Ever wondered what an area designed just for cyclists would look like?
Well, with its marble smooth roads, breathtaking climbs, clean mountain air and absence of traffic Niseko may well be the cyclist’s Nirvana. But it’s more than just the terrain that makes Niseko such a special place for endurance sports lovers. From delectable food, modern cyclist-friendly accommodation, to natural onsen hotsprings that soothe aching muscles – when it comes to catering to cyclist’s needs, Niseko has it all.
To fuel their epic rides, guests can enjoy fresh, locally sourced produce direct from Niseko’s very own farms. Hirafu and Kutchan have a range of dining options to recharge hungry riders; from fine dining, to traditional Izakaya’s.
Must-try foods in Niseko include Rakuichi soba made from pure Yotei water, gelato from Niseko Gelato and Karage (fried chicken) from Abucha. A good ride is never complete without coffee and cake – check out BCC Whiterock for great espresso and Guzu Guzu for sweet baked goodness.
Niseko is an established international ski resort and summer guests can benefit from an array of world-class accommodation. With boutique hotels and architecturally designed chalets, there’s something for every taste and budget. What’s more, many hotels turn their ski valet area into a secure cycling storage area over summer, providing guests with a designated space to maintain and store bikes. All accommodation is centrally located at the gateway to the most popular cycling routes.
When visiting athletes first ride Niseko the most common observation is ‘where are all the cyclists’? For the longest time Niseko has been one of Asia’s best kept cycling secrets, with its powder snow and winter sports getting all the attention. But the Boardman Niseko Classic aims to change all that and put Niseko on the Cycling World Stage by hosting Asia’s first ever UCI Gran Fondo World Series event on 10th July.
Riders from around the world will descend on Niseko trying their best to qualify for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships in Perth. It’s set to be a massive weekend of racing, supported by a festival of food, drink, live music, fireworks and heaps more.
A Truly Classic Course
Now in its 3rd year, the Boardman Niseko Classic has gained a reputation as a challenging race that is equal parts beautiful and tough. During the 140km race, riders will ascend the mighty Panorama Line, followed by a long, flat and fast section out to the Japan Sea and back to climb Nimi onsen. This is where riders will start to feel the burn, with a long descent and some short, sharp climbs on to the finish line.
The Good Stuff – Got some time to explore Niseko and beyond? Check out these 3 rides recommended by Niseko locals.
Nimi Onsen Climb
Riders in the 140km Boardman Niseko Classic course will go halfway up Nimi Onsen and race up its challenging bottom half. But the top part is where Nimi’s true beauty is revealed, with winding hairpins then ramping up into a steep Mortirolo style narrow road to the summit.
Lake Toya Loop
There are several routes to get to Toya – all of them stunning. The main attraction though is riding around Lake Toya itself. This picturesque, undulating 30km loop is right on the edge of the lake and was part of the Ironman Japan course.
Riders will descend Kozawa in the early part of the Classic – but the real enjoyment comes in climbing this short and sharp 8% avg. climb. Local cyclists typically climb Hanazono, itself a must-do climb, and descend halfway down to turn off to Kozawa.