Around about May the hankering sets in. I only have to hear a low industrial rumble faintly resembling a cable car drum and I can close my eyes and I’m off, leaning into the berms of La Roue Libre at Les Gets, or dangling my feet from the chair lift as I look down on the pine trees.

If the call of the Alps kicks in earlier than the holiday roster will permit, I’ve picked up a few tips to manage the weeks until it’s time to dust off the bike bag and body armour.

Years ago I read that, to prolong that holiday feeling, you should keep a tube of sunscreen in your desk drawer at work. Whenever you need a little mental break, a quick sniff of your favourite lotion will have you back on the sun kissed beaches with the waves lapping at the shore.


This summer, I was introduced to Fenwick’s by a fellow mountain biker, who was staying in the same chalet. Rather than the lurid pink stuff that we were used to using to clean our bikes, Fenwick’s relaxing dark green logo is matched by its pine fresh aroma. The chore of cleaning the bikes in a British winter has now been replaced by a ritual of spraying the mech and chain with Fenwick’s cleaning fluid, checking for wear and tear while oiling and wiping the chain and reliving that day’s smooth or sketchy landings while lubing the forks and suspension. Rounding off with the frame protection fluid brings instant job satisfaction: leaving the bike gleaming in the last rays of the day.

Fenwick's relaxing dark green logo
is matched by its pine fresh aroma

The smell reminds me of bath night as a kid, of a day well done and an evening to look forward to. Since this summer, it also reminds me of mountain biking in the Alps, when each evening the hot dusty garage of the chalet was filled with freshly cleaned and lubed bikes that smelled as good as the pine forests we’d been playing in all day.

I may be keeping a spare bottle in the drawer at work as next season’s hankering sets in.