Not a flat ride but worth it for great views from the Basilica of the cathedral church of Notre-Dame de la Garde whose golden statue and Romanesque architecture tower over sprawling Marseille. Ascending through the tapestry of streets of what were once Provencal villages involved a couple of stairways but avoided the cars and the ubiquitous “Le petit train touristique”.
Down for a spin in top gear along the Corniche Kennedy, which features a properly segregated cycle route. It passes the many beaches which compensate in some measure for the grunge of urban Marseille.
I was very pleased to try an electric-assisted mountain bike as I’ve been thinking of buying a small petrol motocross bike (eg KTM 250 SX) for some fun off-road; the ‘problem’ is that e-bikes are much more widely welcome than motocross bikes. No amount of theorising is the same as being confronted with a rocky path. This is how my day with the e-bike turned out:
The Old Coach Road is one of those must-do roads in the North Lakes. It’s a Byway open to all traffic (BOAT) so is legal on foot, horse and for motors with two wheels or four. It’s steep and there are big stones, large grade gravel plus potholes and wash-outs. Goodness knows how the stagecoaches climbed the hill to Hausewell Brow (437 m.) with a team of horses: it must have been exciting at the best of times and usually downright terrifying. And the ride downhill must always have been a thrill ride.
Ages since I’ve been out in the Parc National des Calanques on my classic Marin mountain bike but a reminder of the clearer air and the views quite specific to the Calanques around Marseille. The cloudy-bright day was better as it’s easily too hot when there’s full sun, also only a light breeze not a violent Mistral. Sun-baked limestone is particularly sharp so rough on the tyres. I took my picnic just down from the summit of Le Baou Rond (282 m.) with views along the coast and back to Marseille. Big geology. Herbes de Provence grow wild up here: rosemary showing its blue flowers now; thyme and savory are around too.
Great trail bike country in the Vienna woods (Wiener Wald) up from Gumpoldskirchen. This is the Anniger mountain (675 m.). My friend with the Scott 700 took the short ride on the S-Bahn out of Vienna - the bike needs a ticket too. This is forested limestone country. There are a number of Jubiläumswarten (Jubilee Towers) which poke above the forest canopy to enjoy panoramic views of the Alps, Vienna and the Carpathian mountains.