Spectacular alpine scenery is, of course, the common factor. The Tirol region has many prepared cycle trails, which wind through idyllic valleys or snake up mountainsides. For those more interested in charging downhill, all areas boast jaw juddering mountain bike descents and trails. And with mountain lifts operating throughout the summer so you get a cable car, gondola or chair lift to deal with the uphill struggle.
THE BIKE TRAIL TIROL
The Bike Trail Tirol covers almost 1,000km, making it the longest continuous network of mountain bike routes in the Alps. There are 32 stages, with no set starting or end point, meaning that bikers can join wherever they please and choose stages suited to their ability. All the routes are categorised by length and level of difficulty and are clearly signposted. The dedicated website biketrail. tirol.at has more information such as route planners, trail directions, interactive maps, route profiles and surface profiles. Those with a competitive streak can take on the Bike Trail Tirol Challenge which uses GPS technology to record how you perform on each stage, allowing you to compare your efforts with other participants. You can also post tips and impressions of the whole experience. Details at www.biketrail.tirol.at/challenge
SINGLE TRAILS AND BIKE PARKS
Single trails are the ultimate for mountain biking thrill seekers. Throughout the Tirol there are 29 marked single trails, the top regions are Ötztal, Innsbruck and its holiday villages, the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena and the Kitzbühel Alps-Brixental.
One of the hottest spots is above Innsbruck itself, where you head to the top with the Nordkette cable car from the city centre up to the starting point at 1,900m on the Seegrube. The descent back into the city is over 4.2km long, with an altitude drop of 1,030m. Riders experience a combination of steep curves, jumps over rocks, obstacles and drops. www.nordkettensingletrail.at
In the bike park there is an entire sports sector with downhill, freeride, biker cross, slope style and single trails.
New for summer 2010: Bike Park Tirol at the Bergeralm in Steinach am Brenner, Wipptal.
ASCHAUER HÖHENWEG / Kirchberg
Route description: This is a classic Kitzbüheler Alpen mountainbike course. The route profile is fantastic, on a high Alpine path which runs through the Spertental nature protection area, and was one of the first officially approved routes in the Tirol. On the way to Hieslegg, the view to Kirchberg's Sonnberg opens up. When the weather is clear, there is a really great view of the impressive rock faces of the Wilder Kaiser. Having reached the highest point, you will have earned the amazing descent its many curves and hair-pin bends will hone the hardest of cornering techniques.
Route outline: Kirchberg, Talstation Fleckalmbahn Badesee Gaisberglift Radweg Aschau Aschau Oberer Grund Rackstattalmen Höhenweg Hieslegg Schroll Skirast Kirchberg
Starting point: Kirchberg, Fleckalmbahn valley station
Altitude difference uphill: 796m
Route length: 28.4km
Difficulty level: Moderate fitness level
Time required approx.:3:30hrs / 10 km/h average
INNTAL CYCLE PATH / Wörgl
Route description: An easy tour with no significant climbing which is suitable for the whole family! The broad, for the most part tarmaced cycle path (one short section on gravel) takes you along the banks of the Inn and past wonderful meadowlands. During the tour you pass the historic towns of Wörgl, Schwaz, Hall and Innsbruck, whose picturesque town centres you really shouldn't miss! Suitable for all bikes.
Nice alternative: from Innsbruck by train back to Wörgl.
Route outline: Wörgl Kundl Rattenberg Schwaz Hall Innsbruck
Starting point: Wörgl
Altitude difference uphill: 90m Route length: 65.5km
Difficulty level: easy Time required approx.: 4:30hrs / 10 km/h average
The sporty town of Kitzbühel is a paradise for mountain bikers and cyclists. Covering 750km of mountain bike trails, the Kitzbühel region rates as one of Austria's top mountain biking destinations. Routes range from 700m to 2,300m in elevation and encompass trial circuits, downhill runs and bike parks. The must-experience rides include the Hahnenkamm Bike safari from Kitzbühel to Pass Thurn, affording stunning views of the alpine scenery include the Hohe Tauern mountains, the Großglockner peak and the Wilder Kaiser range. The certified `Bike Academy Exenberger' offers guided tours, training technique units and many more highlights on its varied program, including Diva's Camps for women only. You'll be in good hands on your tour with Kurt Exenberger, Austria's national team coach.
For more information visit: www.bikeacademy.com
The Silveretta Mountain Bike Arena in the Paznauntal is among the largest and most intense biking areas in the Alps, with 1000km of trails climbing to as high as 3000m. The town of Ischgl is a great base and your first stop should be to meet the professionals at the Silvretta Bike Academy. They will be able to give you the lowdown on the best single trails, freeride routes or bike tours - whether you are into demanding uphills or endless downhill routes. Ischgl's Bike Park, with 15 obstacles, is located in the woods, and is perfect for technique training to prepare for the big rides.
SILVRETTA Bike Academy Tel +43 650 202 4117