A fine day’s riding in mid-November. Putting together two favourite routes gave a full day’s riding - more than one tank of fuel. A day riding fully-focussed on the road and the ride, shutting out any thoughts about the various projects that I have in hand back at home in the UK.
Out from Marseille on the road to Toulon via the southern flanks of the Sainte Baume massif, passing the Paul Ricard circuit at Le Castellet, then through the pine forest - that’s not a straight road. Moving on, more curves and the Roman town of St. Maximin and over the rocky ridge - some hairpins and more bends but stupendous views nearing the crest - to the lower gorge of the river Verdon. A pause for reflections and rider to bike bonding (in the style of VR46) by the side of the lake at Quinson and a chat with some hikers setting off on a path exploring the lower gorge of the Verdon; then up some more hairpin bends to ride the long straight roads over the Plateau of Valensole (my photo is meant to be in the style of a road movie); then Esparron, site of a previous GLME camp hosted by AMA, with its fine castle and a famous Domaine Naturiste in a secluded valley with its own beach.
A favourite boulangerie in Vinon with a chat outside with a local rider admiring my bike before a quick stop for a “Bonjour” with Lionel the bike dealer in Peyrolles before tackling the rush hour traffic heading out of the Marseille metropolitan area. And dinner with a friend from AMA at a restaurant we both know well.
Light winds, sunshine, clear air and fabulous autumn colours but above all, friendly drivers make riding at this time of year a pleasure and a privilege to treasure.