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Holiday near Ventoux

Richrd2205Richrd2205 Posts: 1,267
edited February 2008 in Tour & expedition
I'm on holiday in Provence in September & we're going to be staying in Carpentras, I have permission to take a day to climb Ventoux & I have a few questions I'm hoping that someone may be able to answer....

The situation first: I'm a fairly serious cyclist, however, having recently been diagnosed with osteo-arthritis in my wrist after breaking it in April last year, I only ride 'bents on UK roads, since hitting a pothole on a road bike is agony (I stay in Glasgow: 'nuff said (I used to be a roadie prior to my injury but)). My GF likes gentle rides of short distance on well tarmacked roads without too much traffic.

So:

-I think it's impossible to hire 'bents in the areas, so does anyone know if you can hire decent upright/upwrong bikes (not those horrible knobbly tired-VTT things: I want drops & Campag!) in Carpentras? & if so , where?

-Are the roads up to riding on a rigid bike when mild impact to my wrist causes a lot of pain? (ie. are the roads of the mythological smooth standards that British riders are led to expect?)

-What are traffic levels like on the "D" roads around Carpentras? Is the traffic more respectful of cyclists?

-Does anyone have any GPX files for nice routes around Carpentras? &/or, a round route for ascending Ventoux from there?

Posts

  • Richrd2205 wrote:
    I'm on holiday in Provence in September & we're going to be staying in Carpentras, I have permission to take a day to climb Ventoux & I have a few questions I'm hoping that someone may be able to answer....

    The situation first: I'm a fairly serious cyclist, however, having recently been diagnosed with osteo-arthritis in my wrist after breaking it in April last year, I only ride 'bents on UK roads, since hitting a pothole on a road bike is agony (I stay in Glasgow: 'nuff said (I used to be a roadie prior to my injury but)). My GF likes gentle rides of short distance on well tarmacked roads without too much traffic.

    So:

    -I think it's impossible to hire 'bents in the areas, so does anyone know if you can hire decent upright/upwrong bikes (not those horrible knobbly tired-VTT things: I want drops & Campag!) in Carpentras? & if so , where?

    -Are the roads up to riding on a rigid bike when mild impact to my wrist causes a lot of pain? (ie. are the roads of the mythological smooth standards that British riders are led to expect?)

    -What are traffic levels like on the "D" roads around Carpentras? Is the traffic more respectful of cyclists?

    -Does anyone have any GPX files for nice routes around Carpentras? &/or, a round route for ascending Ventoux from there?

    CAn't comment on anything other than road surfaces. They are very good. My experience of cycling in France was pleasant for all of the 800 miles from Calais, down through the Rhone valley being scared by the sight of Ventoux and through the Carmargue. Motorists treat you with total respect.
  • Don't know about Carpentras, although I'm sure there will be something, but I hired a bike last year from Bedoin Location - [email protected] (or Google Bedoin Location) which is, obviously, a bike shop in Bedoin. They are helpful folk, and it was a decent drop bar road bike (not Campag tho'). 25 euros for the day.

    The area is very popular with cyclists (heaps of groups out on Tuesdays and Sundays), and the drivers are well aware and seem pretty courteous. Quality of the roads is fine. The road up the Ventoux is like a billiard table compared to the potholed excuses for roads we have around London.

    A word of caution on the descent - I found the braking on the 10-12% bits down through the forest was a workout for the hands and forearms - take it gently with that wrist.

    I can also heartily recommend the cafe at Chalet Reynard (6km from the top) if yuo want a break on the way down. I expected a tourist trap but the views are great and the food is really good.
  • pneumaticpneumatic Posts: 1,989
    Not all the roads around there are smooth. The descent off the col de notre dame des abeilles into Bedoin prompted me to speculate that the local commune had signed a maintenance contract with Fife Council!

    Agree about descents; that might be your problem if you have a dodgy wrist. You could consider riding to the top and getting a lift down again, but that does seem like a criminal waste of fun. Maybe you could try tightening your brakes so they are permanenty rubbing the rim lightly (although you might overheat).

    Whatever you do, give it a try. It is a very special ride.


    Fast and Bulbous
    Peregrinations
    Eddingtons: 80 (Metric); 60 (Imperial)

  • Richrd2205Richrd2205 Posts: 1,267
    Thanks for the feedback thus far!

    I figure with the descents that I'm used to braking with my dodgy wrist on hilly rides in the UK & am figuring that being on the drops shouldn't stress my wrist too much (if I'm wrong, look for "Tragic cyclist dies on Ventoux whilst on honeymoon" headlines in the press).

    lateralus
    thanks for the link, they look good! Need to check public transport from Carpentras to Bedoin now... I found http://www.ventoux-bikes.fr/ on a search but the site appears to be missing an address. Does anyone know where it is?
    (BTW, is your user name a Tool reference?)

    Pneumatic
    The suggestion about a lift down is very wise, but I'm damned if I'm climbing nearly 2000m & not having the joy of the descent.
    Where is the dodgy road surface you talk about? Could you give me a direction from Bedoin?
    A small pothole can have my using very colourful language, even on a bent: so I'm terrified of the wee blighters, especially on an upwrong!


    I also realised today that I won't have ridden on a saddle for 16 months by the time we go there. I think that my sit bones might complain a little....

    Any tips on persuading ones not-very-cycling-oriented partner that going up Ventoux on a tandem might be a good plan?
  • Hi there Richard,

    You'll get a top quality bike from http://www.francebikerentals.com/ If you are willing to pay you can even hire a Colnago Extreme! They are based in Bedoin right on the start line of the climb and you can pre book your bike and have it delivered to your hotel.

