Some events can happen during a climb that will ask you a question if you can claim or not. The following thoughts aren't rules but linked to our customs & habits. It would be good to give attention to those special cases. Thank you very much !
Recall the article 2. Rules for claiming ascents
A2.1. If a member has reached on a day in his life, one top corresponding in the list to a number among the 1,000 of the superlist, that (s)he reached it on a bicycle (not an electric one) , by climbing entirely one side described in the BIG website to this top, then (s)he can claim, by honour, the success of achieving the ascent corresponding to this number.
This rule is clear, normally discussions are not needed. But there always is some difference between theory and practice, which we define as « Grey zone ».
This grey zone should remain as small as possible and there shouldn’t be a guide book of exceptions, because it is human to look for the most easy way anyway.
Especially the members high in the ranking and the finishers should be aware that they are role models to other members. So, they should behave with responsibility and respect the rules.
We hear about members creating their own rules. But this should not be done, in this case the member should ask himself if he/she is at the right place in this cycloclimbing challenge.
By subscribing to the BIG cycling challenge the member engages to respect the rules. Every member should respect him/herself by respecting the rules.
All together, by respecting the rules, we will be able to maintain the quality and reputation of our challenge now and in future. We do not want to become known as being a club taking « compromises in our cycloclimbing culture» !
It is obvious that because of age, gender, physical strenght, experience, etc. there are lots of differences between members. This is why the ranking based on the number of climbs should be considered as indicative and not as resulting from a competition. There is no winner ! Each mountain or pass conquered is a win by itself, and every active member is a winner.
And most of all, climbing BIGs is sharing the passion of cycloclimbing all throughout Europe and beyond.
Concerning the « Grey zone » the rules may, in specific and rare situations, raise questions about whether to claim or not to claim a BIG. So, jurisprudency is than needed. This page will give you our opinion about some situations experienced and will show the way how to proceed.
Some situations are more obvious than other ones and some are really on the borders of what is forbidden or agreed. Here is the borderline and the way to follow. But the final question will always be : « in the evening, in front of your own mirror, are you proud of what you claimed ? ».
In doubt just ask for a feedback, for example from Etienne Mayeur or Eric Lucas.
Here are some common types of abuse that should be avoided:
The member doesn't start in the precise waypoint given by the website as the bottom of the big.
Many of the members that come by car, cannot park at the official starting point of a BIG or decide to park at the top. In all cases that one parks higher than the starting point there is of course no problem to cycle down to the real official starting point as indicated on our website. There is no need for exceptions because if exceptions would be allowed, each of us might define the definition of what is « a short missing distance » in another way ! And it is no coincidence that a specific point is choosen as a startpoint.
In case a member considers that there is a problem with the official starting point or the itinary itself, he/she is kindly adviced to give his/her feedback. The issue will be discussed and potentially modifications can be made.
The member doesn't reach the top by riding the ascent entirely on the bike.
We understand there may be some special difficulties with some climbs or the special problems linked to special events. If the end of a climb is impossible to reach on the bike, due to works on the roads, rockfalls / mudslides / floodings, too high gradients (over 30%), or a feast or manifestation with policemen blocking the end of the climb, we indicate that you can only claim if you reach the top or a point very close ( 100 to 200 meters distance max.) to the top by pushing your bike, but trying as much as possible to ride your bike inside this difficulty.
If you stop and go back without trying, or if instead of your efforts, you must abandon further from the top than indicated, the member should not claim and come back another time for climbing the unclimbed part or the entire climb.
Please note that in general if a road is blocked it is normally well-known in advance, so come back later, also if snow blocks the route.
Be aware that our challenge of cycloclimbing at higher altitudes is NOT considered as a winter activity!
If there is an alternative bypass to the blocked road, for example the tunnel at Hardangervidda (Norway) that bypasses the blocked old road, than it is allowed to continue to the summit.
In doubt of accesibility just inform yourself, ideally before departure (e.g. through members that already climbed, tourist offices, etc.) ! In all other cases of being confronted by inaccesible roads to the summit on the day itself, come back to try the challenge again !
Remark : Choose well your bike (MTB or roadbike) and gears to be used for a climb ! Not reaching a summit by having chosen the wrong type of bike, is not an excuse for claiming anyway ! This applies whether or not indications on our website are incomplete (e.g. about gravel sections).
The member defined a list of BIGs in his travel's plans but had no time to climb it
We understand that some travels are expensive and time-spenders but it is obvious that a member should not claim an unclimbed BIG, even if everything was prepared in a good way. Claiming a planned but unclimbed BIG is not allowed and it is not fair towards the members that did climb it.
Not riding by bike is definitely not claiming !
The member uses a side different from those indicated in the website
The member is adviced to climb a BIG over the side or one of the sides (if more than one side is indicated) as is presented on our website. (See the rule A.2.1.). Normally, the planning of cycling new BIGS starts with a review of the website. It shows the possible sides to climb a BIG that allows the member to claim.
A member is allowed to suggest a new side to our newlist-group. But there is no guarantee in advance that his/her suggestion will be accepted as a « claimable » side.
The member uses a common first section for two bigs
According to the rules, it's authorized. The cases are rare though and should remain exceptions. Sofar many members do even not realise this possibility. So, the member is allowed to choose for him/herself if the common section is climbed once or twice.
An example is Chandolin and Lac de Moiry (Switzerland). The section Sierre-Vissoie is the common section. Of course, climbing only once this section reduces the value of the challenge. An alternative in this case, if the member doesn’t want to climb the common section twice, would be to climb to Lac the Moiry over the western road into the valley instead of the common eastern road.
Our advice clearly is to avoid common sections, especially if they involve longer (> 5 km) distances and/or steep sections and /or considerable altitude difference (> 200 altimeters).
Our committee will also work on reducing this type of « common section BIGs »
Thank you very much to have read those special cases and to take care of them when you try to climb one of our selected ascents of our fixed lists.
The B.I.G. committee