July 14, 2013 at 9:16 pm #15104RadarModerator
It has to be said that the Pyrenees is almost annoyingly beautiful to behold…when you just want to get on to somewhere and you have to keep stopping just to take in and record your surroundings. Our first few miles today were like this as we made our way to Horquette d’ Ancizon. This forms part of the Tour de France route. We must have stopped five or six times and when reached the top again the view was just amazing. As I type I feel frustrated that I just come up with the words that will conjure accurately just how beautiful it really is.
Ses and thumper doing their best Euan and Charlie impression
Champs takes a moment just to take it all in…
Even the huge topbox on my FZ1S can’t spoil this backdrop
Not all the views were spectacular…us four
Thats more like it…
Riding a bike through here really allows you to connect with your environment that you would just not experience in a car. But I have to doff my cap to the many amateur cyclists we came across who were pitting themselves against the best this tour section could throw at them. In fact on the downhill section towards St.Larry Soulan (aka ‘Fat Larrys’), I was actually chased by one of them and for the first time in 30 years I was tempted to wave a cyclist past me…how embarrassing is that? At least Thumper doesn’t have it on film…oh hang on…he does! He will have to post that for you!
The cyclist that chased us down the mountain…
Good old Barre
Again we came across a closed pass as the impact of the flooding continued to affect our week, but as I said before the fact we were inconvenienced pales into insignificance when you consider what the locals had been contending with. We eventually wound our way to a ski station at D’Pau just beyond Aragnouet (aka ‘Jason’). Closed for the summer it had a surreal almost other worldly air and some of the accommodation blocks looked very run down, but as ever the mountain views dominated.
The deserted ski station was really run down, but new blocks were also to be seen
Thumper in classic GS riding Wehrmacht officer stance
Our lunch halt
How many engineers does it take..?
After a lunch halt back in Aragnout we made for the Lac Dioren and en-route stopped at a waterfall to take pictures. Again as we made our way uphill we came across a sign ‘Route Barre’…i.e. road closed…twice. Nonetheless we made our way to spot overlooking two dams and just took some time out to chill for a while and reflect on a few things, not least how kind the weather had been to us since the miserable trip from Caen to LaRochelle we had endured not so long ago. The roads had been amazing twisty all day and we had enjoyed the riding, I took a little while to zone in to be honest but was enjoying the lazy effortless power and strong brakes of my FZ1S.
Barre turns up again
Thumper strikes his trademark pose once more…
His influence seems to be spreading…
I knew I was right to have Champs down as a deep thinker…
I bet this took some building
The road ahead beckons
Does this need a caption?
You can tell when you are in a foriegn land…a trike, but no Suzuki GT750 anywhere..
The road twisted back on itself time and time again: Champs and I had huge amounts fun as we threw our bikes at hairpin after hairpin, hard on the brakes, tail end going light, lean hard over then squirt the gas to the next hairpin and then repeat the whole sequence again and again!. What a fantastic piece of road. Thumper on the GS and Ses on the CBF were flying along too. This is what biking is all about!
I don’t think ‘twisty’ quite gets it over properly…
Perfect bike touring country
We decided to head into Spain; entering via the Tunnel d’Aragnout-Biesla, Champs was keen to get there he jumped the red light and just wondered straight into the tunnel. Curiously the traffic is only allowed to travel through one direction at a time; each getting an eleven minute stint. There are two lanes, but only one is used. I expect it is a safety thing, either way I was expecting Champs to re-emerge at any moment with half of the Spain’s plod in hot pursuit, but when Ses Thumper and I eventually made it through to the Spanish side, Champs was sat there waiting for us, his usual cool self.
That’s a RED light Champs!
