Exploring Corsica - A Photo Epic

Jan 21, 2013
by Bartek Wolinski  
 
You must login to Pinkbike.
Don't have an account? Sign up

Join Pinkbike  Login
1800km by car and a few hours on the ferry – that's how far we had to travel from Poland to get to the island of Corsica, where the average annual temperature is above 20 degrees Celsius and the topography makes driving feel like an arcade racing game.

Our main goal for the trip was a photo shoot and a test of our new Enduro prototypes. When choosing a place, we were mostly looking for big mountains and good weather. Daily checking of various weather forecasts had given us a clear answer – the Alps and the Dolomites are simply not the best places in Europe to ride bikes in mid-October, and certainly not suitable for a successful photo shoot.

www.wolisphoto.com

Two days before the trip we decided to take the risk and to go to a place where none of us had ever been, a place with tall mountains and temperatures similar to a warm, Polish summer. Corsica, which we knew from school as the birthplace of Napoleon, has much more to offer than just the memories of the "great" leader. More than 200 peaks, rising to over 2000 meters above sea level can be found on this one island. The place was beyond our expectations.

www.wolisphoto.com
  Corsica, seen from the ferry, already promised to be stunning. Leaning against the railing we were already planning our first downhill runs in the ravines, visible from afar.

Not bothered by the fact that most of us hadn't gotten a wink of sleep for more than 24 hours, we only wanted to do one thing – to finally ride and capture it in pictures. We left the ferry, headed to the capital of Corsica, Bastia. After a quick check-in at a hotel with a view of the harbor, we grabbed breakfast and headed off.

www.wolisphoto.com
www.wolisphoto.com
www.wolisphoto.com
  During the drive between Marine de Lur and Pino we realized that we were in the right place. Mediterranean flora, summer-like temperatures, abandoned cars on slopes and plenty of wild tracks asking for us to ride them on two wheels.

www.wolisphoto.com
www.wolisphoto.com
  We didn't hesitate for too long. The first downhill run was the last of the day - amazing lighting, with beautiful serpentine and winding singletrack overlooking the coast under the sun's last rays.

We spent the night in the capital of Corsica enjoying local food, local beer and planning for the next day of shooting. Riding outside the town of Calacuccia awaited us the following day.

The next day our journey reminded us of National Geographic movies - high, "naked" mountains surrounded us on both sides. We parked at an elevation of over 1700m; there was no forest, and the walking trail heads up to the lake Lac de Mel.

www.wolisphoto.com
www.wolisphoto.com
  On Corsica it's normal to meet animals on the road - cows, bulls and even wild pigs.

Climbing even higher, in an remote area we stumbled upon a hut that turned out to be a paliaghju. Local shepherds use this type of building to make cheese and keep hay for sheep.

www.wolisphoto.com
www.wolisphoto.com

After two hours of climbing we found the place we were searching for - green grass, huge flat stones, and, of course, our constant companion - one of the hundreds of streams. This is where we spent a couple of hours and then had an epic descent back to the car. This path was like an Enduro race segment from our dreams.

www.wolisphoto.com
www.wolisphoto.com
www.wolisphoto.com
www.wolisphoto.com
www.wolisphoto.com
www.wolisphoto.com
www.wolisphoto.com
www.wolisphoto.com
  On the way down we used the only crossing along the creek. This place, surrounded by hundreds of meters of mountain slopes, full of unimaginable boulders and crystal clear water (which, we do not know why, seemed warm to us) will stay in our memories for a long time.

www.wolisphoto.com
www.wolisphoto.com
www.wolisphoto.com
www.wolisphoto.com
www.wolisphoto.com
www.wolisphoto.com
  In Corte we decided to go to the western part of the island, to Ajaccio, the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte. We drove less than 80km/h for over two hours and that was on the main road.

www.wolisphoto.com

The last day of our stay on the island came. Sunset did not make such an impression on us as the sunrise, so we decided to go back over the previous 200km, to the spot from the first day. We don't need to write once again how many hours the journey took, but what we will write is that it was definitely worth it. In Corsica, 200km is enough to go through the whole of Europe, Canada and some of Utah. Along the way, it even seemed as if we were were in the Polish Beskids for a brief moment. We liked the canyon (where we stopped several times to admire the views) the most.

www.wolisphoto.com
www.wolisphoto.com
www.wolisphoto.com
  Time was running out, the sunset was approaching relentlessly, so we raced on (along the road we had a few more stops of course, it's Corsica after all) and we managed to make it before sunset. Unfortunately the weather wasn't too favorable. We waited and waited for the proper sunshine ray, but the clouds refused to moved.

www.wolisphoto.com
  Well, are we going to the beach then?

