This Sunday dawned clear and bright in Marseille with a fierce and violent Mistral blasting down the Rhône valley following an overnight storm further North. The wind wasn't too bad up in the hills, the sun was strong and warm and the roads were clear. Particularly, the roads were clear of motor caravans and coaches; but not clear of goats... biker beware!

The Ardèche gorge road from Pont St. Esprit on the Rhône up to the natural rock bridge at Vallon Pont d'Arc is known to motorbikers as a particularly sporty route. It's not just the river that twists and winds through the gorge. A spectacular 48km of twisty roads with curves that start challenging, keep on coming and then get tighten further with the odd unexpected hill thrown in just to keep the rider alert. Yes there are warning signs aimed at bikers saying "Prudence - trop d'accidents" (Too many accidents - take care). It's different from riding a mountain pass because there is little overall change in altitude, though each hill is quite significant in its own right. You're never quite sure if the next bend will be flat, a dip or a crest but  that makes a huge difference to the riding technique.