Frequently asked questions
Who/what is Riding Life?
Riding Life are Wim Cooreman and Alex Belledent, two independent and fully qualified mountain bike guides/instructors living in Arêches-Beaufort.
Wim has worked as a guide in the summer of 2013 and 2014 for a British mountain biking holiday company formerly active in the area. He fell in love with a girl, the Beaufortain, the riding... and decided to trade his life as a social worker in Belgium for a (riding) life in the French Alps.
Alex and Wim met in the winter season of 2014-2015, while both were working in the local ski shops. They became friends and quickly started sharing their passion for skiing and mountain biking.
During the last summer seasons (2016 and 2017) they both worked as mountain bike instructors for the local bike schools. At the end of the 2017 season they came to the conclusion that:
1) They both love to ride and guide on the awesome natural singletracks the area has to offer, BUT there is no (more) organisation in the area that is specialised in Alpine Enduro guiding and coaching.
2) The "bike school season" (July-August) depending on local tourism is rather short, while the "riding season" is much longer (June until October).
So the decision was made to start up Riding Life: a small company focused on showing you the best natural singletracks of the Beaufortain valley and the surrounding area.
We would be more than happy to ride with you in 2018!
You've got me interested. So how does it work? What packages do you offer?
We have an offer of full day shuttle-assisted enduro and backcountry rides and (half or full day) skills coaching sessions. Check out our Activities page for more details!
Basically you have the choice to ride with us for 1 day, a couple of days or a full week. There are enough awesome trails in the area to fill up around 5 full days of riding without riding the same trail twice.
For example: it's perfectly possible to combine a skills coaching session in the bike park with a shuttle-assisted enduro tour on the next day.
We are working on an offer of all inclusive holidays. In the meanwhile, you are free to choose your accommodation. There is a large offer in the area for every budget: multiple camping sites, hotels, gîtes...
For more info, check out:
The booking section on the Arêches-Beaufort website: http://areches-beaufort.com/
If you have any other questions regarding accommodation, please don't hesitate to contact us!
Can I come on my own?
No problem at all! We will however try to put you in a group with other riders of your skill level. This could be a great opportunity to meet new people, share the passion for mountain biking and make new friends!
Do I need a sports insurance?
It is your responsibility to make sure you have the appropriate insurance for your activities during your stay with us. Mountain biking is a high-risk sport practiced at your own risk!
That doesn't take away the fact we do our best to guide you around the mountains as safely as possible.
What type of mountain bike do I need?
We recommend a solid full suspension bike of minimum 140mm travel. A downhill bike is not advised.
Most important things regarding the recommended bike setup are:
Powerful disc brakes with a minimum of 180mm rotors to prevent brake fade on the long descents.
Good working suspension.
Strong tyres with a decent grip and a minimum width of 2.3. Modern 'enduro-specific' casings are ideal: Schwalbe Supergravity, Maxxis Doubledown, Specialized Grid...
A dropper seatpost makes life easier. If you haven't got a dropper post yet, a quick-release seat clamp is very useful for quickly lowering your saddle for steep technical descents and putting it back up for climbs.
What else (mountain bike gear) do I need to bring with me?
One or two Spare Tyres, because there is always a risk to damage a tyre beyond repair.
Spare Inner Tubes (2 or more) and a repair kit.
Spare Brake Pads. At least 1 complete (front and rear) set, but be safe and bring two sets if you can!
Spare Derailleur Hanger – if it breaks during your stay, your bike will be effectively useless without a replacement.
Hydratation backpack (2-3 L of water) with the usual riding spares (pump, multitool etc).
Usual riding clothes and Shoes. Take multiple sets of riding clothes, depending on the length of your stay and the weather conditions.
Helmet – full-face or a half-lid, its really a case of what you feel comfortable in using.
Gloves (full finger) and any desired body armour – we highly recommend at least knee pads.
Riding sunglasses or goggles for protection against both the sun and foreign objects.
Why paying for a guide?
Even if you are a good level rider, there are some important advantages to booking a mountain bike ride with Riding Life:
Safety - You ride in group with a qualified mountain bike guide/instructor, who’s got a first aid training as well. We know the trails and warn you about the difficult sections.
Better and more trails - Thanks to our local trail knowledge, the uplift assistance (shuttle van) and our experience with different combinations of trails (itineraries), you will ride better and more singletracks than on your own. We take care of all the logistics and navigation, so you can fully focus on the riding.
Mechanical assistance - Our guides are excellent mountain bike mechanics and will help you with on-trail bike repairs.
What level of mountain bike rider do I need to be?
Our Skills coaching sessions (bike park season) are open to riders of all skill levels.
For our Enduro shuttle days and Backcountry days, we have to put a notice that riding in the Beaufortain and its surroundings is not easy. For a rider to enjoy their time on the trails here you need to have at least an intermediate level. You need to be able to choose a line; control your braking; be comfortable on natural, rocky, rooty and steep terrain.