Mountain Biking in Tourmalet-Pic du Midi
“You’re free, plain and simple.”
Imagine just you and your loyal mountain bike hurtling down the paths.
Free as a bird, a whole host of trails are on offer: forest, mountain, along a river – the possibilities are endless.
Rémi, a professional marathon mountain biker, will show us the wide variety of mountain bike trails available and, most importantly, his favourite spots.
I’ve gotten used to the privilege we have in Bagnères
Leaving the house and in two turns of a bicycle wheel finding yourself in Le Bédat. I lived at the foot of it, near the Salies spring, for many years.
Le Bédat is an exceptional area for cycling. From there, you’re free, plain and simple. It is the gateway to countless incredible rides. The possibilities are endless: the Vallon de Salut, the “Allées Dramatiques”, Le Monné close by, the plains of Esquiou and the Casque du Lhéris, to name but a few.
Finding the perfect bike ride here is easy!
I choose from these local riches according to what I need at the time: to clear my mind, get some exercise or a strict high-intensity training session.
Each trail can serve a purpose, which is really interesting.
I lived in Gripp for 6 years.
I loved cycling around the village of Les Esclozes (an iconic pastoral heritage site with shepherd huts). And Payolle, where, by crossing a ridge, you jump from the Col d’Aspin to the Hourquette d’Ancizan.
There’s nothing complicated about it; in fact, it’s inherently simple. All you have to do is take your bike and cycle without a second thought! I feel really lucky to live in the kind of area where I can cycle for the whole day without taking the same path twice. Then, when the urge strikes, you can end up at the top of the Pic du Midi, above the clouds. Yes, you can also get there by bike!
That’s what I love about home. I have cycled all over the world, and this feeling of being able to start from your garage door and cycle in fantastic landscapes, drop in on friends and come down from the heights overlooking the town for a coffee is pure perfection.
I’ve been cycling with the same people since I was a kid
I often go out alone for training because, as a professional cyclist, preparing for races is very challenging, but I love to cycle with my friends in the area and the guys at the Bagnères cycling club.
I’ve been cycling with the same people since I was a kid. I go out a lot with Daniel Manse who is a butcher in Bagnères, and Manu Cibat who is a coach and “the bike guy” for the whole town as well as with childhood friends like Arthur Cansot.
I cycle with local guys who go really fast and are involved in all kinds of mountain sports. Mountain bikers often come across trail runners on the routes – you may well run into Jérémy Didier, for example.
With these guys, it’s nice to talk about past achievements, anecdotes involving friends who are sadly no longer around and the future we envisage for our sport. Cycling with all these people is a genuine pleasure.
The Bagnères mountain bike spot
If there is one spot where you have to cycle here, it would have to be La Vierge sector of Le Bédat. Climb, dip down towards the Croix de Manse and, if you have time, head up the plains of Esquiou to come back down Le Tucou.
On the whole, I love cycling at home. When you’re down and need to hop on your bike for a bit to clear your head, 1 hour is all you need. It’s perfect! If you want to discover more, then the high mountain trails are magic but require a different approach. You need to schedule a day trip as it takes several hours of cycling to appreciate the vast diversity of the re
A brief anecdote to finish:
At the end of the day, you get a puncture at the top of the rocky part of Le Tucou, you have a bit of a moan because your pride takes a hit, but things are put in perspective when you look up. Alone in the world with the town a stone’s throw away, you see the sunset. It’s something that sums up Bagnères really well for me. This feeling of genuinely being in an unspoilt area, isolated in the best sense of the word, and at the same time you can enjoy an ice cream at the end of the ride, right there, in front of the Grands Thermes thermal baths. Having travelled a lot for various world cup races, I have become aware of how rare this is. It isn’t easy to find somewhere that offers a bike shop, a restaurant, an amazing spot where you can cycle safely and outstanding landscapes. From a tourism perspective, it’s a treasure.
Basically, I hope everyone has a puncture at Le Tucou at the end of the day so they can understand what cycling in Bagnères is all about!
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