• Tag Archives Col du Rousset
  • AlpineBiker tours- feedback

    If you are one of the 18,500 visitors to this blog since I started posting in 2009, thanks very much for your visit, and I hope you found something on here of interest to you.  My blog however, is an add-on to my main website www.alpinebiker.com. which perhaps you may not have visited yet?  The tour website features films, pictures and details of the types of alpine tours I offer,  and have run so far.

    I put a lot of time and effort into providing excellent quality and high value tours, and into giving people a really special riding experience in the  amazing  mountain scenery and awesome alpine passes, and from being on some of the best roads in Europe.  My tours have attracted riders from all over the world,  and I’m very proud to be able to post just a few representative comments from some of those riders from America,  Norway and  Australia, who have recently taken an AlpineBiker tour and thoroughly enjoyed it . (Check the tour website for other comments from riders from the UK, Canada, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands)

    If you haven’t yet visited the tour website www.alpinebiker.com, perhaps these comments may inspire you to do so and see what these guys are talking about, and see for yourself what you’ve been missing?


    Eddie (USA) Your passion for motorcycling and touring the Alps is apparent in your attitude and from the detailed planning and thinking that went into making the trip a once in a lifetime vacation. Thank you for sharing that gift and passion with me and the others. I would not hesitate to highly recommend you to others and to book another trip with you in the future.  Sincerely  Eddie”


    Mike (Canada) It clearly takes a true biker with a wealth of experience riding in the region to put together a spectacular tour like the one we enjoyed this summer. It also takes hard work and an eye for detail in the planning phase. I think the “something extra” that assured the success of our tour was your patience, good humour and genuine interest in seeing us all really enjoy ourselves.

    Thanks Paul for an amazing adventure. I am certainly recommending an alpinebiker tour to my biking friends and acquaintances, and I am looking forward to my next chance to ride with you”.



    Nick & Terese (Australia) “Great ride, beautiful scenery, great company, great food and accomodation. We had an awesome time and it really was the trip of a lifetime for us “flatlanders”.

    nick and therese

    Dan (USA) “
    A big thanks for your efforts in having this tour exceed every expectation we had prior to the start of the journey. I look forward to our next “once in a lifetime ride with you next summer!”


    Chris (USA) “Hands down one of the best trips of my life! Paul is a terrific guide with extensive knowledge of the roads. He is also a hell of a lot of fun to have a beer with! This trip exceeded expectations with both Paul’s leadership of the tour, and the quality of the lodging and food at the Le Biot chalet”.


    Steve (USA) ” I would like to thank you for a once in a lifetime (well until next year) experience.Your planning, expertise and riding skills made it the thrill of a lifetime”


    Rob (USA) ” Paul’s experience and organisation set this trip apart from any other. Perhaps the best biking trip I have ever taken”


    Paul (USA) ” The once in a lifetime long weekend Alps riding tour experience with Paul Starmer exceeded my expectations. So much for once in a lifetime- I’ll be back, maybe Spain or the Dolomites next time!”

    Cesar (USA) “An AlpineBiker tour is the experience of a lifetime. Excellent roads, challenging passes, great accomodation, breathtaking landscapes and perfect logistics let’s you worry about nothing but to enjoy and work on your riding skills. Paul’s catering to everyone’s needs and riding styles will make your experience second to none. You will leave wanting to come back and adding Paul to the list of your friends!”


    Cary (USA) ” Thanks for a fabulous tour. The routes we rode, and the sights we saw are unparalleled. The lodging and food was first class; and your easy demeanour, local knowledge and flexibility made our tour an unforgettable experience. AlpineBiker.com tours is a must for those who want to ride the Alpine”


    Trond (Norway) “Paul, I have had the best of times. Your tour, riding and companionship really made this an event for the history books. Enjoyed myself enormously!”

    “Do not think twice about getting one of his tours. I`m usually a do it yourself kind of guy, but this experience really was something else. If you have time, just do it. I`m quite sure you wont regret it”


  • Col du Rousset- there was time!

    The Col du Rousset was the last col that I had on my list to ride this year. The plan had been to ride it a few weeks earlier, but due to my wrist problems and some poor weather, it had had to be put on the back burner. Eventually the planets aligned though and an opportunity arose to ride, so Mark and I set off midweek for the trip down south.

    The thermometer in the house showed -2.2degrees C when I got up, and the on bike temperature gauge was soon flashing the ice warning symbol. The heated seat and grips were on full blast for the hour and a half of the motorway journey it takes to get to Grenoble, and as we neared the city the lakes, streams, and water in the plage were steaming, the mountains had low level cloud/mist shrouding them, and amazingly,  despite these cold temperatures and relatively early hour, there was a hang glider flying in the cold misty air!

