan) and pass under the railway. Cross the river and turn left into Olignate. Pass some shops and take a small lane on the right that leads up to the main road (SS36). Cross the road into Via Belvedere.
Right click to download a Google Earth Tour of the ride. (You will need Google Earth to open the downloaded kmz file).

Ascent

Now the climbing starts. The road bears around right and then left. Keep to the main road, climbing steeply. After a while you will leave the houses and cars behind. The good tarmac road ends at a barrier, pass through and continue along the disused tarmac road. Although disused it is a good cycling track that weaves its way up through the woods. Now things start to get a little surreal. Pass an abandoned house and then under a sign that says 'Welcome to Consonno..' You will then see Consonno through the trees. Follow the road keeping left traversing around the hillside and enjoying good views of the Brianza valley.

Single track

Having arrived at Consonno and checked out the abandoned tourist attraction, join the footpath number 9 for Dozio. This can be found behind the new rest home (signposted). The riding now becomes more enjoyable on single track. All to quickly you arrive at Dozio, follow the track through the village and descend along the hairpin tarmac road before reaching a small house on the left (just before a sharp left turn). From here a track shoots of right (small sign marked 9 for Biglio on the wall). The track degenerates slightly but is still very rideable until reaching Biglio. At the T junction turn right and climb the steep stoney path. The stones are very rounded and polished, you knew you had those knobbly tires for something. This is the most tiring climb of the ride. The path zigzags before passing through some farm buildings, from here you are on your own.

I must have missed the signs for the path 9 and kept right entering into the woods. At first the track was good, but then became thin, then leafy, then muddy and steep. There was no doubt I was lost in the woods. I continued pushing my bike until breaking out onto the crest, joining the path 8. I was to far north and must have missed the 9 shooting off left at the farm buildings.

Descent

The track was once again rideable, so I headed north along the ridge up to M. Crocione (good views). From the summit I continued north descending via the footpath 10. This was a steep leafy single track descent, quite exciting and a nice reward after all the climbing and pushing. The track arrives at a large farm building at Figina. From here you are back on tarmac road and Galbiate is quickly reached (watch out for oncoming cars and scooters on the blind bends). Once at the crossroads in Galbiate turn right and put your feet up; the decent down into the valley does not need your help. At the end of the descent turn left at the small roundabout and push it out along the main road until reaching Ponte Vecchio once again. Cross the river and follow the shoreline back to Ponte Nuovo. Now go and treat yourself to an ice cream along the lake side.

Notes: A route 100% rideable except where I lost footpath 9. There are a few alternative descents from M. Croclone not marked on the map and Galbiate can be reached by following the ridge line down from Figina along the footpath 9. The map I used was the Kompass 91 Lago di Como, Lago di Lugano 1:50 000 scale. I find these maps really quite awful. There are a number of footpaths that in reality are signposted with different numbers, some paths and roads are even missing. The accuracy is not very good for navigating through forest terrain. If in doubt ask someone!