When asked to write a blog about my adventure on a mountain bike for our Summer in the Alps series I felt apprehensive, to say the least. My first foray into off-roading was on a summer’s day in Meribel last year when a friend suggested an impromptu trip down the mountain on 2 wheels. ‘Why not?’ I thought, ‘What could possibly go wrong?’.
Oh, whoa betide me.
My Mountain Bike Adventure
Off I trotted to borrow a mountain bike from the depths of the cave in my apartment block, tested the brakes on the road – all super. Then for protection:
- A snowboard back protector
- A helmet left behind at the end of the winter
Literally, that’s it.
I looked like a turtle.
Up the mountain we went
Off we went to the Chaudanne in Meribel where the lifties loaded our bicycles onto the lifts. And up we went! It’s a bit peculiar to feel your feet dangling over the edge, feeling so light without skis on the bottom.
However, all my enthusiasm disappeared at the top.
It was very gravelly.
I felt very aware that the skin on my limbs and face was totally exposed with not even a t-shirt to protect me from the stones if I fell. And I did fall. And then intermittently fell/slithered/crawled/rolled down to the bottom and swore I’d never do it again.
But I kept having a nagging feeling that it was probably very good fun if one did it properly, and so to the start of this blog- having been asked to write one I thought I ruddy well ought to go and have another go.
You know that feeling of elation you get from skiing or boarding? Wind rushing past you, stunning views, the thrill of turning successfully and saying to your friends, “Did you see me? I did it!” It was all of those things…just on a mountain bike.
Well, I discovered that all I needed was the proper equipment and a bit of instruction.
My friends at Skimium Sport 1600 Meribel kitted out my friends and I with full body armour and full-face helmets which gave me a LOT more confidence.
A few friends who’ve done some mountain bike coaching in the past gave us all a one-on-one morning of tuition and training; easing us into it gently on wider turns to get used to handling the bike, and then progressing to some trickier runs and even a couple of jumps!
Mountain bike trails are different from a piste
They follow a path about 70-120 cm wide that winds its way down the mountain, so you always go one at a time. Sometimes there are jumps and gaps, and in the same way as ski pistes are differentiated by their difficulty, so too do you have green, blue, red and black mountain bike trails.
I know we have a LOT to learn (there were a lot of girls with very bruised legs at a wedding this weekend), but it was SO MUCH FUN! Needless to say, I’ve booked myself a bike again for this weekend and will be making the most of the lifts until they close again in September. Freak out on the mountain bike, no more.
Up for a bit of mountain biking exhilaration? Retweet and let your friends know.
Two-wheeled trips. Stunning mountain scenery. Extreme exhilaration. The Scoop: https://t.co/7MFAZBHfDw
— New Generation (@skinewgen) May 24, 2016
Written by Katy Jennings, Relationship Co-ordinator
Photos from Jonny Kaye, Conor Power, and Sports 1600, Meribel