In Cycling France, French Pyrenees, Pyrenees

Cycling Col du Pradel and Col du Marmare from Comus

This ride began in Comus, where I was staying at the family home of a friend and neighbor of mine from Boulder. Comus is situated in the Aude, Languedoc-Roussillon, region in the midi-Pyrenees. This little village is at 1240 meters of altitude and is bordered by the department of Ariège in the south-west.

We cycled to Ax-les-Thermes, where we had some errands to attend. Ax-les-Thermes is the starting point for Ax 3 Domaines, a ski station often used in the Tour de France. We will ride that another day.

The Roads

We spend much of the ride on pretty remote roads, too small to attract the Tour. The upside to cycling not-famous roads is there is no traffic at all. Just us and the cows.

The Climbs

  • The Col du Pradel starts in Niort de Sault and is 12.6km at 6.6%.
  • Col du Chioula starts in Ax-les-Thermes and ascends 16.2 km at 4.5%.

Chances are you have never heard of these climbs – I had not before this day. Neither climb was hard and the riding was lovely.

house in comus france

Our basecamp in Comus for the next 10 days.


fountain in comus, france

One of the four fountains in Comus. Each is taken care of with obvious love and pride.

Col du Marmare sign.

Col du Marmare sign.


A gorge near Pradel.

A gorge near the bottom of the Pradel.


The Ritchey with the Col du Pradel Sign.

The Ritchey with the Col du Pradel Sign. The bigger mountains to the south can be seen in the background.


Cycling by some cows on the Col du Pradel.

Cycling by some cows on the Col du Pradel.


cyclist on small road in the pyrenees

Didier leading the way of a little road.


bike in middle of road on col du pradel

This is a road (Pradel), not a bike path.


Cyclist on road in the pyrenees

Enjoying some Pyrenees views.

To Ride or Not to Ride

If you happen to be in this area, especially if you find yourself based in Ax-les-Thermes, then this is a great route. While your first impulse may be to climb Ax 3 Domaines from Ax-les-Thermes, this is a much more interesting route. The roads are tiny, scenic, and quiet.

If you wish to add more to this route you can turn from the Pradel and climb the mighty Col de Pailhères, which is 18.6km at 6.9% from the Ax-les-Thermes side. We ride the Col de Pailhères twice from the other direction later in this trip, once during L’Ariégeoise XXL and once for fun.

topographical route of the 2016 L'Ariégeoise XXL. 169km with 4378 meters of climbing.

Topographical route of the 2016 L’Ariégeoise XXL. 169km with 4378 meters of climbing.

The Strava Map from this ride

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