NISEKO is gearing up for a week of pedal power as the inaugural Niseko Cycle week kicks off.
Headlining the event is the Tour de Hokkaido, a five day race across the island in what is Japan’s biggest cycle race and the final event of the International Cycling Union’s (UCI) Asia tour.
In Niseko, a week of races, events, trials and activities is planned in order to celebrate and promote that Niseko is such a great place to cycle.
Niseko makes a great base from which to do an array of day trips, or for the more adventurous, a cycling tour of greater Hokkaido.
The roads all over Hokkaido are immaculately maintained, with super smooth asphalt, and extra wide lanes.
The traffic volumes in Hokkaido and especially around Niseko are very light – it’s possible to spend two hours riding on top quality roads and see only a handful of cars.
Drivers are generally polite and drive slowly – you’re more likely to get a friendly thumbs-up from a driver than a ‘get off the road’ toot of the horn.
Unlike most other areas of Japan and Asia, the summer climate in Hokkaido is perfect with mild temperatures, low humidity and no rainy season.
Also, Niseko’s air quality is about as clean as it gets.
Kicking off today there will be free group road and mountain rides planned everyday along well known Niseko cycling courses including the ‘Potato Patch’ road ride, a ride to Makkari’s fabulous bakery via Niseko’s ostrich farm, and Niseko mountain tours around Goshiki and Iwanai.
At Hirafu and Niseko Village people of all experience levels can experience downhill, cross country, road and recreational cycling all week.
Everyday there will be races, time trials and free practice sessions both on road and off across Niseko.
Event organizer Matt Denning said Niseko bike riding is extremely popular among the foreign community living in Niseko.
"Through Niseko Cycle Week we hope to let more people know about how great a place Niseko is for cycling and how great summer in Niseko is in general," Denning said.
Head of the Kutchan Tourist Association Shuichi Kawahigashi said it was great the local community was being proactive in organizing this initiative.
"Getting more people to stay in Niseko in summer has been always our goal but there is only so much the government can do, so we really appreciate the public organizing this event," Kawahigashi said.
For more information on Niseko Cycle Week and list of events go to www.nisekocycleweek.com and for bike rental and sales in Niseko go to www.groovecyclesniseko.com.