Thinking about switch backs this year. Their website is full of storm troopers with big bikes and they seem rather DH focused. Is it all like that?
Switch backs holidays?
Not especially - or are you looking at the Switchbacks DH stuff(?) -it was still a good holiday when we went but I've enjoyed holidays with other companies more.
Who else you been with?
Why was that Tom? A bunch of us have just had joy-riders cancel on us. - the kind of riding they were offering, sort of big mountain, back country trail riding is right up our street, but switch backs seem more knarlcore to me.
Are you on the right site, the Bubion(XC/AM) one not the Malaga(DH) one? I'd recommend them, the trails range from easy flat out blasts to "WTF, people ride down that?". Armour isn't needed so much for protecting you from high speed falls, it's that the ground is quite rocky so off's tend to hurt a bit more on bare skin.
Mike the owner of Switchbacks is cool and he knows the area well enough that he can keep you entertained whatever your ability. They run DH trips based in Benalmadena on the coast in winter then move up to Bubion in the mountains for the AM stuff in the summer.
Here's a quick look around Bubion for you;
We used them for a days guiding out of bubion last october, it was a great day, just good all round all mountain riding, full face helmets not required. 3500ish feet of climbing, 6000ish feet of descending.
As mentioned, they have 2 operations, in the winter they concentrate on the dh side of things out of the malaga area, in the summer they do am stuff out of bubion.
The riding around benalmedina/malaga is pretty good too, we didnt find it too gnarly, although im sure there are trails that are full on. we did a few days round there ,not with switchbacks, but on our own and its pretty decent, you need an uplift though, we did it with 3 hire cars.
Specifically in Spain I've been wihh Freeridespain (first guided bike holiday back in 2004) and then Switchbacks (2006).
Things might have changed a bit since then, but Switchbacks fobbed us off with one guide to 12 riders, because one of the guys I was with had been before and knew the trails. So he ended up at the back a lot of the time, acting as a sort of guide on the cheap. There was also a vast difference in ability between the front and back of the group. 4-5 fast lads, me somewhere in the middle and then 6 or 7 substantially slower.
Couple that with the number of punctures you get in a group of 12 with rocky and thorny terrain and there was a lot of waiting round or finishing rides late in the day.
It seemed they wanted to impress you by the severity of the terrain rather than trails that would suit the guests. I'll admit I felt a bit uneasy with some of the more exposed stuff, but probably nothing compared to the lads at the back.
Like I say, it may have changed since then.
Freeridespain was a little bit more xc (despite the name) but still mixed with van uplifts and tech descents. Plus, the evening meal whilst sometimes basic was also included.
I'd go back to Freeride or Switchbacks but since then I've been with TrailAddiction (France), Rivierabike twice (Italy), Neilson (Turkey) and twice to Alp d'Huez.
Rivierabike closely followed by TrailAddiction would be my choice, based on the variety and fun of the trails on offer, plus the quality of the hospitality and guiding.
But wherever you head, don't get put off by pictures of pads and full face lids. Pads at least are a sensible addition when you're not doing to too much pedalling up hill and descents 30 minutes+.
Like Tomo said...
Ade at Riviera and Trail Addiction both very good and IMHO the riding is better than the riding in southern spain.
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