    Here’s a beautiful shot taken at around 09.45am at the motorway services just outside Grenoble where we always stop for a break and a warm drink. I would have taken this shot, and all the others you see in this report, but taking my camera out of it’s case I found that the viewing screen was a mass of jumbled colours, the result of it being dropped a couple of days earlier. Seems I’m cursed with cameras when I ride, the last one got run over after it dropped off my tank bag on the Col du Petit St Bernard last year!  All pictures you are seeing are taken by Mark C.

    The Col du Croix Haute down to Aspres- sur-Buesch is pretty quiet out of holiday season, and we enjoyed being able to ride without too many cars about.

    This picture shows how much snow has fallen and the level it has fallen at. It isn’t particularly high here and was a warning sign that we were sure to find more snow higher up.

    Col du Cabre

    This is a great pass en route to the Rousset and here the trees are starting to change colour, making for a spectacular ride. Less exciting were the ice patches we encountered on one particular downhill braking section into a hairpin bend!

    Les Claps

    This is a really interesting rocky outcrop that appears from nowhere. On previous occasions we have just ridden through, but today Mark stopped and took these pictures, so now we know what we’ve been missing!

    The Rousset

    This is such a wide and open col with long distance forward vision, it encourages “sporty” riding, and today I’m grateful that I’d changed rear tyres the day before, as I’m able to enjoy the confidence it generates during the 15 minute blast to the top.

    Those bends are even better than they look

    Amazing view!

    Here is Marks newly acquired 2010 30th anniversary GS Adventure

    At the top of the Col you drive through a tunnel and arrive at a roundabout, turn right, and there are several restaurants and hotels which serves the winter skiing trade. Today as we exit the tunnel the roads are suddenly snow and ice covered! There had been snow at the roadside as we rode up, and melted snow running across the hairpin bends, but I wasn’t prepared for this! Gingerly negotiating the ice,  we found the restaurants to all be closed. No choice other than to continue the descent to the valley below, but very carefully, as this side of the mountain was in shade and there looked to still be ice patches on the damp surface!

    Finally we found a small town with places to eat, although by now it was almost 14.00 and the creperie we stopped at had little to offer us in the way of food. Gratefully ordering a basic crepe and a cup of hot chocolate, we took a 45 minute break and planned the route out of the valley back to Grenoble. Well, that was the plan! Mark’s GPS immediately sent us the wrong way, and after seeing and passing a couple of diversion signs to Villard de Lans, one of our destinations, I started to wonder whether we would be able to take our route at all. Intending to exit the valley via the gorges du Bourne, we arrived at road works and a closed route to the Gorges and Villard de Lans, with signs for a diversion there sending us back the way we had just come! 20 minutes later we were on the way back where we had just come from, and then took the diversion signs we should have taken earlier!

    This was a great valley looking back towards the Rousset, but as we climbed I quickly started to get concerned. A couple of little slides and more and more roadside snow, and it was becoming clear this diversion wasn’t going to be much fun. 12 kms or so of winding and small mountain roads, damp with melted snow, and perhaps even patches of ice, it was a pretty slow ascent and I was extremely relieved to get out the other side and start to descend again on drier roads.

    From Villard de Lans there are some pretty good sweeping A roads back to Grenoble, before the hour and half of motorway back to Geneva.  We ended the day having spent 7h 47 in the saddle and having ridden exactly 600kms. We had an excellent time despite the early morning cold, and it just goes to show (again), that if you’re prepared to brave some inclement weather, there is often a great days riding to reward your efforts.

  • Is there time?

    Winter is fast approaching, there is snow on the tops of the Jura mountains nearby, and temperatures are plummeting. 2010 has been a great year for riding, although with “only”  20,000kms ridden so far I’m way behind last years total of 28,000kms.

    Looking back we had a 4000km tour round Spain and Andorra, and rode most of the Swiss and French alpine passes at least twice this year. So whats left? Well, the Col du Rousset is the one col I’ve wanted to ride and not managed yet. It didn’t help that my wrists kept me off the bike for a month, and recent weather hasn’t exactly been ideal for a trip down there.

    The Rousset requires an early start, an hour and a half of motorway riding, then another couple of hours of excellent open A roads, and the cols of La Croix Haute and the Col du Cabre, just to get there. What makes the Rousset so much fun is it’s combination of bends, wide and open hairpins, long distance forward vision, good surfaces, and relative lack of traffic.

    Perfect hairpins

    In a week or so the clocks change, the weather forecast still doesn’t look great, and opportunities to ride the col before snow closes it are getting fewer. I hope I can make it within the next week or so, or this will be the one that got away this year, and I’ll just have to content myself with watching the films and looking at the pictures we shot last year.

    Click on the wording below to see us riding the excellent Col du Cabre en route to the Rousset