As the old saying goes; « By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. » and when it comes to mountain biking this could not be closer to the truth. With so many potential eventualities awaiting riders on the mountain, it pays to prepare for every outcome, to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride.
With this in mind, we’ve put together this basic checklist of things you should always consider, and items you should carry with you when mountain biking in Morzine.
In the height of summer, this region can get very hot (highs of around 35℃ or more), so for long rides you’ll need plenty of water to keep you hydrated. Fit a couple of bottle cages on to your bike frame to ease the load, and consider taking some electrolyte hydration drinks in your bag too. If you’re going to be doing a lot of riding, we would recommend investing in a ‘water bag’ device, such as a CamelBak, for easy hands-free hydration.
It might surprise you, but you’re likely to burn much quicker here than you would at home, due to the thinner air at high altitudes. Be sure to plaster yourself in a high SPF sunscreen, and top it up regularly to avoid sunburn.
Pedaling across alpine terrain burns up a lot of energy, even when going downhill! Refuel yourself with frequent snack breaks; nuts, dried fruit, and cereal bars are all great when you’re on the go. You could also take a couple of energy gels or soft sweets to keep your sugar levels topped up throughout the day.
Take a fully charged mobile phone with you so that you can contact somebody if you do happen to get into any trouble. It’s a good idea to save some emergency numbers in your phone too, such as the number of your accommodation, local emergency services and whoever it is you’re riding with, should you get lost. You can also leave a route plan with us in reception, so that we know where you intended to head to in case of problems.
Hopefully, you’ll never need it, but it’s worth carrying a small first-aid kit with plasters, bandages and painkillers. It could really help you or a fellow rider out in the event of an accident. You should also make sure you’ve got valid travel insurance and an EHIC before going anywhere. On that note, make sure you keep your EHIC clearly displayed in the front of your wallet or alongside your lift pass, so that it’s easy to find in the wake of an accident.
You might need it in an emergency, or for other important things like buying beer at the end of the day!
Bike Repair Kit
Many problems can be temporarily fixed en-route, so your day doesn’t always have to come to an end if you fall victim to a puncture, for example. We would recommend carrying a spare inner tube, a small but powerful tyre pump, a glueless patch repair kit, and a multi-tool with you at all times. A few zip ties, latex gloves and tyre boots are useful too.
Morzine offers stunning panoramic views across the alps and mountain biking is the perfect way to enjoy them, so you’ll definitely want to take a charged-up camera and decent memory card with you. Better still, take an action camera such as a GoPro to capture the action as it happens, like so.
Other things to consider
- Ideally, you should plan your route before you head out, and let someone else know where you’re planning to go, and a rough time of when you’re expected to return.
- If not wearing goggles, take sunglasses to shield the sun rays.
- Alcohol gel or antibac wipes make a handy addition to any backpack and gloves are a good idea for preventing blisters.
- We suggest dividing bits of kit between your group, and look out for bags and bottles that attach to your bike as this will make things lighter and easier to move around with.
Remember that this list is in no way exhaustive, and we have left off things like ‘wear a helmet’, as this should be a given. Each trail is different, so you should do your research before setting out, and always consult with a professional if you have any questions or concerns regarding riding in Morzine.