Pyrenees Border Hopping

It’s an early morning on the Col d’Ares. It’s mid summer, and there’s no one around. We’ve been riding a weeklong through magnificent mountains hopping the French-Spanish border many times.

On perfect and less perfect roads. Through forests, fields and clouds.

It seems like motorcyclists have forgotten how great the Pyrenees are…

While in the Alps there’s traffic jam’s, here the main obstacles are farm animals and the occasional cyclists…

 

For reasons beyond our control we tend to find ourselves early summer somewhere around Biarritz on the Ocean. We love the ocean and somehow the Basque country keeps calling us back year after year. On top of it we seem to meet the same people over and over…

For this trip we decided to ride on a bunch of old superbikes, longing for times of the past and our wheels for this week long corners picking over lush green deserted mountain passes.

 

The roadbook for this trip runs from the Atlantic to the East, meandering north-south and reverse order. We’re looking for flow. 3rd, 4th gear corners and an occasional hairpin.

We keep our daily mileage low, our corner ratio up. 

And we pick favorite roads. Plenty of them.

We start on Jaizkibel road, a little too famous but we like to include in our: ‘Pyrenees at happy pace’ tour.

Smooth hills and rain fed landscapes roll us towards the Col D’Izpégi that gives us a first glimpse on the mountains.

Green is a magic colour. The NA38 from the border past Quinto Rea a delightful number.

We crossed the pass via the French side and now in Spain our smiles grow wider,

This, my dear French, is how you make corners.

Not convinced? follow us through the trees to the N135 From Rongesvalles to Valcarlos and our 20 to 35 year old bikes do seem to like it.

We rev forward and back into France. Where we hit our first surprise.

We can’t pronounce it’s name correctly but the D18 over the Col de Burdincurutcheta is very nice.

Epousouflant, like the French tend to say, and the only way to describe the view towards the Spanish border…

 

The Col de Larrau is on one side covered in the clouds, the other side enjoying a clear blue sky.

Clouds racing up from the french valleys rush into Spanish territory only to vanish in the air.

Be aware, it’s windy here.

We only stay temporary in Spain as we’re revving up one of our favourite roads lingering along the border.

We’re heading to the Col De Pierre St Martin. We love this road and its strange little loops

From there we’re crossing the border into the Pyrenees Béarnaise. The D132 just being resurfaced you can imagine how we felt…. Heaven.

But it didn’t last. We cut right over the D441, 30 kilometer of ‘gravillons’ Merci la France, welcome to the middle ages….

Although we should not blame the French, as back on Spanish soil we get treated the similar all the way to the Portalet.

It’s been like this for the last 3 years… The Portalet French side however is a flawless, and breath-taking. We can’t get enough of it. Every time we ride it.

Rain accompanies us on the 14th July for the famous D918. Up over the Aubisque and then the Soulor. There’s few days to go till the Tour passes through, but here there’s more horses than people.

 

We watch the clouds, we search for sun, but bad weather keeps coming in, temperatures drop.

In an ultimate tentative for blue sky we aim for the Cirque du Gavarnie, but clouds cover the view, so we enjoy the fantastic D921 from Gèdre towards it.

It’s not busy here, so just for this road you would go there.

On the Tourmalet we live real Tour Crazyness.

Mobile homes are parked alongside the road and people setting of securely their space, prepping the climb for the big circus. Mind you, this is five days before the race and already there’s almost no way to make a postcard picture along the road…

We move on to the Aspin where reliability appears to be no longer what it once supposed to mean…

As we realise that Hubert has no more clutch.... 

To help out we decide to split up and get him some parts in Andorra.

This makes us a big day, but gets us to enjoy double time on the C28 between Baqueira and La Bonagua. Not the best road quality here, but some great series of corners and amazing to the eye from the sky…

Tired after our 450km detour we’re happy to find Hubert at the swimming pool having solved his problem on his own…

Next day is fast paced roads. 

We ride Back up to Baqueira and then all the way down to Sort.

Apart from some surface imperfections The N260 till Adrall is a very happy road.

We’re not the only ones to enjoy. 

We climb up the Coll de Jou via LLadurs remembering what a wonderful road this is.

Just like the descent to Sant Llorenç and then further down to Berga. 

On our last day we ride over and along the Panta De La Baells thanking the engineers for their perfect corners, their imposing bridges.

Roads in harmony with the flow of the land make our hearts tick faster…

We Cruise through the Catalan Pyrenees via Castellar de N’Hug into la Molina, one of the most enjoyable roads we know here.

Emptiness reigns.

We finish off in Font Rubi and we decide not to ride coast to coast.

Hot and busy summertime in the Mediterranean is not our thing.

And after the past 1200 km in almost complete solitude we’re not ready for that.

We love the Pyrenees even if we’re not sure which side we prefer the most.… and although our bikes tend to love the Spanish side better, we were often surprised by the French roads.

So in the end we can say we love the whole Pyrenees, for their splendour, modesty, silence and magnificent happy paced rides….

Want more? 

Check out our movie about this great adventure in the Pyrénées! 

 

Want to ride this trip yourself? See the trip details of our Pyrénées Border Hopping trip here and download the GPX files! 

Please note the Trip has been changed compared to the movie to avoid bad roads. 

Important note: from October to May, you should check the passes opening before leaving as it might still be snow on the top! 

When are you leaving?! 


 

 

 

#FORYOURRIDINGPLEASUREONLY

 

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