Bitta Gaston in a Sheffield / Cham mix.

Summer solstice, The longest day, shortest night and a time for reflecting on being half way through the tropical year and that it’s all downhill from here.

More, my bike is 1 today. Happy birthday bike.

Another fine morning on my way to ride my bike somewhere interesting.

Whilst we’re finding arbitrary dates, the blog is now just over 6 years old. Like bikes over the last six years (or 200, for t’was eighteen hundred and eighteen years when the two wheeled running machine first terrified the good people of London. Presumably the not so good people and all), it’s evolved a fair bit fae those early days too. The photos are of a better quality (and not just because I now mostly nick Lorne and Toby’s good ones) the writing is better. And I’m more jaded and bitter so the information is probably more of a sandbag delivered with more a witheringly sarcastic voice. Though, you probably don’t read this in my voice so you’ll escape the worst of that.

Lorne in Pila 2015, one of my better photos.

The blog was started with the lofty aim of trying to show y’all that there was more to Chamonix riding than the handful of honeypotted trails that we can’t ride in the bike ban and to persuade folks to try some of the other riding we’ve got here. Nae idea how much is the blog’s fault, but there’s definitely more tyre tracks appearing on the more esoteric and niche lines about the valley. Who’d a thunk 6 years back that the Les Arandellys trail would get so popular.

For my next mission, stigmatize Strava cut lines. If you canny get your bike round the corner, get better or walk. You disgust me…

Sandy doesn't do strava cut lines, come back Sandy!

Anyways (probably my commonest used paragraph starter) 6 years (and 13 days) for 135 posts, 4 bikes and god knows how many words n pixels later, we’re at the point where this counts for content. Progress eh?

Taking inspiration from that first post (what, you haven’t clicked on the link yet?) here’s a wee round up of where we’re at the now in the valley for bikes:

Le Tour: Currently just the lower gondola and trails, but the Autannes chairlift should be open for bikes next week.

Posettes on opening day. You've got until the end of the month, get it whilst you can...

Grand Montets: Is closed to bikes all of this year as all the trails off, walking or biking, are closed for works. The summer skiing’s no too bad though.

Grands Montets skiing just grand on summer ski season opening day, 16th June.

Les Houches: Bellevue and the Tramway du Mont Blanc for now, Prarion opens at the weekend. Some work’s being done on the official DH trails and they’re closed for now but the other trails are in pretty good nick. And mind the last tramway up the hill is 1510 at the moment…

I was on my own, what exactly do you expect from the photography after 6 years?

Brevent: The Chamonix-Planpraz lift has been open on and off for most of the spring, so the trails are worn in, everything is clear enough and it’s just the usual tech to worry you. The Planpraz – Brevent stage opens this weekend, and it all goes off limits again, as usual, for the July-August bike ban.

Flegere summer 2018. Not a great photo, technically nor literally.

Flegere: Is currently closed to bikes, the apologetic liftie held some hope that this might change at some point, but the lift will be VTT interdite for sure during the July-August bike ban. As for the trails, which you can get to with a wee bit of effort fae Brevent, the 4×4 access road is closed for a pipeline to be installed, the descent to Floria / Les Praz has some trees down on the upper section. Lower down there’s been some work to smooth off the trail a bit but otherwise it’s just as grand and tyre and rim destroying as ever.

Bike by a train. The year round valley uplift.

Bikes then. In six years the blog’s got through two Lapierre Spicys, a Canyon Strive and now this abused beast, the Airdrop Edit. In the last 12 months it’s dropped over 215,000m of descent in France, Italy, Switzerland and Canada, trundling about 3300km in the process. Which gives an average gradient of 6.66%. The number of the beast. Spooky eh.

Oban Cycles roof drop. In hindsight, the trials bike was a better choice for this... Cheers for the photo Gordon

Three times older than this blog is this picture. A teenage me eschewing gas-to-flat with pedalhop-to-uphill. More importantly, I’m on a Kona Stab from back when DH bikes first started to sort themselves out. Before this bike I had an old GT LTS DH, like wot Peaty rode, that rocked a whole 140mm of rear travel, 140mm wheel base and, obviously, snapped (this happens a lot when buying not really fit for purpose products that’ve had a few less than careful owners). That Kona was the first of the generation of bikes that could survive the abuse they were getting. It’s just a shame they weighed so much.

All the good of the Stab, and none of the bad. Cracking shot courtesy of Soren Rickards

The Edit has a lot in common with the Stab. In 1998 the price for the Stab frame and an inline Fox vanilla R coil shock was £1149. The price for the Edit frame with inline Cane Creek coil shock, £1299. 13% inflation over 20 years, they’d be happy with that in Venezuela. And, having made a geometry comparison table between the two bikes, I think I’ve found where that inflation went. The top tube.

Bike Stab 99 Edit 17
Frame Size M L
Head Angle 69 66
Seat angle 72 76
Top Tube 582 640
Chainstay 432 435
Wheel-base 1087 1220
Fork Offset 33 46

There will be some new trail content coming soon here, but I need to finish the trail first, and then there’s some promising looking lines on maps that need followed. And… Basically, bear with it and there’ll be something good to read along at some point. Cheers and here’s to another 215,000m/6 years of gradually rising standards.