‘Not all those who wander are lost.’
J.R.R. Tolkien, Fellowship of the Ring
All it takes is a VTT (Vélo Tout Terrain) and one or two weeks off to make any mountain biker’s dream come true. Any route is as good as other because of the stunning mountainscapes changing with every pedal. By the time your calves start to hurt, the vegetation’s poorer and the views begin to be even more worth every single muscle stretch. Haute Savoie, Portes du Soleil, Chamonix or Grand Massif, they’re all a fairy playground for any biker out there in need of this ideal mix of magnificent scenery and challenging workout.
Every road biker has to experience this place sooner or later. The place is not only legendary and iconic for its kind, but even a beginner would understand why. The difficulty is given by its corkscrew ascent, as Oisans Valley is one of the most representative French mountainscapes, with raw natural perfect beauty, a combination between strong, fresh mountain air, rocky cliffs and wild plants. This entire sample of the wilderness is even more emphasized in contrast with the cyclists’ professional equipment and mountain bikes. Tip. Most of these true sportsmen come with their own proficient bikes instead of opting for the rental offers. We suggest you do the same if you have the possibility, most of the offers are not worth the money and because of the poor equipment your effort is probably going to be double. Plus, there’s nothing to be worried about since the 21 bends are smoothly, carefully surfaced, so your pedal is clearly out of any possible danger. Plus, the route gets to be even more enjoyable if your mountain biking aide keeps you company.
La Route des Grands Crus
It’s called the Champs-Elysées of Burgundy, although instead of expensive shops what you’ll find here is an unending horizon of hills, vines and sleepy villages, with friendly people and picturesque houses with colored roofs, like a reflection of the natural forest canvas above them. The plethora of France’s most scented and flavored wines comes along with astounding countryside sights, being peaceful not only in matters of cycling routes, but peaceful in every way, and people here have made a lifestyle out of royally treating the visitors. Tip. Complete your little escapade with the marvelous Hote-Côtes de Beaune, and visit the 13th century castle ruins of St. Romain. The hills really are easy rolling and the wooden paths trodden, which makes it easier to admire the vineyards, spreading as far as the eye can see. Experiencing the viniculture tradition is even more rewarding after a long day of roaming around the stunning views.
There’s really nothing more a biker could ever wish for. The empty roads, with challenging, yet not deadly hard routes come together with amazing weather for the most part of the year, except for the top of the summer season, when it’s only the mad cycling locals who you’ll see speeding on the streets. Plus, if you decide to go at the end of April or in May, for instance, you’ll be able to admire the fields of poppies accompanying almost all day long. Another very wise decision would be making yourself some time at the beginning of October, when the magnificent view looks like having been painted in such a varied palette of colors that a painter could never reproduce. The multicolored leaves make the entire landscape even more vivid and vibrant, an ideal source of energy and refreshment. Tip: Don’t hesitate to socialize with the locals. Not only will they give you expert advice on the route and specific secrets of the place, but they’re very open and might even join your trip. This is how many small ad-hoc cycling competitions begin most of the year. And the most amazing part is that the great prize, in the end, is a great bottle of refined national wine.
For every cyclist who’s ever been here and in the French Alps, it will always be a mystery why this route is a little less popular. It’s true, the heights are a little lower, even though they constantly get to be over 2 000 as well, but in terms of sports challenge they’re in truly tight competition. Same story here as well. As tempting as the offer may seem when you’re researching on the internet, don’t rent a VTT, go with your own pedal. If not for anything else, the journey’s proportionally more intimate and special with the amount of private involvement. The rolling terrain is quite a match here as well, as are the challenging climbs and the abrupt, high speed descents. Tip: A great way to recover after a full day of exercise is by swimming in one of the lakes or pools in the area. The experience is totally worth it, and the services are irreproachable. Another sign of genuine competition between the two trails is that you have high chances to see clumps of snow even in the heights of summer. Tip: We don’t recommend the route after the end of September, because of the very low temperatures and the really foggy weather making the stunning views impossible to be admired.