Col de Bigorno
So - now I have cycled just very
few of the Corsica summits, that people who know
these things, told me I just had to do. Now it was
time to just look at the map - and then ride
something that looked interesing, and then maybe
turn out to be very interesting, but who knows ?
Actually this may be my favorite Corsica ride, but
then I haven't done very many. Also - Corsica
rides should be divided into rides that involve
the ocean in some way, and those that do not.
Otherwise coming up with favorites may be just too
difficult - there are so many. Anyway - this ride
does not involve the ocean in a consequential way,
but it does encircle a number of old hilltowns in
START-END SOUTH: jct N97 - D105, north of
3.(650m,18.7km) D5 comes up from valley
and joins route, jus before Canto
4.(680m,22.0km) D7, another road climbing
from below, joins in Bigorno
5.(870m,26.1km) TOP: Col de Bigorno
7.(372m,39.7km) Col St Michelle(shp)
8.(20m,48.3km) START-END EAST: Biguglia,
south of Bastia
From West. The road over
Col de Bigorno is an alternative to the direct,
awful, busy N133 between Ponte Leccia and Bastia.
Counting the squiggles of the Col de Bigorno route
on the map is an exercise in futility. Even coming
up with a good guess, as to how much longer this
curving traverse along the mountain is, compared
to N133, is more than I can handle.
So why take the long way ? Well for starters, the
Aigles de Popalasca will never look so imposing
from the bottom. But this limestone comb is just
the starting point in a panorama that grows ever
larger as you climb. This limestone ridge
gradually takes its place next to a more bread
loaf shaped landform. Finally both are
dwarfed by a snow covered ridge that slowly
emerges from the clouds to the south.
While the road climbs, it doubles back onto
itself numerous times. Looking back - at times
it's hard to tell, which small section of
truncated road curvature below, comes before or
after the other.
The towns are still ahead. I cannot find the
first one marked on any map. But clearly it
exists. Before entering it, I also encountered a
rarity in Corsica, a comfortable scenic bench with
backrest, perfect for the purpose of trying to
recondition tired biking legs with a good lunch.
The next town is approached from several angles.
Canavaggia's most impressive building is an old
church. But it looks like, that the soccer goal
posts in front of it get more attention than the
church these days. The road approaches the town
Bigorn by making almost a half circle around it,
while traversing along the hillside. From some
vantage points the snow covered ridge appears
directly behind, to complete the scene. A few
switchbacks above the town on a bare ridge
complete the climb to the summit.
From South. (described
downwards). This villages on this side have a more
populated, alive appearance. No wonder - southern
Corsica's singular large city, Bastia, is not far
away. On this side the road is wider also, so that
it's easier to drive here too. The one location
shown most prominently on my map, on this side is
San Michele. In addition to a small village, this
refers to a nearby, small, attractive 12th century
church, a narrow building, built from stone of
contrasting colors, that sets it off perfectly
from the flowing green hills that encircle it.
Using two separate colors of rocks was
characteristic of the architecture of Pisa, and
Corisca was ruled by that state at the time.
By the time the road reaches Col de San Michele,
the transfer back to modern times is complete.
Garage businesses sell useless knicknacks next to
the wide road, containing a still moderate amount
of traffic. There is one more way to delay the
delay the traffic nightmare of Bastia, and that is
to follow the narrow Defile de Lancone, opposite
N193 down the last canyon before the coast.
A Day on a Tour with this point as
( < Col de Vergio
Castelnuovo di Garfagagna - Seravezza s(u)
Col de Bigorno , Col
d'Arbitro : Castirla > Pont de
Castirla > Col d'Arbitro > N193 north >
Ponte Leccia > D105 west > Canavaggia >
Lento > Col de Bigorno > Murato > San
Michele > Col de San Michele(shp) > down
Defile de Lancone > N193 north > Bastia
<> out and back along coast a little beyond
Erbalunga (in an unsuccesful attempt to find
decent accomodations) : 67.7miles with 5290ft of
climbing in 6:20hrs (VDO MC1.0 m4:14.4.21)
Dayrides between this day and the next pass
crossed as part of a day with different start and
end points are on pages:
Passo del Vestito
Foce a Giovo