Today's ride is the most challenging of the trip - with the most ascent - take care to stay out of the sun where possible and stay hydrated. Both of the largest hills have shady spots beside the road where you can rest, rehydrate and have a small snack if you wish.
Before starting your ride it’s always worth inspecting your bike for any damage. Check for any damage to the frame, components or wheels. Ensure there are no loose cables and that the tyres are inflated and the brakes are working. Always wear a helmet when cycling. If you are doubtful of the condition of your rental bike please call the office or the local bike hire on the number provided in your information pack.
Beware of traffic especially when entering and leaving towns where the traffic flow tends to be highest. Take care on the day’s descents; make the most of the downhill but don’t speed around corners where you can’t see what’s coming ahead of you on narrow single-track roads. Always treat descents with respect!
Remember to ride on the right-hand side of the road and whilst drivers in France are respectful of the 'velo', please do be mindful of other road users at all times, obeying local road signs and any change in road conditions.
Tips, hints and links
Points of Interest
This 12th century Cistercian monastery has been home to monks following the rule of Saint Benedict for over 900 years. Situated in a secluded spot deep in the valley and with fields of lavender and forest surrounding it’s not hard to see why the original settlers choose this spot.
You can take hour-long tours of the monastery almost daily, please note guided tours are only in French but you can take an unguided “Histopad” tour (a tour with a tablet) in various languages. Morning tours are not available on Sundays due to mass and are also affected by some religious celebrations and opening times vary depending on the season. Please check the below link if you would like to take a tour of the abbey (approx. €10 per adult).
A medieval village, classed as a Beaux Villages, situated atop a limestone escarpment giving wonderful views over the surrounding countryside of vineyard, orchard and olive grove, and on a good day to Mont Ventoux in the distance. The charming narrow streets are a popular spot for visitors to the area and the main street has a few small restaurants, cafes, shops and boutiques. Signs of the town’s historic past can be seen in the ramparts, Notre-Dame church and 11th century Baptistry.
Make sure to capture some images from the viewpoint on the route with the Notre-Dame church on your left overlooking the countryside.
As you approach the village from Crillon le Brave you’ll be able to see the baroque church of Saint Pierre almost immediately, the rest of the village covers the slopes of St Antonin Hill below the church on the southern flank of Mont Ventoux. Although popular with cyclists, road and leisure cyclists alike, the area is also popular with walkers making the most of the forest trails.
The village is also known for its Monday market – stroll through the market to browse delicious deli foods, jams, preserves, leather goods, linens, clothes, woven bags and baskets, along with jewellery, art and much more! If your visit lines up with the Monday market then make sure to sallow some time for browsing before leaving for your ride or after arriving.
Food & Drink
There are a few small shops and stalls in Gordes where you can buy provisions for your day in the saddle – check opening times though as these can vary, Sundays in France are especially tricky. Make sure you have a snack for the top of Col des Trois Termes. En route you’ll pass through the villages of Venasque (approx. 15 km into the ride) with a restaurant and couple of cafes, a great spot for a break, alternatively you’ll also pass the villages of Mazan (25 km), and Saint-Pierre-De-Vassols (30 km).
Always wear a helmet when cycling. Most (but not all) hire bikes come with a helmet, but taking your own can be more hygienic and is likely to be a better fit.
Always be prepared to cycle through a change of weather conditions and do check for any local weather warnings before cycling. Make sure to bring a waterproof jacket and a warm layer, as well as a small set of bike lights in case of poor visibility. Most cyclists wear [fingerless] cycle gloves for some padding on the handlebars. Don't forget a spare battery pack for an emergency charge of any navigation unit you may decide to use, and pack your suncream!