Ted Liddle is an ex outdoor pursuits instructor who lives in Northumberland where he enjoys his passion for all things outdoors including cycling. Ted is a committed advocate for cycling having worked professionally in cycling development since 1994. Still working as a cycle tourism specialist, Ted is a passionate road cyclist and mountain biker responsible for creating some 2,000 miles cycle routes in the north of England many of which are mapped and signed.
Having walked, climbed and ski-ed in the Alps recreationally and professionally for many years including mountain biking in the Haute Savoie region in the early days of mountain biking, Ted began organising mountain biking tours for friends in different Alpine regions and his version of the Tour of Mt Blanc by MTB was slotted into the programme in 2006.
Ted formed Tyne Valley MTB Cycling in 2009 to share his enthusiasm for the sport and his route knowledge with others but also to campaign to improve routes and access for MTBers, He realised that if some of the club’s Alpine tours were joined up and extended, a unique linear Alpine tour by MTB was evolving which almost certainly no one would have ever ridden before. And so the Great Alpine Chain by MTB (GAC) between Geneva and Salzburg and / or the Venice Plain was born.
Every summer since then, a group of club members has ridden a section of the GAC researched by Ted on the best MTB trails he can find overnighting whenever possible in simple mountain accommodation but always beginning where finishing the previous year. It’s not an exaggeration to say all riders have been seriously challenged by the seriousness and altitude of some of the routes and have been blown away by the stunning scenery.
The group made Salzburg the North East end point in 2015. In 2016 the group traversed the Dolomites riding the demanding and often technical Via Migra route which is basically a corridor of route options between the German border with Austria and Monte Grappa north of Venice. This created a South West end point for the GAC at the foot of Monte Grappa on the edge of the Venice Plain.
To finally complete the GAC, split over 2 weeks, for the last 2 years Ted has been leading his loyal group of riders southwards between Geneva and the Mediterranean. The northern half was Geneva to Guillestre and the southern half is Guillestre to Menton which will be ridden in August 2019.
The Great Alpine Chain by MTB is an amazing and seriously challenging tour by MTB which Ted thinks will take 12 weeks in total to ride from end to end. It links as many iconic Alpine locations as possible as it traverse some of the most amazing MTB terrain in the world. Some entire sections have proved so unbelievably good that Ted has ridden them several times with different club members.
A nucleus of Tyne Valley MTB Cycling club members has made this annual adventure a ‘must do’ diary event and ridden every section whilst others have dipped in and out and Ted has already begun to write the diary of the journey for publication at future date.
Ted says “The Great Alpine Chain by MTB has been a superb adventure from start to finish and almost certainly a unique life time best achievement. Descending Monte Grappa in late August 2016 to reach the southern end of this epic route wasn’t a bad way to overcome a full knew replacement in 2014 and defy being 73.”
Below are a few images of particularly memorable sections of the Great Alpine Chain by MTB – all available in high resolution.