BikingMan needs solid local partners when organising unassisted ultracycling races in the middle of nowhere. They hit pay dirt in Laos with four strong supporters, in different fields, immediately stepping up to help
Green Discovery Laos
(GDL), the country’s top adventure tour operator, is playing a vital role in handling the logistics and paperwork required to organise a world championship event in Laos.
We Are Lao
Media is creating awareness and promoting BikingMan Laos and ultracycling to the Lao and the Mekong region’s people, as well as to global travel agents, local tour operators and hotels, and through travel publications.
Sanctuary Hotels & Resorts
“Sanctuary Hotels and Resorts is always up for new collaborations and meeting and greeting new challenges,” said Melissa Woolley, the group’s Sales & Marketing Manager, when asked why they became a BikingMan Laos Partner.
“BikingMan Laos is a one of kind event and a date to remember on the tourism calendar. It is an adventure to the utmost, and we definitely wanted to be part of the ultimate experience from the start to the finish line,” she said.
Ms Woolley noted that two Sanctuary properties sit on the race route. “The Sanctuary Luang Prabang Hotel’s strategic location in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage city makes it an ideal place to launch the race,” she said.
Sanctuary Luang Prabang and UNESCO World Heritage ponds
“As the official Race Village, the Sanctuary Luang Prabang Hotel will host the racers and BikingMan team, provide the start/finish line, and help with the organisation and special needs of the racers,” she said, adding the hotel will also facilitate the media and others who accompany the competitors.
Ms Woolley noted this includes holding briefings, preparing special breakfasts and meals, providing transport services, and offering tours for those accompanying the race.
The 315-km first leg lands at Checkpoint 1 and the Sanctuary Pakbeng Lodge. Again, the hotel will host the race participants and BikingMan staff, and provide special meals, while adding recovery massages. The lodge will also create a special set up for the formal checkpoint and to ensure stewardship as a whole.
View of the Sanctuary Pakbeng Lodge from the Mekong Elephant Park
For those accompanying the riders, Sanctuary is offering tours such as a roundtrip Mekong cruise between Luang Prabang and Checkpoint 1, a visit to the Mekong Elephant Park and trekking in Pakbeng, and special dining experiences.
Les Medecins de Chinguetti Pakbeng
Located at the entrance to the Sanctuary Pakbeng Lodge sits Les Medecins de Chinguetti Pakbeng, a critical BikingMan Laos Partner with a medical team on hand.
“All year long, we care for the poor people at our Pakbeng dispensary as well as in the remote villages of the district. We reach them, not by bicycle, but by van or car…and on foot,” said Dr Chantal Chabry, Vice President of the humanitarian association, with 10 years of experience in Pakbeng and approaching its 20th anniversary worldwide.
Making the medical rounds in Pakbeng District
“We were notified of this special event by the manager of Sanctuary Pakbeng Lodge,” she said. “We have very good relations with the lodge’s team and are willing to help the French-based BikingMan (for this race).” She added that offering to assist BikingMan riders will show the work they do.
“If it is needed, we will offer help, examinations, and care as best as possible for participants and organizers,” Dr Chabry said. “Of course, contacts are in place for bigger sanitary structures if necessary.”
She concluded, “Good luck to the all the participants and let’s hope that we will not have to intervene.”
Green Discovery Laos
GDL has been a key BikingMan Laos Partner, assisting in logistics and paperwork to pull off the event, as well as communicating with its network of regional cyclists.
GDL pumping away
GDL has experience in organizing sporting competitions in Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang, and believes Laos has great potential for holding sports events like BikingMan Laos due to the natural landscape, according to company founder Inthy Deuansavanh."For BikingMan Laos, we are more of a supporting team."
As for the event's impact on Lao tourism, he said, “More adventure cyclist will know more of what they can experience here,” he said.
We Are Lao Media
We Are Lao markets Laos as a tourism destination, and jumped at the opportunity to be a BikingMan Laos Partner.
“Hosting a world championship event is a gift from the Gods to a small destination like Laos,” said We Are Lao Managing Director John Morris Williams. “It delivers worldwide media exposure to bikepackers and cyclers, who make up a growing segment of the Lao tourism market. For We Are Lao, becoming a BikingMan Laos Partner was a no-brainer.”
We Are Lao started publishing monthly news articles about BikingMan Laos in January, which address various aspects of the race and circuit. “We try to appeal to ultracyclers and BikingMan Laos competitors along with bikepackers,” said Mr Williams, who added, “These stories are blasted through all our media channels, and TTR Weekly
, a leading regional travel trade publication, is thankfully working with us to reach a wider audience.”
We Are Lao also publishes updates from BikingMan and has launched a BikingMan Laos Facebook group
for cycling enthusiasts and competitors to start discussions, ask questions and get information. We Are Lao also plans to launch a poster campaign in Vientiane and Luang Prabang before Lao New Year in mid-April.
Mr Williams concluded, “We Are Lao is currently working with tourism stakeholders along much of the BikingMan Laos route to create a circuit for bikepackers and tourists.”