A road to ride before you die!
It goes no where - just up the mountain and stops!
However, it is one of the most exciting rides I have ever made - I touched my boots twice on a 1200GS, the second time I knew it was coming and lifted it - but it touched anyway.
Incredibly fast, incredibly twisty - there is some tourist traffic but even in mod august it was light enough to get round. The mountain was above the snow line but warm - the google map does not look right - just take the 923 from Gavarnie and ride till it stops.
I cant believe that this road is not on already - maybe it is under another guise.
Its where I take customers who want a little help with riding seriously twisty mountain roads before they set off.
I have only seen one group of foreign riders on it (GB) so maybe it is a secret - well worth riding.
One of the best roads I have ever ridden. Great road surface, great corners, no traffic at all and spectacular scenery. What else can a biker ask for?
Assuming you are coming from France - you will probably com via D117/N20. When you hit Hospitalet-Pres-L'Andorre you will turn onto the N22. Somewhere about here look to take a break and do what ever you do to prepare. This is a seriously twisty road - and a fairly fast one - most of the hairpins you can safely take between 60 and 80 KPH but there a quite a few tighter slower ones - the good news is you will evenly wear every surface of your tires - the bad news is some of the corners merit 'back brake dragging' and that's going upwards! Low season (the Pics are from April 19th 2007) the roads are clear of tourists - so we only had about 5KM when people got in the way. The rest of it is indescribably brilliant! We did our base (Montrejeau) to Andorra and back in a day - 480 KM 8-9 hours ride time - every KM briliant! took the Fazer but the MT03 or the ER6 would be better. The route (all here) is D618/N117 and this final bit N22, CG2 CG3) if you're down here - treat yourself! Don't forget to look at the Pics!
This road notionally a continuation from the Fronsac - St Girons section - is by far the best section of the two halves. Please Note: NOT for the faint hearted. Climbing the Col De Port is without a doubt a peak motorcycling experience. It's a lane and a half - at 35 Km/hour (about 20 MPH) I had the bike hard over and getting round some of the bends was not a sure thing. After one 'straight' I looked down and realised I had peaked out at just under 50 MPH - but due to the road surface which is very bumpy (but good ie not loose) - which gives some idea of how involving the riding is. For 15-20 minutes I 'worked like a competition motocrosser' - a fabulous piece of slow speed motorcycling! Ti with d117/N20 to get into Andorra - good stuff!
I will forgive you for being confused - I was! First the decision about the road type - Mountainous, Rural or Trail. Um - Yes. No sorry - not good enough pick one. Ok then trail (just in case some one decides to take their 'Blade up there. But not strictly true - see below. Length of route - um - as the crow flies - 20KM - for the odometer - 40-50? So far - so good. Now lets get really confused... This road is exceptional! First the good news - Visibility - no idea what's coming up (or down). Road surface - very bad lots of potholes, gravel, banding etc, Hasards - you need to be alert continuosly. Now the better news - you never see a copper - why - you can't possibly go over 70 (Km). No straights, all corners - scenery - outstanding! Road/trail driven on a Royal Enfield Deluxe, for the photos, up to the start of the forest trail section. Despite being hot and sunny, it was february so icy roads in the shadows stopped play (gone by mid-march) - had the author been on one of the firm's GS's or trail bikes the fun would have continued as it has done on several previous occaisions. The 'road' can be accessed either from the D618 running near Col D'Aspet (starts with forestery track) or from the N125 just 100 m from the passport control to the spanish border. Follow the signs to Melles. OK 'Blade man' - you can take your bike up to Melles - maybe a little higher - the Auberge there is well worth lunching at. Beware - the tarmac section to the top of the mountain is very tortuous - all 20 -30 Km corners and 180 degree turns - which is why I took the Enfield - as the bike is just a pleasure to ride there square tires an all! On the right kit - the forest tracks can be taken at anything up to 90Km/h - but with caution. Big loop possible tying up D925, this route and D618. Any questions - find me at Mission Motos. Happy rides.
I really enjoyed the D918/D935 which runs from Arreau to Bagneres de Bigorre via the Col d'Aspin. It has a good surface and is littered with nice bends on the way to the summit at almost 1500 metres which was pretty busy when we visited. The road at the top was blocked by cattle and the surrounding area was alive with tourists, walkers, and of course cyclists. It's plain to see why so many people visit this place as the views from the top are spectacular. One of the photo's shows the Col du Midi du Bigorre behind us which you can access by bike or foot from the Col du Tormalet, or you take the cable car from La Mongie. We didn't visit the Tormalet on our visit as we were pushing on to St Malo for the ferry home. After reaching Sante Marie de Campan we took a right onto the D935 which now really opens up and begs you to give it the berries. We obliged! Well, it would be rude not to!! It's on roads like this that you realise just how wonderful the French car drivers are as they do their utmost to let you overtake. That includes the oncoming traffic who move well out of your way to assist you on your speedy mission. Vive La France! We passed through one or two villages on the way to Bigorre and one in particular struck us as being really spooky. If you look at the photos you'll see some life sized dolls standing on the balconies etc. Very bizarre, and not a place I'd like to walk through in the dark lol. Looking at my map I think it may be Campan but I'm not 100% sure. I think the last pic is of Bagneres de Bigorre with Cafe Le Londres on the right. Please correct me if you know better. Happy biking guys.
