You have only a week for your mountain bike holiday in the Alps, you want to make sure its the very best possible, so you are going to want the answers to a lot of questions. To make it easier for you which have put together a selection of your favourites! If you can't find the answer to a particular question here then please don't hesitate to email the firstname.lastname@example.org and we will answer it as best we can.
The Mountain Biking
When you say the mountain biking is technical, how technical is it?
Well its a difficult thing to get across to people when we all have a diffierent take on what is hard and what isn't. However, I think its fair to say that it will be the most technical riding you ever do. The trails have a lot going on from rocks to roots and often on a steep grade. We have ridden a lot of places from Spain to Whistler, from the Peek District to Sun Valley Idaho and Moab to Cannock Chase. Chamonix's mountain biking is at the top and we find the very best of it, after all its a challenging mountain bike holiday you are looking for isn't it?
Why don't you take beginners?
We don't take beginners because the people 10fifty have come on holiday want the very best mountain biking, how are we going to give them that if there are begineers in the group? Having worked for a company tha takes beginners we fee it just holds the real mountain bikers back because you have to stick to the easier routes. We are the high-end of mountain bike holidays and we make no apologies for that. If you have a beginner in your group then they can come with your party and that can pay the non-riders rate, the marked VTT (French for Mountain Bike) trails in Chamonix are suitable for beginners and we can provide them with a map and instructions. We will not take beginners on our guided rides, if that what you are looking for then go with one of the ski/activity holiday companies, we are mountain bike specialists and that why people choose 10fifty.
Do you do downhill holidays?
No we don't do downhill mountain bike holidays and we wouldn't recommend Chamonix as a downhilling destination. You have to pay for each ride on most lifts which would make it expensive. However, the biggest reason is that the mountain bike trails are either too tight for a downhill bike or they are evil gravel 4x4 tracks which aren't really fun to ride on. If you want a downhilling holiday then go to Les Gets or Morzine as that's what they are good at.
Do you do Freeride holidays?
Define Freeride? - If you mean NO uphill, but using a smaller travel bike than a proper downhill bike then no. A 10fifty holiday will always involve some uphill riding because that is thye only way to access the very best trails. We have done weeks that have been very freeride mountain biking orientated when all that week's guest want to, but 10fifty mountain bike holidays do mean sweating uphill sometimes!
Do I need a freeride bike?
No you don't but remember that the trails are quite brutal on your mountain bike so a feather-weight cross-country race bike is going to suffer more than a heavier build full-susser. Its about your personal choice and your riding style. Bigger, burlier mountain bikes are going to get you down quicker, but will take longer to ride uphill. Remember though we started riding Chamonix on fully ridged bikes, its can be done, its about comfort and speed.
What bike would you recommend?
Well we are riding Yeti 575s this year and the previous two years we were using Yeti ASRs so no guesses what we are going to recommend. We think that they are the right genre of bike, the lighter all-mountain bike. The Yeti 575 is right on the border of too much travel, but the way that it climbs and tackles the tightest of corners means that you only know its got all that great rear-wheel travel when you are hurtling downhill wondering how you managed to do that last section so fast.
Do you have bikes on test?
No, as yet 10fifty and Yeti cycles have decided that it is not practical to offer 10fifty Chamonix as a mountain bike test centre for their bikes. Yeti are high end bikes with a price tag to match. Our mountain bike holidays are about small groups and therefore we don't have the people coming through to make it beneficial to both us and you.
Do you rent bikes?
No we don't rent bikes because we have seen from experience that they get a hammering. Also because of the level of difficulty of the riding we always recommend people bring their own bikes as they are used to them and therefore feel more confident. Hire bikes are available in Chamonix town, but they are not cheap to rent (due to the fact that they do get hammered) and they are not particularly good. Its like the test bike issue; if you are going to spend six hours a day riding hard trails would you not prefer to do it on a mountain bike that you have set up exactly how you want it, and that you know has been looked after and is set up right?
How do I bring my own bike?
Best to buy or rent a proper shipping case, or alternatively get a bike box from your local bike store. Make sure you package it up well, pipe lagging and bubblewrap are particular favourites where foam sheets aren't available. Take pedals and the rear mech off, take air out the tyres and then loosen the bars or stem to get it as flat as possible. Ensure that you have put your details both on the inside and outside of the container in case the luggage tag gets ripped off. Some airlines are now asking you to pre-book and pay for bikes, Easyjet for example ask for £10 each way for bikes.
Mountain Bike Clothing and Kit
See the mountain bike holiday equipment section for information on this.
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