A handy guide to help your holiday.
These are the key things we’d recommend that you do when you’re getting your bike ready for an Alps riding trip or a shuttle trip.
On Alps trips or on a weekend or day of shuttling you need to get your bike primarily setup for descending.
Bung in some fresh brake pads if your current ones are worn down significantly. Also, pack some spares as you don’t want to be caught out without any. It’s also worth considering upsizing your rotors ie. moving from 180mm rotors up to 203mm, especially at the front brake.
2. Tyre choice
Stronger tyres. In other words, tyres with stronger sidewalls. Especially worth doing on the rear tyre to help prevent punctures or torn sidewalls ruining your ride.
3. Chain device
Extended descending on rougher-than-usual tracks may be asking a bit too much of a narrow-wide chainring just on its own. Slap on top guide. Maybe even combine it with a bash ring or taco guard on the under side too.
4. Flat pedals and shoes
If you’ve been dabbling with moving from clipless pedals to flat pedals then a trip away doing predominantly descending riding can be a good time to give flat pedals and extended trial. Don’t forget to pair them with proper flat pedal-specific shoes.
Although it’s nice to think that it won’t rain we go away on holiday, chances are you’ll encounter one or two rides where the heavens open and it tips it down spectacularly. This is typical mountain weather after all. Pack a decent front mudguard.
6. Get your suspension serviced
If you’ve been toying with the idea of getting your suspension a long overdue service, don’t be tempted do it after your holiday. Get it booked in before and in plenty of time too. A better performing, more efficient and more reliable bike will be your reward.
7. Knee and shin pads
There can be loads of rocks thrown up during Alpine descents. Protect your vulnerable shins from bangs and cuts with a set of full knee and shin pads.
8. Full face helmet
Spending day after day doing hundreds and hundreds of metres of descending ups the odds of having a crash. End of week fatigue in particular can be when you’re most susceptible to stacking badly. Think about taking a full face helmet with you. Modern lids are much lighter and airy than full facers of yore.
9. Glasses or googles
Don’t risk your vision.
10. Hydration pack back protector
Now is the time to re-insert that foam board back protector back into that hydration pack you bought the other month. Or if you haven’t got a pack or protector, contemplate getting one. As well as preventing more serious spinal injuries, the insert can stop things like multi-tools and pumps digging into your back during a spill.
11. Check your spares
Inner tubes, gear inner cable, multi-tool, spare mech hanger, chain quick-link, spare tubeless valve and so on.
Have a good trip!