Enjoy the photos - I took part of the bicycle Tour de France route on a Yamaha TW125 we normally hire out. This road is a gas to ride on anything with gears and 2 wheels! The first part of the ride actually follows the tour de france route - thereafter you have a selection of ski resort access roads and forestry tracks to follow. The bit of the road that follows the Tour de France section is great fun to ride - on the TW125 I was howling with laughter it was so much fun - the bike does 100KM an hour easily - which is enough for our national roads. and is more than bike enough for the roads I was riding on. But a bit tricky uphill. The D925 cuts off from the N125 which is the main drag between Montrejau and Vielha in Spain. The D925 is mirror smooth - very curvy - I passed quite a few other local riders out for a sunday afternoon run. The bike is 125 cc - which means you have to get the gear changes right - but is a lot of fun. Having got to Mauleon Barousse - I decided to skip the rest of the trip to Sost - which is equally good and head up some forestery tracks. The going was good - gravel, stone very little mud very scenic views as usual. Lovely day. Bike behaved really well and will through over anything in dry conditions. However - down to the bottom right is the point at which you travel no further The best of all was the trip back which was all downhill - at this point the small engine ceases to be a factor at all - and the little motorcycle is like a mini supermoto - so good in fact it's as quick as any oher bike in the road. I've ridden it on other bikes too - never fails to amuse - so when you hit the traffic lights on the route to Vielha - follow the N125 and pick this one up - you will eventually get back to the main road at St Beat - if you want to head up to the mountains - give me a hollar - contact details on www.missionmotos.biz
Leave Bar Oval in Montrejeau on your 'uber-traillie' and head towards the D34 in Montrejeau (Signed Franquieville). Having hit the D34 yawn your way down the 5 Km straight to just after the next village. The route really begins here. There is a long curving downslope leading up to an appallingly sharp right handed hairpin (40 - 50Km). It junctions with the road to the local tip - so watch out for loaded trailers, big lorries etc. Assuming you haven't been blinded by the sun and had a life threatening near death experience (I was that soldier) - then you will be rock and rolling towards the next set of twisties - about every 200 metres. Put it this way - the road before Franquieville takes 2-3 KM to cover a crow's fly distance of 300-500 M. A lot of the rest of the road is just like this - rising and falling. Road surface mostly good - visibility varying - good pre-pyrenees stuff. My only real problem with this route is it heads away from the mountains. Stay on the D34 till you hit the dreaded D929 - arrow straight roman road with speed cops at every vantage point.
Fleet choice for this one definitely the Varedero or R1200GS - road lends itself to the 'uber-traillie stomp vibe' switchback adrenaline speed madness. Kick off with a cool drink in the Cafe D'Amour in St Plancard. The old lady there is suspicous of all foreigners but her son does the Tunisian desert rally each year so she kind of likes Bikers. Head out of the village on the D633. The road (which is pretty flat to here by local standards) starts to climb immediately you pass the village sign. GET READY! After a slight curve to the left you hit the first big right. As you exit this bend you are presented with a forest of white bend markers - don't kakk your undergarments as I did the first time I saw it. There is a snake of about 10-12 hairpins to negotiate then you hit the summit at Loudet (Gothic Church). The roads falls and twists through the Village - use the speed drop to relax - you will be working again soon. Cross the river and you start to climb and twist again (a bit easier). Start watching for right hand corner cutters - there are some blind right handers on this section. You then hit a 4 Km straight - wack it up to 180 - but be ready to hit the brakes as the last corner is a very tight right hander - more serious twisties. But watch your line on this section as 'Vous n'avez pas priorite' means little to anyone round here and the locals like to play russian roulette at road junctions. Eventually you climb and twist to a long high straight - don't top 120 as there are some side roads. at the end of the straight there is an easy but blind downhill left hander, a short straight, blind tight left hander and another short straight - use this straight to check your ability to take the last 290 degree right hander in style before descending the last few curves to Ponlat Taillebourg. Have a beer in the bar Oval on the square in Montrejeau to celebrate your survival (Say 'Hi' to Patrick from Bill at Mission Motos) - then find the next cool section of our fabulous local roads!
My favourite bike to do this road on is the firm's MT03. Depending on the time of year you ride - this can be a terrificly scenic road. You ride down with the Pyrenees on your left - in the colder months of the year the resolution on the mountains is fantastic. This particular section can be tied with some others I will be adding. The bends are breathtaking - no chance of keeping the bike vertical at almost any point on the road. Harry the suicidal chicken can be found lurking at some corners so beware. In the summer sometimes the verge grass can grow quite high - so be ready to creep around some of the right handers, the local farmers often cut them. All the road surfaces are tolerable - but keep an eye out for gritty patches in early spring. Avoid the sides of the road as gravel can collect there! The road is really two sections - the first 20 KM from Rieumes is quite open but very tight - the second section is tighter with slightly more restriced views in parts. The final descent into Isle De Dodon is sublime and very twisty - treat yourself to a cheap lunch in the Auberge on the town square.