Five Tips for Fabulous Cycling on the Côte d’Azur
My recent Instagram images of tackling mountain passes have been very popular. It is no wonder when routes include the James Bond Golden Eye descent down to Gréolières, or winding through villages like Luceram, scooting down switchbacks such as Col de Turini. As fabulous as cycling is, here are five tips to make the experience even more enjoyable.
By Melanie Gulliver
Tip 1 : Cycle with someone above your level of fitness if you want to improve your cycling skills. This applies to small children as well who will usually race you at every opportunity. I find it helps to sign up for virtual challenges with The Conqueror Events, and log my kms and win a medal when the distance is finished.
Tip 2 : If you are climbing gradients make sure you have gearing suitable for the course. If gradients aren’t your thing cycle along the Promenade des Anglais, enjoy the buskers near Le Vieux Nice; grab an ice-cream at Fenocchio.
Tip 3 : All that bike riding is tiring and that means that you need to keep your energy up. Take something you can eat easily every hour - nuts, health bars, or stop for lunch in one of those fabulous places you will cycle past. My favourite destination is San Lorenzo. San Lorenzo lies at the far end of the 22kms flat converted rail trail from Ospedeletti over the border in Italy. Rent bikes for the whole family at several places along this trail for an hour or day.
Tip 4 : I have fond memories of a ride I did with my children when aged 2 and 6 in Roubion. I read up about the trail and it seemed easy whilst taking in stunning scenery. It was, just not on the day we chose to do it, as the chair lift was not running. So, check maps, make sure you know if there are large uphills coming and how you will get up them. In our case, we had no option but to push three bikes up a red grade ski slope.
Tip 5 : Take your time. Look around. Enjoy everything this wonderful area has to offer as the seasons pass.
Spring : Cycle along the coast road from Mandelieu to Fréjus. It is undulating, so hard work, but the colours cannot be beaten, and, at this time of year, there are few tourists.
Early Summer : Time to go check out the poppy fields around Callian, below Montauroux. Unbelievable!
Summer : Stay in Cavaillon and wend your way past fields of lavender and en route to Apt. It is a great family ride.
Autumn : On chillier days remember to put gloves on and try the ride from Chateauneuf Pre du Lac through the village of Bar Sur Loup to Vence but wrap up warm as the ride down will have your face tingling.
Winter : Time for the gym and spinning classes to keep your fitness up, but on good mornings, try riding round the Cap d’Antibes. It has sea views for much of the ride, and hot chocolate waiting in Juan Les Pins!
Author : Melanie Gulliver has set up swimrunriviera.com for visitors and locals to enjoy unforgettable experiences on the Cote d’Azur with some gentle training and lots of fun. Due to Covid, this summer Melanie is offering half and full day SwimRun experiences to teenagers in the Cannes Mandelieu area.