Red Bulletin Print Survey

The World's Best Bike Trails

Darren Berrecloth in China John Wellburn/Red Bull Content Pool

 

1. BRITISH COLUMBIA IS THE MOUNTAIN BIKER’S GREATEST NATURAL PLAYGROUND.

WILDERNESS TRAIL
FRASER RIVER, CANADA

LOCAL GUIDE: DARREN BERRECLOTH, Freeriding legend

“My bike and I travel the world, always on the lookout for the perfect location. The mighty Fraser River, Western Canada’s lifeline, is practically in my front yard and provides perfect conditions. The ground is hard enough to shape crazy lines but still soft enough for good grip.”

GETTING THERE
British Columbia is the mountain biker’s greatest natural playground. Your starting point is Williams Lake, a seven-hour drive northeast of Vancouver. The Fraser River stretches for more than 850 miles, from the Rocky Mountains to Vancouver. The locations Berrecloth refers to can only be reached by boat.

COSTS
River trips start at $125.

ACCOMMODATION
A tent by the river.

WHEN TO GO
July to September.

OFF YER BIKE
Salmon fishing and then a barbecue with eagles, bighorn sheep, and bears for company.

www.jetboatadventures.com

 

2. PEOPLE MOVE TO WHISTLER FOR THE MOUNTAIN BIKING.

THE CLASSIC
WHISTLER, CANADA

“Whistler has history in the MTB world. It was the first place where a ski resort became a full-on bike resort in the summer. That means the trails there have grown and evolved to a greater extent, too. Because of Whistler’s reputation, people from all over make the move to town. There are always people here keen to ride, which is another big reason why Whistler has one of the best riding environments.”

LOCAL GUIDE: BRANDON SEMENUK, 2012 Freeride Mountain Bike World Tour champion

GETTING THERE
Just under two hours by car from Vancouver.

ACCOMMODATION
From hotels to apartments, Whistler is ideal for every budget and every group size.

COSTS
Day passes start at $56.

WHEN TO GO
June to September.

OFF YER BIKE
There is no off yer bike. In summer, everything here revolves around mountain biking. You can have a good time people-watching as you sit and have a beer and eat burgers downtown.

bike.whistlerblackcomb.com

 

3. THE TERRAIN IS NAVIGABLE EVERY WHICH WAY.

NONSTOP GRIP
BIG WATER, UTAH

LOCAL GUIDE: DARREN BERRECLOTH, Freeriding legend

“I sought out this destination for [new mountain biking film] Where the Trail Ends for three weeks. The bentonite terrain is navigable every which way, and when it comes to scenery, Utah is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Even though I grew up by the water, I’m discovering the magic of the desert more and more.”

GETTING THERE
Flight to Las Vegas or Salt Lake City, then a three- to four-hour drive. Big Water is a designated recreational area, so biking here is not just allowed, it’s encouraged.

ACCOMMODATION
Big Water is a small town with just over 400 inhabitants. There are a few rooms for the few tourists.

COSTS
Free to ride.

WHEN TO GO
Pretty much all year round.

OFF YER BIKE
The Grand Canyon may be unbikeable even for the most experienced freerider, but it’s still worth making a detour for (at about 200 miles south).

www.bigwatertown.org

 

4: TRAILS WITH A BREATHTAKING MOUNTAIN BACKDROP.

HIMALAYAN FOOTHILLS
MUSTANG, NEPAL

LOCAL GUIDE: MADS MATHIASEN, Tour guide

“Sick downhills, flowing single trails, and sleek cross-country routes against the breathtaking backdrop of the Himalayas. My favorite trail leads to what used to be the royal city in Mustang, Lo Manthang, which UNESCO has described as unique.”

GETTING THERE
Mustang lies in the shadow of Annapurna. The nearest airport is at Jomsom, and the nearest large one at Kathmandu. Here you start your journey with guides.

ACCOMMODATION
In tea houses run by locals. Alternatively, camping.

COSTS
The Upper Mustang permit costs $500 and is valid for 10 days. You should budget for between $100 and $250 a day in Nepal.

WHEN TO GO
Mid-April to the end of June.

