Spring Cycling In The Pyrenees - Port de Bales from Bagneres du Luchon (1755m)

It’s been almost 3 and a half years since we last cycled up to the Port de Bales from the other side (starting at Mauleon-Barrouse) and could recall it as being a long and strenuous climb. So, how did this side from Bagneres du Luchon compare?


On paper it is not too steep, even if it is one of the longer Pyrenean climbs. With an average of 5.7% over 19.7km, the road climbs from 630 metres to 1755 metres, an increase of 1125 metres. So far so good. Tougher than the climbs we have been doing so far this year, but not too big a jump we thought.

Anyway, as always, the story on the road was a little different. It was an overcast day with a chilly breeze that always makes getting started that much harder, but the steepest part of the climb it seemed was the part straight out of Bagneres. The opening 4 kilometres is basically the climb of the Peyresourde, on a relatively wide road with a few switchbacks, until a signpost indicates it’s time to turn right and continue onto a smaller and quieter road towards Port de Bales.

A few more steep kilometres along tree lined roads followed, although the sun did break through the clouds a little to help us along, but we couldn’t help wondering what was going on? It was a massive effort just to keep the bikes moving forward. Had we really gotten so rusty in just a couple of weeks away from the mountains?

Thankfully the gradient did soon ease off a little with a much easier 5 - 6 km through a couple of small villages until we reached the one and only sign related to the climb. Apparently we were now 5880 metres from the summit! Very precise.

We continued on and, even though the gradient steepened a bit, soon reached the top. It was very beautiful, just as we remembered. The entire climb had been very nice, along a pretty and quiet valley, with a lovely view back over to the snow-capped Pyrenees. What had been the most pleasing thing, however, was that there had just been no traffic all the way up. I can’t say it would be like this in July, but visiting in early May had given us almost exclusive use of the roads which had been brilliant.








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Adventures In Life, Love, Health & Travel: Spring Cycling In The Pyrenees - Port de Bales from Bagneres du Luchon (1755m)
Spring Cycling In The Pyrenees - Port de Bales from Bagneres du Luchon (1755m)
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