"A bike tour with the legends of the Tour de France" Laruns by kokoryko
Laruns Travel Guide: 18 reviews and 84 photos
South of Aquitaine are the Pyrenées Mountains where I hike or even trek when I have time, but I also bike sometimes and I want to take you with me to one of the legendary places of the Tour de France : the Col d’Aubisque, not very high (1708 m), but a nightmare for so many cyclists, with an average climb of 7% on the last 18 km and with short “ramps” of 12-13%!
I was there on bike last time in April this year (2006), departing from Pau and return back to Pau the same way (not in the “plain”) because the road to the Soulor path was still closed (snow) and could not make a bigger round trip.
Before departure, to see what awaits you, go on the Boulevard des Pyrénées, and look south to the mountains.
Along the road are villages, beautiful landscapes, and other nice places to visit or things worth a detour; I made some detours on my bike, and I show here pictures I took during the biking tour (100 km of which 25 km steep climb) and other pictures I took before or after along this tour. Nice castles are quite common in Bearn.
And, End April, the spring is arriving, and the flowers begin to bloom despite quite cold night temperatures; the blue gentians brighten the roadside and give mood to climb higher. . . .
I was by bike at all the places I show here and I put them in the order you can discover them when leaving Pau, heading for the Col d’Aubisque on the main road (RN 134, then D934). Well, by bike and fine weather it is nice, but it is easily possible to do it by car, preferably in spring or autumn, and even spend a few days in the Ossau Valley and take your time to discover the place. The tarmac road is fine, even by car you can admire the landscape and the view of this mountain is just enchanting.
This page is on Laruns because it is the main village in the Ossau Valley, a small resort, and it is located just before the junction of the roads from Aubisque and Pourtalet, the latter one going to Spain. After this junction, the road begins to climb seriously and on the picture here, you can see there is still snow above the ski resorts by end April.
Ah, finally you arrive on top and pose for a photograph to immortalise this trip; but there are still 50 km to return, downhill, mainly , but luckily, the days are getting longer and I will take my time. . .
I have posted a map showing the bike tour in the general tips; I made (and still will do) other bike day-tours (with detours, ha-ha) in the area (may be I post one day), but they are generally shorter and I am not masochist enough to climb a high pass every time I jump on my bike. Some pictures here are from those tours when the “big” tour was one the same road as some of the smaller tours.
And a last word: last summer in Tadjikistan, I met bikers who travelled through the Pamirs, and they had to climb passes up to 5600m, (from a “base” at 3600-4000m), with heavy bikes, luggage, etc. . . sometimes one pass per day, every day, so I keep modest with my bike tour, very very modest, but I enjoyed!
I recently found one of my pictures somewhere on the web where it has nothing to do.
It arrived there without permission.
My pictures are far from being works of art, but be kind and ask if you want to use.
Unless otherwise marked, I am the author of the pictures.
Grrr not easy to post readable maps!! Well, this map shows the Ossau Valley and the routes I took up and down. Some of... more travel advice
Pedalling slowly uphill you have plenty of time to look at flowers, here a yellow Tussilage (Tussilago Farfara, bull’s... more travel advice
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