Text: Sophie Riva and Pierre Lucianaz | Photo: Pierre Lucianaz
For Italian version tap here April 2022
We both needed to knock off from a frenetic winter and to travel into a place a bit unconventional. As soon as Sophie proposed Corsica as destination the enthusiasm was high and we start to plan. The peculiarity of the island, its shape outlined by mountains above 2.500 m not so far from the beaches, and the lack of info about enduro bikes haven't allowed us to have an idea of what to expect from our incoming trip.
Under the pine trees
It's the salty smell that wakes us up in the ferries corridor. From the open deck door gets in the rough sea breeze while some passengers inquire our camp for the night. We drive in the direction of Zonza, a little village settled at the Aiguilles de Bavella's base. Impressive trees, clear rivers, sharp peaks, awesome rock walls and simple rocks homes entertain us on the way. First stop is a boulangerie, at the end of the trip we'll be pain au chocolat, quiches and others typical deliciousness expert, like Ambrucciata, a sweet with a local cheese named Brocciu. Bavella's forest is full of pine with an inebriating fragrance, different than usual, more of ground than of wood. Here we found the only Bikepark of the island, with some funny trails, tiny and challenging but also flow with berm and wood features.
A plateau full of treasures
We explore the Plateau du Cusciunu, a limitless plateau where little rivers flow calm, horses and cows graze in freedom and rounded stones smoothened by the time rest. Here we found a wider view of the surrounding mountains, in addition to that there we also understand how much wild is the area and how much the hiking trails could be bike enemy. Luckily, after 8 hours riding, with just 1/4 section of good trail, Pierrot, a bergerie owner, receives us without invitation. In that timeless room, blurred by chimney smoke, the shepherd and his wife share their dinner with us. Satisfied, feeling a bit awkward and with the smokey smell on our clothes we say good evening to them. Our hearts are warmer thanks their quiet kindness.
We Casually heard about a guy who does some shuttle in Ajaccio. His name is Olivier Casanova and in a rainy day we choose to meet him. He set the rendezvous in the city center obviously as a good mountain people we get lost few times previous to found his pickup. On board we meet him and his friend Alexandre, who'll drive up us all the afternoon. We don't know much about the plan, he consider us as friends and he's happy to show us their trails. At the top we meet Benjamin and Roco, a nice border collie that apparently loves trails as much as us. We spend the afternoon together, joking and riding fabulous trail full of wild flowers with an inebriating fragrance. The tracks maintained by Olivier descend on two different hill face, in one side we rode on a soft and dark ground in a thick forest, with steep section and tight switchback, whereas on the opposite face the trails go down directly into the city and by the sea, the ground is almost sand, with rolling stones and bumpy section. No time for pictures here, just for riding and having fun.
Let your mind free
We move to Île Rousse, without thinking to much about we download a gpx track from Strava, we don't ask ourself if it would be the best tour and we choose to follow it. We start from the beach, after few kilometers we move away from the coast going into fields and olive groves, across short descents, technical uphill and little drystone walls. We meet a farm production that made lemon juice and we decide to take a break, they serve us two glass of hearty and fleshy juice. With some lemon taste in our mouth we start again along wild trails, with big and adverse rocks, some flow section and steep uphill. We love to have no plan, to simply follow a gpx track, to know that someone has already ridden the tour, let ourself go without thoughts neither expectations.
We spend the last day in Bastia. We trust the advice that we get and we explore the hill over the city. Even if we have any expectations, landscapes and trails surprise us. After the first lap we are so enthusiast that we pedal up again to ride a trail for the second time.
Finished the tour we go directly in a boulangerie to buy the last deliciousness and we headed to the seaport ready to embark.
We fall asleep on the desk, cuddle by the sun and at the awakening the coast is now far.
Ten days for exploring, discovering places, tastes and fragrances for the first time. Be guided by a gpx tracks or by the flower aroma, to get off from the feeling that we need to have everything under control. Meet local person, and trust their advices, to follow one’s intuition and the curiosity. To notice the butter aroma coming from the croissant just taken from the oven, the authentic fruits inside the homemade jam, the people kindness. We are not sure if the enduro bike is the best way to discover Corsica, but for sure we are happy and we are impressed by all the adventures and misadventures that we found in this trip and probably al lot of it will not happen if we weren't on our Ancillotti Scarab.