BIKING ON THE VOSGES
When we talk about mountain biking in the Vosges Mountains, whether you’re an amateur or a professional competitor, most people will tell you that it’s a true pleasure to ride in this environment.
To understand why, in my opinion, this mountain is ideal for mountain biking; I would like to offer you a brief overview of its history and current situation.
The Vosges are part of the ancient mountain ranges of France that are very rich in history. Well before JC, Celts lived in the Vosges, several generations of peoples including the Gallos-Romans, the Franks, and Charlemagne all left their marks on the mountains
Today, there are beautiful traces of their passages to visit (menirs, unusual and sacred places, castles, curiosities).
A LAND FULL OF HISTORY
Formerly the Vosges and the Black Forest (Germany) formed a single mountain range but towards the end of the tertiary era (about 23 million years ago!) there was a powerful earthquake that changed the geography forever.
It separated the Vosges from the Black Forest and formed the plain of Alsace. It was also at this time when Jura and the Alps were formed
The Vosges peaks shape a natural border between two regions: Alsace to the east and Lorraine to the west. The Alsatian side is more steep and the glaciers have since turned into several high lakes (Lac Blanc, Lac Vert or Lac Noir).
The Lorraine slope is softer and naturally lower.
The mountain has also long served as a natural frontier through many wars. For examle, the “chemin des bornes” on the peaks where on one side is marked a D for Deutschland (Germany) and on the other an F for France.
ALSO FULL OF TRADITIONS
We often hear that the Vosges are “round”, especially when discussing the shape of its peaks called "Ballons". It is true that throughout the centuries, erosion has shaped the mountains.
However, the Celts and Gauls venerated their God ‘Bel’ for the Celts and ‘Belenos’ – this translates to ‘sun’.
Each year, they used to light large fires at the top of those peaks to celebrate the summer solstice. This is also why we called those peaks the "Ballons" of the Vosges.
The Vosges are 120 kilometers long and 40 kilometers wide. The Vosges club was created in 1872 and since then done some excellent work - the mountain now has 18,000 kilometers of marked trails.
All you have to do is open an IGN map on the Vosges mountain to realize the diversity of the trails. They are mostly all pedestrian paths and it’s important to respect the walkers.
The highest peaks are between 1000 and 1424 meters above sea level. At this height and over time, the winds gradually swept away the vegetation to give places to the famous "Chaumes".
The peaks offer beautiful views of the plains, Alps, and even The Black Forest.
Below 1000 meters of altitude, there are massive forests of spruce, beech and fir trees where all these beautiful paths cross each other.