Alta Badia, you can ring my bell!
Alta Badia launches summer fun for cycling fans
Cycling and Alta Badia go together like Schüttelbrot and cheese. There is nothing quite as harmonious and rewarding as a summer's day bike ride through the heart of the spectacular South Tyrolean Dolomites. With its grand peaks, meandering mountain passes and sun-filled valleys, it's no wonder this UNESCO natural heritage site is a mecca for cyclists. Even the true pros love Badia and flock to the birthplace of Maria Canins, twice-winner of the Grande Boucle. It's time to get on your bike and discover the beauty of Alta Badia on two wheels.
Thanks to a brand new initiative called Bike Friendly, enjoying cycling in Alta Badia has never been easier. This summer the Tourist Board is providing maps and route guides to suit both road and mountain bike cyclists. A partnership with the specialist Dolomite Biking school means there are group departures every day, including an exciting mountain bike outing accompanied by an expert guide. There is also a wide range of discounts available on accommodation, bike rental, parts and clothing, as well as at restaurants and refuges that specialise in catering especially for two-wheeled travellers. Bike Friendly hotels, meanwhile, provide everything a cyclist could need: storage with the possibility to wash and repair your bike, a special tool box, a laundry service, a generous, balanced breakfast and an afternoon snack for that extra energy boost. Best of all, ski lifts will transport bikes free of charge. For more information visit www.altabadia.org/bike and www.dolomitebiking.com
LA PERLA WAITS
Welcome to cyclists' heaven, Hotel La Perla! Enjoy all the luxuries and comforts of a world-class hotel, with the added benefit of a bespoke service catering especially for cycling fans. La Perla boasts its very own cycle repair shop, with experts on hand to give technical advice and support so that each bike is in perfect working order. There is also a secure storage facility, a bike wash and laundry service. There are guided tours every day and dedicated staff are trained to ensure everyone will be mentally and physically prepared before setting off - including a chef whose dishes are created with particular attention to healthy eating for cyclists from a nutritional aspect
A particularly popular highlight of La Perla is its Dogma Pinarello Passionate Lounge, where you can view some of the legendary bikes that have been stars in the history of cycling opportunity to view just some of the bikes that have been pivotal in the history of cycling, over the past 60 years. There is even the chance to test ride Pinarello's innovative new bikes, follow in the footsteps of Team Sky and Movistar. Hotel La Perla makes sure, too, that guests accompanying cyclists are not left out and offers an activity-packed programme that takes place in tandem with or around the cyclists. For more information visit www.hotel-laperla.it/en
This year Alta Badia is pioneering Bike Sharing at 2000m, which means there is the opportunity to now rent an electric bicycle (E-Bike) to ferry you comfortably to your destination without having to take it back. It is the first mountain resort to offer such a service. Thanks to the electric motor, even the less sporty can get in the saddle . . . and the only thing to take their breath away will be the incredible views of the Dolomites.
On the upland plain above the villages of Alta Badia, where skiers test their skills on the curves of the slopes in the winter, there are four bike rental points: at Col Alto, Piz La Villa, Piz Sorega and Pralongiá. Every bike is linked to a power point where batteries can be recharged and users have a card that allows them to take a bike and use it in the whole local area. The card can be used at every rental point to recharge the bike, or for rental and deposit. This is an ultra-modern system with a server for communication between rental points and a GPRS system that localises each bike.
You can also buy a package for your electric bike tour that includes a delicious Gourmet Picnic from one of nine participating refuges served in a lovely picnic hamper.
The E-Bikes can be used by children from 14 years old and over up to 18 years old with an accompanying adult) at a price of €20 for a half day and €31 for a whole day. Children aged 14-18: €13 a half day and €22 the whole day. For additional days the daily rate is €20 for adults and €14 for children.
MARVEL AT THE MARATHON
On Sunday, June 30, Alta Badia hosts the 27th Maratona dles Dolomites - Enel 2013, with 9,000 participants taking part. This year there will be three routes through the majestic Dolomites from La Villa to Corvara: the Marathon, which is 138km long with 4190m of elevation, a Medium that is 106km long with 3090m elevation, and the Sellaronda, which is 55km long and rises 1780m.
Patron of this prestigious event, Michil Costa, says: "This is not just a challenge, it's not just contemplating and being contemplated by nature: the Maratona is being part of a form of spirituality shared by thousands of other people. It is the immersion of those who can and want to experience something special."
As well as supporting education projects in the Third World, the Maratona is the first sports event to be certified carbon neutral. Spectators can also take part in a wide range of fun activities and events planned for the days leading up to the competition and afterwards.
For more information visit www.maratona.it
WE CAN BE HEROES
The fantastic fourth edition of the Sellaronda Hero takes place on Saturday, June 22, when the bravest two-wheelers gear up for what has been described as the toughest mountain bike race in the Alps. Participants can choose from two routes: 62km or 84km. The heroic feats begin in Selva in Val Gardena, before cyclists circle the Sella Range, following the Winter Sellaronda . . . only this time without the aid of the ski lifts! For more information visit www.sellarondahero.com
Not everybody is ready to test their mettle against the pros. Another key feature in Alta Badia for all keen cyclists is the Sellaronda Bike Day, a non-competitive event open to professionals and amateurs who share a love of two wheels. From 9am until 3pm on Sunday, June 23, the Sella, Gardena, Pordoi and Campolongo passes around Sella Mountain will be reserved exclusively for cyclists. The event gets under way from all the surrounding Ladin valleys and restaurants, mountain huts and refuges will be offering extra-special 'cyclist's dishes'. Anyone can join in the fun and there's no need to register. And if you can't make this one, Sellaronda Bike Day will be repeated on September 15. For more information visit www.sellarondabikeday.com
UP, UP AND AWAY!
The guided Sellaronda MTB Tour offers visitors the perfect chance to discover the fabulous natural beauty of the Dolomites by mountain bike, around the Sella Range, clockwise and anti-clockwise, departing Alta Badia from Corvara. The clockwise route measures 58km with a rise of more than 3400m. But fear not! Only 500m of this elevation is by bike and so even a medium-level biker can enjoy the route. The anti-clockwise route is more challenging, at 53km and with an elevation of 1150m by bike. Get those legs pumping! For info and/or to book a guide: www.dolomitebiking.com
This year sees the introduction of Alta Badia's very first bespoke cycling kit, created by Manuel Bottazzo. The design of the jersey and cycling shorts have been specially chosen to reflect Alta Badia's spectacular scenery and they will be on sale in top sportswear shops.