A Lavoine (Allier), on peut profiter du plus grand espace VTT-FFC de France en VTT à assistance électrique

In Lavoine (Allier), you can enjoy the largest MTB-FFC area in France with an electric mountain bike

For those who yelled at me ‘it’s cheating’, I invite them to rent an electric mountain bike in Lavoine. Then they follow François Claire, secretary of the Foyer du Montoncel association which has five of these bikes that some believe are a miracle.

No secret, a mountain bike, even with electric assistance, remains a bike with a universal principle: you have to pedal.

And behind Francois, you have to pedal really well. Because he’s about 70 years old, he’s exceptionally well-endowed. He invited us with his mountain bike that had no engine other than his calf to discover his favorite course, the Bois Noirs block, to test the new rides at Foyer.In the Montaunciel foyer, Fluffy takes care of bike rentals.
Introduced by Vichy Communauté, it is a Shimano-powered five-wheeler. If it seems a little heavy at first, that impression is quickly forgotten, with the already very large disc brakes, which stop the bike well, and with the electric assist, which necessarily helps the pedal.François Claire remains faithful to his mountain bike with no engine other than his legs.
These famous aids that we choose according to the needs of the field. Of the three modes, I preferred an economy mode that still left enough to work my thighs. But of course I tested the tracking mode and finally the boost mode. The latter offers so much help that the weight of the legs is enough to move the bike forward. Definitely useful after four hours of cycling when you don’t have more strength. But on the rocky paths of Puy du Montoncel, this poses a no-go because it pushes you forward, not necessarily where you want it to be.The electric assist is ideal for maintaining speed and therefore balance when traversing very rocky trails.
But the level just below it, on the other hand, is an interesting trail setting in the steep paths caused by recent rains, exposing stones and roots. It allows you to overcome these obstacles quite easily, when you choose the correct development on the rear wheel sprocket sprocket. You get the impression that you are flying over stones, twigs, cracks … but you still have to keep your foot on the pedals so as not to lose control. I can speak for it, I also experienced falls, almost deadlocked on a climb towards our target: the Puy de Montancel.

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Coming to Lavoine without climbing to the highest point in the Allier section, at 1,287 metres, would be a novelty.

dancing stone…
From the Montauncil foyer, there is a wide, moving path that allows pedestrians to ascend in an hour and a half directly to the top. Very plan plan for my guide who knows every side road. After all, we’re here to get me to test the VVT ​​with electrical assistance. And François gives me the opportunity to do this by leaving the 71st circle (where we took the time to move the dancing stone), and taking the 35 back before rushing to the 34th.Wait, Francois, she’s climbing!
Having stood on the slip machines that break the roads, it is nevertheless necessary to cross the canyons. Fortunately my bike has wide tires for getting in the wet and gripping on canyon downhills. The solution is to go a few tens of meters into the forest. And it’s okay because I can’t stop with the auxiliary motor.

Discover Mount Bourbonnese with this enthusiast’s guide

The worst is yet to come with the recent descent to reach the top. François told me he would push his bike. Go ahead and quickly understand why, without electric assistance, he doesn’t cross a slope where boulders head everywhere. You have to put the front wheel in the right place so it doesn’t get stuck, so you need a little bit of speed to keep your balance. Balance I lose every breath to a small bowl in slow motion.
Not a big deal, the bonus is at the end of the steep path. Recently cleared from the top of the Puy du Montoncel, it offers a wonderful panoramic view of the Allier, the Puy-de-Dôme, and the Loire.

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2,780 km of the so-called pedal path between Vichy and La Chapelle Genest, in the Haute-Loire.Overseas destination: This is the name of the largest mountain biking region in France. It’s 125 circuits, from Vichy to La Chapelle-Geneste, in Haute-Loire, which have a total length of 2,780 km of track set by the French Cycling Federation. It is the union of three MTB/FFC spaces linked by intersections.
First, there is the Bois Noirs block, whose directors are behind the creation of the Destination Grand Air. MTB/FFC . area From the block Bois NoirsCreated in 2002, today it has 75 circuits representing 1,520 kilometers of marked routes, with twenty-nine departures spread over the departments of Loire, Puy-de-Dôme and Allier. Intersection with Espace VTT / FFC “Ambert-Crêtes du Forez” Connecting the Col des Supeyres and the ski resort of Chalmazel and Col du Béal has expanded the stadium for mountain bikers with seven starting points for 35 circuits, or 930 km of additional marked trails. The district of Bois Noirs participated in the creation of the sector of Vichy Montagne Bourbonnaise, but also of two intersections with its sector by Lavoine and Saint-Nicolas-des-Biefs. smallest Vichy Montagne Bourbonnese Thus it brings fifteen circuits and 330 km of three starting points. Note that from the start of Vernet Village, Route 80 takes you to the green pass that runs along the Allier River between Saint-Yorre and Billy.

Denis Lorott

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