Col de Bonette



T

Tony

Guest
Has anyone ridden the Col de Bonette from Jausiers? I am looking for info about road quality,
perceptions of the difficulty of the route, scenery, etc. I have a chance to ride up and over
from Jausiers to perhaps St. Etienne de Tinee one day in the latter part of June. I will have a
follow car for drop off and pickup and was wondering about how long it would take. Granted, it
depends on the riders fitness, just looking for a general estimation of time (trying to talk my
wife into the detour to do it). Just for comparison, I have ridden the Ventoux from Sault in 1:30
hours and ALpe d'Huez in 1:05 so you can see I'm not fast and I wouldn't want an all out effort,
rather would be looking to enjoy the climb. Any info on the two villages on each end? I've
checked out the climb profile.

Thanks in advance for any helpful info, Tony
 
T

Tim McNamara

Guest
[email protected] (Tony) writes:

> Has anyone ridden the Col de Bonette from Jausiers? I am looking for info about road quality,
> perceptions of the difficulty of the route, scenery, etc. I have a chance to ride up and over from
> Jausiers to perhaps St. Etienne de Tinee one day in the latter part of June. I will have a follow
> car for drop off and pickup and was wondering about how long it would take. Granted, it depends on
> the riders fitness, just looking for a general estimation of time (trying to talk my wife into the
> detour to do it).

Two summers ago friends and I stayed in Jausiers. I didn't climb la Bonette but two of my friends
did. We had ridden over the Col de Vars earlier in the day, coming from Brunnisard on the south
slope of the Col d'Izoard. My friends got up la Bonette just fine, rode around the top and came back
to Jausiers. At the top they found an old gentleman handing out cherries or grapes or something like
that to people. They came back tired but not wrecked, and they enjoyed the ride very much. Not a lot
specifically about la Bonette here, but something about Jausiers and the area.

http://www2.bitstream.net/~timmcn/alps2002-7.html

However, I *would* very much recommend the Col de la Cayolle from Barcelonette, which is just a few
km from Jausiers; Col de la Cayolle is just a little past that. The Gorgs du Bachelard are wonderful
and the climb itself is a delightful, small road that passes through a few lovely hameaux and to a
pass that is truly lovely; the ride down into Guillaume is dramatically different and exciting.

http://www2.bitstream.net/~timmcn/alps2002-7.html

> Just for comparison, I have ridden the Ventoux from Sault in 1:30 hours and ALpe d'Huez in 1:05 so
> you can see I'm not fast and I wouldn't want an all out effort, rather would be looking to enjoy
> the climb.

That's actually fairly fast.

> Any info on the two villages on each end? I've checked out the climb profile.

Jausiers is small and pleasant. There's a nice "artisannat regionale" shop on the edge of town
towards Barcelonette which has some nice stuff. Make sure you try the genepy liqueur while you're in
the area. Wonderful stuff!

My Web site about our ride in the Alps starts at:

http://www2.bitstream.net/~timmcn/alps2002-1.html
 
G

GearóId Ó Laoi/

Guest
I've done La Bonette and La Cayolle on different occasions.

La Cayolle is stunning, as Tim says. La Bonette is just very high but scenically doesn't touch La
Cayolle and the Gorges on the far side. I did them both from Barcelonette. Bonette is long but
there's no serious graient on it that I can remember except near the very top, where you have the
extra loop that goes to the top.
 
