Cycling up Mont Ventoux should be a fantastic, bucket-list experience. To make sure you remember it for all the right reasons, you need to prepare accordingly.

Working with Dylan and the team at Mont Ventoux Cycling Club, who are based in Mormoiron, very close to Mont Ventoux, here are our top tips to help ensure success.

For routes, bike hire and everything else you might want to know about cycling Ventoux, read our ultimate guide! For where to stay, read our Ventoux hotels and accommodation article.

Preparation

1. You need to be fit to climb Ventoux by bike; if you haven’t trained, you are going to struggle. We also strongly suggest you practice descending hairpin corners before you arrive. This is not the place to learn.

2. At an absolute minimum, you will need arm warmers, leg warmers and a windproof jacket for the summit. If the weather looks bad, pack and dress accordingly. For packing lists, click here.

3. Leave your deep section wheels at home. If it’s windy at the top of Ventoux, you won’t be happy.

4. If you aren’t a wiry climber, use a compact chainset.

Cyclist looking back at Ventoux hairpins

Cycling Ventoux is not for beginners

Routes

5. Plan your route before you visit. Our ultimate guide to cycling Ventoux contains loads of information on each of the three ways up: via Bédoin, Malaucène or Sault.

6. The road is relatively narrow in many places. Expect lots of cars and other cyclists, particularly in summer.

7. Other than for the Sault route (where there are no markers), milestones every kilometre show:

  • the average gradient for the next kilometre and the number of kilometres to the summit; and
  • the current altitude.
Mile marker on route up Ventoux

Markers on the way up Ventoux from Bédoin

Best times to cycle

8. An important part of cycling Ventoux is the notorious weather. The banner photo for this article was taken on one of our rides up Ventoux in early summer – but so was the photo below…

9. More on this below, but bear in mind that it can seem fine at the bottom, even though there’s thick fog and a cold wind further up. If you have any flexibility over which day you ride Ventoux, pick a day when the summit is clear, and weather reports are favourable.

10. Mont Ventoux is open between mid-April and mid-November from Bédoin, though it can be shut at any point throughout the year if the weather is bad. The roads (or just sections, e.g. the summit) can also be shut if there are maintenance works or events such as motor races. If you are planning your trip around riding Ventoux, do some digging on events on Ventoux. The team at Mont Ventoux Cycling Club may also be able to assist with information on this.

Cyclist descending Malaucene side of Ventoux

Descending Ventoux on a hot day

Weather

11. Check the forecast the day before your ride and before you set out. You can check the current temperature at the summit and windspeed and direction here.  If the wind looks very strong then choose whichever route that will mean it is mainly behind you (e.g. if the wind is coming from the northwest, don’t do the Sault route). The wind gusts over 50 mph 200 days a year on Ventoux!

12. Don’t underestimate the conditions on the summit, even in good weather, and/or when all is calm in Bédoin. The summit and the descent are very exposed and, crazy as it sounds, people are frequently blown off their bikes. If you want to see a Mont Ventoux webcam before you set out, try this.

13. It if rains, debris may get washed onto the road. Fog can also make things tricky. In summer, the heat can be intense. Set off early.

Other stuff for cycling up Mont Ventoux

Tips for the summit

14. Get your extra layers of clothes on quickly! Even if you aren’t planning on hanging around, you’ll need them for the descent.

15. If you have a support car, note that parking is limited and you may struggle to park in summer.

16. If the weather permits, remember to enjoy the incredible view from the summit – and take a photo to record your success!

(In case you are wondering, the lighthouse-like building is a meteorological observatory that was built in 1882 but is no longer in use. It is topped by a television transmitter.)

Cyclists celebrating have summitted Mont Ventoux (credit: James Green)

Celebrating the summit (credit: James Green with Mont Ventoux Cycling Club)

 

Time to the top

17. The pros do the route from Bédoin in about an hour. The fastest time recorded to date is Iban Mayo’s time of 55 minutes 51 seconds in the individual climbing time trial of the 2004 Dauphiné Libéré. Top amateurs ride it in less than two hours.

Mt Ventoux cycling photographers

18. During high season on the Bédoin and Sault routes, Mount Ventoux photographers take photos of you on your way to the summit after Chalet Reynard. You can visit their website and buy the photo later.

And finally – French cycling laws

19. Be aware of France’s equivalent of the Highway Code, and particularly the specific rules for cyclists. The pictogram below summarises the obligatory equipment you should have to avoid being fined. We rarely see road cyclists in France with lights or bells, and we ourselves have never had any problems, but it’s best to be aware of the rules and make your own decision.

 

List of obligatory cycling equipment and fines

Your thoughts!

Cycled Ventoux and got some additional tips? Please comment below or drop us a line!

Got a question for Mont Ventoux Cycling Club?

Fill out this form and Mont Ventoux Cycling Club will reply (within 24 hours wherever they possibly can!)

We will use this info to send the enquiry to Mont Ventoux Cycling Club. Our privacy policy explains more and here’s a reminder of our terms and conditions.

Got a question for Clare?

Fill out this form and we will send it to Clare. We aim to get you an answer within 24 hours wherever possible!

We will use this info to send the enquiry to Clare and/or their team. Our privacy policy explains more and here’s a reminder of our terms and conditions.







Clare Dewey

Clare Dewey is a cyclist with a passion for travel. She set up epicroadrides.com in 2018 to help make it easy for cyclists to explore the world by bike. Today her mission is still inspiring cyclists to discover new places on two wheels – and doing what she can to make sure they have the best possible time while they’re there. Clare has visited 50+ destinations around the world, many of them by bike.

The contents of this website are provided for general information purposes only. It is not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on it. You should carry out your own due diligence and take professional advice. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content on our website is accurate, complete or up to date. If you use any information or content on this website, download from, or otherwise obtain content or services through our website, it is entirely at your own discretion and risk. Epic Road Rides Ltd disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the information and content on this website. Find out more here.

Leave your comment

  • (will not be published)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.