So a group of 9 of us (inc 3 non-cyclists) spent a very enjoyable week at the end of May, based in Patrimonio, at the south west base of Cap Corse. The weather was perhaps a degree or two hotter than ideal for serious cycling but from the village it was easy to reach St Florent, Desert des Agriates and the west coast of Cap Corse. Bastia and the east coast of the Cap are also within reach though some of us (that’ll be me) failed to manage the ascent of the Col de Teghime. I’ve only ever toured the Cap anti-clockwise before and it’s amazing how the backdrop changes depending on the direction of travel. Still stunning scenery either way though. I last tackled the Agriates about 6 or 7 years ago and my faulty memory led me to misinform my compadres that it was a gently rolling ride - more like a stiffish, longish climb as it turns out. I also forgot that outside the main towns many eateries shut up shop at 2pm, so we didn’t get the slap-up feed we’d anticipated at journey’s end.
Some of the gang tackled the Col de Santo Stefano and the circuit taking in the hillside towns of Oletta and Olmeta-di-Tuda returning to base very pleased with themselves. I hope to return in the near future and tackle that circuit myself. We all enjoyed the west coast of the Cap and I particularly enjoyed my lunch at the Hotel Marinella in the Marine de Giottani. Some of the crew made it over to the eastern coast of the Cap but were disappointed to find it busier traffic-wise and less interesting scenically.
We managed to fit in some down time as well and were all very pleased at the warm welcome extended to us in the restaurants and bars we patronised in Patrimonio. As a treat we had our final meal at the Auberge du Pecheur in St Florent, where the meal was worth every penny (and there were plenty to pay). You enter the restaurant rather prosaically via the fishmongers shop but then find yourself in a secluded sub-tropical rear courtyard.
We hired road bikes from Europe Active. They were just the ticket for the terrain and rates - including the charge for delivery to and pick up from our accommodation - were reasonable.
It seems from the local press that the Tour hasn’t brought about an instant tourist bonanza - the global economic downturn may have seen to that - but cyclo-tourism has evidently taken a big leap forward since I was last there.
Stan Surgin, UK