A perfect weekend for all bike fans: the bike festival in Riva del Garda
The Bike Festival takes place annually in early May over a long weekend directly in Riva (01. - 04. May 2014). Many bike fans we met have been coming here for several years in a row. Everyone has the opportunity to test the latest bikes and accessories. A total of 150 exhibitors and 300 different brands will be coming to the festival site. This attracts up to 30,000 visitors every year to the small village. Nevertheless, there are always times on these 4 exhibition days, where you can go relaxed on the grounds, without having to jostle by visitor crowds. I was at this festival for the first time this year and I was very excited about it from the beginning.
Arrived at the campsite, we put on our bike clothes and set our first bike brand. At the stands of the mountain bike manufacturers there is a competent staff who will advise you well and adjust the bike to body size, weight and geometry. They explain in detail how to adjust your forks and what to pay attention to. For testing you have to sign a statement that in the case of an accident, you are responsible for yourself and leave the identity card as a pledge.
Then it can start on a maximum 2-3 hour tour around Riva. If you want to get a new mountain bike for the summer, you can "try it out" here. Not only wheels, but also helmets and backpacks can be tested here for free. Even if I was not looking for a new bike myself, it's great fun to compare different brands and frame geometries. I had the pleasure to try out a hydraulic seat post. I have to say, that's extremely practical and you can adjust the saddle on the go a lot more often because it's quick without having to get off the bike. I'll definitely consider doing that on my bike.
Of course you will also find lots of great cycling gear, dietary supplements and some tour operators at the bike fair. If you are unfamiliar with Riva, it is a good idea to join a guided tour. Here tours are offered for every condition and according to different technical level. Once you have reached the first altitude difference, you will always be rewarded with a fantastic view over Lake Garda. Heated then the turquoise lake looks even more tempting than from below. If you want to do longer tours, you should bring your own bike, because the wheels to be tested may not be borrowed for more than 3 hours. Only in this way can the manufacturers enable the visitors to test several bikes.
On Saturday evening, the last evening of the festival, the "Open Night" of the exhibitors will take place. Here the stands are open until 10pm and afterwards there is live music and drinks directly at the stands. Everyone meets here, one of them comes back from a tour and runs around in his jersey at night, the other one is all ready, but happy because he took part in the cycling marathon. It takes place on Saturday morning. The Rocky Mountain BIKE Marathon is sponsored by Vaude and attracts 2,500 strong participants. There are four different routes: from "Facile" with 28.63 km and 702 hm to "Ronda Extrema" with 93.93 km and 3.813 hm. Here you will find one Tour plan to the routes.
Uli Stanciu, the founder and race director of Craft Bike Transalp, the toughest mountain bike race in the world, was looking for new bike routes in 2012. After intensive research with farmers and hunters, he found many new, dreamlike trails around Lake Garda. Old, partly dilapidated farm and forest paths (mulattiere), which are not marked by the Alpine Club and on which biking is allowed. Even children have the opportunity to participate in various cycling races at the "SCOTT Junior Trophy" and to have even more fun biking. Even downhill-oriented drivers find their fun. For example, in the "Specialized SRAM Enduro Series" with steep freeride runs.
The festival really has something to offer for everyone - from amateur cyclists to hardcore downhillers!