SkiBike Tour 2011-12 - Conclusion

Posted: Thursday, 1 March 2012 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: , ,

For the first time in weeks I awoke late and to a bewildering selection of noises; noisy footsteps in the corridor, car tyres on wet tarmac, strangers voices, where am I now?
Oh yes, France, no that's not French, Switzerland, perhaps? no not Swiss-German but getting closer. Ah that's it Swedish, I'm in Sweden and yesterday I was fighting with a recalcitrant T-Bar and riding a wonderful skibike in the centre of Stockholm with BikerMads.
My flight is not till the late afternoon, I have the day off in Norrköping, confusingly pronounced Noy-shirpping in Swedish. All breakfasted and squeaky clean I took a stroll through this handsome industrial town, filled with impossibly cool and good looking Swedes, where do they hide all the ugly people?

Norrköping - A handsome town

 I feel 13 years old again, but trapped inside the body of a stranger, hang about, wasn't that was the plot of an episode of the TV series Quantum Leap or the Tom Hanks film "Big"? On this fine morning, I feel both the joy and novelty of youth and the the world weariness of Highlander the fictional 500 year old immortal.
I catch my own reflection of this thin, tanned stranger in a shop window, dressed in slightly tatty winter clothes. So that must be me then and what an adventure this stranger has had over the last 2 months.

The SkiBiker - so that must be me then

Thanks to the encouragement of the stoic Carl Day in Flaine, France, I made the somewhat painful conversion from the world of the ski-bobber to that of the freestyle pegger skibiker, time for another faceplant Mark? Anyone need a pair of unused footskis? I can't see me ever using them again.

Next, I became the most senior representative of the BullSkate SkiBiking fraternity in Sörenberg, Switzerland. Living in a Nuclear Bunker and hanging out with all the bad kids ruining their style and old enough to be their Grand Father. I would like to believe that some tiny, tiny, part of all that uber-coolness has rubbed off on me, I can definitely crash out with much more of the stunt man's loose limbed confidence than ever before.

I then confidently returned to both the French Alps and French Jura mountains in freestyle skiber mode; boldly exploring some tiny ski stations that may have never been tracked by a freestyle skibike before. No doubt the next generation of skibiker will set new standards and show me what is truly possible on a mountain bike that rides on skis and without brakes.
I happily re-united with Serge Mermillod, the very first person to sit me on a pegger skibike and teach me to keep my feet off the snow whilst riding. one year later we rode red runs together, on the pegs, at speed, in safety and style.

Finally, I completed joining the dots in Europe, by meeting the genteel BikerMads team and seeing the future of skibiking in the Nordic countries start to gain momentum.

I have so much confidence that the future of skibiking in Europe is positive. Every time I ride, people want to join the party, after all if the "old man" can do it, imagine what they could achieve.
Each country will be slightly different though; the Swiss skibikers are moving towards aggressive and macho stunt riding, meanwhile the French are shaping skibiking into a form as soft and sensuous as the World's language of love and romance.
How will the naiscent Swedish skibikers define the signature style of their skibiking passion? Will it be Raymond Georgesson making the highest or longest jump from a telemark ramp?
In Britain, we have yet to see how we will compare to our European cousins, but remember my Continental chums that the British have always shown the way ahead in extreme winter sports. From posh gentry in the early 1900s riding on planks with a bamboo pole to one side and shunned by the local Alpine populace who stoned them with snow balls at each and every opportunity.... "God Save The Queen".

In strictly chronological order my thanks and gratitude go to:

Sno!Zone in Milton Keynes who, by allowing access to SkiBikes, have made it a year round passion.

Mr Wayne Richards for the encouragement to "ditch the footskis", pre-season snow dome freestyle training and 100% accurate analysis of skibike design, skibiking dynamics and many hints, tips and wrinkles.

The Olivier Wagner and AFSB, the French skibike club, for working so relentlessly over the years to re-introduce veloskis into France and to Richard Platt of SAGB, the British skibike club, for the schmoozing of all those recalcitrant Mayors in tiny French villages, the British Army's gain was the Diplomatic Service's loss.

The Resorts of Flaine, Samoens and Les Carroz know collectively as "Le Grand Massif", you are leading the way and are now the nearest thing France has to Durango in Colorado. Perhaps next year Flaine will put skibikes on the same footing as SnowScoots.

