whens the best time to ride big french passes?

Dr M
Dr M Posts: 171
edited March 2009 in Road beginners
i'm wanting to go to the alps + Mont Ventoux to do some of the big passes the tour sometimes goes over.

Just wondering what sort of months are good.. I was guessing July and August and just set off early morning to avoid the heat at the bottom, as i was thinking might be too cold towards the tops any earlier or later in the year?



  • pneumatic
    pneumatic Posts: 1,989
    September can be a very good time to do them. Quieter, a bit cooler (although it was still 28 degrees when I did the Alpe d,Huez) and, obviously snow free which wouldn't always be the case in May.

    Beware, though, that the French tourist season is strangely short and quite a lot of hotels in the Alps pack up at the start of September until the Ski season comes on in December.

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

  • mikey_748
    mikey_748 Posts: 108
    I prefer Feb or March myself but don't forget the snowboard... :D
  • ShaunL
    ShaunL Posts: 91
    We did them in early September.

    The day we went up galibier to check out the route it was snowing at the top but the next day when we rode up to the top it was fine sunshine.

    The great thing was that it was much quieter and cooler.
  • Manaru
    Manaru Posts: 18
    Go when the tour is on because theres loads of people riding up that you can try to catch, the weather is great and you get to watch some pros cycling.
  • bahzob
    bahzob Posts: 2,195
    Pyrenees/Alps/Ventoux in June:usually good then, without too much traffic. Not cold at top if sun shining.

    July/August: fine but more traffic and can get hot. Main factor in this will be direction of climb and how much shelter it has. On flip side it can be cold at the top during these months as well if wet/windy.

    September: OK but only 1st couple of weeks. Risk of bad weather/snow towards end of the month.
    Martin S. Newbury RC
  • dennisn
    dennisn Posts: 10,601
    I would prefer a nice 60 to 65 degree day with a lite cooling tailwind, fairly low humidity,
    sunny skis, and dry roads.

    Sorry, once again I couldn't help myself.

    Dennis Noward