Nature

La Garrotxa, land of bicycles

14 Jun

One of the characteristics of an advanced society in this day and age is that it is totally dependent on mobility. There is a range of mobility options at present, both for daily journeys to work, but also travel during our leisure time or when touring. Having said this, it is not fair for future generations the way we take for granted our apparent right to be able to move around whenever we feel like doing so and in whatever vehicle. This is why sustainable mobility is one of the biggest challenges of our century.

Cyclotourism is becoming more and more popular and is a sustainable alternative to traditional tourism: it is respectful with the environment, does not pollute the air, it takes advantage of paths and farm roads that already exist and helps in their upkeep, and uses ancient towpaths along canal systems or disused railways. This is the case of the vies verdes de Girona, almost 150 kms of cycle routes that join the Pyrenees and the Costa Brava and the crisscross our region of La Garrotxa. The vies verdes or Green Paths allow visitors to travel in no hurry and, with the rhythmic turn of the wheels, the cyclist is given the time and the chance to take in La Garrotxa in all its integrity, blending into the landscape in the most respectful way.

ATMA, the Agència de Turisme Mediambiental, started in 1992 when it began promoting the use of the bike in the countryside. Since then the evolution of the use of the bike, has been, if nothing else, surprising.  The Centre Logístic de Bicicletes d’ATMA, in Olot, has expanded and adapted to this new mobility, and is now able to offer an excellent service to all those who use the bike as their means of transport, for whatever reason: long-distance cyclists in need of saddlebags or luggage transport; students wanting to discover our Natural Volcanic Park, the Parc Natural de la Zona Volcànica de la Garrotxa or the architectural sites in La Garrotxa; cyclist out for the day to enjoy the weather in beautiful surroundings; cyclists who cycle as a sport or people just out to keep fit; but also those who want to make the most of the accessibility of the Via Verda and who will find, at our bike centre: Centre Logístic de Bicicletes, the very best bike adapted to their needs. Check out our website to see what we can offer you: www.bicicletes.atma.cat

We promote responsible and safe mobility, we recommend and plan itineraries, helping both local people from our villages and towns or visitors from far away to best discover the area by bike, giving support to agents and initiatives that would like to see improvement and help further the accessibility by bike far and wide. La Garrotxa, thanks to the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism, is a reference model in social and environmental responsibility as well as sustainability and hopes to implement this development model by involving as many agents as possible. It is privileged region for those travelling by bike. It has the infrastructure that ensures one can cycle all over the area and visit the most significant and less visited beauty spots: the country lanes around Olot, the Vall d'en Bas, the Vall de Bianya, and even the Santa Margarida volcano and Santa Pau, thanks to a new lane for cyclists and hikers that takes you into the heart of the volcanic region of La Garrotxa and the medieval village of Santa Pau and which will soon link to Olot. These are some of the treats awaiting both visitors and residents alike when taking on the challenge of a more responsible mobility.