Saturday, November 02, 2013

Biking Weekend up Mont Ventoux

The Mont Ventoux area is pretty stunning, but you get to see not only some great views but also some unusual visitors. Take the people in this photo with their tiny little car. They had driven down all the way from somewhere like Leicester (can't remember exactly where) and their brave little Austin (or whatever, can't remember exactly what either...) had even made it up to the top of one of the cols (peaks).


The last time my DB went up Mont Ventoux, we took the road on the south side and went down on the north. This time, we did the opposite and rode up the north slope road. We were joined by hearty cyclists who mostly looked pretty fit and keen, niftily dressed as they were in sponsored lycra kit.

View from the top of Mont Ventoux looking east
 But there were other types of cyclist too, such as this lady who had to be in her late 50s, and carried all her belongings in saddle bags on the back. Her bike must have weighed a ton but she kept pedalling, slowly but surely, and made it, as you can see!
A hellish type of holiday activity...
 The routes (up and) down are very popular with cyclists and motorbikers because they give lots of opportunities to swerve dangerously round corners and risk life and limb in head to head confrontations with oncoming traffic...
On our way down, looking east


On our way down - slopes arid and nearly vegetation-free

Near the bottom - lovely shady twisting road
We stopped for refreshments half-way down which is at the bottom of the ski lift. On the other side of the road, a group of men were loading a herd of sheep into a lorry to be taken you-know-where... It was taking a while because there were a lot of sheep, and the sheep dogs were being kept busy trying to maintain control. They almost succeeded, but one desperate animal made a bid for freedom, and came clattering over to the café tables, dashed its way through and continued up into the mountain behind. We thought that a dog would be sent to bring back the runaway, but time was of the essence, and they called off the hunt as soon as the sheep disappeared. I cheered and egged it on!
"Freedom! gotta make it to freedom!"
I just hope the sheep wasn't subsequently eaten by foxes as it was all alone and unprotected by the herd or shepherd...

After coming down off Mont Ventoux, we continued our exploration of the area and went along the gorges de something which had this rather nifty tunnel in the rock.

The road was not too busy, but we did come across a group of British cyclists who'd done Mt V in the morning and were taking it easy in the afternoon with this route. They were certainly making the most of their trip! I was glad to be on a motorbike as it all sounded very exhausting. 

It's funny but the more I see of hearty cyclists, the less I want to do any cycling myself. Even more funnily enough, the bike rack I had that fitted on my Alfa Romeo does not fit on my (nearly) new Yaris. I'm gutted...

25 comments:

  1. Gorgeous scenery, Sarah, but rather you than me where two wheels are concerned, whether it's motor-power or person-power. :-) I'm a coward and increasingly lazy with it....

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    1. I prefer to think of being lazy as being time-efficient. No point wasting energy, is there? :)

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  2. Ah, the Mont Ventoux.... Love the jail-breaking sheep story! I love the place but wouldn't cycle there. I cycled last week - on the flat- and managed to fall off my bike and bugger up my shoulder, but I still finished the 37 km.... That's me done for this year, then :-)

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    1. 37km? Impressive! I'm quite happy to cycle from Lattes to the sea, or along the canal, but when I did the 26km around Lac de Salagou I was dead meat by the end of it. That was when I didn't know what was in store. Now I know, you won't get me doing it again. :)

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  3. You know my feelings about two wheels. I can't imagine which is worse, the motorbike or the pedal bike. If there's room in the little car I'll hitch a lift. :) Lovely scenery, and well done that sheep. Hope it lives a long and happy life in the hills.

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    1. It was a tiny car, made me realise just how big modern cars have got. There was just room for the two occupants and their bags. It was so cute. :)

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    2. Susie, I thought that was you in red, on the bike with the panniers, no? I shouldn't laugh, one day, soon, I'm sure to find myself following the husband with his long legs and new bike, while peddling frantically with my small legs and old bike all the way to the top. I can feel Mont Ventoux calling to me. Will you be there to cheer me on?

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    3. As we were going down, we saw a number of 'amateurs' going up looking pretty miserable because it was very hard work. You should insist on a new bike too, Jacqueline, if you're going to put yourself through hell. :)

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  4. I'll stick to that little car.....I'd prefer to be alive to enjoy the views.

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    1. Not much bigger than a Dinky toy really... :)

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  5. Brave people to drive that old timer all the way from GB. Lord knows if that thing decides to go belly up, finding spare parts might be an issue.

    Such a beautiful area!

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    1. Indeed, I hope they made it back safely.

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  6. Your photos are stunning - they come to life when I click on them and make them larger. The first two are beautifully shot.

    Hooray for the escaping sheep. You did well to capture that on camera!

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    1. You're right, full screen they look much better.

      The sheep shot was one of those lucky hits. I had been my camera out just in case because it had been attempting to escape already, and then it came hurtling over towards us and I just caught it before it disappeared. :)

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  7. Well, you certainly have a better weather than over here. Actually, I am a bit jealous.

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    1. Swings and roundabouts, Muriel. You don't have to put up with a loony prez! :)

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    2. You certainly have a point here, Sarah!

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  8. Enjoy it all while you have the strength.

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    1. That's the plan, Hattie. :)

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  9. Oh I think that's the one we went on our bike ride last summer. All the names have faded from memory now, but what a view (where there ponies?)

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    1. I thought you were in the Pyrenees last summer. Mont Ventoux is in Provence. There were no ponies, only bums on bikes. :)

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    2. OK typical me have totally got the wrong area. That hole in the wall road is exactly like the one in the Pyrenees

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  10. I mean, were there ponies? The altitude has added "H's to my comments

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  11. You'd have enjoyed the bike riders in India - up to 7 on a moped! Lovely pics as ever.

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    1. A terrifying thought - 7?! I wonder how many deaths they have on the roads as a result. From what you describe of the driving, one fears the worst!

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