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(The Gear Loop) - Cycling has been growing in popularity for years now, but thanks to the Covid pandemic and the mainstream use of eBikes making long rides more accessible, there has been a surge in the number of people taking to two wheels. 

Hopping on a bike is always more fun with friends, whether your penchant is for road biking, gravel, mountain biking or all three. With electrically assisted cycling to now add into the mix, along with fat biking, gravel and the recent invention of moon-biking (a sort of eFat-biking, carried out on snow), there are so many ways to get out and enjoy the ride. 

We Are Media MakersThe best cycling events in the mountains this summer photo 1

With their long descents and beautiful scenery, mountain resorts are arguably the best place to enjoy your bike, especially when ski lifts double as bike lifts and do a lot of the hard work for you.

Most ski resorts have equipped themselves for riders in the summer months and if you’re the type who likes to work towards a goal, we’ve rounded up a few of the best cycling events in the mountains to either attend as a spectator or to sink your teeth into as a willing participant.

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Vélo Vert Festival, Samoëns, France

June 3-5

On Friday June 3, the festival hosts a race for all level of cyclist - mountain and eBikes included - with a route that includes two cable cars, singletracks, woods, forests and downhill. 

Though the race is 40.5km in total, riders can take up to six hours to complete with two stops to eat, drink and generally be merry. 

The backdrop to this race is an entire festival dedicated to cycling, where attendees will get the chance to test more than 2,000 bikes and accessories from 300 brands, with additional events for all levels and ages. 

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Maurienne Gravel Expérience, France

June 4

Set deep in the Maurienne Valley, the self-professed largest cycling area in the world, this cyclosportive is the first and only gravel bike event in the Savoie region and gives riders the chance to climb the Col du Télégraphe unfettered by traffic. 

The gravel bike race departs from St Michel de Maurienne, with a choice of two distances - 35km with 1,500m of climbing, which is suitable for beginners, or 55km with 2,650m of climbing for more advanced riders.

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Global Bike Festival, Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austria

June 16-19

Saalbach is surrounded by epic road climbs and more than 400km of downhill, cross-country all-mountain routes for all abilities, as well as a bike park, so it’s the perfect place for this long weekend festival of on- and off-road cycling. Oh, and the après-ride experiences are pretty good, too. 

There are races, scheduled rides with presenters, coaches and special guests with unlimited up-lift mountain bike passes and coaching sessions, plus bike hire, available as optional extras.

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Engadin Radmarathon, Switzerland

July 1-3

Many will have heard of the Engadin Ski Marathon thanks to some royal participants, but the Engadin road bike marathon is equally famous in Switzerland’s cycling circles. 

The three-stage race, set over 150km and 5,500m altitude difference is based around Silvaplana and St Moritz. It’s a race for professionals and amateurs alike, so there's no excuse not to rub shoulders with the good and the great of the road cycling world.

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Enduro 2, Three Valleys, France

July 2-5

This pair-format, 'ultra-social' mountain bike race is held on the opening weekend of the summer season in the Three Valleys. 

There are 15 timed stages, with ski-lift assisted up-lifts, more than 10,000m total descent (from 2,752m to 468m) over a variety of terrain from the man-made bike park to the technical Alpine singletrack. 

The event also includes three divisions - all-male, all-female and mixed - and it's an event for experienced riders only, despite the promise of it being a big social jolly.

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Maratona dles Dolomites-Enel, Alta Badia, Italy

July 3

The now world-famous Dolomites Marathon has been staged since 1987, starting with 166 cyclists and now contested by 9,000 amateurs and professionals alike. 

There are three courses - the 138km marathon, with an altitude gain of 4,230m, a 106km middle course with an altitude gain of 3,130m and 55km Sella Ronda race, with a climb of 1,780m. 

Thankfully, Alta Badia has a reputation for its fantastic gastronomy, so there are plentiful ways to refuel. The only hitch is that if you fancy entering, you’ll have to apply next year. Since 2014 there have been 30,000 applications for those coveted 9,000 places. 

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Cycling Event Courchevel Experience, France

August 19-21

New for 2022, this event is three days dedicated to all things mountain bike - including eBike and gravel riding. There will be an entire village with brands including Muc-Off, Fox, Rotwild and Specialized, with riding available on one or two days.

Experience over 350km of tracks split into 12 trails over three different loops, as well as demonstrations, coaching and après-ride activities including concerts and BBQs. Or just stick to the latter, watch the action unfurl and eat/drink yourself into a stupor.

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Bike Kingdom Feast, Lenzerheide, Switzerland

August 19-21

Part of the Swiss Enduro Series (which launched in 2021), Bike Kingdom is for both serious downhill mountain bike racers and families alike, with a Bike Kingdom Kids Cup held on both the Saturday and Sunday as well as a family team race on 20 August. 

There’s also an open jump session on the landing bag, a DJ for après fun, as well as drinks and food.

Writing by Abigail Butcher. Editing by Leon Poultney.