A lightweight fixed-gear bike tour of France and Spain

Clermont Ferrand to Le Mont Dore

This post will be mostly pictures, as it’s the best way to show you what we have been up to.

We left Clermont Ferrand, and cycled uphill for 15km with 800 meters of altitude gain (9.5mi, with 2600 feet of altitude). It was a hard climb. It was hot, there was not a single flat stretch the whole time. That got us to the Col de Ceyssat, at 1100m. From there, we got off the bikes, and hiked up to the summit of Puy de Dome, at 1400 meters.

The view from the top of Puy de Dome

From there, we had a long descent, on a lovely road, reaching a top speed of more than 50kph (30mph), and then rolling hills, with only one other major climb. We reached a campsite on a dairy farm, and because the toilets were not yet operational, the farmer let us camp for free. We bought some cheese in the morning.

Feeding the cows along the way

Then there was one long climb to the Col de Guery, with some stunning views along the way.

Looking over the “chimneys” of two extinct volcanoes.

From the Col it was downhill all the way to the town of Mont Dore, where we are now. We are staying with a Dutch couple who run a business renting accommodation to skiers in the winter, and cyclists in the summer. We found them via the website warmshowers.org, which organizes free accommodation for touring cyclists. They are a lovely couple, and we were given our own apartment!

Today we plan on climbing Le Puy du Sancy, the highest mountain in central France.


4 responses

  1. Views are spectacular and glad to know there are these unusual ways to find acccommodation. Look out for two packages–the first with the guidebook for Spain. Another, to follow a few days later and probably too late with our thoughts for Easter. Hope you’re in a special place for Easter. I can imagine France would be good for that!
    Hope the weather keeps up. It looks glorious.

    April 20, 2011 at 12:51 pm

  2. Now I see where the famous Deux Chaminees eatery got its name

    April 22, 2011 at 4:41 pm

  3. Nani

    Great to read about your adventures. We loved your desciption of Toulouse, which deena and I visited 33 years ago. Keep going! Love, nano

    April 29, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    • Hi Nani, Im glad you are enjoying the website. I wasnt sure if you would be able to access it. Im glad you have, its nice to hear from you.

      May 6, 2011 at 1:26 pm

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