Swiss town offers “bike hotels”

Switzerland is a mountainbiker’s dream. There are hundreds of miles of trails, beautiful scenery, and a generally bike-friendly culture.

One town has decided to get even friendlier. Gstaad, in the Berne canton, has organized “bike hotels” to specifically care for cyclists’ needs. Ten hotels in the scheme now offer repairs, maps, tours, staff who are knowledgeable about routes, even laundry services so you don’t have to smell like bad cheese at dinner. The hotels are in Gstaad and its satellite towns, and it’s possible to create an itinerary and stay in several. Gstaad itself doesn’t allow vehicle traffic, making it even more bike friendly.

Gstaad is a popular destination for skiing, and local officials hope to boost tourism revenues in the summer by encouraging more cyclists to visit.

Image courtesy Gstaad Tourism.

Fat Tire Festival comes to the Black Hills

Mountain biking fans looking for a new destination to ride should set their sights on the Black HIlls of South Dakota at the end of May. The scenic, and historic, Rapid City area will serve as the host of a unique and action filled weekend, running the 28th through the 31st, which will include a variety of races, live music, barbecue, and much more.

The 4th annual Black Hills Fat Tire Festival will feature more than 30 different rides and six races that will appeal to riders of all ages and skill levels. Those races include the Cowboy Hill Sprint Climb, which will test the riders’ legs against the surrounding Black Hills and the Fat Tire Trail Challenge which will put all of their riding skills to the test.

The weekend isn’t just about the rides and races however, as there are a host of other activities on tap as well. Those activities include a bike swap to raise funds for local trails, a geocaching scavenger hunt, a pub crawl, and film festival with categories such as “The Big Dawg” and “Best Crash”. The entire weekend wraps up with an awards ceremony that includes live bands and real western barbecue on Sunday.

For a full weekend of events in the amazing Black Hills, plan on hitting Rapid City and the Black Hills Fat Tire Festival at the end of May. Whether you’re planning on riding or just coming to enjoy the show, you’re sure to have a great time.

DreamTours makes your cycling adventures a reality

Have you ever wanted to go on an epic cycling expedition? Perhaps explore the Serengeti by mountain bike or maybe ride the Silk Road? Perhaps you’ve always wanted to go on a cycling adventure to some remote place, but just weren’t sure how to prepare or handle the logistics. If so, you’re luck, as DreamTours is here to help!

DreamTours comes to us from the same team that organizes the annual Tour d’Afrique, an annual ride from Cairo to Cape Town, crossing 7500 miles of African wilderness in the process. The concept behind DreamTours is simple, come up with a great idea for your cycling adventure, post it on the DreamTour website and invite friends, family, and cycling buddies to vote on the concept and weigh in on the idea. If you get enough people to join your tour, the DreamTeam will handle all the logistics and make the adventure a reality. The best part, you’ll get to ride for free!

The DreamTour website acts like an online forum for adventure cyclists. Once you create your account, you’ll be able to post your ideas for cycling adventures, vote on the tours posted by others, and leave comments or questions about those trips. If you see one that looks interesting, you can elect to join the tour, or recruit riders to join your adventure, and you’ll soon be off and riding. If your tour sells out, you’ll get to go along for nothing, or you can choose to apply your discount to the entire team, saving everyone money in the process.

With the DreamTour team taking over the planning process, there will be nothing left for you to do but train for your cycling adventure. Once they have everything organized, and the logistics in place, you’ll simply hop a flight to your destination, and hit the trail.

Go back to a simpler day at Beaver Creek Resort Summer Camp

Once upon a time, you’d take off in the summer with a sleeping bag, a fishing pole and a pocket knife. Summer camp offered all the soft challenges you could imagine (such as stomaching awful food), but you always had a blast. No responsibilities weighed you down. Today, though, those days are gone. You worry about paying the mortgage, getting to work on time and keeping your kids entertained.

If only you could go back … if only for a little while.

Vail Beaver Creek Resort Properties has the answer: “Camp Not Exactly Roughing It.” Blend the excitement and freedom of summer camp from your childhood with cocktails and cuisine that is far from revolting, and you have the perfect adult getaway (especially if you get some mile-high action en route).

Oh, and you’ll stay in one of Beaver Creek’s resorts or condos instead of a dumpy cabin or (blech) tent.

This program runs from June 13 to September 7, 2009. So, be ready to do all the hiking your legs will handle. Play a little frisbee golf or learn to fly fish. You’ll also get two lift tickets up Beaver Creek mountain (enjoy the view) and breakfast for two ever day. Horseback riding, ziplining, bungee trampoline, mountain bike rentals and hot air balloon trips are also available. You can get in on this action for $262 a night, for a minimum of three nights.

Ecotourism comes to Cambodia

Mountain bikers can reclaim wilderness that once belonged to illegal loggers and poachers. Hidden in the foothills of Cambodia‘s Cardamom Mountains, the village of Chi Pat is now home to a mountain biking experience that is unparalleled in trail and impact.

This new program is the result of cooperation among Wildlife Alliance (formerly known as Wild Aid), Asia Adventures (a Cambodia-based adventure travel company) and the villagers of Chi Pat. Off-road cycling tourists are expected to bring a sustainable source of income to the villagers while exposing guests to some of the world’s last remaining virgin wilderness.

Chi Pat is two hours from Phnom Penh by boat and is portal to old logging routes, undulating trails and streams and shallow rivers. Ride through bamboo thicket, rain forest and hills while gazing upon waterfalls, bat caves and waterfalls. A lucky few will see rare wildlife, such as elephants.

Simply by mountain biking in Chi Pat, you can help the villagers reclaim their home from years of abuse by illicit tree-choppers and hunters. Merely enjoying yourself has never been so powerful.


[Photos thanks to Asia Adventures]