Documentary: Descending the Stelvio at night with no bars, brakes or lights
Documentary to show Giuliano Calore's nighttime descent of the Stelvio with no handlebars, brakes or light.
Starting this weekend, the pros will descend on Italy as the Giro d’Italia gets under way. With some of the most notorious terrain on the planet, they will face hard, uphill grinds.
One Italian rider in particular, though, made his mark going down those passes—and did so without his hands on the handlebars or even a set of bars on his bike
Giuliano Calore made many white-knuckle thrill rides during the ’70s and ’80s. Even before he started challenging and breaking world records, the Italian cyclist was no stranger to a hard, grinding trek, doing more than 250 km a day at the age of 14. Betting friends and neighbours that he could do the impossible—always successfully—his soon-to-be-famous appetite for raising the bar started early, eventually leading him to the rides for which he became known: conquering Stelvio Pass.
Nearly 3,000 m above sea level, it’s the highest paved mountain pass in the Eastern Alps—and the highest run of any Grand Tour in Europe. Calore first climbed it in July 1979, atop a bike without handlebars. Two years later, on July 29, 1981, he did it again while playing four musical instruments—once more atop an incomplete bike without even stopping.
Throughout the 1980s, Calore set speed records through the twisting pass and weathered wintery, low-visibility conditions, all without handlebars or brakes. Now 77, the daredevil Italian cyclist plans to head back to the Stelvio for one more challenge—perhaps his most harrowing one yet.
Like his breakneck descents of the Stelvio during the 1980s, Calore’s planned ride—and the record he’s determined to set one last time—will take him through all 48 hairpin turns of the mountain route, again with a stripped-down bike. This time, though, Calore will be plunging down the Stelvio by night. It won’t just be the handlebars or the brakes that are missing. He’ll also be riding a bike without lights, using only a hand-held flashlight and the light of the moon. That’s it. With 12 Guinness World Records under his belt, it’s the last one he has to break, and the perfect end to an epic career on two wheels.
This December, 48 Hairpin Bends by Night, a documentary by Fabrizio Lussu and Anna Grendele, will tell Calore’s story as he attempts to enter history. Check out the trailer here: