Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Pic St Loup

Finally got round to riding up around the Pic St Loup last week, and returned yesterday to do the same loop of 68 kilometres but in the other direction. The Pic St Loup is a mountain, 658 metres high, poking up out of the plain about 25 kilometres north of Montpellier. There's no road to the top, but you can walk up it, and I have many times in the past, but the rather beautiful and desolate country to the north of the Pic makes great cycling terrain. I took the bike in the car and parked at Les Matelles and began my ride from there. The interesting stuff starts at the next village, St Mathieu, where the road starts to climb up between the Pic and it's sister, the Mont Hortus and at the top of the climb there's a spectacular view looking back towards St Mathieu. A fast descent then, and turn off the main St Martin de Londres road and head north to the very pretty village of Notre Dame de Londres. These back roads are very quiet and lonely. You can easily ride for ten or twenty kilometres without seeing another vehicle and could easily be abducted by aliens without anyone ever knowing! No flat roads here but constant short sharp climbs and descents. Pass through Ferrieres and Pompignan where there's a good sharp climb through a series of hairpin bends and you arrive on top of a desolate plateau that's not far off the height of the Pic which can be clearly seen on the horizon almost as if you could touch it. After the straight road which crosses the plateau, there's a long zig-zag descent down to Valflaun├Ęs and civilisation, then it's easy roads back to Les Matelles and my car. Once again I realise how lucky I am to live in such a great place with such superb bike riding available.

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