Let 2019 be the year you take your bike somewhere different. To help inspire you we are creating a journal of classic climbs and rides that highlight the best lumpy bumpy bits for your two wheels. At the end of each article we've created a video showing you how to make the best looking Loopie for each ride.
So let's start with a bang! Mont Ventoux is a must-do climb on any cyclists bucket list. Located in southern France this "Giant of Provence" summits at 1,909 metres with an average gradient of 7.6 per cent and a maximum of 10.7 per cent.
You can approach Mont Ventoux from three low lying villages; Malaucene, Sault or Bedoin. Historically the Tour de France favours approaching from Bedoin on the south side. A popular destination, the Tour has had a summit finish ten times and passed the summit a further six times.
Known as a mountain of two halves the first section climbs through the forest. This has the advantage of protecting you from the weather extremes, very hot in the summer but beware if the mistral wind picks up the temperature can drop drastically. As a guide the wind blows at 90+ km/h (56+ mph) 240 days a year. Study the forecasts and come prepared!
As you emerge from the woods and just before you attempt the final half of the ascent you are greeted by a smile in the shape of Chalet Reynard at 1,440m. Forget your usual cycling fare, this is France remember. Upgrade your usual refuel and order the pumpkin soup with truffle. Bon appetit.
The second half exposes you to the bleak mountain terrain which offers no protection from the heat or the cold. This is where the wind can really be your enemy. Described frequently as a lunar landscape, the final half of the climb zig zags across the bare face of the mountain. At this point the summit is always visible, taunting you as you climb.
At the top you will be rewarded with spectacular views and a massive sense of achievement having conquered one of the mythical Tour climbs. Take Mont Ventoux at your own pace or for the bold attempt the Club de Cingles du Mont Ventoux challenge. Three ascents in the same day; an achievement worth remembering even after your legs have forgotten!