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“This fall I filmed with Gabriel Magnaval, a local rider heavily involved with his community: He organizes races on his local tracks (many of which he built himself) and if you thought that wasn’t enough, he works for Michelin in (Clermont Ferrand) on MTB tires in the top secret Ladoux testing facility.

Releasing this video feels like I’m spilling the beans on a juicy secret… I’m from Vancouver but also grew up part of the year in Central France where I have taken my bike on countless adventures. The “Massif Central” of France is a place I am very attached to and few people from outside the region know just how incredible the bike trails are. At first glance you might have difficulty finding much (there’s basically no trails mapped on Trailforks). You’d be easily forgiven for leaving the bike at home and going on one of the thousands of hikes that the area is known for, but if you connect with some of the local rider, maybe bribe them with a Pain au Chocolat it’s likely that the Auvergne will make it on your top 10 places to visit.

I’m drawn back to the rugged no-bullshit attitude people have in these mountains, and it’s obvious that those who live and ride there are proud to call it home. Riding through these landscapes, it’s quite humbling to experience a place that feels like your life is a quick blip in its long history. Looking up from my bars and seeing the 12th century “Château de Murol” marking the horizon, riding down century-old paths that once were the economic and social arteries connecting villages to each other or shuttling up the Mont Dore in the still working all wood and metal hillside elevator built in 1898, now classed in the “Monuments Historiques” reminds us to pause and reflect on the moment.

And that is why this place, shaped by now extinct volcanoes, is so special to me. If you see this video, share it with a friend and if you are ever near Central France make sure to bring a bike and a few euros for coffee. Heck – buy a beat up Peugeot to cruise around, chat with the locals and eat a Truffade after a long day. That’s what I did for the past six months and I have made some incredible lifelong memories!”

– Tristan Deggan

Thu 12th Oct, 2023 @ 9:30 am

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