Sand, sun and cycling in Morocco

PUBLISHED: 09:00 02 December 2009 | UPDATED: 00:38 16 June 2010

AVP members on their trip to Morocco

AVP members on their trip to Morocco

Nine members of Axe Valley Pedallers (AVP) have just returned from a weeks off-road cycling in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco. It was an expedition that proved to be far better than any of the members could have hoped for.

AVP hand over cheques to DAAT and the Prostate Cancer Charity

Nine members of Axe Valley Pedallers (AVP) have just returned from a weeks off-road cycling in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco.

It was an expedition that proved to be far better than any of the members could have hoped for.

It was a tour that gained access to sections of the Moroccan mountains not normally visited by mountain bikers.

A route of rugged beauty, of stark limestone peaks and high alpine pastures, punctuated with quiet stone villages where life has not changed for centuries.

AVP hand over cheques to DAAT and the Prostate Cancer Charity

A deep cobalt blue sky remained cloudless all week and set off the rich colours of the ochre red trails. All very different for the Pedallers who had left the grey skies behind at home.

After a night in Marrakech, a short journey transferred the group to the foothills of the High Atlas and, after assembling the bikes, a short ride settled the riders into the new unfamiliar terrain of sand and rock.

Six days of mountain biking and trekking lay ahead with mules carrying the bikes on three ascents that would have been impossible to cycle.

The club had arranged for a support team, which included a local guide with an intimate knowledge of the area. A knowledge that gained invitations along the route from villagers to stop, relax and take tea.

"We all felt very humble and very privileged to be sitting in a house that did not have electricity or mains water and to be made to feel so welcome" said James Cope of AVP.

As the week progressed, the dramatic nature of the landscape seemed to increase in its stature every day. After one three-hour trek to a pass at over 3,000 metres, the mountain range seemed to extend forever, a compelling panorama.

There were many rewards, however, one to savour for mountain bikers are long descents and during his week one extended to just over 17 kilometres of pure bliss.

AVP intends to run the tour again next year and it is hoped that some may take up the challenge and use it as a way of raising funds for charity.

Go to the club's website http://www.axevalleypedallers.org.uk or contact Alistair Cope on (01297) 625 375 or alistair.cope@btinternet.com


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