It's actually a trifecta of the infamous Value Added, Penthouse, and Larvicide.( Comments: 2 )
VOLCANOES, PIZZA AND ANCIENT HISTORY By Hans Rey Photos by Martin Bissig About 2000 years ago there was a gigantic explosion releasing 100,000 times the thermal energy of the Hiroshima atomic bomb. Mount Vesuvius volcano erupted and spewed its lava and ashes over 20 miles into the air. Several Roman settlements were obliterated and buried underneath massive pyroclastic surges and ashfall deposits, the best known being Pompeii and Herculaneum. Napoli, as the Italians call the city of Naples, was my most recent destination for yet another urban adventure. The idea was to traverse this historical city and surrounding area on bikes in five days. From the breathtaking Amalfi Coast via Pompeii to the crater of the Vesuvio, and into the urban jungle, history, culture, traffic and chaos of the 3000-year-old streets of Napoli to the beautiful island of Ischia in the Bay of Naples. “Naples has some crazy traffic, with a cacophony of noise—a mixture of blaring horns and screeching brakes as cars and motorcycles jostle and joust for their piece of the road.” For me, there was no better way to explore and experience such a place than by bicycle. Finding the ideal route, best trails and most interesting sights is a lot harder than one would imagine. I spent months researching online with the help of Google Earth, as well as some local contacts. Along the way I was joined by different friends for different stages of this tour, and it was really cool to meet many of the local riders who showed me their best spots, trails and restaurants in their hometown. FEARS ALLAYED However, as I was soon to find out, the city of Naples had a bit of a bad reputation, and I became a bit nervous when everybody kept warning me about how dangerous of a city it was. In fact, two Italian photographers whom I had invited on this trip declined to join, saying it was way too dangerous and that I would likely be robbed before we got started. Ultimately, I convinced Swiss photographer Martin Bissig and French videographer Cedric Tassan (VTOPO) to join me. We met up at the tourist town of Amalfi, which is roughly 40 miles south of Naples, at the Gulf of Salerno, surrounded by dramatic cliffs and coastal scenery. A casual stroll on one wheel through one of the shopping gallerias in the center of Napoli We also met up with Ottavio Massa, an Italian mountain bike guide, who has helped me with the planning of this project and who established the contacts to the local riders. Amalfi’s culture has flourished for centuries—from the ancient Greeks that settled in the area to one of the most important ports of the Middle Ages to today’s popular honeymoon getaway. A DIFFERENT TAKE The food and restaurants lived up to their reputation. Fresh, authentic Italian delicacies; pasta al dente; seafood from the local fishermen; tasty tomatoes; local olive oil and vino; and the most delicious and mouthwatering gelato were a great start before we headed out early the next morning on the famous Path of Gods trail that traverses the steep cliffs and villages high above the coastline. This trail is not exactly a bike trail, nor is it beginner-friendly. One cannot be intimidated by the exposure and the many steps. Parts of the trail literally go by and through people’s gardens and tiny villages, with streets barely wide enough for one small car at a time. But, the views are to die for—literally. As they famously say, “Vedi Napoli e poi muori,” or “See Naples and die.” We weren’t quite ready for that yet. It was only the first day, and we had already gotten to experience Italy at its best on every level, except for the weather. Some dark clouds overshadowed us, and when we finished the section of the Sentiero delgi Dei path, we had to seek shelter in a bar for an espresso break before we could cross the mountain range that separated the Amalfi Coast from the Bay of Naples. WHAT TO BRING For the trip I was planning to ride two bikes: my regular mountain bike, a GT Sensor equipped with Shimano parts and Stan’s wheels, and my e-bike, a GT Verb. The e-bike would be especially great for the stages inside the city in the days to come. After an early start, we reached the crater of the Vesuvius volcano on day two. My sister Silvia, who lives in Italy and has a mountain bike touring company and a boutique bike hotel in Umbria (Alps Tours/Countryhouse Villa Rey), joined Ottavio and me as a surprise guest on this day. She has been biking for many years and always wanted to join me on one of my adventures. She chose the perfect day and location. I will always remember riding the crater rim around this legendary volcano with its views over Naples, Pompeii and the entire coastline all the way to the island of Ischia, where I would finish my trans-Napoli traverse in a few days’ time. Naples is full of life in the streets with countless markets, cafes, pizza joints and fish markets. Formed during the last eruption of 1944, the crater measures 