The Sighisoara-Tarnava Mare area is a semi-natural, cultural landscape of European importance, hosting 3 UNESCO sites, that supports the livelihoods of over 30,000 people living in small-scale farming communities. These communities have shaped and maintained the characteristics of the area over the centuries that have passed since they settled here.
The aim of this project is to attract responsible tourists into the area, to increase local incomes and improve long-term prosperity in these communities through an innovative green network of mountain bike trails, built by local people. Thus, the project will contribute to the reduction of rural poverty and of the migration of young people to the urban areas, by creating opportunities for small-scale producers, guest-house owners and entrepreneurs.
The main objective of this project is to build a network of 80 km of mountain bike trails, linking 5 communes, meaning 8 villages among themselves and then with Sighisoara, the main point of interest for tourists in the area.
In order to inaugurate the trail between Crit and Bunesti, we organized, in September 2013, a mountain bike competition for local children. A number of 40 participants from 6 villages of the area attended the event.
In November 2013 The project was featured in the third part of the Travel Channel’s series Wild Carpathia documentary, one of the best films that promote Romania worldwide.
On the 26th of July 2014, we organized the first international mountain bike competition in Viscri, a village from the area. Nearly 300 bikers entered in the competition, coming from various areas of Romania, but also from Norway, Germany, Hungary, UK, France and USA. We worked with approximately 100 volunteers in the organization of this competition. The news articles and TV appearances reached a national audience, being disseminated by media channels with national coverage. The race course had a length of 46 km, out of which 26 were on the built trails. The race was also a very good promotor of the fortified churches in the area, as the competitors went inside their inner courtyards, for water and food supplies. We have also organized lunches and dinners not only for the competitors but also for the visitors, giving thus the chance of local producers and chefs not only to get extra incomes and set up connections with potential tourists. During the period of pre and after race, all the local guesthouses were fully booked.
Since we started this project, a number of 15 new guesthouses were open in these 8 villages, 4 bike-rental places and around 80 bikes available in the area.
We are currently working to finish the projects website and the smart-phone application where we wish to include information about local producers (cheese, jams, honey etc.).