The Roanne Valley – ‘une route remarquable’.

Now I’m home alone, and with a bike with a newly-serviced bottom bracket (the SuperSix’s BB30 has not been the most reliable), it was definitely time for a decent solo ride. With a gentle northerly breeze forecast, I decided to go right up the Roanne Valley, and to loop round clockwise to Saoû. It was supposed to be something like a 60-miler, but as so often, I underestimated and it was 80 miles. I should have checked my routes first. A good job I didn’t have a ferry to catch.

It was only once I got to St Nazaire-le-Désert that I realised that I have never cycled all the way up this ‘route remarkable’. And that’s not just a bit of tourist office spin, it really is remarkable, whether it’s the amazing and crazy geology (see previous post), the road itself, or the general scenery all around you.

The photos start with my first sight of the looming Trois Becs overlooking the next valley, and finish with a view as I came back over the Roanne just before it discharges into the Drôme.

Coincidentally, this was more or less the ride I suggested to my recently departed visitors, though I had given them the route in the other direction. On reflection, I think that this is probably the better way round, especially if there’s a northerly breeze to push you up the valley.

One last note: if you’re wondering why I’ve featured the two blue bridges in St Nazaire, it’s because one of them is a brand new replacement, and the other has had fresh lick of paint to fit in with the newcomer.


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