Why Mountain Biking in Europe

Should be on YOUR Bucket List!

Bucket List... or "Bike-It" List?

If you’ve ever experienced the joy of exploring a country on two wheels, chances are, you’ve got the bug, and there’s a growing list of places you’re dying to ride.  It’s more than just a bucket list of things to do and see… it’s the longing to feel the wind on your face and come to know a new land intimately, in a way that only cycling allows.  It’s the pull you feel when you see pictures online of impossibly picturesque trails that you’re dying to be on.  It’s a Bike-It list.

And if Mountain Biking in Europe isn’t on your Bike-It list, here’s why it should be.

Steeped in Cycling Culture

In Europe, cycling is more than just a form of exercise or a mode of transportation. It is a culture.

When you ride in Europe, you’ll experience some of the most bike-friendly cities and towns in the world. Mountain bikes, commuters, road cyclists, e-bikes… bicycles are everywhere. These countries have a much different attitude towards cyclists than you might have experienced in the US. Drivers are more accustomed to dealing with bikes, and are better at sharing the road with two-wheeled traffic. Cafes are bike-friendly. Cities have lanes dedicated for bicycle traffic. And if you prefer to do your sightseeing on the dirt rather than the pavement, there are hundreds of miles of country roads that wind through beautiful mountains with few cars in sight.

Change How You Think About Mountain Biking

Sienna Leger-Redel, a young Cross Country Mountain Bike racer from Utah was lucky enough to be able to travel to Austria with her team in 2017.  There, her outlook on the sport was changed forever.

Mountain Biking in Europe was a true cross-country experience,” Sienna told us. “We would often take back roads through people’s land or pastures out in the countryside, but people would smile and wave… they had a different sense of property out there. You are respectful of everything, but people weren’t protective of anything. So much is shared there.

Unlike America, where you might have to drive for miles before you can find a bike-friendly trail system, in Europe, everything can be connected. “You could bikepack across the entire country stay in hostels and eat in mountain huts.” Sienna explained. “In Europe, it’s more than just a ride experience, it’s a community and a culture.

The BEST Way to Explore a New Place

If you love to truly experience the countries you travel to, then Mountain Biking should be your preferred mode of transportation. In the beautiful words of Ernest Hemingway, you can “learn the contours of a country.” 

It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.

Ernest Hemingway

On a Mountain Bike, you can explore every nook and cranny of a place, from bustling metropolitan storefronts to iconic tourist landmarks, to winding backroads, to singletrack and trails that climb high up into the mountains.

It can take your experience of a destination to a whole new level.

For ALL Skill Levels

So now we’ve piqued your curiosity. You’re dreaming of visiting Europe and you’d like to explore on a bike. But you’re not a downhill MTB daredevil, or a Tour de France rider ready to climb mountains. Don’t worry! There’s still so much for you to experience.

For example, why not check out our MTB tour of Bormio, Italy. It offers spectacular forest and valley riding on singletrack and gravel roads accessible even to beginners!

“BUT…” you might object, “I’m just not fit enough to ride a bike for that long!”

Again, Europe has you covered!

E-biking has seen a massive surge in recent years, and E-Mountain Bikes are looked upon much more favorably across the pond. Want to know why?

All of our Alpin Luxe guided MTB Tours and Skills Courses offer E-Bike rental options, so you can enjoy riding day after day, no matter your age or physical capacity.

Alpin Luxe Bike Tours - E-bikes at a resort in the Dolomites

But don’t fret if you’re a hardcore MTB rider or athlete looking for a technical challenge. There’s plenty of advanced singletrack to be had! From steep mountain climbs to black diamond downhills, these scenic trails will not disappoint.

XC Racer Sienna loved the singletrack she rode in Europe. “It’s a really cool environment,” she explained. “We got to experience the old culture and architecture, as well as new modern trails like the World Cup Race Courses.” And you should definitely add these championship courses to your bike-it list!

Sienna describes the trails as: “A perfect combination of technical and fun, with really cool and unique features. It’s really good singletrack. Not only is the riding awesome, but also the scenery around you is amazing! We rode past waterfalls, cows, lakes, there’s so much to see!”

Mountain Biking in Europe Sienna Riding Mountain Bike in Austria
Photo Credit: Summit Bike Club

There’s something for everyone when it comes to Mountain Biking in Europe. There’s so many destinations and styles of riding, you’ll certainly find one to suit you! And you’ll experience a whole new form of biking and cultural interaction within cycling in a way that you wouldn’t at home in the States.

So as you’re building your Bike-It list for 2020 and beyond… make sure you add Europe to the list!

For the all-inclusive luxury European experience – including private guided tours, beautiful off-the-beaten-path resorts, and elite skills coaching sessions – check out our Alpin Luxe MTB tours. We’re excited to have you join us on the cycling adventure of a lifetime!

Christine Mullins

Christine Mullins

Elite XC MTB racer / Alpin Luxe guide

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