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ON YER BIKE! - James Cove, Les2Alpes
Friday June 30, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

PlanetSKI has spent the morning skiing on the glacier at Les2Alpes in France: now it's time to hit the pedals. Summer in the Alps!

Right, that's the skiing out the way.

As you may have seen in my earlier blog I spent the morning skiing on the glacier of Les2Alpes as it opened for summer skiing.

Now it is the turn of two wheels rather than two planks.

I've been skiing for more years than I care to remember, am a qualified instructor and ski over 100 days each winter in more than 50 resorts.

I am confident on a pair of skis.

Not so downhill mountain biking.

I am a rank amateur - though I think I managed to look the part.

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It was with some trepidation that I donned the protective clothing and headed up.

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I was with local mountain bike guide, 30-year old Kevin Mulon.

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He gave us his advice:


  • Keep looking ahead, not just in front of the front wheel.
  • Stand up on your pedals keeping them at the same level.
  • Use only an index finger on the brakes.
  • Keep your elbows out at the same width as you legs.
  • Keep your backside over the sadle not sticking out over the back.

I would add another: if you are mountain biking in France - get the rental shop to change the brakes round.

In France they put the front one on the left one and the back brake on the right - the opposite of us in the UK.

It only takes a matter of minutes for the mechanic to swap them round and it makes all the difference.

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Les 2 Alpes Biking in numbers:

  • 4 areas: Vallée Blanche, Jandri, le Diable and Venosc
  • 6 lifts
  • 91 km of tracks
  • 2,300m of vertical descent - from 3,200m on the glacier down to Venosc village at 900m
  • 20 runs: 13 downhill runs, five endure itineraries and 2 cross-country itineraries
  • 2 green runs, 8 blue runs, 7 red runs 3 black runs, including an Elite one (the Fury)
  • 1 area for beginner: Vallée Blanche, with green runs and an area to practice one's skills before riding down
  • 1 Pumptrack area, 1 Easy 2 Ride area and 1 Bike Park Video Zone
  • 4 washing stations: Vallée Blanche, Diable, Venosc and in the centre of the resort
  • One-day lift pass for the bike park costs €25.50 per adult and €123 for 6 days.

Bike school: BIKE INFINITY:

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I asked Kevin the most common mistake people make.

"Not looking far enough ahead.. People tend to look just over their front wheel, and not using the tilting of their head to steer the bike," said Kevin.

Tilting your head to steer a bike?

It felt like an odd thing to do but it worked - in short look where you want to go as you hurtle downhill and the bike will likely do so.

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It didn't always work though.

One of our number crashed out - braking his thumb nail and grazing his knees.

Kevin was on hand with his first aid kit.

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And me?

Well I hung around at the back taking things more cautiously.

Most of downhill mountain biking requires little pedalling.

The chairlifts run in the summer months with special racks on the back to hold the bikes.

You slot them in at the bottom.

And then simply pull the bike off at the top.


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Though this is not always the case - this was one of the chairs we saw going up.

Where's the rider?!

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Most of the riding involves controlling you speed with the brakes and body movements.

It's dusty and thirsty work but at the base of the lifts are hoses to clean the bikes off and it is mountain water so is also fit for drinking.


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Thirsty workThirsty work
















Les2Alpes has been at the forefront of the expansion of mountain biking in the French Alps for many years.

Along with Les Portes du Soleil it has been leading the way.

Earlier this summer on PlanetSKI we have been e-biking as the new activity expands across the Alps:

There are few e-bikes in Les2Alps though - this resort is for serious riders.

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So, as an experienced skier what did I make of downhill mountain biking as a novice?

I utterly loved it!

I only wished I was better at it.

I shall be back in the saddle (or rather standing over it) soon.

And gazing into the distance.

Practice makes perfect after all.

Yours trulyYours truly
















So, how could I finish off my days of white knuckles and adrenalin in Les2Alpes as I went glacier skiing, paraponting and downhill mountain biking?

There is only one sport that requires stiffer nerves and deeper concentration.

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I love summer in the mountains! Cool

James has been in Les2Alps this week writing about his summer experiences:

Sadly he was beaten to the resort this year by Jeremy Clarkson. Wink

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: No1 for ski news

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