Electric Mountain Bike Adventures
Electric Mountain Bike Adventures

“One of the attractions of Alghero is to watch the sunset from the Bastioni, the walls of the old city overlooking the sea"

My name is Ben, and i traveled with Elena my wife in Sardinia last year, this is my experience with the guys of Biking Sardinia. Matteo, the young (under 30?) friendly manager of Biking Sardinia, led us on three e-mountain bike treks in some of the most beautiful areas of the incredibly lovely beaches and mountains of Northwest Sardinia. Each day he loaded the e-mountain bikes on his van and ferried us to a jump-off point.

On the first day we went through the Le Prigionette park up to Mount Timidone--the highest peak in the area. Having gauged our skill level (intermediate), Matteo took us on dirt roads and fairly steep rocky double tracks. He showed us some of single track options, but they were all beyond our skill level.

On the second day we went to the island national park of the Asinara, famous for its white donkeys and for the jail where where judges Falcone and Borsellino prepared the indictments for the maxi-trial which resulted in the conviction of some 400 mafiosi--among them the notorious boss of all bosses, Toto Riina (the prison is now closed). Once again, the views were spectacular. We moved over paved roads and on occasionally quite steep rocky double tracks. Once again, more challenging routes were mentioned but not recommended. Once again, we concurred. We paused for a dip in the crystal clear water on a nearly deserted cove. Bring a mask and a snorkel to properly enjoy the infinite variety of virtually tame fish (the Asinara is a protected area so fish have no fear of humans). Parenthetically, you can buy any sports equipment you might need at the enormous Il Decatholon in Sassari, roughly 30 minutes from Alghero. The quality is quite good and the prices ridiculously low.

On the third day we went along the cliffs along the seashore roughly from Capo Caccia and Grotta di Nettuno to Torre del Porticciolo. Once again, Matteo chose trails and bush-whacking appropriate to our skill level. And again, the views were spectacular. We then moved to the single track around Lake Baratz. The trail, which only presents a few challenging climbs and descents, would be quite pleasant if it were cleaned up. When we took it it was overgrown to a considerable extent by bushes of all kinds, including what soldiers used to call 'wait-a-minute' vines--wait-a-minute because the spines dig in and don't let go. Long sleeves would have been nice. We finished this particular tour at a rather elegant agriturismo which opened up just for us, thanks to Matteo, and brought us more food than we could eat, from a variety of anti-pasti (cheeses and affettati and snail and olives and pastes and . . .) to two pasta dishes, to half a succulent baby pig that melted in our mouths. And local pastries for dessert. And of course bottles of the delicious Sardinian Cannonau red wine and grappa to finish along with the espresso. At this point, we had forgotten our scratches and, since we were really in no condition to bike, Matteo went to get the van and ferried us back to our airbnb.

For whatever it's worth, we mountain bike in Colorado, primarily in Winter Park. Mostly blues. We have always scoffed at e-bikes, but there is absolutely no way we could have done the climbs and the distances we covered on those trips with what Matteo called muscle bikes. You still have to pedal on e-mntn bikes, but when you encounter that particularly steep hill, or that big rock or root, push and somehow you magically get over it. And when you get to the tip of the Asinara and think that you will never make it back over all the steep hills back to the boat dock, you discover that it is,while challenging, quite feasible.

One caveat, the bike seats. You won't notice them if you are off-road because you aren't sitting on them much. But, if you have to do any serious road travel, you will begin to think they were designed by Torquemada.

You can rent the first class, new e-mntn bikes for 50 euros per day. To our mind they are worth every penny--opportunity cost. But, you will get much more out of it if you have a guide (the first day we did go off on our own and ended up spending most of our time on roads and not seeing much. As I said, opportunity cost). We had Matteo for one half day and what turned out to be two full days and paid so little more beyond the cost of the bikes that we were almost embarrassed. That said,we were there during the end of mid-season so I don't know what high season prices would be like.

In addition to Matteo at the shop you are likely to find the garrulous Emanuele and the other guide, Manolo--aka Il Bello. They are all cordial and helpful, as we found all Sardinian people to be.

Bottom line: you can rent a conventional bike and have a very rewarding time riding around the area. Alghero si fascinating and the nature all around is beautiful. Or you can go for the adventure travel experience which can range from our rather intermediate level, through serious riding. In any case, we recommend all Biking Sardinia staff in the highest terms.