The silhouette of the hospice at the Little Saint Bernard Pass stands out against the intense blue sky. Just a few more kilometres through the rocks and verdant fields, a couple of bends, a bit of elevation gain, and our bikers will reach the top of the pass—the Holy Grail for cyclists, if you will.
Matthieu stands up on his ultra-light racing bike, sure of his strength, and accelerates, moving ahead of Nathalie, his wife, Magalie, a friend, and Victor, their son.
An excellent athlete and adept at long-distance efforts, he wants a great cardio workout and to fly towards the summits as the Tour de France champions do. He pedals hard, his breath a bit short, and glances behind him to evaluate the effects of his strategy à la Chris Froome, the winner of the Tour de France and king of the mountains for that year.
And surprise! With a smile on their lips, his three cycling buddies are right behind him and seem to be climbing with ease.
Somewhere between hardcore bikers and amateurs lies the pedelec. Scenes like this on the slopes of one of the most beautiful passes in the Savoie—the historic border between France and Italy after a lovely journey through La Rosière—have become characteristic in the summer.
The Alpine routes and passes are no longer reserved for “muscular calves”.
As either mountain or road bikes, pedelecs use battery energy to lighten cyclists’ efforts. You still need to pedal, but now you can go uphill without suffering.
Although electric bikes were invented in the 1930s, the concept really took off at the beginning of the 2010s, and it has revolutionised cycling. What began as an urban trend soon became one in the mountains because it bridges differences and brings people together. Meaning members of the same family or groups of friends with different levels can now tackle mountain passes together.
The Top five mountain passes for biking
You just need to be in good health and have the proper equipment, which many holiday spots in the Savoie Mont Blanc propose for rent. Imagine being able to climb the Col du Galibier or bike through La Forclaz...
Mag Emotions n°14 - YPM