Col d'Allos, France

Col d’Allos – From Both Sides

June 9th, 2014

It’s a wonderful, exhilarating, rewarding and very satisfying experience to reach the summit of any Col (mountain pass) in the Alpes on a bike. It’s even sweeter when you can do it from both sides, back to back, on the same day. It is such a great feeling to get to the top of climb and see other cyclists celebrating that they’ve made it to the summit, all the time knowing that you’ve been here not once, but twice in a row.

La Roquette, France

Levens, Utelle & La Tour

June 2nd, 2014

Another magnificent day on the bike here in southern France. I know I say something similar after almost every ride, but it’s just the way it is. There are very, very few things I enjoy as much as exploring the towns, villages, back roads and countryside of France, especially here in the Alpes-Maritimes area. I never get tired of it. It never grows old. And, there’s no better way to do it then on a bike. I feel so much more connected to the environment, … [more]

Menton, France

From Vence to Sainte-Agnes and Back

May 26th, 2014

I didn’t think I was going to get to ride today. Occasionally, especially after it’s gotten really wet, the hub in my back wheel starts acting up. It makes a horrible screeching sound whenever you are going fast (usually downhill) and not pedaling. During the La Vencoise race on Saturday the problem appeared and got progressively worse as the day unfolded. There is a nice little bike shop here in Vence, Tendance Cycles, and they actually fixed this same problem for me last year when I was here … [more]

Rain near Bouyon, France

Rain! Wind! Thunder! Lightning! Cold!

May 22nd, 2014

Rain! Wind! Thunder! Lightning! Cold! None of these things mix especially well with cycling in the French mountains. I checked the weather forecast before I left Vence this morning and it said a 40% chance of rain in the afternoon, going up to 70% by early evening. I was headed out at about 9:30 and had a 2 to 3 hour ride planned, so I thought I should be OK. I was wrong. I was very wrong. When it comes to weather in the mountains, you pay your nickel and … [more]

Nice Coastline

First Ride

May 21st, 2014

I’ve been cycling in the Nice area for over ten years now, coming over almost once a year. One of my favorite rides is a short little outing from Nice up to the small towns of Eze and La Turbie. It’s not long, it’s not hard and the scenery is spectacular. It makes for a great way to get started on a cycling vacation. It’s become my traditional “first ride” whenever I’m in the Nice area. Now that I’m staying in Vence (about twelve miles northwest of Nice) it still … [more]

Col de la Lombarde

Col de la Lombarde

June 22nd, 2013

The “cols” which get most of the attention in France are those in the Northern Alpes (Galibier, Glandon, Croix de Fer, etc.). However, if you are cycling in the Alps do not overlook the cols in the southern part of the mountain range. The Col de la Lomarde is a great example. The climb begins in the beautiful little mountain village of Isola along the Tinée River in the Tinée valley. It’s about an hour and a half drive from Nice. It’s a wonderful climb with gorgeous scenery all the … [more]

The Big Clean

May 11th, 2012

I clean my bike very thoroughly every couple of months, sometimes more often if I’m doing a lot of riding and/or if the weather has been bad. I tear it down almost completely, removing all the gears, the wheels, the tires, etc. and clean everything very carefully. Before heading for France (I leave in four days) I always go a few steps further and replace a lot of things. Today I tore it all down, cleaned it quite well and put on new tubes, new tires, new brake cables, new … [more]

Col de Vence

Vence – Sigale Loop

June 21st, 2010

72 miles, 4 hours 45 minutes ride time. View this ride on MapMyRide. What a difference a day makes! Today I set out to do the ride I had intended to do yesterday. The very cold weather, the rain, the wind, all contributed to my decision to cut that ride short. Today things couldn’t have been more different. The skies were blue, the sun was out, the weather was warm and wonderful. Altogether it was a picture perfect day and what turned out to be easily one of the ten … [more]

Col de Vence Loop

June 20th, 2010

This is a great route, part of which my friend Connie and I rode last year from the opposite direction. Today I was hoping to add on some more mountain villages and was really looking forward to the ride. That all went to hell about one kilometer into the ride. I left Vence a little after 9:00 am and headed up the Col de Vence. The climb has been featured several times in the famous Paris-Nice cycling race as well as the Nice Ironman race. There appeared to be rain … [more]