L

Leo Jensen

Guest
Hi

I did la Bonette from Jausiers in 2000. I started riding in 1999 due to about 20 kg overweight, and
still in 2000 I weighed about 10 kg more than today and was not exactly in great shape. I did it in
2 hours up and 1 hour down, and I would guess that I could do it in about 1:35-1:40 today. My Alpe
d'Huez-time is 1:10 when that's the target and 1:20 in la Marmotte. The climb is very constant and
the scenery is not that bad as far as I remember. My main advise to you is to bring clothes enough
for the descend. I did in July, and the last 7 km before the summit was in a cloud with temperatures
below 0°C... By the way, we stayed in some nice cottages just above Jausiers:
http://perso.wanadoo.fr/chalets.cocody/ Very nice people, not expensive and they speak some
english... More links: http://www.tourisme.fr/carte/carte-departement-alpes-de-haute-provence.htm
http://www.cycling.uk.net/alps/south/bon1.htm

Leo

"Gearóid Ó Laoi/Garry Lee" <[email protected]> skrev i en meddelelse news:[email protected]...
> I've done La Bonette and La Cayolle on different occasions.
>
> La Cayolle is stunning, as Tim says. La Bonette is just very high but scenically doesn't touch La
> Cayolle and
the
> Gorges on the far side. I did them both from Barcelonette. Bonette is long but there's no serious
> graient on it that I can remember except near the very top, where you have the extra loop that
> goes to the top.
 
P

Per LöWdin

Guest
> Has anyone ridden the Col de Bonette from Jausiers? I am looking for info about road quality,
> perceptions of the difficulty of the route, scenery, etc.

We rode down that way in 2000. http://www.lowdin.nu/MTB/singletrack2000/Fr2000/France2000.html If I
remember correctly the road is a bit bumpy, no problem with an MTB, but probably just a tad harsh in
some spots on a road racer. Difficulties: none really, would just be a long climb and coast down.

Per http://lowdin.nu
 
S

Sergio Servadio

Guest
On Wed, 4 Feb 2004, Per L=F6wdin wrote:
> > Has anyone ridden the Col de Bonette from Jausiers? I am looking for info about road quality,
> > perceptions of the difficulty of the route, scenery, etc.
> We rode down that way in 2000.

I rode over it, south to north, circa 1976. Long and boring for me. Never revisited over
there, since.

Sergio Pisa
 
P

Per LöWdin

Guest
> Long and boring for me.

That is a bit judgemental but I agree. Not a bad ride, but there are far more beautiful passes to
ride, particularly Passo Stelvio. On the route from Nice to Chamonix we found Col du Galiber and Col
d´Iseran more exhilerating.

Per http://lowdin.nu
 
S

Sergio Servadio

Guest
On Mon, 9 Feb 2004, Per L=F6wdin wrote:
> > Long and boring for me.
> That is a bit judgemental but I agree. Not a bad ride, but there are far more beautiful passes to
> ride, particularly Passo Stelvio. On the route f=
rom
> Nice to Chamonix we found Col du Galiber and Col d=B4Iseran more exhilera=
ting.

Funny to think about it. That time I went over Col de la Bonette I was pushing my way from
Bordighera (near Nice) up to Bardonecchia (over Monginevre). To my taste, there are so many alpine
passes much more beautiful to ride than Bonette.

Sergio Pisa
 
P

Per LöWdin

Guest
> To my taste, there are so many alpine passes much more beautiful to ride
than Bonette.

Yes, there are, only reason Bonette is kind of aftersought is that it is supposed to be the highest
in Europe.

Per http://lowdin.nu
 
J

Jobst Brandt

Guest
Per Lowdin writes:

>> To my taste, there are so many alpine passes much more beautiful to ride than Bonette.

> Yes, there are, only reason Bonette is kind of aftersought is that it is supposed to be the
> highest in Europe.

That is also a false claim, the pass being lower than the Vista Point that is at the advertised
elevation. The pass is neither as high nor nearly as scenic as the Iseran, a bit farther north. I
have often skipped the Bonette, taking the Cayolle instead. The upper reaches of the
Bonette/Restefond are littered with the traces of first and second world war military activity with
ghost town barracks and fortifications. The entire terrain is a network of defunct military roads in
the stark, lunar landscape.

http://tinyurl.com/25xrz

Jobst Brandt [email protected]
 
P

Per LöWdin

Guest
> Per Lowdin writes:
>
> >> To my taste, there are so many alpine passes much more beautiful to ride than Bonette.
>
> > Yes, there are, only reason Bonette is kind of aftersought is that it is supposed to be the
> > highest in Europe.
>
> That is also a false claim, the pass being lower than the Vista Point that is at the advertised
> elevation.

