Cycling in the Ariege is a wonderful sport to participate in, whether you cycle in a leisurely fashion, taking in the scenery, getting to see the “nooks and crannies” of French rural life that can only be experienced when one is at one with nature – whether on foot, on horseback, or on a bike. Being able to choose your pace allows you to absorb as much as you wish, for as long as you like, hearing the birds, seeing and smelling the wildflowers and other country scents, being a part of the views, that roll from one vista onto the next.
As well as going out for a days` leisurely cycle – or part of a days` cycle, there are others who take cycling very seriously indeed, and in the Ariege there is much scope for making up routes that give one a variety of lower level options with moderate inclines, to others with many very challenging rides rising to levels that are annually used as parts of the route for The Tour de France.
The Ariege has its own cycle club – L`Ariegeoise Cyclosportive which has a very keen membership. Website http://www.cyclosport-ariegeoise.com
Saturday 28th June will be the Ariegeoise Cyclysportive highlight of the year. On this day there are three cycling events, all beginning at Tarascon:
- The Ariegeoise 2014 Tarascon – Plateau de Beille (163km)
- The Mountagnole 2014 Tarascon – Plateaua de Beille (106km)
- The Passejade 2014 Tarascon – Tarascon (77km)
This will be a very exciting day and the three races provide real challenges to the varying abilities of the entrants.
Domaine Thomson, Engravies, is about a 30 minute drive from Tarascon, the start for all these races, and the finish at Plateau de Beille is about 40 minutes. There is plenty of secure storage for bicycles, and it would be an excellent place to prepare for, and relax after, any of these races.
Early bookings for this weekend are advised. As well as B&B and the option for evening meals, there will also be camping space available.
To obtain further details and view the route maps for the races, and to enregister go to http://www.cyclosport-ariegeoise.com
If you feel this is all far too active for you, why not take your bicycle to the Canal du Midi and then gently meander along the path that follows the tree-lined route of this so very famous waterway. There are plenty of places to picnic, or break away for a moment and wander through a vineyard if you would prefer.