Passportes du soleil – Body armour or not?
Flights booked and confirmation email received so I will be going to the Alps to do the Passportes for the first time this year. I am looking for a bit of guidance from those that have done the Passportes previously as to whether body armour/full face helmets are required or recommended?
All the riding I do is in the lakes and I don’t bother with any body armour. I just use my standard helmet. This includes Garburn, Gatesgarth, Nan Bield, Skiddaw/Ullock Pike etc..
I will be taking my Lapierre Spicy so I wont be holding back either but I don’t own any armour or full facer so I will need to be buying some if needed.Posted 7 years agochakapingSubscriber
If you ride that kind of stuff with no pads then you might think the PPdS is a bit on the tame side! Even the optional DH sections that I did were way less difficult than Ullock Pike, for example.
I was v glad I didn’t wear a full face last time, there’s quite a bit of pedalling.
Will be wearing open face helmet and knee/elbow pads myself this year.
EDIT: It’s a really good event though, nice and chilled and social with some fun riding.Posted 7 years agoMussEdSubscriber
Everytime I go I am astonished at the different attitudes to protection you see. For instance from full on stormtroopers riding DH bikes, to Septaganarian Belgian Roadies in matching club strips on rigid supermarket specials. Oh and one time a chap with an Irn Bru lycra top on rigid commuter type still with panniers on…
The organisers never put the most technical or indeed steep/scary trails on the route, so it’s really up to the individual how fast or slow they want to ride. There is still plenty of opportunity for falling off, coming a cropper and hurting yourself so you maybe want to ask yourself the same question? Enjoy yourself!Posted 7 years ago
Thanks guys, that is what I hoped you would say!
ferrit – Have you ridden it? Is it all fire road? As I said in my post I haven’t ridden off road in the alps before let alone anything like the Passportes so I have no idea really what to expect. I was kinda hoping for Garburn x 3 without having to ride back up!! Am I going to be disappointed?Posted 7 years agocynic-alMember
ferrit – Member
If you don’t wear body armour to ride fire roads in the UK, why would you in France?!
I tend to follow this mantra, but riding more gnarly stuff all day in heat makes al a tired boy so I prefer to up the protection on holidays.
That said I’m cycling to the event on a touring bike so no way am I packing body armour!Posted 7 years agoTrimixMember
One overlooked thing to consider is this:
When you fall off in the UK and damage yourself you may just miss out on a sat/sun of riding. Even if its just a small injury that would heal up in a few days.
If you fall off there and scrape you knee you could end up missing a week of riding that you have paid for.
So I shall be wearing knee pads for it – even though I dont here in the UK and know the route is not technical. I just dont want a small off to scupper the rest of the week.Posted 7 years agoti_pin_manMember
I don’t wear it here and didn’t when I did it a year or so ago, a few peeps I was with did but I a’m unconvinced it helped. I think body armour encourages you to ride beyond your speed and ability. There is quite a bit of fireroad but it isn’t like a buttery smooth Tarmac, there’s plenty of flying rocks around plus good singletrack of course.Posted 7 years agoferritMember
There was a lot more fire road than I was expecting! And I mean down the way! I think the problem is that the event has got too big to route down the good tech trails so for a lot you’re hammering down fire roads or ski pistes!
We ended up sacking off the route and just jumping down interesting-looking singletracks at the side that looked like they should end at the same place. Much better!Posted 7 years agoAndySubscriber
Another thing to consider is the larger amount of time you will be spending descending. The descent is about 18,000 ft total. So there is a greater chance of a silly off and this increases towards the end of the day when tiredness and concentration lapses might set in.
I have never used a fullface and saw no need to but last two times have worn light knee and elbow pads just as a precaution.
Wear what you are comfortable with!Posted 7 years agogregsticleMember
I’ve ridden it in ’04, ’05, ’07, ’08, 09 and last year – it’s great fun and there are sections that get added/removed every year meaning it’s always got a few surprises.
I wear knee/shin and elbow/forearm pads – that’s more than enough for me and gives me the confidence to get off the brakes a bit more. I have worn my Para-Chute helmet a couple of times and my Hex as well – either way it was fine. There is a bit of pedaling, so don’t expect it to be all downhill. Carry a tyre boot or spare tyre as a couple of times guys in our group have had their sidewalls sliced open beyond repair.
And watch out for the French Downhill nutcases…Posted 7 years agoHankySubscriber
We did a number of the DH options last year, and echo the comments re. length of the descents, heat and fatigue adding to the mix particularly towards the end of the day, added to the potential for injuring yourself at the beginning of a week’s holiday if out for longer.
I was stupid and managed to hurt shoulder on first afternoon prior to PdS on Pleneny! Exhausted from drive down, no warm-up run etc. but French pharmacies are wonderful and I did the PdS the following day.
When I do it again in the future, I will wear knee/shin and elbow pads and consider full face, depending on the likely dh options.Posted 7 years ago
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