True.

> The pass is neither as high nor nearly as scenic as the Iseran, a bit farther north.

Also, true, at least in August, Bonette felt dry and arid, reminded me of a dessert more than the
Alps, nevertheless, unless it is snowing it is nice cycling. When we went there was not much traffic
and we had a nice outing. I can´t say I regret doing it in any way. Probably the best season would
be late spring before it becomes scorched. I enjoyed the changes of landscape riding from Nice to
Chamonix. Splendid riding. But I think if I only had one week and wanted to ride Alpine passes I
would rather bet on Canazei in the Dolomitis.

Per http://lowdin.nu
 
T

Tim McNamara

Guest
[email protected] writes:

> Per Lowdin writes:
>
>>> To my taste, there are so many alpine passes much more beautiful to ride than Bonette.

Serge's advice was why I routed us over the Cayolle rather than Bonette, and his advice
seemed sound.

>> Yes, there are, only reason Bonette is kind of aftersought is that it is supposed to be the
>> highest in Europe.
>
> That is also a false claim, the pass being lower than the Vista Point that is at the advertised
> elevation. The pass is neither as high nor nearly as scenic as the Iseran, a bit farther north. I
> have often skipped the Bonette, taking the Cayolle instead.

That was my favorite climb in my trip. Both sides are beautiful, and they are _very_ different! I
was astonished at the difference descending into Guillaumes, compared to the ascent from
Barcelonette. I had noticed a difference from one side to the other of mountains at other places in
the Alps, such as Galibier, but nowhere was it as dramatic as Cayolle.

> The upper reaches of the Bonette/Restefond are littered with the traces of first and second world
> war military activity with ghost town barracks and fortifications. The entire terrain is a network
> of defunct military roads in the stark, lunar landscape.
>
> http://tinyurl.com/25xrz

Hey, *great* upgrade of your photos on that site!
 
S

Sergio Servadio

Guest
On Mon, 9 Feb 2004, Tim McNamara wrote:

> I had noticed a difference from one side to the other of mountains at other places in
> the Alps, such as Galibier, but nowhere was it as dramatic as Cayolle.

That brings up another listing, of passes that are so different, one side from the other; for
the landscape, if not in grade. The first that comes to my mind is Furka. But, I bet, whoever
has travelled over Norway can come up with even more striking examples, of climatic change over
the devide.

Sergio Pisa
 
T

Terry Morse

Guest
Sergio SERVADIO wrote:

> That brings up another listing, of passes that are so different, one side from the other; for the
> landscape, if not in grade.

The Sierra passes in California have marked differences. The west side climbs gradually through
rolling grassland, mixed conifer forests, alpine lakes, and granite formations. The east side drops
away quickly, and the landscape is dominated by rocky cliffs, desert brush, and high desert plains.
The west side can get 40" of precipitation, the east only about 6".

Tioga Pass in Yosemite Park may have the greatest contrasts. Climbing up to it from the west takes
about 50 miles. Most of the descent to the salty Mono Lake is over after 7 miles.

Typical west side view: http://www.terrymorse.com/bike/tioga0306/pages/P6110012.html

Typical east side view: http://www.terrymorse.com/bike/tioga0306/pages/P6120049.html

--
terry morse Palo Alto, CA http://www.terrymorse.com/bike/
 
P

Per LöWdin

Guest
"Sergio SERVADIO" <[email protected]> skrev i meddelandet
news:p[email protected]...
> On Mon, 9 Feb 2004, Tim McNamara wrote:
>
> > I had noticed a difference from one side to the other of mountains at other places in
> > the Alps, such as Galibier, but nowhere was it as dramatic as Cayolle.

