Singletrack Issue 127 | Verbier By Train

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Mark and Vic look at a different way of getting to play in the mountains with bikes. By train.

Words & Photography Mark

As I start writing this, the strongest hurricane on record, Dorian, is battering the Bahamas. I’ve just read an article telling me that the Greenland ice sheet is melting faster than even the worst-case predictions of just a few years ago. The planet is heating up and it’s our fault.

Change on a global scale will only happen when populations act, but the act of populations is made up of individuals each making a choice for themselves. The choices we each make, no matter how seemingly insignificant, add up. One of the biggest impacts we have as individuals on the planet right now and, therefore, one of the biggest differences we can affect, is flying.

verbier by train ecopassenger.org stats
ecopassenger.org can help you see just how travelling impacts the environment and how best you can make a difference.

“It’s only one plastic straw,” said eight billion people.”

No matter how you spin it, if you want to make a difference one of the best ways to do it is to simply fly less. That’s a bastard when the best places in the world to ride are two countries over.

But there is a way…

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Comments (9)

    I enjoyed reading that – sounds like an ace trip!

    What a fantastic trip. The article and video really get across just how much more relaxing this way to travel is (other than the stress of the 2 bike limit).

    As soon as you put 4 people in a car, the environmental numbers look ok for driving (and the costs are far less), but I know from personal experience that it wouldn’t be as relaxing as this! (Plus you wouldn’t want to go anywhere near Paris)

    My favourite Singletrack article in many weeks. How much dismantling did you need to do to get your bike on the TGV? A breakdown would be handy.

    We practised the dismantling a few times before we went and got it down to 6 minutes per bike. That was wheels off, stem and bars off and strapped to the to tube with Velcro and pads. Pedals off too.

    I’d agree that getting four in a car to the alps from the UK is a good pragmatic option in terms of carbon footprint reduction. I’ve done that trip to Morzine in the past, including a Calais stopover to break the journey. But still, it is a poor second to the train in terms of comfort in my opinion.
    But the point is of course, fly less. Not never. We can all make a decent difference if we just consider the options rather than just defaulting to the plane. Sometimes the plane is still the best pragmatic choice – I’m currently in Whistler for example. So we offset our flight by paying for trees to be planted in Iceland. Arguably a token gesture but still, it’s more a new way of thinking about the impact of our travel.
    When we do fly we’ll offset that the best way we can and start considering that offset as a natural part of the overall cost of the trip. When there are practical alternatives to flying we’ll always now consider them.

    A really enjoyable recount of your journey.
    In the distant past I’ve done the car journey to les deux alpes a couple of times, staying well clear of Paris. Recent past driven around Paris many times, it’s crazy. These days I travel a lot with work, I have to say going by train is much more relaxing. It’s much easier if it’s only one or two countries away. I prefer to take the Eurostar to northern France rather than flying.

    I did a similar trip down to the French Alps this year, also with my bike.

    Can I ask what the exact model of bike bag that you used was, and what rucksacks you took too?

    Also, what was the name of the hotel you stayed in in Paris please?

    The bike bag was the Evoc Bike Cover – Link here https://fave.co/2mXgYV3
    And the hotel was Best Western Anjou Lafayette Opera. Link here https://goo.gl/maps/VKZnFY18RPph7tox9

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