Category Archives: Chamonix ride

Loriaz v1.5

Lorne doing his best to smooth out the upper trail.

Big fan of the Loriaz ride, fairly easy up, great views, few people and an excellent descent. Hard to fault really.

But it’s easy to get complacent about these things, it’s good to mix it up a bit. What if Neo had chosen the blue pill?

So, after a run in with the SNCF’s grumpiest conductor who wouldn’t let 1/2 the cyclists at Chamonix central onto the train and a little over 60 minutes of climbing Lorne and I stood ready at the Croix de Loriaz ready to eschew the truth of the red pill/normal Loriaz trail and explore the … [Read full post]

The last big weekend of the summer

Shredding the orange pow. That sounds wrong.

End of summer? Ok so it might be the end of meteorological autumn, but outside it’s double digit temperatures, with a warm drying wind rolling over from the south, so for us lot, it feels more like the end of summer.

And what do we do in summer? Ride bikes.

The Loriaz chalet loop is one of the first of the higher trails we ride each year, it’s altitude and aspect ensuring snow free trails that bit sooner than other points around the valley. That and the only way up is under your own steam, so there’s no point putting … [Read full post]

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

Rider's head partially cropped, blurry background, partially focussed, photographer about to be hit by bike. It can only be a MBUK cover from the early 90's

Forgive me if my memory is a little hazy, I’m casting my mind back 20 odd years here, but I think the first bike magazine I bought was some long bust title called MTBtrail or MTB rider or such. I forget exactly, but the title’s not important.

The contents included an article on converting your bike from 3×6 to 3×7 (and whether you needed 7 gears at the back and perhaps that it might cause the bike to be too fragile and anyway you certainly don’t need 8 gears, that would be crazy). There were some words on rides you … [Read full post]

black and white

It's not winter yet dammit.

10 minutes from the front door is one of the only bike friendly uplifts running in the alps and from the top of the Brevent gondola an embarrassingly large number of trails work their way down the sunny side of the Chamonix valley.

So obviously we dingied that and went and pedalled up a hill for 1200 meters.

Last summer I injured my thumb and couldn’t ride. Instead I had to run about trails with a branch in my hands making bike noises. One of the trails I found looked like it would make a grand wee ride, if a … [Read full post]

Link up

There was a lot of spot the rider shots from today.

Want to know what the next big thing’s going to be in mountain biking? Look at other mountain sports; skiing, snowboarding, mountaineering, fell running. Trail centres are a bike only thing? Snowboarding went crazy for snowparks in the mid 90’s. These newfangled “enduro” bikes that are fairly light up hill but a virtually DH bikes on the down? Skiing’s been doing the fat touring ski and DIN 16 touring binding for ages*. Big days out linking your favourite trails….

OK, so we’ve been doing that for a while too, but mountaineers got there first. With the concentration of hardcore climbers … [Read full post]

‘Effing excellent

Spence seemed to enjoy his first time.

You might not have noticed, but there’s a wee bit of a referendum happening in Scotland next week. It seems that Westminster hadn’t noticed either as over the last 7 days there’s been a sudden realisation that folks north of the border might just go vote for independence, and for reasons other than watching Braveheart too many times. Cue a love bombing campaign of Scotland. Promises that we won’t take you for granted, we won’t ignore you, it’ll be different this time, trust us, we’re politicians…

But this isn’t a political blog, so what’s with the intro? Well, I worry … [Read full post]

The end is nigh. Repent.

The weather has, at times, been a bit biblical recently. Given Mount Ararat is 5137m high even Mont Blanc at 4810 ain’t going to save us. All we can do is head out in the rain and enjoy the biking whilst we still can.

The Chamonix trails, being generally steep and rocky, deal with the rain fairly well and drain pretty quick. Only Les Houches turns into a true quagmire and even there it’s possible to avoid the worst of it (which is generally the last 1/3 of the DH trail and all of the old DH trails from the … [Read full post]

The longest day

1km vertical of singletrack

Summer solstice. The longest day, shortest night and start of the countdown to winter. Also an excuse (if an excuse was ever needed) to both go in to the hills to do stuff and go out on the town.

After some warm up laps around Les Houches (trails all riding nice, bit of rain would be good to give some more grip though) we headed up the Bellevue gondola and climbed round towards the Col du Mont Lachet.

The trail down from the col is fairly exposed in places, but I think it’s pretty fun. Not everyone else, or possibly … [Read full post]

Bikes on a train, and other forms of mechanical uplift.

Today I am mostly liking green

Lifts are open, no more pretending that pedalling uphill is worthy and good.

An opening party was being held at Le Tour with demo bikes, drinks and rumours of new trails, so we headed in the opposite direction to Les Houches.

It seemed a fairly popular choice and it was surprising to see just how much the main DH track wore in over the course of the day.

Not having big bikes in addition to our normal bikes with their mere 160mm of travel, slack angles and huge brakes, Lorne & I rode a few laps of the Prarion front … [Read full post]

Seven days and counting

Singletrack, boulders, sunshine. All good.

Summer’s here. Skies are blue, temps are high, taps aff etc.

Eager to enjoy the weather before it turns (another side effect of being Scottish, you can never, never learn to trust the weather to stay good) Spence and I headed out for an easy(ish…) day to check out a new trail and see where the snow level had got to.

I try to avoid the lift accessed trails when the lifts aren’t running (seven days till they open) in favour of more esoteric trails so I’ve spent a lot of the last month riding above Servoz. Today was no … [Read full post]