1000 feet (about 305 meters) deep and 2000 feet (about 610 meters) across. This was perhaps one of the most spectacular locations I have ever had a chance to ride, and believe me, I have been to many incredible places during my biking career. HOT LAVA The trails around the backside of the volcano were really good, and we had them to ourselves since we had a special permit to enter this area since it had been closed after the recent wildfires. It is like a little micro-climate with very lush vegetation at Mount Somma and the Valley of the Giants that are all part of the Vesuvius massif. The mountain measures 4,203 feet (1,281 meters) today. It used to be about twice the size before its infamous eruption that would cover the surrounding villages in lava and ashes. Ischia island had some great and ancient trails. It was eerie to think about the devastation that happened at this very place where we were riding and what it must have been like when this mountain raged, wondering when it might get angry again. The sulfur fumes are a reminder that it’s just a matter of time. Arriving in Pompeii and Herculaneum made the volcano’s impact even more real within two of the old Roman towns that were destroyed and preserved. Life ended here in an instant 2000 years ago, and the remains of dead bodies preserved in the ashes bear witness. IN THE CITY Day three was the beginning of the urban assault. I switched over to my e-bike to conquer the streets and neighborhoods of the ancient city that is home to 1 million people. “This was perhaps one of the most spectacular locations I have ever had a chance to ride, and believe me, I have been to many incredible places during my biking career.” Naples has some crazy traffic, with a cacophony of noise—a mixture of blaring horns, and screeching brakes as cars and motorcycles jostle and joust for their piece of the road. MTBs turned out to be the best vehicles for seeing and feeling this buzzing city. Neapolitan traffic is notorious. It’s chaotic, like in developing countries, but by some miraculous and common understanding it works. To avoid it, one can use Naples’ back alleys and many staircases to cut from one district to another. Naples has an underground tunnel system below the city that was built in ancient times for shelter, storage, escape, aqueduct and bomb shelter during wars. Naples is home to miles of ancient streets decorated with laundry lines; markets with colorful fruits, vegetables and fresh seafood; pizza stands; cafes; and souvenir shops. The world’s oldest pizzeria is here, and many argue that one can find the best pizza in the world in Naples. Whisking through traffic, dodging cars, pedestrians or scooters, eventually I ended up at the seafront by Castel Nuovo where I met a whole bunch of local riders for an additional evening session. On day four we had to ride all along the urban coastline from the center to the northern part of the city to the ancient port of Pozzuoli and Europe’s youngest mountain. Monte Nuovo is only 440 feet tall (134 meters) and was the result of a volcanic eruption some 450 years ago. For the remaining days I was joined by an Italian friend of mine, Julian Giacomelli. We had ridden together many times before in Livigno; it was nice to have him along. He is an exceptional skier, and his biking skills aren’t bad, either. We even got to take our bikes to the underground tunnel systems beneath the city, Napoli Sotterranea, and ride through these antique corridors and tunnels that have been used since before Christ as cellars, cisterns or shelters. We passed by the famous Napoli football stadium where Maradona played in his heyday and almost got to ride across the pitch, but only almost. Nearby was a shocking reminder of Napoli’s toxic-waste problems. Due to the corrupt mismanagement of the Camorra, who dumped toxic materials that poisoned many sites and villages, a very big parcel of oceanfront property near Bagnoli is now a completely inaccessible and contaminated ghost town. THE E-BIKE PERKS I have to say, I really embrace e-bikes, even though I’m not ready to give up my regular bikes yet. I love the pedal assist Class 1 bikes have. Not only can one pedal further and steeper than before, but even riding up staircases becomes a possibility—and we found lots of them to prove it. The 504-Wh pedal-assisted Steps 8000 motor Shimano has developed is not like a motorcycle’s, nor does it have a gas throttle; instead, it feels like a bicycle with a little extra va-va-voom. It opens up many new ways to enjoy two wheels. Early the next morning, we took the ferry from Pozzuoli to the idyllic island of Ischia. The island is only 10 by 7 kilometers across. It is towered over by Monte Epomeo, its highest point. Many people believe it is a high-energy power source and, according to people who believe in a hollow earth theory, a gateway to the legendary underworld city of Agartha. Wherever one rides or looks, there are signs of the long history of the area. Unknown carvings in the woods on Ischia island. It