Friday, December 7, 2018

What makes Piedmont Cycling Resort different?

What makes Piedmont Cycling Resort special? 

This is an excellent question, one we've reflected upon since we created Piedmont Cycling Resort.  We make a rather bold claim that it's "More than a Bike Hotel" and that's why we call it a Cycling Resort rather than Bike Hotel.

The Italy bike hotel concept began along the Adriatic sea coast. There are dozens of hotels there catering to summer holiday-makers during Italy's national vacation month - August.

The rest of the time, they sit mostly empty. How do we know? We went there as a guest of one who was interested in working with us many years ago. We asked why they were pursuing this type of client and they explained that they had thousands of empty rooms and were looking for some way to improve their occupancy rates in the off-season.

Don't get us wrong, this area has some great riding (we sampled it) great food and great weather pretty much year-round, but the fact is these hotels were built and continue to exist to cater to the beach goers in August who lay in the sun all day and party at the disco all night. Sure, they serve breakfast to their late-rising clients in the mornings but overall these high-rise hotels exist solely to cater to summer holiday-makers.

 Their original focus was on cyclists from Germany who would come down in the spring to escape the cold and wet of the north but gradually they began to market their program to others. But the entire effort was to do one thing - put people into these otherwise vacant hotel rooms and cycling would prove to be a great way to do that.

They added bike rooms and other amenities to attract avid cyclists and their families, but in the end the entire program was an add-on to their main business - running a hotel.

There's certainly nothing wrong with that but...

Piedmont Cycling Resort is truly different. First, we don't have a hotel that we're trying to fill in the off-season. We chose Hotel Ariotto for this purpose after first choosing it simply as a lodging on our original Paradise in Piedmont guided tour. It became our HQ soon after, not only for its location barely an hour from the Milan airport but also because of the warm hospitality, great cycling, peaceful roads and wonderful food!

As time went on they created specific amenities for us like the laundry room and bike garage along with a special place to park our support vehicles nearby. They added apartments a bit later so we could simply rent one of those for the season rather than checking in and out of a hotel room all summer,

They let us setup a bike workshop...a real bike workshop as you can see in the photo. We recently reviewed a competitors website and noted a cheap workbench with a couple bike tools hanging from a pegboard - hardly a real commitment to cyclists and their needs. This pointed out their real motivation is to fill their empty hotel rooms.

We're not worrying about filling any rooms in the off-season. In fact, we live in Sicily because the weather's not that great during this period in Piedmont. May-September is best and that's when we are there, solely to cater to our clients. If you're interested in off-season (winter) cycling, let us know as we might be able to help you since we're in Sicily, a place where plenty of pro teams come to get some early season fitness.

The riding in Piedmont's Monferrato (a UNESCO World Heritage site now) is out-of-this-world and there's never any issue of how fast (or slow) you need to go since the rides are self-guided. We provide GPX files as well as our famous written RideGuide with detailed directions. If you prefer to ride with a guide on a bicycle*, we can make that happen too as well as providing a support vehicle* and guide* - it's all up to you.

It's the same with bikes*. Sure, we could have simply ordered up a fleet of Italian-branded (but made in China) bikes, we might even have received them at a huge discount in exchange for the promotion. But we chose to create our own custom fleet of bikes that we're proud to offer you - any one of which we'd be happy to ride ourselves. They're maintained exactly as our personal bikes as well. 

The same goes for mechanical services. Zio Lorenzo is on-site to help you put your own bike together, fit one of ours to you or do anything else needed to keep your wheels turning, even if it requires a trip to a local shop*.

Same for massages*. We could have someone rub your legs while playing some new-age music and putting hot rocks on your back, but instead we have a real sports-massage guy on-call, one who works with the local sports teams and a guy good enough to find (and fix) a problem one of our clients had this past season that his personal massage therapist had been unable to deal with.

Then there's the food and wine, Of course it's wonderful and we know our competitors do a great job as well. But since we are not the hotel owners there is no reason for us to insist you dine in our ristorante every evening. You're free to enjoy dining here or at a nearby osteria or even cook for yourself if you take a self-catering apartment. If you'd like to explore ristoranti further away, you can take advantage of our Mangia Bene* plan and dine with us at some of our secret hideaways where they know us and we know the menu inside and out.

Do you have non-cycling family members? Unlike many of the Bike Hotels, they're not limited to playing on the beach all day though our resort features not one, but two swimming pools. Day-trips* are available for shopping, sightseeing, wine-tasting and more so there's plenty for non-riders to enjoy while you're out enjoying the ride through scenic vineyards and through quaint hilltowns.

We believe Piedmont Cycling Resort offers an unmatched selection of amenities, the perfect location for cycling and the benefits of our 3+ decades of delighting avid cyclists.

*denotes services available at extra cost

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