Just take a look at the stats for cycling Mont Ventoux via Bedoin: Bédoin-Mont Ventoux is 21.3 km long, it climbs 1,579 m, and its average gradient is 7.4%.
By way of comparison, L’Alpe d’Huez is 13.8 km at an average gradient of 7.9%.
If you’re only riding Mont Ventoux once, make it Bédoin to Ventoux. It’s the route the Tour has taken 15 times, the one Tom Simpson died on, the iconic climb that everyone will assume you’re doing if you tell them you’re cycling Mont Ventoux. It’s on all the “top rides” lists.
This is a ride that truly deserves its place in the epic rides hall of fame.
All metrics in this article are approximate.
Highlights of Mont Ventoux (Bédoin)
Leaving the forest and coming out into the white lunar landscape, is incredible. The sun on the white rocks is dazzling after the relative dark of the forest. You can see the hairpins stretching ahead of you, and it feels both exhilarating and daunting.
1. The easy warm-up: 0-5.5km:
You leave Bédoin on an open, relatively gentle road through vineyards, olive groves and cherry orchards. After about 3.5km you pass through Saint Colombe, an attractive village with some hotels/B&Bs and a few restaurants.
2. The forest: 5.5-16km
After Les Bruns and the St Estève bend, you head up into the forest on a wiggly, merciless road through the forest. The gradient rarely drops beneath 9%, the road is quite narrow, and sightlines are poor.
3. The lunar landscape: 16-21.5km
At Chalet Reynard, you leave the forest for an unforgettable six kilometres through the white rock to the summit. The gradient reduces for a few hundred metres as you leave Chalet Reynard, but be prepared for wind as you leave the trees; if you don’t get a brutal headwind, you’re lucky!
At around 20km, you pass the memorial to Tom Simpson, and many choose to make a stop here.
The road down can be hair-raising. The gradient is severe, the road is often wet, there are multiple hairpins and strong gusts of wind.
Chalet Reynard is a popular place to stop. It’s about seven kilometres before the summit, and it’s impossible to miss: there are some post-boxes at the side of the road, followed by wooden cabins and a sign for Chalet Reynard.
Lots of riders choose to pay their respects at the memorial to Tom Simpson, a few kilometres from the summit (on the righthand side). There is a water fountain near the Tom Simpson memorial.
At the summit, there is a restaurant that serves basic meals.
The town of Bédoin is the starting point for this route up Ventoux, and it has lots of accommodation options. You can find our hotel suggestions here.
We have always ridden Ventoux from the various charming towns we have stayed in in the Luberon National Park, about 35-40km south of Bédoin. You can find details of the places we have stayed (and loved), here.
Read our tips for cycling Ventoux before you set out.
Check out our complete guide to planning a holiday to Provence and Ventoux. This includes details of Mont Ventoux location velo/bike hire in Bedoin.
If once up Ventoux isn’t enough of a challenge… take a look at our Q&A on the Cinglés du Ventoux: three times up and down in 24 hours!
A final thought – while you’re around Ventoux, check out this Gorge de la Nesque ride; it sounds amazing!
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