Probably the best way to discover Penedès is by bicycle. This is the interview with Bikemotions, a bicycle tourism services company located in Subirats.
We got a promotional video where we saw a train station surrounded by vineyards. It had a large parking lot with bikes for rent. We thought that was an attractive offer, very trendy. We wanted to interview them and it did not take us long to reach them on their website. Ester Boada replied to our email very quickly and answered our interview professionally and very fast.
Its tourist proposal, however, is about slow travel and quality experiences. She shared the company’s vision of the tourism present and future in Penedès and the new values and trends that drive and guide it.
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BTO – Can you summarize what Bikemotions is and what you offer as a tourism company?
Bikemotions – We are a company that offers bicycle related tourism services. We are focused on Slow Travel and Cycling as a way of transport and leisure rather than sporty or competitive cycling. Therefore, we offer routes to enjoy the nature and the vineyards environment that we have in Penedès. It is possible to combine one of our routes with wine and cava tastings in the garden of a winery or by taking a guided tour. In addition, for those who want to spend the whole day on a tour, we provide lunch options to taste the local cuisine in good restaurants or a picnic in a vineyard or in a winery.
We are also offer the Penedès 360 Slow Bike, for people who want to go cycling and enjoy this magnificent route to discover Penedès Region. There are 4 stages on this route, but we can organize stays of between 3 and 6 days, combining cycling with wine tourism and the discovery of the territory.
So far, this is only speaking about Alt Penedès. Nevertheless, in the coastal area of Garraf Region, we have bike routes that arrive to Sitges or customers who ask us to take the bikes there to organize itineraries along Garraf or Sitges area.
BTO – What are the tourist profiles you are targeting?
Bikemotions – Before the pandemic, 80% of our tourists were foreigners, mostly Americans and Nordics, although there were people from all over the world. Both individual customers signed up for our regular guided routes and business groups who came to enjoy a day in Penedès, doing some kind of wine tourism by bicycle (bike + wineries + gastronomy + viticulture workshops …). We have more than 100 bicycles, electric and conventional, in order to be able to provide for large groups.
During the pandemic, we have strengthened self-guided routes, which have been a big success in the periods when we are not locked down in our own counties. Customers rent a bike and go on their own, following one of the routes we suggest, including a tasting at a family and organic winery or a visit to learn about the processes of making wine or cava. They usually come for that couples or small groups of family or friends.
BTO – How do you expect the present and the future of tourism in Penedès?
Bikemotions – In Penedès there is a large tourist offer. It is a quality offer and very diverse. We are a destination close to Barcelona, which offers nature, outdoors, a landscape of vineyards, orchards and olive groves and with the magnificent mountain of Montserrat in the background.
Everywhere, a huge work has been done in recent years to prepare this varied and quality tourist offer, whether we are talking about wineries, gastronomy, rural accommodation, cultural heritage and activities to do. Penedès is an example of that. The position and promotion of Penedès brand was being worked on hard before the pandemic, especially related to wine tourism. Nevertheless, internationally Penedès Region is still very Unknown.
During the periods of the pandemic when we could move around Catalonia, Penedès has been filled with local visitors from Barcelona and its outskirts. We have arrived to an occupancy of over 80% on our accommodations during Easter. Now again, unfortunately we are not allowed to get out of our own counties. This is a very difficult year for all the tourist related companies.
Even though, we look to the future with optimism. We will resist and will be reborn and reinvented. We are definitely eager to grow and do well. We will keep the customer close and make ourselves known abroad more strongly and with more proposals. We believe that tourists, whether at a private or business level, will value to be outdoors in the natural environment rather than staying in the cities. That way, the proximity of Penedès to Barcelona, makes it an ideal destination for day trips, either for regulars tourists or for a business meeting in an idyllic setting, such as wine cellar.
We must not forget the longer-term tourism, which is currently quite concentrated in July and August, but which we try to spread all over the year and attract in bigger numbers with promotions for the four seasons of the year. Cycling can be an important way to get more visitors throughout the year, so you need to keep promoting that kind of tourism.
BTO – Do you believe that the pandemic will change the way of understanding tourism in general and in Penedès too?
Bikemotions – The pandemic has been a time to reflect. Moreover, in the tourist field, to reflect on how to travel in a more conscientious way. That implies a commitment to sustainable tourism. We believe that consumers will regain sustainability and responsible tourism. It is time of being aware and applying political measures to control climate change.
Maybe we should travel less and travel more looking forward to quality experiences, taking care about the environment and trying to minimize the impact that this travelling causes in the destinations we go.
In Penedès, there are many companies that are really working with that commitment, like us, getting the Biosphere certification, or like some cellars who are working with ecological, biodynamic philosophies, restaurants that are working with local products, and many others.
BTO – Do you think there is a market or profit assets in sustainability, ecological values, associated with tourism?
Bikemotions – Tourism sustainability is a priority for us. We got the Biosphere certification. We cannot imagine that it is not viable. It has to be!!! Our present is the inheritance that our children and grandchildren will receive.
Bikemotions is committed to the environment and promotes the bicycle as an ecological, sustainable and efficient transport, as well as being quiet, healthy and respectful with the natural environment. We also promote the Train + Bicycle combination, which is why Bikemotions Bike Center is located at the Lavern-Subirats Railway Station, in the Enobicing Penedès municipal facility, to make this combination easy. Adopting an ecological mindset on travel, we will be working to protect the places we visit. Not only for us and for future travelers, but also for those who will continue to live here in the long-term future. We recommend minimizing the environmental impact by reducing the carbon footprint.
Cycling also provides extra opportunities, such as mixing with local people and getting to know Penedès culture deeply. Our main suppliers are wineries that make organic wines and cavas and so we can help to improve the local economy by consuming seasonal and proximity products. We must preserve agricultural areas and our biodiversity and be respectful with the environment.
BTO – Should Penedès bet for proximal clients or should it try to internationalize much more its offering?
Bikemotions – I don’t think the local tourist should be left out, but it is essential to internationalize more the offer. No doubt about it. Penedès should be known internationally as a wine tourism destination, promoting a much wider offering, which goes beyond wineries and cavas, but without neglecting them. Penedès is the ideal destination for “Wine lovers”, but also for those who want to practice cycling or hiking or go horseback riding in an environment of vineyards, wineries and farmhouses. It is a good option for those who want to have a romantic weekend, or for those who have more cultural interests or those who follow the events and festivals of the region or gastronomy lovers. Al those can have packs that include a combination of activities to discover the wonderful spots of Penedès.
As we are dedicated to cycling, we must say that Penedès 360, 3 circular routes by stages designed especially for Slowbike (4-stage route, 160 km), Mountain bike (5-stage route, 280 km) and Hiking (8-stage route, 150 km), are a clear example of actions taken to promote and discover Penedès, in an active and sustainable way.
BTO – Could you recommend a little-known place in the area to visit?
Bikemotions – In my opinion, the best way to get to know a territory is to discover it by bicycle. I have traveled around Penedès and for example following the Penedès 360 Slowbike, you will see the diversity of landscape that exists between the different parts of the region. It is difficult to choose a specific place. We have the Municipality of Subirats, the capital of the vineyard, where our bike center is, with landscapes and views of the whole region that make you fall in love.
Watch the video if you don’t believe me:
We can also go to discover Penedès through the 5 Miravinya viewpoints, spread across the Penedès. Any route should be combined with a stopover in a wine Bar to taste wines or cavas with some appetizers.