was worth the steep climb to the top at 2600 feet (789 meters), even thought it was raining and we couldn’t enjoy the views until we dropped below the cloud layer. There was an amazing trail network in the mountains, and we got a good dose of real mountain biking after the prior days in the city. The riding was rather rocky and technical. We passed by thermal hot springs and crossed some vineyards before we ended in the picturesque fishing village of Sant’Angelo. The personality of the Neapolitans, to me, can be described as loud, with dramatic gesticulation, effusive emotion, warmth and passion. There is a need to fuel their unrestrained enthusiasm for life with excellent yet simple food, created with the fruits and vegetables that grow rich in flavor under the warmth of the sun in the rich volcanic soil. If you consider life in Italy as la dolce vita, then head south, because Naples is the epitome of the Italian sweet life. THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS TO GET ELECTRIC BIKE ACTION In print, from the Apple newsstand, or on your Android device, from Google. Available from the Apple Newsstand for reading on your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. Subscribe Here For more subscription information contact (800) 767-0345 Got something on your mind? Let us know at hi-torque.com The post VOLCANOES, PIZZA AND ANCIENT HISTORY appeared first on Electric Bike Action.
Whether it’s to boost your fitness, health or bank balance, or as an environmental choice, taking up bicycle riding could be one of the best decisions you ever make. Not convinced? Here are 30 reasons to ride a bike, spread across improving your health, happiness and relationships. The health benefits of regular cycling Which type of bike should I buy? The best cheap road bikes What’s the best bike for commuting? Celebrate this year’s Bike Week by getting out on your bike from 8–16 June. Cycling UK wants to get even more people on their bikes this year, and any ride counts. You’ll find plenty of advice on BikeRadar if you’re new to cycling or need help deciding which bike to buy or how to fix a puncture! You can share your rides too with the hashtags #BikeWeekUK #7DaysofCycling. 1. You’ll get there faster Commute by bike in the UK’s major cities and you’ll get there in half the time of cars, research by Citroen shows. In fact, if you drive for an hour in Cardiff’s rush hour, you’ll spend over 30 minutes going absolutely nowhere and average just 7mph, compared to averaging around 12-15mph while cycling. And even in bike-friendly or less congested cities outside of the UK, you’ll still generally get around the city centres faster on a bike. 2. You’ll sleep more deeply An early morning ride might tire you out in the short term, but it’ll help you catch some quality shut-eye when you get back to your pillow. Stanford University School of Medicine researchers asked sedentary insomnia sufferers to cycle for 20–30 minutes every other day. The result? The time required for the insomniacs to fall asleep was reduced by half, and sleep time increased by almost an hour. Riding will help you sleep more deeply Daly and Newton / Getty “Exercising outside exposes you to daylight,” explains Professor Jim Horne from Loughborough University’s Sleep Research Centre. “This helps get your circadian rhythm back in sync, and also rids your body of cortisol, the stress hormone that can prevent deep, regenerative sleep.” 3. You’ll look younger Scientists at Stanford University have found that cycling regularly can protect your skin against the harmful effects of UV radiation and reduce the signs of ageing. Harley Street dermatologist Dr Christopher Rowland Payne explains: “Increased circulation through exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to skin cells more effectively, while ﬂushing harmful toxins out. Exercise also creates an ideal environment within the body to optimise collagen production, helping reduce the appearance of wrinkles and speed up the healing process.” Don’t forget to slap on the factor 30 before you head out, though. 4. Boost your bowels According to experts from Bristol University, the beneﬁts of cycling extend deep into your core. “Physical activity helps decrease the time it takes food to move through the large intestine, limiting the amount of water absorbed back into your body and leaving you with softer stools, which are easier to pass,” explains Harley Street gastroenterologist Dr Ana Raimundo. In addition, aerobic exercise accelerates your breathing and heart rate, which helps to stimulate the contraction of intestinal muscles. “As well as preventing you from feeling bloated, this helps protect you against bowel cancer,” Dr Raimundo says. 5. Increase your brain power Need your grey matter to sparkle? Then get pedalling. Researchers from the University of Illinois found that a ﬁve percent improvement in cardio-respiratory ﬁtness from cycling led to an improvement of up to 15 percent in mental tests. That’s because cycling helps build new brain cells in the hippocampus — the region responsible for memory, which deteriorates from the age of 30. “It boosts blood ﬂow and oxygen to the brain, which ﬁres and regenerates receptors, explaining how exercise helps ward off Alzheimer’s,” says the study’s author, Professor Arthur Kramer. 