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Alpe d'Huez in December ?

RandGRandG Posts: 779
edited December 2013 in Road general
How feesable is it to be able to do d'Huez in December ? Possibly planning a trip there, would also be looking to hire a bike as well if that was also possible.

Posts

  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,759
    Forget about it, not a good idea. There will be snow and although the road might be clear, there can be ice on the way down. You will also freeze to death on the descent. If you really really want to do it, then hire a mountain bike
  • RandGRandG Posts: 779
    OK thanks for that, which then leads me to my next question. Is there any good mountain bike trails in that area that could be done instead ?

    To explain, my mates are going boarding, something I don't do, but they said go cycling instead of boarding then.
  • heavy_ratheavy_rat Posts: 264
    Probably best you taking some Boarding lessons
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,759
    Stupid question... but instead of going with your mates in December, can you not go with different mates in June?
  • arran77arran77 Posts: 9,260
    RandG wrote:
    OK thanks for that, which then leads me to my next question. Is there any good mountain bike trails in that area that could be done instead ?

    To explain, my mates are going boarding, something I don't do, but they said go cycling instead of boarding then.

    Lots of good mountain bike trails but I would guess they wouldn't be open as things will be gearing up for the snow boarding.
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  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Its a ski resort. Its high up. Any trails up there will be snowy.
  • djm501djm501 Posts: 378
    cougie wrote:
    Its a ski resort.

    Surely this is all you need to know.
  • sbbefcsbbefc Posts: 189
    I would also imagine there will be quite a few buses also using the route that time of year which would use up all the road when taking the hair pins.
  • sbbefcsbbefc Posts: 189
    If the roads are clear though and you have enough layers on I don't see why you couldn't cycle it. The descent only takes 15-20 minutes so its not as if you're going to freeze to death.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,759
    sbbefc wrote:
    If the roads are clear though and you have enough layers on I don't see why you couldn't cycle it. The descent only takes 15-20 minutes so its not as if you're going to freeze to death.

    Temperature will be between 0 and -10, the snow at the side melts in the sun, floods the road and refreeze in the shaded spots... it is a death trap on skinny tyres. Also, I suppose no bike hire company will be open
  • sbbefcsbbefc Posts: 189
    sbbefc wrote:
    If the roads are clear though and you have enough layers on I don't see why you couldn't cycle it. The descent only takes 15-20 minutes so its not as if you're going to freeze to death.

    Temperature will be between 0 and -10, the snow at the side melts in the sun, floods the road and refreeze in the shaded spots... it is a death trap on skinny tyres. Also, I suppose no bike hire company will be open

    Obviously there's a risk and I see your point, but it is a highly maintained road and they get a lot of ski traffic. At times (although I try not to make a habit of it) I cycle up in the welsh hills when there's still lying snow and the temperature isn't much above 0. There's a risk but as long as you don't do anything stupid it's fine.

    But as you've pointed out there probably aren't not any bike hire shops open anyway.

    Personally I'd just get on with some skiing and try and get back there in the summer.
  • if you dont board/ski downhill, cant you do some skidoiing, or maybe cross country?
  • warrerjwarrerj Posts: 665
    Most of the bike hire shops do bikes in the summer and skis int he winter so you may struggle with bike hire.
    Riding up shouldn't be a problem IF you can get a bike and IF you have enough layers to fight off the cold. I wouldn't think of riding down on a road bike that time of year tho.

    If you don't ski or board there's a loads of snow shoeing you could do instead. But TBH if I were you I'd join ski school and visit again in summer to ride it.
  • RDWRDW Posts: 1,900
    Here's someone local who's done it - doesn't sound like much fun:

    http://blog.morethan21bends.com/2012/12 ... ecember-2/
    http://blog.tourdoisans.com/2011/12/13/ ... ale-dhuez/

    He also has a bike hire/tour business, but looks like this is only for March - October for obvious reasons. You could always email and ask for advice.
  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    Think you'd be better off getting a mtb and doing the mega avalanche!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megavalanche
  • If you are still planning to ride this December, I can confirm that despite good snowfalls in late November, it is now cold, but very sunny. Alpe d'Huez is south facing, so the road is clear of snow. Ice toward to the top very possible. One recommendation for a good winter MTB ride, would be from the Col D'Ornon heading south to the lake in Valbonais. There is a fantastic trail from the col to the lake, which is well parked on the local OS style map. You can then return by road.
  • Nah, that's for wimps, do the Tourmalet in January.
  • cmhill79cmhill79 Posts: 135
    I've copped snow there in September
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 20,035
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
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  • YIManYIMan Posts: 576
    You could always try to hire a snow bike? But really better just learning to ski or board.
  • elbowlohelbowloh Posts: 7,078
    Not Alpe d'Huez obviously but cycled up Etna on the 27th November in similar conditions (we went as far the snow would allow 1800m) where temps were around -5 degrees C. It was ok getting up, but the descent was horrendous in terms of wind chill and hands being so cold it was difficult to pull the brakes with any force.

    So even if it is ok to go up the Alpe d'Huez, but don't forget about the descent!
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  • I imagine the authorities wouldn't be too impressed if they had to come and rescue you either!
  • stueysstueys Posts: 1,332
    elbowloh wrote:
    Not Alpe d'Huez obviously but cycled up Etna on the 27th November in similar conditions (we went as far the snow would allow 1800m) where temps were around -5 degrees C. It was ok getting up, but the descent was horrendous in terms of wind chill and hands being so cold it was difficult to pull the brakes with any force.

    So even if it is ok to go up the Alpe d'Huez, but don't forget about the descent!

    Will second this, came down Ventoux in -7, not something I'm keen to repeat. I was still shivering after 2 coffees and 20 minutes in a warm coffee shop.
  • nevmannevman Posts: 1,611
    IF the road is clear to the top AND you can hire/borrow a bike it should be possible.Get the bus down.Should also be possible to ride up to Les Deux Alpes on the same basis (you could take the ski lift down to the main road).Probably a better idea to go snow-shoeing though.
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  • kingstoniankingstonian Posts: 2,847
    Don't try cycling, it would be madness at that time of year.

    Have you thought about cross country skiing, if you don't want to try downhill skiing or snowboarding? You will get a Brilliant workout if you give it a go.
  • davidofdavidof Posts: 2,716
    I've cycled it in January, it is actually better than in July when it is too hot. You need to cycle after lunch when it has had the sun on bends. I've also cycled up the Sarenne and round to Auris with my studded tires, which was fun.

    on_ice_2.jpg
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  • davidofdavidof Posts: 2,716
    Ok a bit "sportive" on the North Side of Mont Revard this afternoon but the climb (which is not as well sun exposed as Mont Revard) was great.

    IMG_20131213_133751.jpg
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  • robbo2011robbo2011 Posts: 1,017
    Looks beautiful, but rather dangerous to me.

    Still, I'll be out tomorrow too and it's sub freezing here, so probably just as dumb.
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