Velomobile Road Trip with Brigitte and Fritz (Day 21)
Verdonschlucht (Verdon Gorge/Canyon)
Moustiers > La Palud > Route des Cretes > Castellan
70 km | 1.750HM
Today, the Verdon Gorge was on the programme. It is the most impressive gorge in Europe. First we made a small detour to the village of Moustiers to get a baguette and some food for the road. Then we ride leisurely to the entrance of the gorge. We wanted to take the left side upstream. This is considerably steeper in some parts, but also a lot more attractive. Most of the ascent of about 1300 metres is on the first 35 km. That's quite a steep climb for a velomobile. About 3% per 100 km. For this, either a good gear ratio or assistance from a pedelecmotor is useful if you are still travelling with camping luggage. In my Alpha 7 I have 2x11, in the front 34/60 and the rear 11-46. Brigitte rides 1x12 in the front with 54 teeth and the rear 11-52, plus Bafang bottom bracket motor.
Again and again we stop to enjoy the view of the gorge. As do many car and motorbike drivers. Since it is not yet high season, the traffic is very limited. At the beginning, we are overtaken by a racing bike club of about 30 people.
We climb higher and higher and soon reach the village of La Palud. There we have a small lunch break and talk to the boss of a bicycle rental company, who is interested in our velomobiles. He shocks us a little with the statement that the route has an 11% gradient at the beginning over 8 km. And at the end it goes down again with 14-15%. This gives us the idea to leave our luggage here. Soon we find a creperie that agrees to keep it in the back room for us. Then we set off. This extra loop with the name route du Crete is sensational. The views at the lookouts are incredible. It goes hundreds of metres deep down into the gorge. And at the bottom you can sometimes see the narrow turquoise ribbon of the Verdon. Overhead, a vulture flies again and again. It seems to be curious about our colourful velomobiles. Because every time I stop to look at a sightseeing point, it takes no more than 1 minute and the vulture is there again. Sometimes it flies above or in front of us at a distance of 10-20 metres.
The gradient is by no means consistently 11%, but often less. And even on the other side of the loop, it is only sometimes this steep. Nevertheless, we have to stop a few times to cool our brakes. The necessary breaks are a welcome occasion to enjoy the area and the view.
Back in town, we order two galettes at the creperie and pack our luggage again in the meantime. Then we reward ourselves with the meal and two panaché to cool down.
Now we have to roll downhill for a bit and then take another small climb. Then it's a very moderate ride to Castellan.
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