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Summer in The Alps - It's Mountain Bike Time

July 10, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 247

Mountain biking has grown vastly over the years from simple, open entry competitions to global world cup and olympic events. There are still local enthusiasts and the sport has a dedicated following. The 'Saved by the Bell' colour schemed lycra, cream walled tyres and tall, skinny bikes may have disappeared, but the underlying heartbeat of what makes mountain biking fun is still beating - going very fast over crazy terrain!

And this heartbeat keeps all the disciplines alive; cross country riding, downhill, freeriding and even the (until recently) obscure discipline of mountain bike trials. Each of these facets of the sport utilise unique, specialised equipment, depending on the type of terrain being ridden, and subcategories exist within each discipline. Downhill bikes have changed the most over the years to cope with the evermore extreme locations and trails being ridden. Borrowing from motorcyle, automotive and even aerospace design and manufacturing principles, downhill bikes have evolved from fully rigid steel frames with plastic rim block brakes, to multi-link suspension designs with hydraulic disc brakes. Carbon fibre, magnesium alloy, titanium and composite materials are just a few of the radical advances that the humble bicycle has adopted to become a race winning mountain eater.

But more spectacular than the machines in use are the locations these bikes can take you. One of the best places in the world to experience mountain biking is the French Alps. More commonly associated with skiing and winter sport, the region plays host to some of the finest and most memorable trails that exist today. In fact, the incredible trails and tracks of the Samoens Valley were selected to kick off the second round of the International Avalanche Downhill Cup. Gathering at the top of 'Tete de Saix', competitors faced an adrenaline pumping descent.

Sandwiched between Mont Blanc and Morzine, Samoen has access to the Grand Massif and the neighbouring region of Porte du Soleil. This gives visitors to Samoens a massive 600 kilometers (373 miles) of trails to choose from. These range from the intense downhill sections and technical singletrack, to wide open areas, new discoveries and less physically demanding pleasure rides.

Having somewhere to stay while you visit this incredible part of the world is a given, but how you spend your time off the trails is equally important as the time spent on them. There can't be many things worse than completing an epic ride, being tired, dirty and hungry and finding that your accommodation is lacking the comforts and essentials you need. Worse still, you may have to travel even further just to get there. It's no surprise that some ski chalets in France are beginning to open year round, siezing the opportunity to play host to summer travellers and adventure seekers.

Mountain biking in the Alps has become much easier since chalet holidays came to be a summer fixture. Apart from the snow, you'll benefit from all the usual perks of a chalet rental. Serious mountain bikers, take note: book your next ride epic and head for Samoens!

Philip Loughran writes on a number of subjects from travel to law, automotive to education. For mountain biking holidays and chalets in France he recommends Absolute Alpine.

Source: EzineArticles
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