Steel and carbon are the main materials hanging in the bike room of Hotel Saint Roch; it’s an hour before the start of Where The Streets Have No Name in the Alps. Under a clear blue sky and in the bright French sunshine, the colours of the frames explode as they’re rolled out one by one. Relaxed music sounds on the terrace and a last cup of coffee is enjoyed while loading the routes onto bike computers. A motley crew of 'friends of' and komoot ambassadors Martijn van Strien (Fernwee), Erwin Sikkens and William van der Staaij are at the start for the first edition of WTSHNN Alps.
I’m taking you back to December 2020, when Anne and I had just arrived in Puy Saint Vincent. In between preparations for the opening of our hotel, I grabbed my bike to explore our new backyard. It was cold and well below freezing, but the roads and slopes were still free of snow. Out of breath, I reached the top and was amazed by the phenomenal alpine scenery laid out before me.
Puy Saint Vincent is situated in the Ecrins Massif, one of the most beautiful natural parks in France and, according to many, the least violated mountain landscape of the Alps. It is raw and untouched here. The slopes of Puy Saint Vincent consist of an extensive network of gravel paths and singletracks, with spectacular views of fast-flowing rivers, valleys and glaciers.
Straightaway, I knew that this location was utterly unique and would capture the hearts of cyclists from around the world. I called Gijs Bruinsma, a former colleague of mine from many enjoyable cycling events, and asked him, ‘can we bring Where the Streets Have No Name to the Alps?’
Where the streets have no what? WTSHNN is an event for gravel lovers and mountain bikers, organised by True Grit Cycling and created on the Utrechtse Heuvelrug. Because I loved it so much, I hung the signs myself during the first edition. WTSHNN is a day out with your friends on your bike. starting with good barista-made coffee before immersing yourself in nature and tearing through unpaved roads and single tracks together. After your ride you sit around the campfire and share great stories with a beer in one hand and a burger in the other. WTSHNN is a cycling party. Can it be done in the Alps?
We certainly thought it could. The idea was born and plans were made. All that remained was to work it out. Because of the pandemic, only a small number of participants could attend. So was there still partying and cycling? Well and truly. From the pre-party on Friday evening and a breathtaking alpine ride on Saturday to a relaxed ride on Sunday, a bicycle fiesta took place in Puy Saint Vincent; the first of many. The next edition is already planned, from 8-10th July 2022.
Photos from this report were taken by Erwin Sikkens and Taco Spriensma. For more information, visit truegrit.cc/where-the-streets-have-no-name/wtshnn-alpen
After coffee, the starting gun sounded and we rolled off the terrace with the prospect of a ride over the Alpine slopes of Puy Saint Vincent. 64 kilometers and over 1800 meters of altitude, most of which is unpaved on gravel paths, singletrack, up or down. These slopes are just a bit steeper and rougher…
It is best to take it easy on a Sunday ride after such an event with a coffee ride, also known as a coffee ride. Most of the effort had already been made on the Alpine peaks yesterday. Or because of peaking at the drink afterwards? In that case, the name hangover ride also counts.
In any case, it was…
Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.
Road Cycling Highlight
At first glance, Mountainhotel Saint Roch may seem like one of the many hotels in the region... but nothing could be further from the truth. Besides the perfect location for various activities such as cycling (road as well as gravel and MTB), it is really perfect to sleep here. Wonderful beds and very hospitable service and reception. Last but definitely not least... the kitchen! Even if you wouldn't sleep here... do yourself a favor and stop here for a good plate of food during your ride!
Tip by erwinsikkens_com
Mountain Biking Collection by Peter Baumeister
Mountain Biking Collection by European Divide Trail
Road Cycling Collection by Bikehotels Südtirol
Hiking Collection by Angelina Kuhlmann