If you’ve been riding mountain bikes for a while you will know that there are plenty of Free Apps available for route planning. I’m not going to review any of those here, that will come in a new post very soon. The point of this post is to share the development of a route I’m working on the edge of the French Pyrenees, starting and finishing in Limoux.
It started with my positive addiction to ride and particularly because I didn’t want to sit around waiting for my daughters to finish their kayak and swimming training sessions. I had one hour; this ride took just under 56-minutes.
Starting and finishing at the Limoux Canoe / Kayak club (plenty of parking here), the first 3 kilometers follows the D129 to a right turn, signposted D229, Vendemies.
After that keep the disused railway track to your right and keep right. After a short distance, the lane crosses the railway and the river Aude can be seen on the right. Keep riding until you see the railway crossing to your left but, keep right, down the side of the vineyard. You are looking for a left turn down a short drop (at 5.1 KM). Once on that, stay on the main trail and keep going; here’s where the fun starts.
The trail is no doubt an old route to the village of Alet-Les-Bains from Limoux and played a part in the construction of the Limoux – Quillan railway (recently taken out of service). Evidence of this is experienced by riding over hundreds of deeply embedded rocks on large sections of the route. Many of these are large enough to throw you offline if you take your focus off the trail to appreciate the stunning views and the river Aude some 50-meters below in some places along the singletrack.
No, I’m not going to share too many details about the route; where’s the fun in that? Suffice to say that this is an excellent start to a route that is soon going to climb from 200 to 750 meters a few minutes out from the village of Alet-Les-Bains. Details of that coming soon.
Watch for the outdoor swimming pool as you approach Alet and keep the pool on your left as you drop down a hill into a car park. Here you will find a thermal pool and excellent untreated water to top up your supply before you repeat the route back to Limoux or go on into the mountains.
Alet-Les-Bains is an old village, one and a half hours from the sea and one hour from ski resorts. To each side of the village, the mountains reach 750 meters above sea level. A wall, with four gates, built in the twelfth century to protect the abbey and houses can still be seen today.
Mountain Bike Routes in France (VTT) are rated for difficulty like ski routes. While I rate this firmly as a “Green” (easy), it’s not without hazards so take care to read the trail.
Comments and Questions
These are always very welcome, please don’t hesitate to add your own and route variations if you have them. If you plan on visiting from out of area and need a place to stay, leave a comment and I will gladly share a few suggestions.