After our bikes and equipment had proven themselves on the plains last year, they were to prove themselves (and us) in the mountains this fall.

With little route planning or travel preparation, we packed up our bikes onto the train to Geneva at the end of September. From there, we headed south. The streets of Annecy had hardly any room to pass because of the mass of people, so we happily postponed the ice cream stop until later in the afternoon…. Completely unexpectedly, we enjoyed the best ice cream of the whole vacation at “La chocolaterie des Bauges” located just before our campsite 🙂 The chocolate sorbet was to die for!

Another highlight followed the next morning when our neighbor at the campsite brought us a warm coffee to our tent. She had pity on us because it had rained heavily and thundered during the night. Mercy would not have been necessary, because our tent held watertight and it stopped raining as we finally set off around noon. The route through the (Haute) Savoye took us over many smaller and larger passes. We were rewarded with beautiful weather and countless cheese dairies with the finest (goat) cheese. Via Chambery and Grenoble we drove through the Vercors towards Haute-Provence.

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The closer we got to the Provence, the more prominent Mont Ventoux appeared on the map. We decided to include this legendary mountain of the Tour de France as a challenge in our route.Thanks to an early start and a patient pace, we reached the summit of Mont Ventoux before noon and lined up like dozens of other cyclists for the summit photo 🙂

The fact that we successfully mastered this first “real” pass made us confident for the onward journey through the Alps. After two more beautiful pass rides, we sat out a rainy day in Guillestre. Fortunately, the persistent rain stopped after 24 hours, so we were able to tackle the long drive to the Col d’Agnel the next morning. The pass was with 2744Hm the geographical highlight of our trip and also scenically an absolute highlight. Warmly dressed, we headed downhill to the first truly good café, Benvenuti in Italia :). The village pubs, beautiful Piedmontese countryside and pretty towns like Vigevano made us completely forget that Italian roads are covered in potholes, narrow and bustling with traffic. The countless Swiss-German tourists in Alba and Asti convinced us not to return to Switzerland via Ticino, but via Domodossola and Simplon.

Our bicycles proved to be excellent climbers during the two weeks. Slowly and persistently they mastered many meters of altitude and performed absolutely flawlessly. The sufficient supply of food was always guaranteed thanks to the many boulangeries and panneteries. On the descents, we connected our chargers to the hub dynamo, which generated enough power for our camera and cell phone batteries.

Our bikes and equipment are ready for the big adventure starting next spring. They are already impatiently waiting in the bedroom to set off in April. And so are we!