Mr Carl Day, the man with a laugh big enough to carry across whole mountainsides, maybe one day I will get to see the pictures.

McDonalds restaurants who provided my sole reliable point of Internet access in Europe, all for the cost of a cup of coffee. Please add some more vegetarian items to your menu, fish is not a vegetable! The potato wedges were delicious though.

Serge Mermillod, from Firem VS, for his companionship, fine wine and rides of the splendid pre-production version of the new VS512, I hope you sell lots in 2013.

Sorenberg, Switzerland for the best snow in Europe this season, Les Carroz came close but Sorenberg took the prize

Martin Schwaiger from BullSkate for not clubbing me to death with a skibike saddle, due to my lack of almost any natural sporting ability and for helping me to reach dynamic equilibrium on the T-bars of Sorenberg.

Frederic Hupka for the use of his nuclear bunker, may it never be used for its intended purpose and provide a temporary home for other skibikers keen to follow in my tracks.

The many smaller ski stations of the French Alps and French Jura mountains for having the foresight to grant access to your ski lifts and slopes, helping out a pesky "RosBeef Anglais" in time of need, long may you continue. Especial thanks go to the unknown pisteur at Le Crozet who treated me to a brief and exhilarating 90 second ride back up the mountain on his snowmobile.

To my sister Colette for the use of her personal space as a skibiker crash pad and soggy boots and gloves drying out room. It was cleaner when I left, honestly.

To the BikerMads team for accepting an eccentric Englishman into their tribe, letting me abuse their prized skibikes on the T-bar, running over rocks and ice willy nilly and for taking the time out to show me the town and make me feel genuinely welcome. Now don't go mixing any Coca Cola with the Scotch, I will hear its cry all the way from England.

And lastly.... to the readers of the SkiBiker SkiBike Blog who have stopped lurking in the background and decided to contact me, you know who you are.

I have the feeling that the 2013 SkiBiker Tour will be a somewhat bigger affair and there could be some new SkiBiker writers adding their voice and opinions to the SkiBiker SkiBike Blog before then.
If you would like to join the skibiker party, please contact me through the FaceBook links provided or through the more the merrier.


  1. Carl says:

    Excellent read!
    Still not giving up on another quick 4 day trip to Grand Massif late March.
    Will sort the pictures out :-)

    Till the next time.

  1. Carl, you progressed so far in so short a space of time, that you should now face BullSkate Boot Camp in Sorenberg. Tough yes, but you will never be the quite the same again, it would be like a SnowBoarder riding with Burton.

  1. Guy72277 says:

    Hi Mark

    Great Blog. I'm a late 30's britisher with a lenz sport alpine brawler []I'd kind of given up on. I was thinking of selling it but this site is fantastic. True, there's little info about where it's possible to ski bike. I had a major disappointment on a week trip to Avoriaz (wow, a ski bike! You can't go on any lifts though...) that was saved by a friendly evening skidoo driver. Will look at your site to find where to go (Italian dolomites would interest me as that's where the in-laws live). Pity it's late in the season to find out about this....

  1. Guy, sorry to hear about Avoriaz, was that this year? I have fond memories from January 2011 when there was no problem taking my DIY skibike on the chairlifts and I spotted plenty of SnowScoots on the red runs. Nearby Morzine was skibike friendy too.
    Perhaps you could join us at Sno!Zone in Milton Keynes over the summer period and join me for the proposed 2013 skibiker tour.
    Use the Facebook links provided to contact me and swap details.

  1. Guy72277 says:

    Avoriaz was in 2010. Could be interested in joining for this 2013 snow biker tour, but I live in Luxembourg so Sno!zone is a little tricky.

    Not on Facebook but I'll have a look what it's all about....

  1. Guy, just about anywhere in Luxembourg can't be more than an hour from SnowHall near Metz. They have a SnowScoot only evening on Thursdays, they don't allow skibikes at the moment, but I have a telephone number for the tutor / organiser. Perhaps you could make some enquiries and see whether they would let you in. It is so huge compared to other indoor centres, it could become quite an attraction in summer.
    FaceBook has some very active groups, but if it doesn't appeal you will find e-mail contact information at this blog's parent site

  1. Update - now gathering names for the 2013 SkiBiker Tour here