SkiBike Tour 2010-11 - Grand Bornand, Firem on Test

Posted: Wednesday, 29 December 2010 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: , , ,

My companions of the last few days were tired and poorly, so I opted for an exploratory solo mission; enjoyed a lazy, relaxed start to the day and didn't leave Geneva till after 1pm.
My objective was to find out whether the information I had received from Grand Bornand could possibly be true, not only was the tourist office claiming that there were skibike friendly lifts to use, there was also a hire shop where you could rent a bike for 22 Euros per half day.
If that wasn't enough the driving force behind this step change were local skibike builders Firem.

I arrived around 3pm had a quick look around town, all very pretty and picturesque and by using the tourist office found out the location of Reves d'hiver (Winter Dreams) the aforementioned hire outfit.
I was expecting a ski hire shop with a rusty skibike stuck in the corner, but to my great surprise I discovered someone outside promoting a selection of skibikes and demonstrating experimental models.

After making the introductions with my awful abuse of the French language, cards were exchanged, it was Pierre Mermillod proprietor of Firem, the skibike manufacturer himself. Luckily he remembered "L'Anglais" and offered me a quick test of his personal development model.

I am experimenting more and more with riding on the pegs, but it lacks a certain amount of control, I tried riding the bike in my shoes down the nursery slope and his appraisal was "mal" i.e. bad. He chastised me further "This is not a Brenter!" and insisted that I tried again on the pegs and trust his unique rear ski brake concept.
Firem offering free demonstration rides
I faced the bike down the fall line (which is so counter intuitive) planted my foot on the peg with the foot brake on, put the other foot up and was able to glide slowly forward straight down the fall line using the brake to moderate my speed to a couple of miles per hour.
It was an interesting and effective development, Firem have some excellent engineering built into their designs, I was keen to find out more but the resort was shutting down for the day. I was hoping that I might be able to meet with Pierre Mermillod the following day but he had other plans sadly, maybe in the future?

Having enjoyed this quirky resort area I was keen to return the following day and explore further.