    The routes up from both Bedoin and Malaucene are almost as good as it gets surface wise. The Bedoin side was re-surfaced in 2004 for the Dauphine Time Trial and the fantastic descent down to Malaucene has no surprises at all - it's great and even has a 100kmh section ( well almost! 97kmh)
    I'd avoid the descent into Sault as this side is still pretty rough.

    As pneumatic has said above the descent to Bedoin from Les Abeilles and Flassan is also best avoided, infact it's terrible. On the Michelin Local 332 map it is the road 6km to the east of Bedoin from Flassan to the Col des Abeilles - the D217.

    The 9km section of road between Bedoin and Malaucene over the Col de Madelaine has been re done at last and is perfect.

    Be careful in Carpentras town centre - lots of pot-holes!

    Have fun!!!!
  • pneumaticpneumatic Posts: 1,989
    Richrd2205 wrote:
    Thanks for the feedback thus far!

    (if I'm wrong, look for "Tragic cyclist dies on Ventoux whilst on honeymoon" headlines in the press).

    Any tips on persuading ones not-very-cycling-oriented partner that going up Ventoux on a tandem might be a good plan?

    You never said it was your HONEYMOON! Blimey, that's brave! Respect!

    I strongly suggest shelving the tandem idea. The Ventoux is no place for an early dabble into the joys of cycling. I speak from experience. We had our honeymoon in the Pyrenees. I persuaded Mrs Pneumatic that we should hire bikes for the day and ride along a valley. Even though we went nowhere near anything remotely answering the description of a slope, she still ended up throwing her bike into a hedge and has NEVER forgiven me. The whole episode is a standard item on the list of "and another thing" agenda items, during periods of marital debate.

    Ask for the day off and do it alone. Honestly, it's better that way!


    Fast and Bulbous
    Peregrinations
    Eddingtons: 80 (Metric); 60 (Imperial)

  • KléberKléber Posts: 6,842
    craigenty wrote:
    routes up from both Bedoin and Malaucene are almost as good as it gets surface wise.
    Very true. The black surface from Bedoin to the summit is some of the smoothest I've ever ridden on, especially as the climb proper starts. Whether it has lasted well and is still great next summer, well maybe Craig can update us?
  • Richrd2205Richrd2205 Posts: 1,267
    Glad to hear that the road surfaces are as good as I'd hoped. I'm looking to ascend from Malaucene & descend to Bedoin in a round route from Carpentras (70km ish from Google maps).

    craigenty
    thanks for the info! It's great that they'll deliver the bikes since we won't be driving. I prob won't hire the Colnago, but I might be tempted since I'm unlikely to ever ride a lighter bike again.... Thank you for the warning about Carpentras, but I'll be cycling there with my better half if at all, so low speeds & plenty of time to avoid the holes. My main fear is rough roads at speed where there's no the time to avoid hitting lumps.

    Pneumatic
    yes, it'll be our honeymoon. It was her idea to go cycling in Provence for the first bit of our trip (we're going to Paris afterwards), she wanted to spend some time by the pool reading, I wanted to climb Ventoux. It just made sense after some discussion...
    I'll note your words of wisdom about tandems. I was only half-serious about Ventoux, but was seriously thinking about it as an option for getting about. I'll abandon those plans now, so thank you!
    (BTW, I'll be on your side of the coast on Sunday if you fancy a go at recumbenteering. If you do, I'll try to find a portable bird scarer, to keep the wee blighters from attacking you)

    Thank you all again, please add anything further you feel may be useful...
  • pneumaticpneumatic Posts: 1,989
    Richrd2205 wrote:
    (BTW, I'll be on your side of the coast on Sunday if you fancy a go at recumbenteering. If you do, I'll try to find a portable bird scarer, to keep the wee blighters from attacking you)

    Thank you all again, please add anything further you feel may be useful...

    Unlikely to get out for any length of time on Sunday, as I am up to my ears in work just now, but if I see vultures circling with menace, I'll know where you are!


    Fast and Bulbous
    Peregrinations
    Eddingtons: 80 (Metric); 60 (Imperial)

  • Richrd2205 wrote:
    lateralus
    thanks for the link, they look good! Need to check public transport from Carpentras to Bedoin now... I found http://www.ventoux-bikes.fr/ on a search but the site appears to be missing an address. Does anyone know where it is?
    (BTW, is your user name a Tool reference?)

    Hmmm, I had a quick look but couldn't find much about public transport from Carpentras to Bedoin - perhaps get in touch with the Office du Tourisme? It's only 15km anyway, do if you can get a bike in Carpentras, it might make a nice warmup. You've only got a couple of flattish km out of Bedoin before the fun starts, and when you hit that point you're straight into 10km at an average of 10% so loosening the legs up first might not be such a bad thing.

    As for the username, yes a Tool reference. Just happened to be the first thing to pop into my head when I went to register. Don't know why - it's my least favourite of their albums....
  • daviddddaviddd Posts: 637
    for the record, the ascent from Malaucine was v good tarmac in 2006 when I did it, no potholes in sight (just relentless 9.5% slope lol). There is a bike shop in Malaucine too but don't know if they hire.
    Oct 2007 to Sep 2008 - anticlockwise lap of Australia... http://www.davidddinoz.blogspot.com/
    French Alps Tour 2006: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=r ... =1914&v=5R
    3 month tour of NZ 2015... http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/nz2014
  • There are a number of bike shops that hire out in Bedoin. Im not sure what variety they have though. I remember predominantly road bikes.

    The road surface was excellent and the ascent from Bedoin was a great experience. Apart from the flies in the forest areas.

    Very steep descent down to malauciene though I nearly hit 50mph.
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