Where to Ride
“Annecy has a wide range of riding options for all levels of cyclist,” explains Sébastien, “from casual flat rides around the lake’s 42km circumference, to steep climbs such as the Semnoz which heads straight up to 1,699m and starts right from the centre of Annecy’s old medieval town.”
A good place to start if you’re new to the region is the ride up to Le Col de la Forclaz. “This climb is an excellent introduction to the area, and is not to be missed for its perfect view of the lake,” says Sébastien. “It’s not a long climb, with an altitude of 1,147m, but the final kilometre from both sides is very steep, and is justly rewarded with the incredible view at the end.”
Also on the eastern side of the lake, Les Aravis range is a great playground for those looking to continue the vertical theme. “Some popular passes such as Col des Aravis are incredibly worthwhile, but can be a bit busy in the summer. An unknown pass close to Le Grand-Bornand ski resort is the Col des Annes, a dead-end that has a stunning view of the full Aravis mountain range – home to some famous Tour de France passes like the Col de la Colombière.”
If you’re looking to take in some ‘groad’, Sébastien thinks he’s found one of the best routes available in all of the Alps. Beginning in Bourg Saint Maurice and taking in Cormet de Roselend and Cormet d’Arêches, it encompasses more than 80km of mixed surfaces – including 10km of uninterrupted high-alpine gravel tracks connecting the Beaufortain and Tarentaise valleys.
For longer rides in more remote places, try the western side of the lake, where medium-altitude mountain ranges between Annecy and Chambery offer a multitude of options for road-less-travelled riding.
Sébastien recommends visiting the area, and in particular the mountains, around the end of spring, from May to June, then from the end of August to mid-October. His reasoning? “Less cars, warmer days, and no snow at the top – my favorite conditions to ride.”