Trail bike

Cap Croisette - Parc National des Calanques

Ride out on my classic Marin Palisades trail bike to Les Goudes. Way round the bay from Marseille and out on a peninsular to the Calanque de la Maronaise, Cap Croisette and a view of L'île Maïre.The limestone bleached by the sun - calcaire - is sharp and quickly takes the tread off the tyres.
It used to be that riding a motorbike gave a huge sense of freedom; in many ways that freedom from regulation has now transferred to push-bikes.

Cap Croisette - Parc National des Calanques

Corniche Kennedy, Marseille
Anse de la Fausse Monnaie, la presqu’ile de Malmousque

Corniche Kennedy, Marseille
Plage des Catalans, fitness class on beach volleyball court, Îles du Frioul in the bay

Ride round the Corniche Kennedy in Marseille which links the Vieux Port with the beaches. Many tourist sights are on this route plus it has a handy separated cycle lane... mostly. There’s a skateboard bowl / BMX pump track towards Pointe Rouge which was damp but clear enough of traffic for me to have a go at last. Outclassed by everyone but hey-ho it’s fun. Love the Gs. So far no jumps...

More photos: Corniche Kennedy, Marseille

The Old Coach Road, Cumbria

The Old Coach Road, Cumbria

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.

More: Hausewell Brow (437 m.) - The Old Coach Road - Lake District National Park

Notre-Dame de la Garde - Marseille

Marseille

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.

More photos: Notre-Dame de la Garde (142 m.) - Marseille

Parc National des Calanques

Parc National des Calanques

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.

More photos: Le Baou Rond (282 m.) - Col des Escourtines (213 m.) - Parc National des Calanques