Has anyone been riding in Cham the first week of July? I know about the bike ban but wanted to know if it's still worth going, will the lifts still be open to mountain bikers? I know the top brevente lift isn't, shame cos holy grail was brilliant, how strict are they with it? Any useful advise much appreciated.
Riding chamonix first week of July?
We were there around that time a few years back and there's still great riding to be hand. If you are riding the walkers paths just fit a bell and be ready with plenty of bonjours if you pass anyone. There was a bike shop just on the way into town that's worth a visit for info on trails.
les houches should be open, and vallorcine
Lots of restrictions after July 1st, and the lifts are hellish expensive - 50e for a day pass on Flegere when I went in 2010. Good XC riding still available though but you really gotta earn it with huge climbs, e.g up to Col de Balme then back down to Trier, then road or train home. Massive day out.
Even in June and Sept, they are really discouraging bikes at Brevant and Flegere. The top part of the trail above Flegere was closed when we went there last Sept. it was sooooo disappointing. It was quite surreal riding the trails from there down, since the trails are all still there but not being maintained, so the woodwork is starting to fall into disrepair.
On the up side, thre are new trails at Le Tour, which is where they are trying to encourage bikers to go instead. Such a fab, long trail, it's so good, it made up for our disappointment at Flegere.
What's this talk of a bike ban around Chamonix?
I did a few days there in 2010 with Singletrack Safari holidays and did some fantastic trails - the lifts were pricey compared to other areas through.
Les Houches was 'closed' last June. Woodwork not maintained, trees across the trails. Not great
Upper Flegeres closed too...only Vallorcine and Le Tour. We sacked it off and did Morzine / Les Gets one day
There's a great track from Grands Montets mid station back to Chamonix above petit balcon which was best ride of the trip
There's still plenty of riding to be had in Chamonix once the July - August ban kicks in, check Tom & Angus's book for details http://www.thechamonixbikebook.com/ (they list the trails you can ride legally) or http://chamonixbikeblog.wordpress.com/ for a locals perspective (look through the archives to what we were riding during July & August).
The lift pass is much less than 50e for the day UNLESS you want to go up the Midi or such like as well, when it is that much. There's a selection of deals which Compagnie du Mont Blanc will get round to telling everyone about minutes before the summer season starts.
There are all manner of rumours at the moment as to what the bike situation will be for summer 2013, including that no bikes will be allowed on the Flegere or Grand Montets lifts. I've no idea what these are based on so until we know, what IS happening is a change from the Bellevue to the Prarion lift at Les Houches for the focus of the bike trails, including new trails getting built. More trails at Le Tour & the Flegere trails being completely abandoned with no bike access on the Index chairlift (the same situation as last summer, although the lifties were happy for you to maintain the trails yourself)
The bike ban's been around for a few years, like it or not, it's there and at least paying some attention to it and not riding high profile trails when chock full of walkers will help the situation not get worse. No VTT guide qualified to work in Chamonix will take you on the trails that are banned during July & August either.
Hope this helps, the riding's great and you'll not get bored in a week for sure. If you have transport then you've got an obscene amount of riding at your disposal in less than 60 mins driving. Enjoy!
you can get a weekend vtt pass for cheapness. who pays a day pass for one lift??
love it there
get your climbing legs ready
Cheers chaps, well we went last june and it was the best riding I'v done in my life, Jedi, I was thinking the same! we got a weeks lift pass so will be doing same this year, the only problem is July is the only time we can go, and knowing about the bike ban got me thinking if it will be worth it or will we get away with it more like
One of the best tracks we did was by using the top brevent lift, and that has a bike ban on it, anyway cheers for all the info.
do the pipeline trail down from les houches, buy the trail book mentioned before and get excited!
Bikes aren't 'banned' in July or August, just not allowed on most of the non-bike specific trails. A number of those are choked with hikers and coach loads of day-trippers.
I always got the impression the Marie wasn't that bothered about bikers, Cham's always chokka with sightseers in the summer anyway, and climbers fill up the campsites.
Hi GrumP! <waves from Scotcheggland>
Fancy the Haute Route in July? Me and my mate Dave are keen. Dates to be confirmed but want to do that asap.
Oh and I just read your write up of our tour. Brilliant!
Hullo Sanny (waves from PocoLocoLand)
Do indeed, but have wee bro's wedding in Orkney in July and need to take time off work for the CCC in August, so might only manage a bit of it with yous then have to head back to Chamonix.
Gies us a shout wi dates and we'll see what we can do eh!
Hope the bike-rafting was as good as the 1 paragraph I can read suggests.
And Mattjq, correct, VTT is very far down the Marie's list of priorities, however there is some interest from the tourist board who have been speaking to various influential bikey types in the valley and are trying to work with both the Marie and CDMB, so hopefully things will at least not get any harder for access...
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