Cycling the Alps – Day 1

Cycling the Alps – Day 1


Cycling the Alps – Day 1


Alastair McNeill


Cycling the Alps, Day 1 on La Routes Des Grandes Alpes from Geneva to Nice


The second of our series, Cycling the Alps, sees us tackle Day 1 of actual riding on La Routes Des Grandes Alpes. The route between Geneva and Nice takes us from Thonon Les Bains to Cluses, and inlcudes the climb of Les Gets (800m).


Cycling the Alps - Day 1
About to unpack the all important bikes


We landed in Geneva with our bikes packed in disposable cardboard boxes. Our concerns that the bikes would be broken on arrival were unfounded, as the boxes performed as well as any hard case I had used in the past.


Cycling the Alps - Day 1
Everything arrived in one piece or at least, so it seemed…


Or so it initially seemed, until we realised that the neat little hole in the side of one of the boxes was just the right size and shape for two skewers to fall out of. There followed two or three choice profanities from Ross, before I spent an hour cycling around Geneva looking for a bike shop…


Cycling the Alps - Day 1
So where are my skewers..?


When I eventually found one it looked much more like a high end car showroom, stocked with BMC carbon and 15,000 Euro Passonis’. I felt the distinct sneer of disapproval when I wheeled in my chipped up Kuota, but having got hold of replacement skewers, and had my tires pumped up by a mechanic in the most immaculately pressed overalls, we were ready to head off.


The Route Des Grandes Alpes starts from Thonon Les Bains, a town a few miles from the Swiss-French border on the edge of Lake Geneva.


Cycling the Alps - Day 1
Thonon Les Bains, ready for the off, with Lake Geneva as a back drop


The ride out takes you along the edge of Lake Geneva, over the Swiss-French border (a wooden hut with no one in it) and along the flat, busy and windy N5 for 20 miles. It was perhaps not the most scenic introduction to the trip, but it got the legs working and gives you time to get your head around the journey to come.


From Thonon Les Bain it is a steady 6 percent climb, through Morzine to Les Gets. Traffic was now lighter, with a steady flow of very muddy downhill mountain bikers rolling past us after riding the trails around Les Gets.


From there it is a lovely gentle run down into Clues, and a nice introduction to the route before you get to the higher mountains to the South.

Look out for Day 2 coming soon…

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