February bike ride in the Luberon, Provence

Great day out biking in the Luberon in Provence. Lots of fast toys on the move with riders practicing getting their knee down. Yes even in February: the clear skies only lasted a short way further North - I was speaking to a couple of riders from near Lyon. I used the Coombe de Lourmarin to cross the Luberon mountain through to Bonnieux.

The castle behind me in the photo is at Lacoste, it belonged to the Marquis de Sade - you can see the famous tower descibed in his "journal". Now the grounds are used in the summer for outdoor classical and jazz concerts!

Roussillon is the village with the red ochre quarry which is a favourite for painters. Most of the town was closed, even the visit to the valley of the ochres. The square in my picture is full in summer with diners sitting to dinners at white-draped tables.

Pont Julien is the small scale Roman bridge which carried the via Domitia over the river Cavalon which flows down the Luberon valley.

Roussillon being a disappointment for coffee or even a boulangerie, I stopped for a pain au chocolate and a coffee in Apt.

Wanting to ride the length of the Luberon valley, I rode home over the col du Montfuron, just 649m but there was a splendid view of the north side of the snow-covered Alps, then down to Manosque, and on down the valley of the river Durance into the sunset, and on to Marseille.

First sporty riding since last summer so tired on the wrists riding back through Marseille's traffic and today I'm sore on the shoulders and thighs: sports bike riding is athletic.