The Côte d’Azur is famous for its sun and pleasant climate. In July, August and September our region is a popular holiday destination and there is no better way to experience the stunning landscapes than by bike!
BUT – it is hot!
Sweating up the Col de la Madone at midday in July is a great challenge for anyone, who wants to get a feel of walking a desert! For non-desert seekers, you might want to take a few measures to make your Summer rides in the Côte d’Azur pleasant.
We have collected a few tips for the cyclists that challenge the heat and pursue SummerCycling:
- Early birds
Our first best advice is to make an early start. The heat starts to strike already at 9AM, so a way to very pleasant conditions is to get a few hours into the ride before the sun rises too high on the sky. Perhaps climb into the cooler mountain areas first thing while you enjoy the morning light.
- Cool clothing
Choose light fabrics and white or light colours, which reflect more light than darker colours and keep you cooler. Think about covering your arms with light coloured armprotectors as well. The sun is hard on the arms as they are in a static position for many hours. Wearing a cycling cap underneath your helmet protects your head against the sun and you can cool yourself down by soaking it wet by your water bottle or at a fountain.
In Summer season in Southern France it is hard to get to drink enough water during a ride. If you add tablets with electrolytes and other minerals, you get a better chance of staying hydrated and have enough of salts in your body to keep it running for hours during a warm day. In the heat we sweat out salts much quicker than in cool conditions. Your muscles, organs and brain need them. Sugary drinks also help your body to stay energized to deal with the extra work it is doing for cooling. A refrigerator needs energy to cool its inside down – so do you!
- Visit villages and their fountains
While remembering to drink, you get a good reason for stopping at fountains in the villages and fill your bottle whenever you get the chance. Meet other riders, take a minute to look at a market, and perhaps eat some fresh locally produce. Enjoy the landscape and friendliness of local people.
While we love cycling along the beautiful coasts of the Côte d’Azur at any other time of the year, during the Summer months, we love getting off these roads as soon as we can!
The coast is nearly always sunny as it is protected by the mountains which block clouds that come from inland. It means that the temperature is often higher at the coast. On top of that, the coast roads have dense traffic as they are very popular routes for people traveling by car. A number that is 10 times higher in the main tourist season.
We recommend you to hide and seek in some mountain routes. There are so many stunning ones of them here! The temperature drops a few degrees already when you get up to 400-500 m altitude. Please bear in mind that on some climbs there are hardly any trees to give a bit of shadow, hence the sun can still be harsh. Descends are super nice, as you get a breeze to your face.
At our final advice of the day: Always wear sunscreen! and reapply it after a few sweaty hours in the saddle.
Have fun in the sun!