And so we did! Our only regret is that we couldn't stay longer because Corsica is the perfect place for a winter bike trip in Europe.

Photos by www.wolisphoto.com
Must Read This Week

76 Comments

  • + 59
 me thinks you are a great photographer.
  • + 4
 Gorgeous place and the pictures did a good job of capturing the beauty.
  • + 5
 The scenery is stunning. So many potential pods.
  • + 5
 In France, we call Corsica "l'île de beauté" , "the Island of Beauty" ... It'is all there.
[Reply]
  • + 11
 Wow, that must've been an awesome trip! Hope that new bikes did well.

Time to show the world that Polacks can make some sick! enduro bikes! Big Grin
  • - 7
 orange pown kross...
  • + 0
 Banshee pwns both of you.
  • + 11
 Everyone knows that the best bikes on the planet are made by Huffy.
  • + 4
 I think you are all forgetting Little Tykes. Those things have 3 wheels - thats 50% more, so they are clearly 50% better on rough terrain! Fools!
  • + 0
 just looked at the kross range, 4" travel the longest they do? dissappointing, the swing arm engineering looks a great idea as well
  • + 0
 orange and santa cruz for the win guys
  • + 1
 I agree, but where i ride theres morecorange 5s than trees, so im looking at a la pierre or a canyon, rarely see a bad word said about la pierres
  • + 1
 Lapierre are sick but here in Canada they're becoming hard to keep, they need to work on their international relations.
  • + 3
 @KEEPitSTUPID: The bikes you can see in the article are longer travel, full-on enduro bikes, but they are prototypes, that's why they're not on the website yet. But they should become available quite soon.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 beautiful !!! I've been hoping for an article like this for a long time !! I love corsica ! Does anybody knows if there's organized trips available for mountain bikers ? or maybe suggested routes that one could take without knowing the island ?
  • - 8
 why is your comment purple?
  • + 3
 don't know... maybe cuz I'm special... kidding; I'm really interested by the route the guys took in corsica though, looks like a dream vacation !
  • + 4
 Purple = Most recent comment in the comment area.
  • + 2
 For organized trips You can visit www.altecime.fr/fr/Altra-Mora-03x01x01x01.html (fr)
We do not have a lot of trails.
Check on Endomondo for southern corsica or on www.utagawavtt.com/randonnee-vtt-gps-search
  • + 1
 totalbikes owner was saying something about organizing one. Not sure if the english site is still up since most of the traffic they get is from Poland but the Owner is or was an english teacher so I doubt there will be any communication problems Wink
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Hi and thanks' for this nice pics.

I am quite surprised you said you parked at 1700m+. It seemed that you parked at Grotelle (around 1350m) and the lake of Melo is 1711m. Then you followed the restonica down to Corte...

Such question to understand where you rode and manage some new challenges in Corsica.

Great Pics and Great Trip !!
[Reply]
  • + 4
 And you haven't say nothing about food... but trust me, have a peace of meat whit a good red wine, on the beach, after a ride and you will never leave Corsica !
  • + 1
 yeah amazing food...cheese ans meat :-) jummi jummi
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I've toured Corsica on a road bike - well technically an MTB with narrow tires - last year and holy crap was that an excellent trip! I've been there by middle of September for two weeks and this means all the tourist herds were already gone so it wasn't so crowded, yet the weather was perfect. I went from Bastia to the top of the Island and along the north, then west coast all the way south and back to Bastia by east coast again - some 800 km altogether. Sleeping in tents on beaches, drinking local wine and dining on tasty local meats and cheese in a different spot every day... gotta love that. Oh and the best thing, my fiancee tagged along and loved every single moment of it Smile Some downsides - east coast is flat and boring, beer is expensive and Corsicans don't speak a word of English if their life depended on it.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I'm impressed guys - that's the right way to launch the new real polish enduro bike! Now prove it's quality and durability and collect the $$$ Wink
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I went to Corsica about 10 years ago kayaking and it is covered in spiky thorn bushes, so I would fully recommend going tubeless out there as I reckon punctures will be very common. Beautiful place and have been looking for an excuse to go back there again - looks like I've found my excuse now.
  • + 1
 Correct me if I'm wrong (I have no experience owning or running tubeless on any of my bikes) but surely a tubeless tyre without sealant is just as susceptible to punctures from the carcass actually being penetrated as a downhill tyre with a tube? I thought the main advantage of tubeless, besides weight saving, was avoiding pinch flats
  • + 1
 tubeless stops pinches thus allowing you to run a lower pressure, grip is greatly increased as the tire can "mould" better to the track, sealant stops thorns e.t.c from being a problem and if you use the Stans no tubes system you save weight too.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 That is the dream landscape right there. Any one of us would gladly give up anything to be there during these winter months...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 love corse, great nature, amazing scenery, sick trails, good food....been there 2 time with my bike...need to go there again :-)
[Reply]
  • + 0
 A combo of incredible scenery, and a great job documenting it in photos! Great job! Smile

