Riding the Giant actually reminded me of being a kid – not just because the riding was fun, with Les Arcs offering an array of dry, dusty single track and more open fire road trails to suit every kind of rider – but because when the power from the electric motor kicked in it was like being given a push by your dad when you’re learning to ride your first bike.
Allan also noticed the difference, remarking on how much further ahead I’d get, and how much more quickly, than I did when riding a regular mountain bike (I’ve been riding longer and more often than him so am usually in front); this, I assume, was also partly due to the added momentum of all that extra weight.
So, after that first run down to Arc 1800 Allan and I spent a hot, sunny August afternoon blasting around much of what Les Arcs has to offer. The trails here have been designed so that there’s something for everyone from families to hard core downhillers – the combination of generally warm and sunny weather, dusty dry singletrack, and terrain that varies from open, alpine rock gardens and meadows to shady forests and alpine villages, often with a backdrop of Mont Blanc, is world class.
We finished our day with a second descent of Route 66 since it goes right past my apartment in Le Pre, where cold beer was on offer. As we stopped off to enjoy a warm evening, a cold beer and the satisfying aches that come from a day well spent on a mountain bike, Allan asked “Well, will you be getting an e-bike then, or are you still too much of a purist?”.
“I’m about having fun on a bike more than being a purist,” I replied. “And it seems to me that an e-bike is also about that. If you’re a decent rider it just means you can ride harder and longer, and there’s nowt wrong with that – it just gives you more fun.
“And if you’re not that fit, or are new to mountain biking – well, it makes it easier so you’re more likely to stick with it. Maybe I’m just getting old…
“OK wise ass – I am getting old – so anything that gives me the chance to ride longer and more often – well, I’ll take it. I won’t be getting an e-bike yet, partly ‘cos I don’t have a spare four grand kicking around, but I reckon we’ll be seeing a lot more of them everywhere in the future simply because they’re fun if nothing else”.
And surely that’s what riding a bike should be all about?