Cycling Adventures in St Jean de Maurienne
Andy Hodges, author of the recently published 'Mountain Adventures in the Maurienne' has been exploring the area around St Jean de Maurienne by bike this summer with his wife Sue. The area is surrounded by beautiful mountains and quiet mountain valleys. The via ferrata, roadside climbing and glaciated peaks all look inspiring too...
Every Tour de France supporter will know the mountains of the Maurienne. Many a champion has been made on these slopes. The mighty Galibier, the demure Madeleine, the iron hard Croix de Fer: they all stare dispassionately down upon any cyclist daring to challenge the mountains' slopes. Rarely will they pity any efforts to gain the summit. But once there the effort, the tireless struggle, and the pain, are worth it. Views to snow capped mountains stretch as far as the eye can see.
Far below mere mortals are going about their everyday business whilst cyclists touch the sky and share the rewards of a labour tough enough to have challenged the mighty Heracles. It isn't difficult to understand folklore belief, the high peaks to be the domain of the gods.
Thanks to an invitation from the local Tourist Office we had a chance to visit the area for a few days. We were also fortunate enough to be given their newly designed cycling jersey which features ten cols and climbs synonymous with the Maurienne: l'Iseran, Galibier, Telegraphe, Madeleine, Glandon, Croix de Fer, Mollard, Mont Cenis, Toussuire, Grand Cucheron. What a bunch!
We decided to ride them all! But there are tranquil routes along bubbling rivers and flower carpeted meadows to be enjoyed too. The magnificent mountains add a breathtaking backdrop to a lazy picnic of local cheeses, fruit, bread and wine. Food fit for the gods of cycling too!
Found this great cycling website yet?
Freewheelingfrance is a really useful website for anyone planning a cycling trip. It includes helpful pages such as 'bike hire in france', 'messageboards' and 'where to go'.
Andy Hodges was born in Wigan in 1967. He has been enjoying adventures in the outdoors since joining Cub Scouts in 1976. Learning to read a map and being allowed to tackle adventures were instrumental in nurturing a life-long love for mountains. His student days allowed extended visits to the Provence region of France where he became a modern sports climber, while a summer holiday job saw him leading walking groups in the UK hills and mountains. He has been a volunteer member of Mountain Rescue for 23 years and is part of the Hasty Team, a fell running element of the rescue team.View Articles and Books by Andy Hodges