If you’re looking to do some e-biking in Europe over the summer, you might want to head for the hills - remember, hills hold no fears for us e-bikers. Packed with snow and skiers in the winter months, the Alps become an open-air playground for eMTBs in the summer.
The same great hotels, restaurants, and lifts are in operation, but without the queues or the noise. Wherever you look, there are trees, mountains, blue skies, and temperate weather.
Over the last few years, Alta Badia Movimënt in Northern Italy has been building a substantial program of outdoor events for the whole family. Two thousand metres above sea level, accessible by ski lift from three large Northern Italian towns (Corvara, La Villa, and San Cassiano), you can ride modern eMTBs along gravel trails surrounded by the mighty Dolomites (declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site six years ago). You simply hire a bike at one of the six base stations (three up in the Movimënt parks (Piz La Ila, Piz Sorega and Col Alt) and three down at the Tourist Association Offices (Corvara, La Villa, La Val), and return it to any of the stations at the end of the day. These are Bosch-powered Trek bikes - you can be on and off the bike all day and it will have plenty of charge left at the end. It always surprises me how much assistance eMTBs give you. All the ‘ups’ that non-electric bikers struggle with will see you whizzing up without a care in the world. The terrain is generally up and down, but of the long, slight kind rather than sharp steep ascents.
It’s hard to emphasise how ‘at-one’ you feel with nature here - with zero four-wheeled traffic up in the clouds, the sound you hear most is the tweeting of birds, which puts you in such a tranquil place.
You might want to have a small pac-a-mac on you, as Alpine weather is notoriously changeable - it’s easy to get caught out by a huge black raincloud. Luckily, you’re never too far from a coffee - Alpine restaurants are the mountain equivalent of a Costa or Starbucks! Speaking of which, there’s an amazing new restaurant called Piz Boè Alpine Lounge Mountain Hut where you can fine-dine, eat pizza or just have a coffee on a lounger. (www.boealpinelounge.it)
If you want to mix-up your e-biking holiday, Movimënt also offers Nordic walking, speed-hiking, outdoor gyms, and jogging. Because you’re at 6,561ft above sea level, you’re basically taking part in altitude training, so the benefits are greater than normal. There’s also loads for children to do - the parks at Piz Sorega and Piz La Ila are equipped with climbing walls, zip lines (known as ‘slacklines’), giant trampolines and caves. A typical week offers mini-olympics on a Sunday, Geocaching on a Wednesday (think gadget-treasure-hunting), and mini-golf on the Thursday. In Spaghettino Park at Pralongià, children and parents can find out more about the fauna of the Dolomites. If you’re into rock-climbing, base-jumping, or paragliding, you can do these too outside of Movimënt.
We flew into Innsbruck via Easyjet, took a two-hour drive to La Villa, where we stayed at the Hotel Ladinia (€45 a night). La Villa is only five minutes walk from the central cable car, Piz La Ila, which starts you out on your exploration of all the areas.
Key Movimënt Prices
- A lift mountain pass comes in various lengths, with five days at €71 or 12 days at €131 - that’s less than seven pounds a day.
- Hiring a bike will set you back €36 (£30) for the whole day, or just €14 (£10) for a couple of hours if you have a planned route in mind.
The Big Annual Cycling Day - Sellaronda Bike Day
This free cycling day in June is for everyone around the Sella mountain range.