Since 1994, the Bike Festival in Riva del Garda has served as the unofficial kick-off to the European riding season. Over the last 25 years, the festival in early May has been a welcome excuse to bring riders together to catch up over an espresso, ride their bikes, and learn what’s new in mountain biking after the long and cold winters in the Alps. Rocky Mountain has been a part of the festival since the first year and is proud to be celebrating the legacy of epic rides and good times.
What started as a tiny festival with only 20 brands present has grown into a major event with a worldwide presence. Our distributor, Bike Action, set up shop at the festival back in 1994 with a small tent, a couple of chairs, and a fully stocked fridge of beer and wine. At that time, the Bike Festival was our first chance to show off our Canadian frames in Europe, including the radically designed Wedge, the Stratos, and an all-new steel Altitude.
Over the years, the event grew from its humble beginnings to include more than 150 exhibitors, nearly 50,000 visitors from countries around the world, and a lineup of 2500 racers for the Rocky Mountain Marathon XC race. In particular, the Rocky Mountain Marathon has been our pride and joy over the last 8 years, helping to push the limits and lungs of xc racers early in the season.
From the original appearances of the Froriders and the European premiere of Kranked – Live to Ride in 1998, to having Wade Simmons come back again year after year to ride Riva’s aggressive trails, the Bike Festival has always had a strong freeride presence. In the spirit of pushing the limits of mountain biking, Wade is back again this year but this time he’s riding there over 3 days on his Altitude Powerplay. Once he arrives, you can join him for a daily ride at 1pm on Saturday and on Sunday. Or, if you’d rather learn about fixing your bike on the trail, Julia Hofmann is around giving mechanic clinics every day at 4pm. As always, there’s plenty to do an see in the pits of the Festival.
“The thing about Riva is the riding there is hard. It’s rocky, it’s steep, and going down is as hard as going up! I’ve been to the Bike Festival so many times and when people ask me about the riding there I always say, ‘Good riders love Riva, because Riva is gnarly!’” – Wade Simmons.
Riva del Garda sits along the northern shores of Lake Garda in Italy, and its picturesque patios are renowned as the perfect place to unwind after a demanding, yet amazing ride. This mountain biking destination has incredible views of the Southern Alps and is filled with both beginner and advanced-level trails. Anyone who is interested in exploring this area would benefit from checking out Bike Festival where participants can demo a bike and join a guided ride. Or they can spectate and enjoy the many shows and competitions available.
Whatever the motivation for attending the Bike Festival in Riva del Garda we’re sure that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Whether it’s freeride legends, marathon racing, or eMTB adventures, at the Bike Festival in Riva it’s all about having a good time!