6. Beat illness Is cycling good for you? Yes! Forget apples, riding’s the way to keep the doctor at bay. “Moderate exercise makes immune cells more active, so they’re ready to ﬁght off infection,” says Cath Collins, chief dietician at St George’s Hospital in London. Cycling regularly is a surefire way to keep illness at bay Franck Fife In fact, according to research from the University of North Carolina, people who cycle for 30 minutes, ﬁve days a week take about half as many sick days as couch potatoes. 7. Live longer King’s College London compared over 2,400 identical twins and found those who did the equivalent of just three 45-minute rides a week were nine years ‘biologically younger’ even after discounting other inﬂuences, such as body mass index (BMI) and smoking. “Those who exercise regularly are at significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease, type two diabetes, all types of cancer, high blood pressure and obesity,” says Dr Lynn Cherkas, who conducted the research. “The body becomes much more efficient at defending itself and regenerating new cells.” 8. Save the planet Twenty bicycles can be parked in the same space as one car. It takes around ﬁve percent of the materials and energy used to make a car to build a bike, and a bike produces zero pollution. Bikes are efﬁcient, too — you travel around three times as fast as walking for the same amount of energy and, taking into account the ‘fuel’ you put in your ‘engine’, you do the equivalent of 2,924 miles to the gallon. You have your weight ratio to thank: you’re about six times heavier than your bike, but a car is 20 times heavier than you. 9. Cycling improves your sex life Being more physically active improves your vascular health, which has the knock-on effect of boosting your sex drive, according to health experts in the US. One study from Cornell University also concluded that male athletes have the sexual prowess of men two to ﬁve years younger, with physically ﬁt females delaying the menopause by a similar amount of time. Meanwhile, research carried out at Harvard University found that men aged over 50 who cycle for at least three hours a week have a 30 percent lower risk of impotence than those who do little exercise. It’s official: cycling is good for your sex life 10. It’s good breeding A ‘bun in the oven’ could beneﬁt from your riding as much as you. According to research from Michigan University in the US, mums-to-be who regularly exercise during pregnancy have an easier, less complicated labour, recover faster and enjoy better overall mood throughout the nine months. Your pride and joy also has a 50 percent lower chance of becoming obese and enjoys better in-utero neurodevelopment. Cycling while pregnant will help both mother and baby Immediate Media “There’s no doubt that moderate exercise such as cycling during pregnancy helps condition the mother and protect the foetus,” says Patrick O’Brien, a spokesman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Cycling while pregnant: tips and advice 11. Heal your heart Studies from Purdue University in the US have shown that regular cycling can cut your risk of heart disease by 50 percent. And according to the British Heart Foundation, around 10,000 fatal heart attacks could be avoided each year if people kept themselves ﬁtter. Cycling just 20 miles a week reduces your risk of heart disease to less than half that of those who take no exercise, it says. 12. Your boss will love you No, we don’t mean your Lycra-clad buttocks will entice your superiors into a passionate ofﬁce romance, but they’ll appreciate what cycling does for your usefulness to the company. A study of 200 people carried out by the University of Bristol found that employees who exercised before work or at lunchtime improved their time and workload management, and it boosted their motivation and their ability to deal with stress. The study also reported that workers who exercised felt their interpersonal performance was better, they took fewer breaks and found it easier to ﬁnish work on time. Sadly, the study didn’t ﬁnd a direct link between cycling and getting a promotion. 13. Cycle away from the big C There’s plenty of evidence that any exercise is useful in warding off cancer, but some studies have shown that cycling is speciﬁcally good for keeping your cells in working order. One long-term study carried out by Finnish researchers found that men who exercised at a moderate level for at least 30 minutes a day were half as likely to develop cancer as those who didn’t. And one of the moderate forms of exercise they cited? Cycling to work. Other studies have found that women who cycle frequently reduce their risk of breast cancer by 34 percent. 