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Heads in the clouds during an MTB Dreams fantasy.

Adventure tourism as an industry is growing rapidly worldwide, and within that industry, the niche of mountain biking is one of the fastest-growing sectors. While it can be difficult to quantify that growth internationally, we’ve seen more and more mountain bike tour operators coming onto the scene on the local level, regional level, and even expanding widely all around the world.

While this is good news for mountain biking in general, it’s an excellent trend for travel-thirsty mountain bikers who don’t want to wrangle the logistics on their own or are intimidated by the difficulties of navigating a foreign land. Hiring a guide tends to radically simplify the travel process, eliminating difficult variables that could easily derail your trip.

However, not all MTB tour companies and guides are created equal, and they don’t offer the same levels of service. While of course it’s a-ok that different outfits offer different levels of service and price, if you’re traveling overseas and you truly don’t want to worry about anything, look no further than MTB Dreams, because that’s exactly what they offer: all-inclusive mountain bike vacations.

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At the Barcelona airport I was worried because my phone couldn’t connect to the wifi network so I could contact Jordi, owner and founder of MTB Dreams, to let him know I’d arrived. I shouldn’t have worried, though–as I walked out the door toward ground transportation after picking up my bag, Jordi tracked me down, showed me to the van, and we were off to the Pyrenees. From the moment I picked up my luggage and walked out into the airport lobby, I didn’t have to worry about anything besides having enough energy to pedal up some of the big climbs and not crashing on the way back down the mountain (I failed numerous times on that last point). Everything else was organized, taken care of, and planned for me.

Photo: MTB Dreams

Photo: MTB Dreams

I don’t think I’ve ever been on a trip like this one before! Oftentimes, your mountain bike guide will just take care of the mountain bike guiding. Sometimes they’ll coordinate the mid-day meal. Maybe transportation. Occasionally lodging. Rarely, bike rental. But even considering the most comprehensive organizations I’ve worked with in the past, there has always been at least one component that the client would have to take care of–whether it was a bike rental, evening or mid-day meals, lodging during the trip, or pre- and post-trip lodging… one way or another, there has always been at least one other ball to juggle.

Enjoying a hard-earned mid-day "Clara" -- a mixture of about 60% beer and 40% lemonade. Similar to a shandy.

Enjoying a hard-earned mid-day “Clara” — a mixture of about 60% beer and 40% lemonade. It’s similar to a shandy. Keeping with the all-inclusive theme, all the beers that we drank were covered by MTB Dreams.

When Jordi says that his trips are all-inclusive, that means that they’re all-inclusive! Transportation, lodging, food, drinks, rental bike, and of course, guiding. While you can save some $$ if you want by opting to bring your own bike, Jordi and his team of six thoroughly-vetted guides are fully equipped to coordinate every detail of your trip, down to the granola bars and spare inner tubes that you’ll need for your ride.

On the first night of our trip, one of the MTB Dreams guides, Juan Garcia, who was born and raised in Argentina, grilled us a MASSIVE steak in classic Argentinian style. I'm pretty certain this is the best steak I've ever eaten!

On the first night of our trip, one of the MTB Dreams guides, Juan Garcia, who was born and raised in Argentina, grilled us a MASSIVE steak in classic Argentinian style. I’m pretty certain this is the best steak I’ve ever eaten!

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If you visit the MTB Dreams website, you’ll notice that there are many flavors of trips offered, from enduro to XC, in the Pyrenees or in Catalunya, the Canary Islands, or even the Alps, but that some of the details seem rather generalized. This is because every trip is absolutely customizable. Instead of simply creating a set Pyrenees Enduro itinerary, each trip is customized to the rider(s) on the trip.

Do you want to ride in the morning while your wife shops, and then rejoin the family in the afternoon for family-friendly recreation? You can do that, and Jordi has organized that trip before. Do you want to knock out long XC miles? Jordi can make that happen, and he has the fitness and speed to guide you. Want to ride up the mountainside in a van for free vert on every single ride? That’s exactly what we did.

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I set a tall order for Jordi when we were planning my trip: experience the very best enduro-friendly singletrack trails that the Pyrenees mountain range has to offer. Not only did he deliver, but he delivered in style!

Cultural Exchange

While of course the trails are a critical part of every mountain bike vacation, one the most important facets of every MTB Dreams trip is the cultural exchange. Instead of utilizing highly-commercialized hotels and chain restaurants, Jordi specifically books local venues for lodging, dining, and drinks, like this incredible hostel we stayed in, tucked away at the very end of Vall Fosca / The Dark Valley:

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In addition, Jordi was more than ready to explain the culture and history of each individual region that we visited. In this one week in Spain, I learned more about Spain, Catalunya, and the history, geography, and culture of the area than I think I could have gathered from a lifetime of Spanish classes!

During this ride I learned the unique history of these pre-World War II defense bunkers.

During this ride I learned the unique history of these pre-World War II defense bunkers.

While the obvious direction for the cultural exchange is from MTB Dreams to you, the consumer, Jordi doesn’t see it that way at all. In fact, they truly value this cultural exchange as a two-way street, and getting to meet people from all over the world and learn about their unique cultures is one of the main reasons that Jordi quit his corporate job in Barcelona to pursue the difficult, yet rewarding, life of a mountain bike guide.

So call to mind your wildest singletrack fantasies. Want to make them come true? MTB Dreams is just an email away!

Thanks to MTB Dreams for making this trip possible!

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# Comments

    • Greg Heil

      enduro-friendly singletrack: noun: A trail where you can get a shuttle ride almost all the way to the top, doesn’t have too much climbing, and is technical and challenging on the way down. 😉

    • Aaron Chamberlain

      So…it’s a shuttle ride on a mountain bike trail?

      hehe

    • Greg Heil

      ALL THE SHUTTLES!!!

  • hbelly13

    I had not heard of MTB Dreams until recently reading your other article on the subject. I am curious as to what drove you to choose them over the many other European tour companies? My friends and I employed Big Mountain when we rode in Switzerland and were duly impressed with the whole experience http://www.ridebig.com/. I am hoping to go over again next year likely back to Switzerland or Italy, but your article has me intrigued about Spain.

    • Greg Heil

      Well MTB Dreams is one of 5 different guiding outfits that I’ve used in Europe over the last two years, so I don’t think I was necessarily excluding others, but rather, MTB Dreams seemed like some of the most knowledgeable people about this region of Spain, and I was curious to explore it!

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