OFF YER BIKE
Contemplate the fragility of man while standing in the shadow of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna, respectively the world’s seventh- and 10th-highest mountains.

www.himalayan-trails.com

 

5. CONDITIONS FOR BIKING IN TYROL ARE IDEAL.

ALPINE VARIETY
TYROL, AUSTRIA

“Thanks to our mountains, the conditions for biking in Tyrol are ideal. The infrastructure has not been up to scratch, but that is changing now. The Nordkette mountain range near Innsbruck, Steinach am Brenner, and Serfaus combines scenery with fun riding.”

LOCAL GUIDE: GEORGY GROGGER, Bike park developer

GETTING THERE
Fly to Innsbruck or Munich.

ACCOMMODATION
Widely available at all price points: This is a place geared for visitors.

COSTS
Day tickets for the bike parks cost around $40.

WHEN TO GO
Late summer, with its clear air, bright colors, and well-rutted tracks.

OFF YER BIKE
Innsbruck has an almost Italian sense of urbane nonchalance (helped by a large population of students) to counter the cliché of men yodeling in lederhosen.

www.tyrol.com

 

6. AN 8,200-FOOT DESCENT, IN 50 MINUTES OR HALF A DAY.

THE OTHER PELOTON
ALPE D’HUEZ, FRANCE

LOCAL GUIDE: RENÉ WILDHABER, Six-time Megavalanche winner

“Megavalanche in Alpe d’Huez is the world’s biggest downhill marathon and is open to both amateurs and professionals. About 2,000 bikers make a 8,202-foot descent from the summit of Pic Blanc. The quick riders manage it in 50 minutes; slow ones take half the day.”

GETTING THERE
A classic mountain drive around 21 hairpin bends made famous by the Tour de France. Nearest airports are Turin and Grenoble.

ACCOMMODATION
An apartment or hotel will form part of the package you book to take part in the race.

COSTS
The race and lift ticket go for $70.

WHEN TO GO
Megavalanche week is July 8-14, 2013.

OFF YER BIKE
Tartiflette, the speciality of the French Alps, made with onion, potato, and bacon under a ton of melted cheese. It could feed an army.

www.megavalanche.com

 

7. MOUNTAINS MADE FOR DOWNHILL.

HOTTEST PEAKS
TURPAN, GOBI DESERT, CHINA

LOCAL GUIDE: JACK HO, Tour guide and organizer

“The flaming mountains of Turpan look as if they were made for downhill. They form a picturesque playground, as you can see in Where the Trail Ends. Turpan is the hottest place in China. Even the toughest mountain bikers lose their enthusiasm in summer temperatures of over 100 degrees.”

GETTING THERE
Beijing, then a domestic flight to Urumqi, then a three-hour drive to Turpan.

ACCOMMODATION
In a hotel. Budget for $50 per night.

COSTS
Visa is $120, domestic flight about $400; shuttle buses on site depend on the route and number of people.

WHEN TO GO
March, April, and October are when the temperatures are most bearable.

OFF YER BIKE
Turpan lies on the Silk Road, which means the most varied of cultures have left their mark here for 2,000 years.

www.wherethetrailends.com

 

8. THE BEST-VALUE TOP-CLASS TRAILS.

WOODLAND PARADISE
ROTORUA, NEW ZEALAND

LOCAL GUIDE: BROOK MACDONALD, World-class downhiller

“Rotorua’s got it all: endless XC trails and a great downhill course. Both are just a few minutes out of town, and you can ride them all year round. Only Whistler is better -- especially its downhill -- but Rotorua is a lot better value.”

GETTING THERE
Auckland’s international airport is a four-hour drive north.

ACCOMMODATION
Motels, cottages, and lofts attuned to bikers’ needs very close by. Alternatively, rent a mobile home in Auckland.

COSTS
Shuttle bus, $8.50.

WHEN TO GO
January, when it’s summer and the weather is warm.

OFF YER BIKE
Relax in Rotorua’s thermal springs.

www.riderotorua.com

 

 

Check out the June 2013 issue of Red Bulletin magazine (on newsstands May 14) for more articles. To read the magazine on your iPad, download the Red Bulletin iPad app. Follow Red Bulletin on Twitter for more.

 

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