14. Lose weight by riding your bike Loads of people who want to shift some heft think that heading out for a jog is the best way to start slimming down. But while running does burn a ton of fat, it’s not kind to you if you’re a little larger than you’d like to be. Think about it — two to three times your body weight goes crashing through your body when your foot strikes the ground. If you weigh 16 stone, that’s a lot of force! Instead, start out on a bike — most of your weight is taken by the saddle, so your skeleton doesn’t take a battering. Running can wait… How to lose weight cycling 15. You’ll make more money If you’re cycling to lose weight then you could be in line for a cash windfall… Well, sort of. Researcher Jay Zagorsky, from Ohio State University, analysed data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth — which saw 7,300 people regularly interviewed between 1985 and 2000 — to see how their obesity and wealth changed over that period. Zagorsky concluded that a one unit increase in body mass index (BMI) score corresponded to an £800 or eight percent reduction in wealth. So, shed a few BMI points on the bike and start earning. 16. Avoid pollution You’d think a city cyclist would suck up much more pollution than the drivers and passengers in the vehicles chucking out the noxious gases. Not so, according to a study carried out by Imperial College London. Researchers found that passengers in buses, taxis and cars inhaled substantially more pollution than cyclists and pedestrians. Cyclists breathe in fewer fumes on the street than drivers Daniel Banham On average, taxi passengers were exposed to more than 100,000 ultraﬁne particles — which can settle in the lungs and damage cells — per cubic centimetre. Bus passengers sucked up just under 100,000 and people in cars inhaled about 40,000. Cyclists, meanwhile, were exposed to just 8,000 ultraﬁne particles per cubic centimetre. It’s thought that cyclists breathe in fewer fumes because we ride at the edge of the road and, unlike drivers, aren’t directly in the line of exhaust smoke. 17. Bike riding means guilt-free snacks Upping your salt intake is seldom your doctor’s advice, but in the few days leading up to a big ride or sportive, that’s exactly what you should do. This gives you the perfect excuse to munch on crisps and other salty foods you might normally avoid. The sodium in them helps protect your body against hyponatraemia, a condition caused by drinking too much water without enough sodium that can lead to disorientation, illness and worse. 18. Enjoy healthy family time Cycling is an activity the whole family can do together. The smallest tyke can clamber into a bike seat or tow-along buggy, and because it’s kind on your joints, there’s nothing to stop grandparents joining in too. Cycling is something the whole family can do together Philip McAllister Moreover, your riding habit could be sowing the seeds for the next Bradley Wiggins. Studies have found that, unsurprisingly, kids are inﬂuenced by their parents’ exercise choices. Put simply, if your kids see you riding regularly, they think it’s normal and will want to follow your example. Don’t be surprised, though, if they become embarrassed by your tendency to mismatch fluorescent Lycra when they become teenagers. 19. Get better at any sport Whether you want to keep in prime shape or just improve your weekly tennis game, a stint in the saddle is the way to begin. A recent medical study from Norway carried the title Aerobic Endurance Training Improves Soccer Performance, which makes it pretty clear that the knock-on beneﬁts to other sports and activities are immense. 20. Make creative breakthroughs Writers, musicians, artists, top executives and all kinds of other professionals use exercise to solve mental blocks and make decisions — including Jeremy Paxman, Sir Alan Sugar and Spandau Ballet. A study found that just 25 minutes of aerobic exercise boosts at least one measure of creative thinking. Credit goes to the ﬂow of oxygen to your grey matter when it matters most, sparking your neurons and giving you breathing space away from the muddle and pressures of ‘real life’. 21. You’re helping others Many cyclists turn their health, ﬁtness and determination into fundraising efforts for the less fortunate. The London to Brighton bike ride has raised over £40 million for the British Heart Foundation since the two became involved in 1980, with countless other rides contributing to the coffers of worthy causes. 22. You can get fit without trying too hard Regular, everyday cycling has huge beneﬁts that can justify you binning your wallet-crippling gym membership. According to the National Forum for Coronary Heart Disease Foundation in the US, regular cyclists enjoy a ﬁtness level equal to that of a person who’s 10 years younger. 