With glorious weather and mild temperatures, summer is the ultimate season to get outdoors and make the most of Hokkaido's incredible landscape. Fortunately, this belief is commonly held and summer is full of cycling events suitable for children, young teenagers, beginner riders and elite competitors. So what are you waiting for? Dust off your bicycle and helmet, and start training for one of these exciting cycling events below.
As the first cycling event of the year, Nature Ride presented by Kutchan Tourism Association invites cycling enthusiasts of all abilities to participate in one of two courses. The more demanding course of the two being their Aimashi Nihonkai (Sea of Japan) course which runs for 110km (Kutchan~Rankoshi~Niseko~Kutchan), and is open to junior high school students and above. The second and shorter course goes by the name of Mt Yotei and spans 70km (Kutchan~Niseko~Makkari~Kimobetsu~Kyogoku~Kutchan). This course is suitable for elementary school students and higher. Unlike other events throughout the year, Nature Ride is intended to be less of a competitive event and more so a family-friendly sporting experience that allows participants to explore Hokkaido’s stunning natural environment. Retired road racing cyclist, Masahiko Mifune, will also hold a safety ride course and a talk show at this event.
Register for the event here (Japanese only), applications close 29 May 2018. Entrance fee is ¥6,000 for adults, ¥3,000 for high school students and free for elementary school students (must be accompanied by an adult who needs to apply separately). Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Held the day before the famed Niseko Classic, the Mt Yotei circuit course for this fun ride is approximately 81km. As the name suggests, the course wraps around Mt Yotei and is suitable for beginners and more advanced riders.
Participation fees are ¥7,000 for adults and ¥5,000 for middle and high school students. This includes a commemorative t-shirt, free download of action photos taken of riders during the event, benefits and extra benefits for entrants who download the IKEUCHI Group mobile App. The event is open to a maximum of 300 participants. To enter visit here here, and for more information please click here.
Considered the peak of competitive cycling in Niseko at least, the Niseko Classic features a 140km race and 70km race.
The 140km course includes 2,362m of vertical, leading competitors up the awe-inspiring Panorama Line climb, out to the Sea of Japan, and back to Niseko Grand Hirafu Resort. Entry fee for the 140km race is ¥14,000. A shorter challenge is also available in the 70km race, with a 1,125m vertical and finishing back at Niseko Grand Hirafu Ski Resort. Entry for this race is ¥12,000.
The second ever Strider Enjoy Cup will take place this summer on Sunday 15 July 2018. Designed for toddlers and little kids, this exciting bike experience allows entrants to develop their skills in balancing, leaning and steering while propelling their bike. Striders bikes are a great balance bike for kids aged 18 months to 5 years. The Strider Enjoy Cup will be open to children from 2 years - 5 years of age, with a maximum capacity of 400 entrants. For more information on the Strider Enjoy Cup, visit their website here.
The 9th annual Hanazono Hill Climb rounds off the cycling events for summer in Niseko. The gruelling race begins at Kutchan Community Hall (altitude of 179m) and finishes at Annupuri Goshiki Onsen (altitude of 796m). The course runs for approximately 16km, with an average slope of about 4.6%. Expect a gentle mountain trail towards the start, then an enduring steep slope soon thereafter. This event allows participants to ride through the annual Kutchan Potato Festival, making for a fun and unique experience.
Standard entry fee for adults is ¥6,500 and ¥2,500 for middle and high school students. Click here to register for the event, and note maximum number of participants is capped at 1,000.