Mountain Biking

Happy trails for the mountain-bike fan – The Australian

Explore the world on the back of a bike.

1 British Columbia, Canada

Off-roading cyclists want for nothing on the 120km Sea to Sky Corridor, stretching from Vancouver to Whistler. Offerings in the region include vast, well-mapped trail systems, lift-accessed bike parks, guiding services, multi-day backcountry trips, even heli-biking. If you prefer to follow a day of riding over steep, rocky terrain with a first-rate massage and a cushy bed, base yourself in Whist­ler, home to luxury hotels and spas and the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, with its 80km of trails.

2 Western Colorado, US

The Rocky Mountains in western Colorado is a haven for mountain bikers. Picture: Mark R Higgins

The Rocky Mountains are, unsurprisingly, popular territory for mountain-bike riders, but it’s the small, modest town of Fruita on Colorado’s Western Slope that’s a bucket-list destination for in-the-know cyclists. Flying to Fruita is easy — nearby Grand Junction is served by major American car­riers. An hour’s drive from Moab, Utah, it’s also a favourite road-trip destination. Hundreds of kilo­metres of single tracks twist through juniper-studded desert and along clifftops and mesas. You’ll find riding options for begin­ners and experts, guiding services and a lively vibe in town. But this is a place for purists, not sybarites. Camping is popular and luxury amenities scarce.

3 Northwest Italy

Aosta Valley, under the flanks of Monte Bianco, draws bike enthusiasts during the summer months. Picture: Fotografiche

Sprawled under the flanks of Monte Bianco, Aosta Valley is one of the Italian Alps’ most glamorous ski destinations. Drowsier in summer, the region now draws mountain bikers who wheel leis­urely around the valley’s central town, Aosta, and follow the stone-paved streets to lift-accessed bike trails. Within a half-hour’s drive are more lift-served trails in the tiny resort towns of La Thuile, Pila and Cervinia. When you’re ready to trade the Alps for the sea, drive about three hours south to Finale Ligure, an adorable coastal town. Backed by hills overlooking the blue Ligurian Sea, it’s another biking beacon with kilometres of nearby tracks, guides and races.

4 The Scottish Highlands

Cairngorms National Park, Scotland, offers untamed trails. Picture: iStock

Dedicated mountain-bike parks dot the country, but the rugged Highlands offers the most tempting and untamed trails. For ­instance, in Cairngorms National Park, you can ride from rocky peaks to a wild beach. And just in case Scotland’s notoriously ­inclement weather compromises your ride, you can pedal over to one of the whiskey distilleries set inside the park to wait out the rain.

The Wall Street Journal


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