23. Boost your bellows No prizes for guessing that the lungs work considerably harder than usual when you ride. An adult cycling generally uses 10 times the oxygen they’d need to sit in front of the TV for the same period. Even better, regular cycling will help strengthen your cardiovascular system over time, enabling your heart and lungs to work more efﬁciently and getting more oxygen where it’s needed, quicker. This means you can do more exercise for less effort. How good does that sound? 24. Burn more fat Sports physiologists have found that the body’s metabolic rate — the efficiency with which it burns calories and fat — is not only raised during a ride, but for several hours afterwards. “Even after cycling for 30 minutes, you could be burning a higher amount of total calories for a few hours after you stop,” says sports physiologist Mark Simpson of Loughborough University. Riding regularly will help you burn off the fat Jon Sparks / Immediate Media And as you get ﬁtter, the beneﬁts are more profound. One recent study showed that cyclists who incorporated fast intervals into their ride burned three-and-a-half times more body fat than those who cycled constantly but at a slower pace. How to lose belly fat by cycling 25. You’re developing a positive addiction Replace a harmful dependency — such as cigarettes, alcohol or eating too much chocolate — with a positive one, says William Glasser, author of Positive Addiction. The result? You’re a happier, healthier person getting the kind of ﬁx that boosts the good things in life. 26. Get (a legal) high Once a thing of myth, the infamous ‘runner’s high’ has been proven beyond doubt by German scientists. Yet despite the name, this high is applicable to all endurance athletes. University of Bonn neurologists visualised endorphins in the brains of 10 volunteers before and after a two-hour cardio session using a technique called positive emission tomography (PET). Comparing the pre- and post-run scans, they found evidence of more opiate binding of the happy hormone in the frontal and limbic regions of the brain — areas known to be involved in emotional processing and dealing with stress. “There’s a direct link between feelings of wellbeing and exercise, and for the ﬁrst time this study proves the physiological mechanism behind that,” explains study co-ordinator Professor Henning Boecker. 27. Make friends and stay healthy The social side of riding could be doing you as much good as the actual exercise and health benefits. University of California researchers found socialising releases the hormone oxytocin, which buffers the ‘ﬁght or ﬂight’ response. Another nine-year study from Harvard Medical School found those with the most friends cut the risk of an early death by more than 60 percent, reducing blood pressure and strengthening their immune system. The results were so significant that the researchers concluded not having close friends or conﬁdants is as detrimental to your health as smoking or carrying extra weight. Add in the ﬁtness element of cycling too and you’re onto a winner. 28. It’ll make you happy Even if you’re miserable when you saddle up, cranking through the miles will lift your spirits. “Any mild-to-moderate exercise releases natural feel-good endorphins that help counter stress and make you happy,” explains Andrew McCulloch, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation. Cycling makes you happy — science says so! Jonathon Nackstrand That’s probably why four times more GPs prescribe exercise therapy as their most common treatment for depression compared to three years ago. “Just three 30-minute sessions a week can be enough to give people the lift they need,” says McCulloch. Why cycling makes you happy 29. Feeling tired? Go for a ride Sounds counter-intuitive but if you feel too tired for a ride, the best thing you can do is go for ride. Physical activity for even a few minutes is a surprisingly effective wake-up call. A review of 12 studies on the link between exercise and fatigue carried out between 1945 and 2005 found that exercise directly lowers fatigue levels. 30. Spend quality time with your partner It doesn’t matter if your paces aren’t perfectly matched, just slow down and enjoy each other’s company. Many couples make one or two riding ‘dates’ every week. And it makes sense: exercise helps release feel-good hormones, so after a ride you’ll have a warm feeling towards each other even if he leaves the toilet seat up and her hair is blocking the plughole again.
Ric McLaughlin checks out the infamous Nove Mesto with Anton Cooper in some tricky conditions after recent wet weather.
