"Marche and Bike" is a tour operator founded in May 2014. It is a cooperative that has as founders all people linked to the territory and with an extensive experience in the cycling world, which represents the "core business" .
To talk about this reality is Fulvia Pierozzi, president of Marche and Bike: "We are a very new reality, but we have already seen how cycling is growing in Italy ... but also how loosely organized is in our region compared to Northern Italy, where this type of tourism is practiced since years with an impeccable organization".
You are directing more on the Italian market or on foreign markets? And what are the most requested services to date?
We are working on both the Italian and the foreign market. To date, the most requested service by tourists is definitely the bike rentals and the paths, while the "bike" assistance is what the facilities ask more frequently.
What kind of trends are you observing during this long economic crisis?
We think that the development of this type of tourism is definitely growing, and if we consider that our areas are very beautiful and suitable for cycling - but little known - we think we have a good margin of improvement.
From the institutional point of view, how is the situation in the Marche Region for your industry?
In theory, they are carrying out something important for cycling, which now is considered by them, as active holiday, the second "clusters" after the sea.
In practice, however, there is still much to do, both in terms of "targeted" promotion of the cycling holiday, and in terms of rules for the facilities about how they should be organized to be considered true "Bike Hotel" and, therefore, in order to be inserted on the market as many others facilities. A clear law on this is missing and only the most dynamic facilities are organized.
The need to find early solutions that could be decisive in some areas?
Tourism represents the last hope for some Apennine areas of Pesaro-Urbino that have been suffering for decades, due to a decline in agricultural and agro-pastoral activities, abandonment of fields and woods, the depopulation and a consequent environmental degradation. The idea to revitalize them by increasing industrialization has resulted impossible, because of the difficulty in transport, in finding skilled labor, in having an industrial network and support services.
Why "Marches and Bike" has invested in cycling?
First of all because the area is suitable for this type of tourism. It’s since several years that the hotels in the coast, also in Romagna, have organized cycling tours in our country. There are several stores for cycling, but there is no one that organize a tourism for cyclists, offering them not only a bike, guides and organized tours but also a whole range of tourist services, such as excursions, cultural and natural tours.
Since our skills are particularly advanced in cycling and the cycling tourism is one of the fastest growing tourism sectors in recent years, we have decided to concentrate our efforts in the implementation of a cycle-tourism activity to increase the presences on our territory, since today they are very poor.
Are you specialized in any specific areas of the region?
The territory covered by our project concerns primarily the area of the former Mountain Community Catria and Nerone - today "Union of Municipalities of Catria and Nerone (Pesaro-Urbino)" - specifically the municipalities of Acqualagna, Apecchio, Cagli, Cantiano, Frontone, Piobbico and Serra Sant'Abbondio.
Of course, in order to have more tourism opportunities, we believe that the territory of intervention should be extended further and it should include other municipalities. It’s a relatively large and sparsely populated territory, it has maintained an almost untouched nature that can be a beautiful landscape for our cycle-tourism business, it can also be connected to other sports, nature and culture tourist activities.
Cycling can be practiced practically all year round and this allows us to finally be able to try to adjust the local tourism, which today is only during summer.
What kind of services does Marche and Bike offers?
A complete and quality vacation. The tourist should go home and tell what a wonderful experience he lived and be ready to return the following year to make a new one.
The activities and services that we provide are many:
- We manage a cycling activity.
- We are a tour operator and we arrange tours specifically for the cyclists and for those who decide to accompany them despite not practicing the activity.
- We participate in exhibitions, fairs and cycling events to promote ourselves and all the other activities that work with us (producers of local products, accommodation and other tourism activities and not).
- We provide "Bike Hotel" services to the structures of the territory. In particular: rental of racing bicycles, mountain bikes, regular bikes (with the possibility to buy the bicycles), bicycle storage service, bike-washing, mechanical assistance, paths carefully designed and tested to meet all cyclists, from the amateur cyclist to the professional cyclist, routes sorted by difficulty, distance and altitude, ability to organize retreats for teams, cycling guides, minibus for assistance.
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