Sunday, 30 June 2013

Mountain Biking near Bizerte: Foret du Remel

Foret du Remel Tour

Distance: 23km
Altitude difference 450m
Terrain: rough (stones) forest track with some small patches of sand
Technicality: ** (out of *****)
GPS data

Yesterday we went for the first mountain bike recce in the north of Tunisia. The temperature was not supposed to exceed the 30 degrees and with a bit of wind it should be ok for riding. About an hour drive from Tunis is Metline, about 20km east of Bizerte and a good starting point for some explorative riding. At the approach of the town Foret du Remel beckoned, although we planned a completely different route along the coast. "There must be good riding there...". So why not give it a go?!

We found a parking spot high up in the town and started cycling on a minor road towards Bizerte. Just outside the town the urge to go off-road was big and at the first access road to the wind turbines on the right we made a little detour with great views towards the Mediterranean Sea and Bizerte in the distance. We kept following the track until it wound back to the road again. Only after a few hundred metres a minor road on the right forks in the direction of Foret du Remel, easy to see (basically just keep going straight). The road in the forest itself must have been the main connection with Bizerte back in the days. Now it's a pretty rough stone track that drops 200 altimeters for 5km straight.

At some point the track has a hard left turn (after having passed a left turn in the very beginning and a right turn a couple of km further). Take this turn and stay on it until the motorway to Bizerte is in sight. A few hundred metres before the motorway turn left towards an estate that could be a garden centre. Go right around it, being parallel next to the motorway now. Stay on the track on the east side of the road and now the forest track gradually goes up, winding back to the top of the forest. It's a long climb, but not too steep. At the junction on the top turn right to Metline on the track you entered the forest and further via the road.

It's a great and rewarding ride. Not too hard (depending how fast you want to go), not a soul around except some locals on donkeys and hardly any pollution. I love this forest and will definitely come back!

Photo left: great bit of single track but unfortunately dead end...

Both photos in this post taken by Michael Pfau

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