We will take that road then, if we come back to the area.
>
> That brings up another listing, of passes that are so different, one side from the other; for the
> landscape, if not in grade. The first that comes to my mind is Furka.

- when we were there, it was bitterly cold, and sleet was falling, we chose to take a train through
the mountain, there was absolutely no point in cycling.

> But, I bet, whoever has travelled over Norway can come up with even more striking examples, of
> climatic change over the devide.

The most dramatic changes I have seen are in the Himalaya, you come up through the narrow jungleclad
gorges and cross into alpine desert, the further north you get the more arid it becomes, up in Nubra
you find sand dunes and bakhtrian camels. http://www.lowdin.nu/MTB/MTB-Himalaya.html

Per
 
P

Per LöWdin

Guest
T

Terry Morse

Guest
Per Löwdin wrote:

> > Tioga Pass in Yosemite Park may have the greatest contrasts.
>
> Thanks, any nice singletrack in the area? We are thinking about cycling in California the
> coming summer.

I wouldn't know, as I ride on the roads. I know for certain there is no singletrack in Yosemite
Park, but I think I saw a trail that allowed bikes at the bottom of the east side road.
--
terry morse Palo Alto, CA http://www.terrymorse.com/bike/
 
S

Sergio Servadio

Guest
On Tue, 10 Feb 2004, Terry Morse wrote:
> > > Tioga Pass in Yosemite Park may have the greatest contrasts.
> > Thanks, any nice singletrack in the area? We are thinking about cycling in California the coming
> > summer.
> I wouldn't know, as I ride on the roads. I know for certain there is no singletrack in
> Yosemite Park,

How about trailing bears?

Sergio Pisa
 
T

Tony

Guest
What great responses to my question! Thanks to all who replied, I really appreciate it. I think
that I have been convinced to turn my attention to the Col de la Cayolle instead, by all your
accounts a more interesting and scenic ride. From the links you've all shared with me, it looks
like a nice route.

I was interested to learn that it was used in the Tour 3 times and was topped first in 1950 by
Jean Robic, then in 1955 by Charly Gaul and most recently by Vicente Lopez-Carril in 1973. Not
bad company!

I have one question- judging by the map, there is at least one narrow tunnel and all your helpful
links have shown images of a very narrow road. Is it possible for a car to go safely and easily on
the north to south route over the Col de la Cayolle?

I will need to have my wife follow me with the car, it's the only way I could get a chance to ride
it (no time to go up and over back to Barcelonette and still make it back to our destination further
south near Draguinan that day).

So, what's the road like? And thanks again! Tony
 
T

Tim McNamara

Guest
[email protected] (Tony) writes:

> I have one question- judging by the map, there is at least one narrow tunnel and all your helpful
> links have shown images of a very narrow road. Is it possible for a car to go safely and easily on
> the north to south route over the Col de la Cayolle?

Oui.

> I will need to have my wife follow me with the car, it's the only way I could get a chance to ride
> it (no time to go up and over back to Barcelonette and still make it back to our destination
> further south near Draguinan that day).

C'est non probleme. The road is two lanes all the way; the tunnels are very short, really just
arches of rock across the road IIRC.

I have one more recommendation about this area if you can at all do it. Go from Barcelonette over
the Cayolle, into Guillaume and then ride from there to via the D29 to Valberg (which is on top of a
1500 meter hill), then take the D28 downhill to Beuil. Take the D28 south out of Beuil and go
through the Gorges du Cians- which is one of the most spectacular descents you will ever do through
a narrow, narrow gorge. It's astonishingly cool. Even if you drive it in a car, but on bike it's
really something. You'll grin for days.

You could head towards Nice on the N202, pick up the A8 and take that almost all the way to
Draguinan. The scenic route would be to thread your way east on the N202 towards Castellane and
then south.