Only the one clear day showing for this week and with several cols of the Route des Grandes Alpes closed with roadworks, I made for the best col road around, it’s also the “The highest in Europe”. The north side road of the Bonette has long been my firm favourite, rising more than 1500 m. altitude with a variety of road styles and of course lots of curves that make almost anything in England look like a putting green. Probably more apexes than you get on a track day.
Too late in the year for the usual summer hazards: the sheep are down for the winter, the groups of cyclists ditto and even the camping cars have gone. Leaving the road clear for adventure bike tourers, motorcyclists up from the Riviera and our well-turned out friends doing a fast loop over from Italy with nothing more in their leathers than cigarettes, lighter and a phone. Plus a group of low-slung sports cars hugging the tarmac and hogging the centre of the road.
The top of the Bonette is a special place, whatever speed we ride up it seems everyone descends slowly. It’s awe as well as caution. The view is panoramic and impressive, leaving it is a wrench, a return from as near to the stratosphere as you can get on tarmac in Europe. Remarkably, there is no snow within sight these days, even with a number of peaks of more than 3000 m. altitude in view,
Traditional Provence cuisine at a biker-friendly hotel-restaurant in Barcelonnette that’s been in the same family for 110 years. But next morning a scary rose-red dawn behind the mountains that are the frontier with Italy. Red sky in the morning: bikers’ warning of rain, and it certainly did.
My photoset includes a few images bought from a roadside photographer - LOL