Mont Ventoux, May 2015 4/5 days riding

gbs

Veteran
Location
Fulham
This will be my first venture to the high ground and I invite comment from the experienced. These are the key elements in my thinking so far.
  1. May because that is the earliest time that offers a reasonable probability of acceptable weather conditions at the top
  2. train not car because the distance is disagreeably long from Fulham for a short holiday
  3. hire bike not take own given the hassles and Eurostar's unwillingness to guarantee same train travel
  4. Malaucene, Bedoin or Sault as a base? All comments on the hotels and bike hire shops will be appreciated
 
Location
Devon & Die
1, 2, 3 sound sensible. From Calais to MV it'd be about 10 hours driving on the motorway, and the road tolls about £150 return. Plenty of places to hire, but remember to take your pedals, shoes, helmet and saddle!
 

rich p

ridiculous old lush
Location
Brighton
I stayed at veloventoux.com. Great place to stay and a shortish ride to Malaucene or Bedoin.

I preferred the ascent from Bedoin and they have bike hire shops. You can descend to Malaucene to make a circular route.
 

TheDoctor

Resistance is futile!
Moderator
Location
Stevenage
The climb from Sault to Chalet Reynard is long, but easy. The climb after the chalet is steep and hard. The climbs from the other two start hard and stay hard.
I've attempted Ventoux twice, both times from Sault. The first time was in May, on a carbon road bike, and I got to the top. The second was in November on a Brompton, and I got as far as the Chalet. The road was blocked further up.
 
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T4tomo

Veteran
For a really nice round trip route, descend to Sault and follow gorge de Nesque back to Bedoin. It's just shy of 90 Kms but once at the top the is only about 10kms of up hill left. Obviously the first 23 Kms are uphill!

I used francebikerentals.com they were really good and based right at the start of the climb from Bedoin.

I have heard only good about Velo ventoux if you want accommodation and so ideas for riding around there for a few days
 

User269

Guest
This will be my first venture to the high ground and I invite comment from the experienced. These are the key elements in my thinking so far.
  1. May because that is the earliest time that offers a reasonable probability of acceptable weather conditions at the top
  2. train not car because the distance is disagreeably long from Fulham for a short holiday
  3. hire bike not take own given the hassles and Eurostar's unwillingness to guarantee same train travel
  4. Malaucene, Bedoin or Sault as a base? All comments on the hotels and bike hire shops will be appreciated
Looks like a good plan all round, given the limited time. The 'classic' route from Bedoin is considered hardest, and the route from Malaucene isn't much easier. From Sault it's a better gradient all the way, and riding from Bedoin via the Gorges de la Nesque then on to the summit is my favourite ride of all time.

Train to Avignon, car hire, as public transport options to Bedoin or Malaucene are limited. I prefer Bedoin, more route options as well as the 3 different ways up Ventoux. Rent a mobile home/chalet at the campsite in Bedoin, or stay up the road in Ste. Columbe at La Garance or the cheaper but still excellent Cafe Guintrand. Our companions have rented bikes from Bedoin Location which gives excellent service and good bikes. There's another good bike hire shop a short distance away, directly opposite the official timing line for the classic route.

Avoid riding up the mountain on May 14th 2015, as it's Ascension Day, a public holiday, and the French take it literally by walking, running, cycling, driving etc. up the mountain, in addition to numerous organised vehicle and cycle rallies.

It's a little bit of a gamble with the weather, but I've generally found May to be OK. If you can't see the top of the mountain before you set off, it's usually too cold, cloudy & windy to make it much fun. It's my favourite mountain (14 ascents!) and some of my favourite rides can also be done from Bedoin. We'll be back there in June, following a week in the Alps (Alpe d'Huez, Galibier etc.) ! I think you'll really enjoy it.
 
1) Potential huge difference in weather between 1 may and 31 may! But your basic reasoning is sound. Regardless of how pleasant it might be at the bottom, do not forget to take a windproof and gloves. There can easily be a 10°+ difference between base and summit. And it can be chilly on the descent!
3) Hire options in both Bédoin and Malaucène. I have hired from BIke Rental France - great selection of bikes, very helpful staff altho I found Jean-Michel particularly grumpy twice, maybe he didn't like my face! Taking your own saddle is wise. I didn't realise I had an uncomfortable one on my second trip until about a third of the up, ending up with very sore thighs!
4) Not sure the base is that important, although Bédoin certainly has more facilities. Accommodation is dependent entirely by your budget - all options covered.

Going for a few days is sound. You have more time to explore the area, as there are some great rides ignoring MV itself, as others have alluded. It also allows to tailor your ascent(s) according to the weather. I can offer advice on good restaurants and good wine producers too, if you're interested. (Occupational hazard!).

Most importantly, enjoy it. It is fantastic.
 

Cuchilo

Prize winning member X2
Location
London
Got the same trip at the same time in the planning stages . Thoughts are to rack out my van and take the bikes over in that .
when I say in the planning what I mean is . My mate says" lets do it " and I am saying "but they are mountains " .
 
Very interested!
Apologies for the delay, some days have disappeared foggily recently.

Restaurants:

Le Colombe - just outside Bédoin, very good. (you'll pass it on the way up!)
Portail Olivier - centre of town, good for lunch.
Le Table - centre of town, recommended by locals. (it was closed the night I wanted to go)
Restaurant Jerome Blanchet - @ Hotel Crillon-le-Brave, about 4km out of town. Good food, good wine, good service, very high prices. And the most amazing location/view.
Le Vieux Four - also at Crillon-le-Brave. Very good menu, very good value. Not for veggies. Cash only. (tip:do a recce if planning to go there in the evening, it is not easy to find in the dark!)

Other options are available, all part of the fun of visiting somewhere new.

Wineries:

Fondrêche - possibly the best producer of Ventoux at the moment. Highly regarded. Best to make an appointment and probably helpful if your french is passable.
Pesquié - good wines, pretty estate. English spoken. Very good set-up for visitors, in a good way.
Terra Ventoux - a fun place to visit, loads to try, top-end stuff is excellent and good value. No english when I visited, but you'd probably be ok without it.

These 3 are all easy to find and fairly close to Bédoin. Other good estates exist further afield. There are plenty of others nearer e.g. Ventoux co-op but quality may be questionable but I've no first hand knowledge.

Have fun!
 

Norry1

Guru
Location
Warwick
Anyone got stored Garmin or Strava routes? Having done Bourg D'Oisans (Alpe D'Huez, Croix de Fer, Glandon etc) twice in the last 3 years, we are considering options for 2016. This is one option. Stelvio is another :smile:
 

blazed

220lb+
Bedoin route is the best, it is the hardest route so why would you not take it? If you take an easy route you will regret it. Cycling Ventoux any other route than Bedoin does not even count, it never happened. Hire from francebikerentals.com, they have a huge amount of bikes available.

Anyone got stored Garmin or Strava routes? Having done Bourg D'Oisans (Alpe D'Huez, Croix de Fer, Glandon etc) twice in the last 3 years, we are considering options for 2016. This is one option. Stelvio is another :smile:
Doing Stelvio in a couple months probably not much difference in difficulty between it and Ventoux but the actual route looks a lot more interesting at Stelvio.
 
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