Pyrenees (La France)
Pyrenees (La France)
Pyrenees (France) – Vallée Argelès-Gazost
Considering a cycling trip to the French Pyrenees? Here’s why you should go:
- Infamous cols such as L’Aubisque, Col du Tourmalet, Hautacam and Luz-Ardiden
- All cols are within a 20-30km radius
- Less crowded compared to the French Alps (Bourg d’Oisans/Alpe d’Huez-region)
The Vallée Argelès-Gazost is the cycling capital of the Pyrenees. From the valley you can test your climbing skills, as there are quite a few cols which regularly form the basis of a mountain stage in the Tour de France.
Main cols are Col du Tourmalet, L’Aubisque, Hautacam and Luz Ardiden, all with stunning views of the surroundings and with little traffic. However, the Pyrenees have much more to offer!
The Pyrenees also has a few well kept cycling secrets, such as Cirque du Troumousse which is col leading to the heart of the Pyrenees National and to the circus on the UNESCO Word Heritage site. You’ll need to climb 1420 meters from Luz Saint Sauveur. Other gems are Col de Tentes, Col de Couraduque and Pont-d’Espagne.
Between Argelès-Gazost (463m) and Luz Saint Sauveur (711m), it’s more or less 18km flat so good for warming up or a day without heavy climbing.
The price level is moderate, so no need to hold back on the baguettes!
Below we have included a few suggested routes!
Argelès-Gazost – Col d’Aubisque – Pont Lauguère – Col d’Aubisque – Argelès-Gazost
This is the classic ride from the valley, whereby you need to defeat Col d’Aubisque twice! From Argelès-Gazost simply go up towards Col du Soulor (part of L’Aubisque) until you reach the summit of Col d’Aubisque at 1709m. Alternatively, could also start with with Col des Bordères via Estaing for a more scenic climb towards Col du Solour and Col d’Aubisque. After reaching summit, descend towards Pont-Lauguère and treat yourself lunch if possible ;). Turn back for a faster ascend towards the summit! Last 10km of your second climb of L’Aubisque are hard with an average incline of around 8,5%!
We have selected a number of regions in the Swiss Alps to start your cycling adventure. One of these places is the JungFrau region. Why go to this region?
- The looming Alps for cyclists looking for a challenge (e.g. Männlichen and Sustenpass) and small hills and flatter areas to match every fitness and interest level (e.g. Lake Brienz)
- Most major passes are far less travelled than the passes in for instance France and Italy. Moreover road conditions are generally very good
- The Jungfrau region offers spectacular views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau and has been awarded the status of a UNESCO World Heritage site
The Jungfrau region is quite large. We have pre-selected accommodations in Grindelwald, the Hasli valley (villages of Meiringen and Innertkirchen) and the villages around the lake Brienz. All places have their advantages. Grindelwald is beautifully located but a bit higher in altitude. It does offer a wide range of restaurants and other facilities. The villages located in the Hasli valley are more centrally located and therefore offer easier trips to for example the Grimselpass and passes beyond. Also the Alpenbrevet tour starts from Meiringen which is located in the Hasli valley. Finally but not least are the villages located around Lake Brienz. The location of the villages allows a nice warm-up before starting climbing and allows you to take a dive in the lake.
In any case the region is beautiful offers tons of different climbs. Although you can easily go up to 5000m a day in altitude, the region also offers great opportunities for people who would like to go for flat rides. The roads on Lake Brienz and Lake Thun are ideal!
The price level is quite high (both restaurants and super markets) so be prepared. If you like hearty meals try Rösti!
Below we have included some suggested routes for you to take. The level of difficulty varies. Follow the link to cyclingcols.com to see the altitude profile.
Grindelwald – Kleine Scheidegg – Männlichen – Grindelwald
Although not that many kilometers, the road only goes up! Head down towards the train station and follow the road that leads over the river and start your ascend. At a certain point there is a split in the road: one road leads to the Kleine Scheidegg and the other towards Männlichen. Follow the road to the Kleine Scheidegg and make sure you follow the signs or otherwise you will end up on really steep side roads. Note that the last part to the top of the Kleine Scheidegg is not paved, but based on our experience should not be a problem. Take a good rest at the top of the Kleine Scheidegg and start your descend towards to road junction.
This time take the other path and follow it all the way up to Männlichen. The first part is OK but especially the last 3 kilometers are killing. Good luck! On top of the Männlichen you can really enjoy stunning view of Grindelwald, Wengen and off course the Eiger and surrounding mountains. After a late lunch head down towards Grindelwald.
Grindelwald – Axalp – Grosse Scheidegg – Grindelwald
- 90.6km (with Grosse Scheidegg)
- 2724m (with Grosse Scheidegg)
Go down the valley towards Interlaken. Make sure you follow the signs for cyclists as you will otherwise end up at the main road which is full of traffic. When you reach Interlaken you can either take the road on the north side of the lake or the south side (which is shorter). Follow the road towards Meiringen and at a certain point in time you will see the sign for the Axalp.
Although you had a really good warm-up and the trip towards the top of the Axalp is only 12km, the Axalp is a really hard climb with an average incline of over 10%. On top of the Axalp take some rest and have some lunch. Afterwards take the road back to Interlaken (our recommendation would be to take the other side of the lake) and head up to Grindelwald. Again make sure you follow the correct signs. This climb is relatively easy (especially compared to the Axalp).
For those who would like to do some more climbing after the Axalp we suggest to follow the road to Meiringen and further towards Innertkirchen. This is an easy road to follow and leads you past the military airport (sometimes you have to wait for the fighter jets to pass). After the tank station on the road between Meiringen and Innertkirchen go right towards Rosenlaui and the Grosse Scheidegg. This is a really nice and long climb (19km and an average of 7.1%) which is partly traffic free (except for the public bus which travels on the pass). The part after which the road becomes traffic free gets steeper and includes some sort of Belgian La Redoute part!
Grindelwald – Grosse Scheidegg – Grimsel – Brienz – Grindelwald
Make sure you warm up a bit because you will immediately start climbing the Grosse Scheidegg (already familiar turf by now). After reaching the top go down towards Innertkirchen and follow the signs towards the Grimselpass.
The Grimselpass is about 26 kilometres and snakes it way up to two dams and reservoirs and offers really nice views. On top of the Grimselpass take a well-deserved break and make sure you catch a glimpse of the breath taking Furkapass. Now head down the way you came and follow the road back to Meiringen and Brienz.
From Brienz follow the lake to Interlaken and start your ascend towards Grindelwald.
As an alternative you can also follow the signs towards the Sustenpass from Innertkirchen. This is also a long challenging and very nice climb (take the old road on the right hand side before entering the tunnel when climbing up)!