On a side note... does anybody need a second photographer on the next trip? I'll work for plane ticket and food! (at cost!) Razz
[Reply]
  • + 3
 great pictures, and those bike are BEAUTIFUL!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Awesome shots, but why do they get uploaded in such low resolution?

I'd love to have been able to view some of them in better quality.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Get Chris Akrigg out there
[Reply]
  • + 1
 What frames are these guys using? Looks like a cross between the Transition Syren and VPP technology
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Some of the pictures i have rode when i was working as an instructor back in 2010 miss the place so much
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Anyone know what jerseys they are wearing? And are they available to buy? Awesome article btw
  • + 1
 They are limited edition Kross jerseys
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Can someone explain me why the f*ck the direction to "site d'escalade de cuccia" is full of bullet marks?
  • + 2
 I was there on vacation several times, so I know a little about the history:
an issue in corsica is the corsican mafia, one of france's biggest crime organisations.
while I was there (about 10 years ago) I also witnessed violence between the mafia and police (maybe even between mafia groups?)
some corsican's also want to be independet from france, a few militant groups are fighting for this (for example they seized ferries), but I don't know if they are a part of the mafia / connected with them or not...
seemed to be rather quiet the last few years though...
  • + 1
 Thanks bro... And by the way, nice place
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Beautiful !! I was in Corsica, in last September for a road trip in motorbike, just awesome !! Smile
[Reply]
  • + 1
 have someone start punching you in the arm..... Slug bug what color!!! ha ha sweet photos guy
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Its depressing really... Either PB has to stop showing me all of these awesome places I'll never get to or I have to give up PB. FML
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Lucky enough to Have been there twice. Blew my mind. Sadly did not have my off road rig so can't speak to the trails but even if they suck, it'd still be a great trip!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Brilliant !! I want to go. Now.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Awesome little article, corsica looks amazing.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Question!!! Does anybody here does All mountain with clipless pedals???
[Reply]
  • + 1
 looks like an awesome place to ride!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 shouldn't it be labelled as some kind of marketing material of Kross ?? Smile
[Reply]
  • + 1
 The 11 coments before me got neg props hahaha ( i deserve neg props)
[Reply]
  • + 1
 wouldnt wanna look out that window with a joker in the room.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 really amazing photos, the riding looks damn good and a proper adventure!
[Reply]
  • + 0
 A bit of history on the trails would be nice. Hiking? Military? Cows? Thanks for the tidbits
[Reply]
  • + 0
 great trip, but we don't know rider's names, it's a shame couse they're ripping Smile
  • + 2
 If you open any photo with them, you've got their names - Arek & Karol Wink
  • + 5
 true, true, thanks Smile outstanding photos btw, really nice to see on pinkbike some top-level trip with polish riders on polish bikes in lens of polish photographer Wink
[Reply]
  • + 1
 as the title says, the photos are indeed epic! nice work, and sick riding!
[Reply]
  • + 0
 my girlfriend has been there for studying aboard. it looked so nice.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 In my next life...This is how it will be..........
[Reply]
  • + 0
 vimeo.com/user1575256

I ride in santacruz nomad carbon ;-)
[Reply]
  • - 1
 Haha...nIce to see we're not the only place with bullet holes in signs.
  • - 1
 Ha ha! Think youll find that anywhere theres signs and guns.
[Reply]
  • - 1
 Some weird bikes you're ridin, but some killer pics
[Reply]
  • - 2
 Much over use of HDR. A couple photos fine but for the majority of the article, hmmmmmm....
[Reply]
  • - 1
 i love the horse one.
[Reply]

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2014. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv14 0.040740
Mobile Version of Website