Unique European and UK Mountain Biking Highlights Holidays
Recently launched MTB Holiday Company Singletrack Safari believes that the Pyrenees – and in particular Andorra – are getting unfairly ignored as a holiday destination and is seeking to redress the balance this summer.
Launched earlier this year, Singletrack Safari offers unique highlights holidays to a variety of destinations across Europe, and is keen to encourage riders to look at the Pyrenees as a genuine alternative to traditional mountain biking destinations such as The Alps and Spain.
Martin Hills, who founded the company with his wife Georgina explains:
“A few years ago we began riding in Andorra, and the Pyrenees, more by circumstances than by recommendation. We were on a roadtrip across Europe, and had been on our way from Spain to France – and we decided to stop off in the Pyrenees for a couple of nights. Our expectations weren’t high – our preconception was that nothing would compare well with the richness and diversity of trails and scenery in The Alps, so we’d never made the effort to visit! We ended up staying for 3 week instead of 3 nights, and were absolutely blown away by what a wealth of trails there are, set amongst some of the most unspoilt natural scenery we have ever experienced on two wheels!”
Ever since this original “discovery” Martin and George have returned regularly to ride in Andorra. Martin continues:
“Andorra very quickly became our preferred location in the Pyrenees – it has some of the most impressive scenery we’ve ever seen, but it was the unspoilt and unridden singletrack which really got our attention. The huge mountains are skirted by thick forests wherever you go – if I was to compare it to somewhere Alpine it would have to be the area around Chamonix. However, the difference is the silence and solitude on the trails – you can literally ride all day and never see another person! We think some of the singletrack we’ve been riding has never been used by any bikers before – despite being pretty close to civilization. And it’s not often you can say that!”
Andorra may be a tiny country – but Singletrack Safari immediately chose it as one of their destinations when they were planning to launch their innovative company. With close links to France and Spain, over the Northern and Southern borders respectively, the country is ideally located for exploring nearby trails in all 3 nations. Furthermore, the Pyrenees experiences longer, warmer and drier summers than other mountain ranges to the North.
However, the company feels that, at present, The Pyrenees receive far less attention and therefore interest than their more glamorous mountain cousins to the north – The Alps. Singletrack Safari have launched a campaign to raise public awareness and get bikers riding the area – and have even recently begun offering their “Andorra Altitude” holidays at heavily discounted rates to bring awareness to the region.
Georgina Hills, Director explains:
“We find that the proportion of enquiries we get for our Pyrenean holidays is only a fraction of the number we get for The Alps. We aren’t trying to tell people not to go to the Alps – we offer an amazing holiday there too – but we simply want people to start talking about The Pyrenees more, and giving it some real consideration. We particularly feel Andorra is an unknown quantity to British riders – despite the huge numbers of German, Spanish, French and Italian holidaymakers who visit the country you rarely hear an English voice – and the hotels tell us that very few UK tourists visit.”
Andorra was a popular skiing destination until the early 1990’s, when poor snow quality began to affect UK visitor numbers, and subsequently it has gradually faded in the public consciousness. Whilst the country’s mountains are very much of Alpine proportions, the population has far more in common with Spain than France; a relaxed and happy attitude to life, but with a fusion of French and Spanish food, and tax-free shopping; everything ensures for a very welcoming destination.
“Andorra has also recently developed as a hotspot for downhill and gravity-focussed mountain biking –and there are several large bike parks, whose lift systems and trail networks rival anything elsewhere. However, even here there are very few UK MTB’ers – despite the annual visit of the World Cup to Vallnord Bike Park most riders on the trails are French or Spanish. It’s also home to well-known bike company Commencal, and the well known MTB celebrity Cedric Gracia!
We’re keen to encourage riders to give the Pyrenees – and particularly Andorra – a try for their next holiday. There’s so much on offer here for XC and DH riders alike, and we offer holidays which suit all types of riders. With world-class riding, incredible mountains, untapped singletrack, fantastic people, cheap tax-free prices and great food you’d be daft not to consider this area for you next holiday!”
The company has recently begun offering holidays for this June at a heavily discounted rate to provoke more interest in The Pyrenees – and an incredible holiday, based in high quality hotel accommodation can now be had for as little as £384, including all guiding, airport transfers and technical workshop support. The company even makes a weekly riding video which it edits and produces for guests free of charge, accompanied by a CD of all the week’s photos.
Singletrack Safari offers a range of holiday destinations throughout Europe by moving its entire operation, staff and facilities (such as a fully equipped mobile workshop) from country to country at different times of the year. These mobile facilities are then used to give clients an incredible experience whereby they are delivered to the trailhead of the greatest and most famous riding locations in Europe every day in luxury transport – during the course of an amazing week-long highlights holiday based in quality hotels.
Singletrack Safari is continuing to take bookings for the 2010 season – and readers are welcome to visit the company’s innovative and interactive website www.singletracksafari.com where they can learn more about the amazing holidays available for both XC and DH riders alike.
Singletrack Safari is a UK owned MTB Holiday Company based in the South West of the UK and was established by Company Directors Georgina and Martin Hills during 2009. It is set to become the one of the most unique and highly visible MTB holiday companies in Europe and has received consistently high praise on its holidays.
Destinations – the company offers eight holiday destinations, including “Wild Scotland” which explores the north of Scotland from the Cairngorms to Skye, “Ultimate Alps” which is a twin centre holiday offering both XC and DH experiences on World famous trails, “Andorran Altitude” based in the Pyrenean principality explores the amazing untapped riding for both XC and DH riders around its borders, whilst “Spanish Trail Tapas” is a true trail riders dream exploring many different areas of Andalucía with a great variety of terrain. There are also holidays in the South West of the UK (“Wild West” – Dartmoor, Exmoor, Quantocks, and Mendips), North Wales (“Explorer” – the best Snowdonian natural trails and man-made centres), Scottish Borders (“Scottish Stanes” – not just the famed 7 Stanes but the best of the borders riding) and South Wales (“Trailmaster” – Brecon Beacons, Black Mountains and the finest man-made riding).
source: Martin Hills, Company Director
Website – the highly interactive company website can be found at www.singletracksafari.com