Col de l’Iseran is the highest paved Col (mountain pass) in Europe – Cime de la Bonette is NOT a pass. Last weekend this beautiful road was closed to motorized traffic on both sides. Iseran is on the Route des Grandes Alpes and a popular summer road for motorcycles, so banning them for several hours was just paradise for a cyclist:
For more Alps bike-only days see here.
The north side from Bourg St.-Maurice is the longest climb in France (47+ kms), but honestly it’s only interesting above Val d’Isére where the bike-only stretch started. Below has more traffic and a set of terriblly lit, dark, wet tunnels near Tignes. So I was happy to to skip the lower slopes.
Similarly, I climbed the south side from Bonneval-sur-arc which is where the road turns up – for details of a longer version of this side starting from Lanslebourg see here.
Bike-only days means cheerful cyclists. I started with the first pack and the roads where wet after some early morning rain – but the weather was perfect for the remainder of the day. Honestly, about as good a day of high-altitude cycling as possible.
Some more photos: