post by : jeanmich.germanie
Cyclotourism in Wallis
With more than 3 million cyclists in Switzerland, the cyclotourism represents a huge touristic potential in our country. Indeed, more than 45% of Swiss people have a bike and use it either to go to work, to do sport or simply to enjoy the nature. Every year, the UNICEF Cycling for Children and The Mini Kid Junior Terrific take place in Crans Montana (which aims are to show commitment through sporting performance and fund-raising to help children in need). These two events including Slow Ups (in overall French part of Switzerland) help to maintain the idea that cycling is more than just a sport. Thus, it can be involved in our daily life as well as in our leisure time. All of this show that the biking culture is very common and that cyclotourism has some good days ahead. But first let’s see what already exists in that domain.
After our visit of the tourism office of Sierre, we got to know a bit better what is offered in that field in the region and Canton of Wallis in general. There are four sub-categories of cycling that can be named: VTT, Road Biking, Bike Park and E-bike. And these are their infrastructures available in the area:
· VTT: 11 itineraries (all in all 177 km) of endurance and cross-country. This category attracts more young tourists and middle aged men.
· Road Bike: more than 200 km and 10 new itineraries newly designed, attracting more sporty people and middle-aged men looking for challenges.
· Bike park: In Crans-Montana, there are two slopes (red and black) with different obstacles and a panoramic view. It suits people looking for adrenalin and into more risky sports.
· E-Bike: recharging stations available and shops renting e-bikes. This category attracts all kind of people and therefore, it deserves more attention. Indeed, E-biking opens the world of cyclotourism to a bigger target group. If other categories exclude some people because of their health and preparation requirements, E-biking on the other hand can be practiced by everyone without any need of being good in this sport. E-biking helps people to easily integrate the image of cyclotourism as being a real form of tourism where relaxation, fun and sightseeing are met. Indeed, for some people, the idea of cycling, being tired and going down on panoramic slopes can be a cause of demotivation which would kill the idea of trying this experience. But if this image of cyclotourism is associated to e-biking, this would be a whole new ball game. Indeed, more people are willing to practice cycling when the effort is minimized and the pleasure of being outdoor and enjoying the nature is maximized. That is why the highlight of cyclotourism should be put on E-Biking.
As we can see, Sierre and its region have a good offer for cyclotourists. Moreover, the Official website of Crans-Montana suggests the perfect places to stay and also where to find good equipment for your journey on the Swiss trails.
In addition to the different tourist Office that promotes the activity of cyclotourism, we can add three major’s actors who contribute to the development of the cyclotourism and make possible this activity:
SwissMobile: Is the national network for non-motorized traffic in particular for leisure and tourism (hiking, cycling, mountain biking, skating and canoeing). It provides different maps and has a mobile application. It’s a Foundation founded in 1993.
SwissTrails: Is a tour operator specialized in the sustainability mobility. With its network it offers simple or complete packages for international and Swiss tourists. It uses the itineraries from SwissMobile.
Rent a Bike: Is the largest hiring company in Switzerland in this area. Active in the bicycle rental in Switzerland since 1987, its wide network includes 4,500 bikes spread across 200 stations locations in 2014.
v Delanois, Audrey : http://doc.rero.ch/record/235920/files/delaunois_audrey_2014.pdf
External sources :
v Office de Tourisme Sierre
v Gutbub, Martin: Swiss-Mobil (email@example.com)