From: Vertebrate Publishing
I love a good book. More than that, I love a good guidebook. I have several big shelves of the things; one travel, one climbing, one biking, one other. Let’s not even get started on the overflowing map shelves that have spilled their contents more than once begging me to get out of the rut I often find myself in. Suffice to say, if I’m in an outdoors shop and there is a guidebook that catches my eye, even if it is for something I’ll never do (I have a canyoning guidebook for the USA for some reason) there is a very big chance I’ll buy it. There is something about the feeling of a guidebook and the content that should never fall into the digital domain. Guide books are that, books, they should be printed and flicked through to inspire and drive us from the mundane. Also, they don’t run out of power.
There is something about a well laid out guidebook that takes your imagination, lets you mentally plop yourself down in the area you’re reading about, lets you imagine the trails you’re looking at without even leaving the comfort of your sofa. It can also be one of the biggest sources of inspiration out there, the adventure that may await you distilled into a paper format, for you to pore over while wondering if work will be a bit flexible with the holiday allowance.
With no real plan for the summer I found myself sat in the house flicking through the guidebook shelves wonder what we should do with ourselves for a much needed two week break. After a short 3 day work trip to the Austrian Alps earlier in the summer I realised that it was time to go back. Before that I was probably going to need to update the mountain bike guidebooks I have for the area. After looking around the Alps Mountain Biking book popped to the surface as one to have a look at being so new, so a copy was ordered and the kettle put on.
If I want hike a bike, I’ll go to the Lakes. If I want gravity to do the work then maybe a pastry or a sausage, I’ll go to the Alps.
Now, let’s get this out from the start. This book is not an XC book. If you’re looking to do big long rides with long climbs this is not for you. If you like your riding lift assisted, and who doesn’t in the Alps – when in Rome and all that – this is the book to look at. There is a real bias towards the Endurobro end of the spectrum, and that is OK, that’s why we go to the Alps for those big long descents. If I want hike a bike, I’ll go to the Lakes. If I want gravity to do the work then maybe a pastry or a sausage, I’ll go to the Alps.
An initial flick through of the book gives you an idea of what’s in store for you. Lush images of scantly (by UK standards) clad riders riding dusty high Alpine ridges in the sun. Oh how I miss the sun. The photo quality is excellent, something I really appreciate, and the maps are laid out in an easy enough way to view – they could do with a bit more detail, but that’s why you go buy an OS map of an area if you want to venture further. Saying that, I really would have liked them to be a little less zoomed in, but that’s more my want to extend every ride just a little further than I probably should.
The authors have put a lot of work, and love, into describing the trails
The book covers all the major Alpine venues that we know and love, as well as many of the other smaller venues that have developed over the past few years. The authors have put a lot of work, and love, into describing the trails across these areas as best they can, and what has emerged is an excellent starter point for deciding where to go on an Alpine summer trip. If you end up in one area and the weather Alps out – well grab it out, look at the next valley over, the chances are that they have better weather. What riding is there? A nice, easy, non digital dependent reference is what you have in your hand.
The only thing it lacks is a real depth of area knowledge in comparison to some books like the Chamonix Bike Book, but I can’t fault it for that. It’s an overview, a real wide angle view at what is frankly a vast area to choose to ride from, and it does it really well.
So as these wet and wintery nights draw in, why not grab a cup of tea, sit down with your lovely new guidebook and think about what was, what may be, and how to broach the subject of another bike trip away instead of a “real” holiday.
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|Product:||Alps Mountain Biking Guide Book|
|Tested:||by Greg for|