Top 5 things you definitely need for riding the Alps
by Jonathan Peacock, posted 25 July 2018
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Following his trip to Verbier, courtesy of the Verbier VIP, Jonathan Peacock tells us the top 5 things you need for riding in proper Mountains
My number one tip is invest in some mountain biking gloves. You can opt for some inexpensive soft material gloves or some slightly more expensive ones with hand and finger hard shell protection - either way they will improve your grip and squeezing the handlebars less will create minimal strain in the forearms which is a good idea over a days riding [mainly descending].
2. Bladder-style hydration rucksack
Bottles are great but very few full suspension bikes have mounts for a drinks bottle due to the linkage and rear shock set up - a bladder with a drinking tube allows quick and easy access to your water and usually has a pocket or two for a snack, key, phone, etc
3. Spare tube
Getting a puncture is never convenient but if it's going to happen it’ll happen at the most inconvenient moment. No hard sell, please just carry one. Even if you haven’t got a clue how to change it the mountain bike community worldwide will stop to lend a hand - it's just what we do.
4. Switch brake set up
AN ABSOLUTE MUST ! Swiss bikers (in fact. everyone in Europe) have their brakes set up the opposite way around to us in the UK. It's a good idea to ring ahead but if that isn’t an option most good hire shops will swap the brakes so that your back brake is on the left before hire, without a full brake bleed. If they charge you extra, just pay the price!
It's a good idea to have a mobile phone with the relevant phone numbers (e.g Verbier Bike Park School) punched in when cycling any unfamiliar routes. Reception can be hit or miss in the Alps but I didn’t experience any problems with it.
All images © Jonathan Peacock, 2018
If this has started to wet your appetite, then can we suggest you read Jonathan's report on riding Verbier in Switzerland.
Jonathan Peacock is a personal trainer, ex-semi professional footballer and loves throwing himself down gradients on two wheels in places like the Forest of Dean and Malvern Hills and claims a number of Strava descent records in Gloucestershire