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anyone ridden France/Germany in winter?(5 posts)

anyone ridden France/Germany in winter?Rubiks_Manuever
Dec 2, 2002 10:30 PM
I'm spending Xmas vacation in Southern Germany and France, and I'm bringing my road bike along. My plan is to ride along the Danube, and to ride to the top of Mont Ventoux. Does anyone have any experience with Ventoux in the wintertime? Are the roads closed? Are they snowplowed? Etc. Suggested routes? Any input from a seasoned winter Europe rider is welcome-I've never been there before. Are there any recommended rides I MUST not miss anywhere in the vicinity?
Thanks in advance--
PS--Yes, I have complete inclement weather gear that keeps me sweating in 28 degree weather over here in the states, so I doubt that'll be an issue, unless there's a problem with water bottles freezing or some such unforseen complication...
GambleEager Beagle
Dec 3, 2002 1:26 AM
I have not ridden it, but a friend of mine toured France in August, with an organised party.

They had to wait a day even then to climb ventoux on account of the wind. It's utterly exposed, and a brutal climb. The route is ploughed in winter, but you take you chances with what the weather is like on the day(s) you are there. If it has not snowed for a while and you hit a nice day, you may be fine. If not - not. The road does close if there is a big dump of snow while they clear it. If they do - you won't be able to ride it - it snow chains on cars terrain up there then.

Whatever you do, take all your gear - the weather at the top will be very different to that at the bottom of course, and it can change at the drop of a hat at that (or almost any) time of the year. Be very very careful on the descent - there is not a lot between you, a patch of ice, and a long fall to your death for much of it.

More generally - ride anywhere round there - it's all glorious, but keep an eye out for ice, especially black ice.
ice, ice , icephilippec
Dec 3, 2002 2:06 AM
If you plan to ride the Ventoux in winter (and, as one who has done that, I DON'T recommend that you do), make sure you call the local METEO France station in Carpentras to get a read on the weather conditions at the top. The wind can blow hard (if a hard Mistral is blowing, you'll encounter gusts of 150-200 km/hr -- enough to be life-threatening!, and if a soft Mistral is blowing, you'll be riding w/ 80-120 km/hr winds) and the road is extremely icey. You WILL not see the patches of black ice on the way down -- and that can mean some pretty nasty spills at 50-70km/hr). Usually the road is plowed, but not always -- check w/ METEO France encore, and if the col is officially closed - do NOT go! They closed it for a reason!

There are plenty of other nice riding opportunities in the area, if you are interested, I can e-m you some suggestions...



P.S. don't despair though, there is a ski station on the north side of the mountain, at least you can say that you skied there if you cannot ride it!
email me plz phillipe!Rubiks_Manuever
Dec 3, 2002 9:28 PM
Thanks for the advice--my email is if you feel moved to hook me up with some good rides anywhere in the general area. Guess Ventoux is a pretty serious thing--maybe I should bring my damm mountain bike for it! Is Alpe D'Huez any better this time of year or worse? I just wanna tackle one of the big cols because I don't know when I'll ever be back to Europe, frankly, and I don't wanna waste the trip. Thanks again!

A'lpe d'Eager Beagle
Dec 4, 2002 1:14 AM
I have skied a lot there in Jan/Feb/Mar - on none of the occasions I have been there could you have cycled it with any degree of safety at all, and generally you would struggle to keep moving even on a MTB.

That's assuming it snows this year of course.