Ask anyone about sporting activities in Morzine and the wider Alps, and the chances are the first thing they’ll mention is skiing, closely followed by things like snowboarding, sledging and the like. Mention Alpine mountain biking to many and you’ll probably be greeted with incredulous looks and questions such as “how can you ride a bike in the snow?”
Summer in the Alps
Of course, we’re speaking here of the summertime in the Alps. Once the snow has melted you’ll find that the tourists to this mountainous region are not there just to admire the scenery – stunning as that may well be. They’re also drawn by the numerous sporting activities Morzine has to offer, of which Alpine mountain biking is just one.
Now, nobody is going to pretend that Morzine is like Holland. If your idea of a cycling holiday is a gentle cycle along endless flat and level roads, then a lot of cycling, whether in the Alps or anywhere else, may not be for you. On many of the fantastically beautiful cycle routes in this area, a fair degree of fitness is required, because they’re going to be up-and-down, just as you’d expect in the mountains.
How Fit Should You Be?
However, before worrying about whether you’ll need legs like pistons to get anywhere, it’s worth noting that in this area not all roads are steep. Some are based around valley roads and they’re well within the capabilities of moderately fit cyclists, or even those who enjoy an undemanding amble of a bike ride for an hour or two.
If you are a slightly more accomplished cyclist, there are plenty of competitions organised locally at certain times during the summer months. Some are serious, others more fun-oriented. In either case you may be able to do some form of time trial, and sometimes Alpine mountain biking tournaments involve closing off roads to non-bike traffic for ‘bike only days’, so you can really enjoy your riding free of fumes, noise and car-related risks. You might also find some free snacks and drinks laid on at the summits or rest points en-route.
Do I Need to Bring My Own Bike?
No, absolutely not! There are plenty of hire outlets around and they usually have a good selection of top-class mountain bikes to choose from. It might be sensible, though, to find a local outlet on the Internet before you go and drop them an email to see if reservations are required for your holiday dates. The demand can sometimes be high.
If you’re driving to Morzine then of course you can bring your own. If you’re doing the journey by train, check just what your train’s policy is well in advance. For example, you can book a place in advance for your bike on a TGV (assuming there are places available) for a modest extra charge and that means you won’t have to dismantle it.
On some other trains, you may need to dismantle your bike and fold it away into an approved carrying case. So, don’t just turn up at the station and hope. If you want to get to some Alpine mountain biking by train – check and book before you travel!