Travellers’ tales: Pedalling to Provence

A big group of people are standing with their bikes. They’re all wearing cycling kit, with most in club kit
Becci May’s cycling group in Provence
For her club’s cycling week in the south of France, Cycling UK member Becci May decided to get there by bike

Cycling in Provence was a delight in June. We were there for a week of riding, organised by Alton Cycling Club, after having travelled there through France in cars, trains or by bike!

One of our club members, Seb, thought: “What better way to join a club cycling week in Provence than by getting there by bike?” For those of us who joined him, that meant 14 days and 1,400km of cycling.

We rode from Normandy to Angers and then up the Loire until it becomes a stream. Then down idyllic valleys in the Ardèche – the so-called Dolce Via – down to the Rhône and, at last, Provence.

Our base in Provence was a comfortable and friendly hotel in Buis-les-Baronnies, with spectacular views and access to a variety of mountain climbs (Mont Ventoux being the ultimate), multiple cols and dramatic gorges (such as the Gorges de la Nesque).

There were interesting rides in all directions from Buis. Ventoux loomed over us throughout the week, and by the end of it many of us managed to climb to the summit, which has three different ascents.

The climb was followed by a treacherous windy and winding whizz down. It was 10 degrees colder at the top, and we loved feeling the warmth build on the long descent to Malaucène.

Stormy weather during the week added to the drama, with thunder, lightning and rising river levels adding to the evenings’ entertainment. A fantastic week of good fun, good company and good rides.

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