The contrast in the roads was striking immediately…the roads on the Spanish side are smoother, wider and perfectly cambered. What a delight and we all enjoyed pushing on here. It reminded me so much of the roads I had enjoyed down in southern Spain in 2008. If the rides in Northern Spain are like this then that is a strong contender for the Euro run in 2014 without a doubt. We didn’t go too far just checking out a lake just beyond Biesla and working our way up a mountain road that just gradually turned into a rock strewn track. Thumper was happy…
Spain was horrible too…
Cahmps takes it easy for a while
The Spanish perspective…
On our way back into France Champs got stuck behind some traffic and decided to obey the red light for the tunnel this time. I waited for him on the other side while Thumper and Ses waited a couple of miles further on. Champs eventually emerged and when we rolled up to join Ses and Thumper it was obvious all was not well…the CBF1000 had rolled off its stand and now sported a scratched fairing and a broken brake lever. The bike was still ride able but only just. I think it is fair to say that Ses was not a happy bunny…
The day had been demanding and we were all tiring by now as we retraced our steps home. Thumper was so out of it that he hadn’t realised we had covered this ground before and pulled up to take piccies at stop where we had already done so only a few hours before. The valley we meandered through this morning was despatched at pace this time. My riding was getting ragged as I tired and at one point I made a good attempt at killing myself with a near suicidal over-take. All jokes aside it un-nerved me a little and I was subdued as we made our way back to Campan.
Nobody was up for cooking, not even kitchen mad Ses, so we made for the Pizza restaurant once more, had another excellent meal, a few more beers and bizarre rendition from the female chef of what she assured us was the famous English ‘Coffee Song’. It might have been her delivery but it sure as hell rang no bells with me!
We had only covered around 130 miles today and it a measure of just how demanding these mountain roads are that we all felt so drained. We are strong lads however and bravely rounded of the evening in front of the fire downing a few more beers…proper ones this time!July 15, 2013 at 7:54 am #66453ChampsParticipant
For official purposes, I ‘accidentally’ rode through the red light
And technically, there was a big green arrow directing me which lane to go in!
Since probably christmas I have been toying with changing my bike, and no… i am not getting two. i dont use one enough, however although we only covered 130 miles this was the day I fell back in love with my bike, with the evening conversation moving to ‘sorting the brakes’, ‘fitting rearsets’, ‘getting the fairing tidied up’ and of course ‘DYNOJETTING’!
The smallest bike in the fleet, low on torque and speed but the little 6r kept up with everything the big bikes had, only being let down by my lack of talent. I know I am biased but nothing beat the noise of the zx6r with straight through scorpion can at over 10K rpm in amongst the mountains. Happy days!July 15, 2013 at 10:25 am #66454HippoDronesParticipant
sorry to hear of the damage to the bike, hope easily fixable?
There was a really bad accident in one of the Switzerland/Italy tunnels not that long ago and I think that is why they space everyone out through them all now.
There would have been a mutiny if someone served me shandy rather than beer!July 15, 2013 at 1:23 pm #66455
Damage wasn’t too bad, although at the time if I’d of been on my own I’d have rolled the bike off the side of the cliff I was that annoyed! Once I’d calmed down and could see it with a clear head was fine.
Good write up again, captured the day perfectly.July 15, 2013 at 7:59 pm #66456
Thank you Radar, I’d forgotten just how much we got up to on this day.
Your write-ups are actually a lovely memento.
Ahh, those lanes with grass up the middle….July 15, 2013 at 8:24 pm #66457
Tour De France Roads – Quicker by bicycle than motorbike?
I have a lot of respect for the guys doing the camera work now on those fast twisty bits.
Ses & Radar being sized up for being overtaken by a cyclist!
[youtube]https://youtu.be/Dcfkl6nUVrE[/youtube]July 15, 2013 at 11:18 pm #66458
Champs….more Like Superman……..July 16, 2013 at 8:17 am #66459HippoDronesParticipant
hahahaJuly 16, 2013 at 12:22 pm #66460
It’s the cyclist waving to the camera that just makes it so much worse hahaJuly 18, 2013 at 8:01 pm #66461RadarModerator
It’s the cyclist waving to the camera that just makes it so much worse haha
and you had your indicator on!July 21, 2013 at 1:09 pm #66462
It’s the cyclist waving to the camera that just makes it so much worse haha
and you had your indicator on!
Only just noticed that, I must of been thinking of pulling over to let him by!
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.