#GOINGPLACES – Paolo Ciaberta takes in the Moroccan Landscapes by Bike
Freelance photographer, amateur cyclist, adventurer and Scicon Bags ambassador – Paolo Ciaberta often finds himself at far-flung corners of the world with not just his camera but also his bike for company. One of his latest escapades saw the Italian travel to Morocco for a week’s exploration sharing a passion for two wheels with friends.
Paolo travels with his bike using the Scicon AeroComfort ROAD 3.0 TSA bike travel bag. Here’s his story.
Simone, Paolo, Marco and I left Milan on 26 March for Marrakech, with a return scheduled for the 1 April, for a week of riding covering around 5,900m of climbing. Setting out from Agoudal we would eventually arrive in Marrakech having covered five stages averaging 100km each, with 40% of the trip on dirt roads and the rest on asphelt. The whole route was practical for a gravel bike, even if at some points front suspension would have been appreciated.
There are people who travel to ride, and people who ride to travel. We are firmly in the second category. We prefer to enjoy a slower pace that allow us to discover, explore, deviate from the main route and allow our senses to take in all that we pass through.
The average of 100km a day allows us time to stop in the most interesting places. Then at night we always slept in the so-called “casbah” or found local accommodation – the differences in temperature between day and night are so extreme at this period of the year that we preferred to avoid the tents, allowing us to travel lighter.
We uncovered various fascinating places along our way. From the off, the departure from Agoudal and the road that goes until the Gorges of Dades was terrific (R704), full of canyons and stunning landscapes. The road is dirt, but feasible especially on the uphill sections. When it goes down it is equally beautiful, but definitely more tiring because of the vibrations.
Another part that was like being in a Western was when deviating left to avoid the N10, going on along the Roses Valley – generally we studied the travel to avoid all the “N” roads, the biggest and with most traffic roads.
One of the most interesting stages was in Ait Bem, but generally the whole path we set up go through some of the most beautiful areas of the Middle Atlas and its sumptuous landscapes.
We visited a part of Morocco that lends well for the bicycle touring, while traveling through some of the most picturesque areas of the Middle Atlas Mountains. It’s not difficult to find where to sleep and eat, except for when in desert areas, and the prices are reasonable, while the Moroccan people are welcoming and kind to us bike tourists.
It was my third visit to Morocco, but I’ve never appreciated its beauty, landscapes and colors like this before. It’s true, slowing down does often help your exploration.