It’s that time of year again, when the hype, anticipation, rumours and gossip are left behind, and the stars of the World Cup circuit hit the track to battle for glory. Whether it’s the speed and danger of downhill (DH) or the athleticism of cross-country (XC) that floats your boat, this season looks set to be a treat. There are some great venues that should produce epic battles between the racers and round 1 of the XC World Cup kicks off this weekend in Albstadt, Germany. Transition Smuggler GX review Orange Stage 6 RS long-term review The 2019 downhill MTB World Cup Tahnee Seagrave racing at the first stage of the 2019 UCI MTB World Cup in Maribor, Slovenia Jan Kasl / Red Bull Content Pool The downhill season started on 27–28 April in Maribor, Slovenia, and the next stage takes place in Fort William, Scotland on 1–2 June. The circuit then moves onto Austria, Andorra, France, Italy, Switzerland and finally culminates in the USA. April 27–28: Maribor, Slovenia Downhill returned to this legendary track for the first time since 2010. With its root-infested upper woods, infamous rock garden and toboggan-run bottom section, Maribor’s always been a rider favourite. This year saw Loic Bruni take the men’s win, while Tahnee Seagrave won it for the women. June 1–2: Fort William, Scotland The home of UK downhill. Watch for standout performances from Brits such as Reece Wilson and Danny Hart. The battle between Tahnee Seagrave and Rachel Atherton is sure to be unmissable too, as they race for victory on home turf. June 8–9: Leogang, Austria This high-speed track guarantees intense racing, and with four out of eight possible wins here for America’s Aaron Gwin, can he get his new Intense bike to the top of the podium? July 6–7: Vallnord, Andorra The downhill race at Vallnord features the highest number of corners on the circuit, and the steepest average gradient. High levels of skill and commitment are essential for success here. July 13–14: Les Gets, France Amazingly, this famous venue hasn’t hosted a World Cup since 2002, or a World Champs since 2004. August 3–4: Val di Sole, Italy The downhill at Val di Sole is famous for producing exceptional rides — think Sam Hill’s 2008 World Champs heartbreak, and Aaron Gwin’s eight-second destruction of the field back in 2012. August 10–11: Lenzerheide, Switzerland What Lenzerheide’s downhill course lacks in length, it makes up for in steepness and intensity. September 7–8: Snowshoe, USA Snowshoe is a brand-new venue for the World Cup series, but it’s no stranger to hosting races. In 2018 it was the venue for the US National Champs. The downhill track here mixes vicious rocks and flowing turns up top with steep sections to finish. Neko Mulally won the men’s DH race in 2018. The 2019 XC MTB World Cup Nino Schurter riding at the UCI MTB World Cup 2018 in Albstadt, Germany Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool The cross-country season kicks off this weekend (18–19 May) in Albstadt, Germany. The circuit then moves onto the Czech Republic, Andorra, France, Italy, Switzerland and finally the USA. May 18–19: Albstadt, Germany The classic German venue will open the XC World Cup this month. Can cross-country legend Nino Schurter get his third win in a row here? May 25–26: Nové Mesto, Czech Republic With eight years of racing history, this wide, high-speed track pulls in big crowds. It’s famous for its ferocious and technical races — full-sus bikes love Nové Mesto. July 6–7: Vallnord, Andorra Potentially the most physically demanding race of the XC series. Riders compete at high altitude — 1,901m, in fact — where the drama gets as epic as the mountains themselves. July 13–14: Les Gets, France Still heralded by riders as one of the best around for sheer fun factor, Les Gets’ all-natural old-school track is loaded with flat-out grass piste turns, interspersed with steep, loose woods. August 3–4: Val di Sole, Italy Italy always produces hot racing, and Val di Sole boasts the fastest XC course of the year, with average speeds over 20km/h. August 10–11: Lenzerheide, Switzerland The cross-country track at Lenzerheide is no pushover. At 1,500m and littered with roots and rocks, it demands an efficient style and top technical skills. September 7–8: Snowshoe, USA At last year’s US National Champs, Kate Courtney bagged the women’s XC win. Can Courtney, along with Mulally (mentioned above) use their Snowshoe experience to help them up the podium when the World Cup’s in town? The 2019 MTB World Championships Kate Courtney racing in the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships 2018 in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool We then have the World Championships from 31 August–1 September in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada. The most historic and revered mountain bike race venue ever seems an appropriate location for the 2019 World Championships. MSA’s cross-country course blends technical, natural descents with brutally steep climbs, suiting those whose bike-handling skills and physical fitness are equally on-point. The downhill track is similarly unforgiving, punishing riders and bikes on one of the longest, roughest and fastest courses on the circuit. How to watch live coverage of the 2019 World Cup and World Champs Red Bull TV owns the rights to the UCI World Cup and World Championship 2019, and broadcasts the events globally, free of charge. You can download it onto a multitude of devices, including iPhone, iPad, Android TV, phones and tablets, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Playstation 4 and Xbox One, Samsung Smart TVs, and more.
Registration is open for the infamous race July 8-14, 2019.