Cycling in the Pyrenees roads means climbing mythical passes such as the Tourmalet or the Aubisque, on a soil that is still burning after the passage of the Tour de France. This road that takes us all the way up to the hill, and where each pedal stroke takes us back to this valuable effort, repeated since 1910!
In our region, every famous pass hides some secret and epic climbs and ascents, which is the strength of the Pyrenees and their incredible number of passes. The mountains only unveil their secrets to the people who take time to climb and admire them.
The Pyrenees are also all these valleys and little secret spots, those roads off the beaten track that lead us to the local people who live by the rhythm of the mountains and ancestral know-how. Cycling in the Pyrenees and taking a break to enjoy a tasty local cheese and a beer brewed with mountain spring water…This is the Pyrenees! More than a place to cycle, it is a land where cycling is lived more than told.
This road is the pure essence of the Pyrenee sacred algorithm
Between legend and intimacy, tumult and quiet, the known and the invisible… Are you ready to climb the AUBISQUE pass, starting from Argelès-Gazost? 19Km and 1200m height difference with sections of 11% with secret slopes… This mythical pass, standing at 1709m, is another giant along with the TOURMALET “Cycling in the Pyrenees”. Although the organizers of the first editions of the Tour de France were reluctant to include mountain passes in the circuit, the first step came in 1910 with the first significant Pyrenean stage LUCHON-BAYONNE.
The road that leads to the Aubisque via the Soulor
Located on the side of the mountain, has a great attractiveness for all the cyclists from around the world, on the footsteps of MERCX, ANQUETIL or INDURAIN, the great epic of Dutch cyclist Wim Van EST, who went through alive of a 72m fall into a ravine during the Tour in 1950. In conclusion, an inevitable stage…
Cycling in the Pyrenees are also all these valleys and little secret spots, those roads off the beaten track that lead us to the local people who live by the rhythm of the mountains and ancestral know-how. Cycling and taking a break to enjoy a tasty local cheese and a beer brewed with mountain spring water…This is the Pyrenees! More than a place to cycle, it is a land where cycling is lived more than told.
But before exploring this mythical road, let’s discover the lovely Val d’Azun and the Estaing lake to climb a 3km pass, small but quite tough, the Col des Bordères, to finally take the road of the Soulor and Aubisque passes.
We cross these typical Pyrenean villages
Made of stone and slates, where old people carefully watch these cyclists pass, and where the scents of home-made jams and local dishes spread on these lively villages. After about 15km, the winding road that requires many efforts leads us to the Estaing lake, a mountain lake sublimated by the summits around it. We go back on about 2km to take the small pass that goes through barns and mountains: the BORDERES pass. This pass, well known by local people, goes up on 3km with 12% sections. Short and intense! From up there we can admire the road that goes up to the Soulor and the Aubisque. This is authentic Cycling in the Pyrenees.
We climb down to the village Arrens-Marsous
We stop to enjoy some delicious cheese made with local ewe’s milk and fill our bottles with fresh water from mountain sources. After 7km we will be at the SOULOR pass, in the middle of green mountain pastures, before finishing the last 10km to the Aubisque, on the side of the mountain. There, we cycle along with men and women from all over the world who came to accomplish a prowess or fulfil a dream.
For more than 100 years, the Pyrenees have welcomed brave cyclists on their climb to selective and epic mountain roads. Thanks to legs strength and commitment, strong men have proven their worth here. This is what many cyclists are looking for these days on the slopes of Tourmalet, Aubisque and Peyresourde. Mythical places such as the passes but also secret places like the “café-vélo des 3 vallées”, inspired by the world of cycling.
At 3km from the Marian town of Lourdes, on the circuit of the Tourmalet loop and on the foothills of Hautacam, a small café “à la française” is run by a fan of cycling and the Tour de France since his childhood.
A surprise for any visitor
Whether cyclist or not. Dozens of cycling jerseys decorate the walls of the café, along with Fignon’s bike, collector’s items, exclusive photos of Pyrenean stages of the Tour de France and…Jean-Pierre, the great fan! In the 1990’s, he used to host the competitors to the Tour de France in the hotel next door. He became friends with the Tour de France organizers and he became a VIP guest on the different stages and on the Champs-Elysées. This is why Fromm, Evans and many other cyclists’ jerseys are proudly exhibited here and there.