Why Road Bike when you can Tandem?
Last weekend I went for my first ever tandem ride. We tested our skills by cycling 2 minutes to the supermarket. We were feeling confident, so we decided to cycle it up to the base of the Sassière.
Not being an overly keen cyclist the idea of cycling with someone was pretty appealing, especially up those mountain roads. I volunteered for the back seat, known as the ‘stoker’. Who wants the pressure of ‘Captain’ at the front? Plus, if you’re on the back you can literally put your feet up on the down hills and enjoy the view.
The uphill started from Villaret du Nial after a fairly hairy ride through the tunnel s towards Val d’Isere. Next time we’ll remember to take bike lights…
It starts winding through the village and then up towards the base of the Sassière in 4 big hairpin bends, testing the Captain skills in steering – the turning circle on a tandem is huge! We took a quick break on the way up, and got overtaken by a road cyclist – you may have 4 legs, but a tandem is definitely not as light as a road bike.
The road then heads up into the valley through a rocky landscape towards the Ruisseau de la Sassière. The beauty of the tandem meant we could continue on to cycle up the gravely track towards the Lac de la Sassière – something a road bike might not be able to handle.
After enjoying the view and chatting to some friendly hikers, who loved the tandem, we cruised back down to Lac du Chevril and back through the tunnels (definitely the worst part of the cycle). We headed over the damn to Les Boisses and then up towards Tignes. Typically, the heavens opened at this point and the road was fairly busy with holiday traffic, making the beer at the end well deserved!
It was a great day of sociable cycling, especially as the tandem is a big hit with every passing car and hiker.
Col de l’Iseran next!