Electric Bikes

The Electric Revolution…

On a recent mountain bike trip to the alps, two walkers looked at our bikes in an amazement. “Wow, they are not electric” they said as we struggled past them. In France, home of the Tour de France, cycling’s most gruelling race, electric bikes are becoming more and more popular and not viewed as cheating but simply as a way to get out and explore the stunning surroundings.
The e-bike market is growing rapidly across Europe, in the Netherlands, for example, revenue already outstrips traditional cycle sales. Their popularity in the UK is also growing rapidly and in cities such as London they are becoming increasingly popular for commuting to work. But is British pride limiting their recreational use as e-bikes are viewed as an easy way out? They shouldn’t be even, Fabian Cancellara one of the world’s greatest road time trialler sees the benefits “E-bikes are fantastic. I use them all the time. You can take the kids up mountains. You can arrive in your good clothes at a meeting. It’s so easy.”
Electric Bikes at Serre Des Ormes
For us at Serre Des Ormes, it is all about enjoying the fantastic countryside and sunshine together. The more people on two wheels the better, even if a little bit of battery power is needed to help boost moral and the enjoyment. We have had a number of guests now stay with us who have rented or brought their own electric bikes. For couples of different cycling levels they provide an opportunity to spend more time together on the bike and enjoy longer rides. Non-cycling partners come back from a ride grinning from ear to ear, for once it is not them suffering to keep up.
In Europe the bike’s battery cuts out at 25km/h and it is all leg power which does mean a little bit of awareness is needed when cycling together. Hit a hill and that is when the e-bike comes into their own, even iconic mountains such as Mont Ventoux are no longer limited to the super fit. On a recent group trip to ride through the stunning Gorges de La Nesque and then up the much feared Bedoin climb of Ventoux, Kate accompanied 3 guests on electric bikes and 2 on road bikes. It’s one of those special days on a bike but 80km in length and with 2000m of climbing, it’s beyond many riders capabilities. Everyone came back that day with big grins on their faces.
Ventoux Electric Bikes
By using less and less power assistance e-bikes are also a perfect way to build both confidence and fitness and riders can feel than sense of progression. For keen cycling partners, by having your very own derny to chase around they can provide training motivation. My quickest time up the top half of Ventoux was achieved trying to chase an e-bike!
At Serre Des Ormes there are so many fantastic routes on quiet roads for everyone to enjoy and we can suggest routes suitable for all types of bikes and riders. E-bikes can easily be rented from Albion Cycles which has a simple to use online booking system. Booking in advance is highly recommended, particularly in the peak summer season.

Some top tips:

  • Remember the assistance is limited to 25km/h, this can be particularly important when riding with others on road bikes.
  • Build up the length of a ride gradually on an electric bike as although you will suddenly be able to go further with the battery assistance you may not be used to being on a bike for such a long time. If renting an electric bike think about taking your own saddle along to reduce the risk of saddle sores.
  • The battery will last most people at least a full day’s riding but remember not to be too over ambitious when planning a route. E-bikes are heavier than normal bikes due to the weight of the battery and would be very difficult to get over that final hill without battery assistance.
  • If riding with others on road bikes we would suggest renting the E-Road Bike from Albion cycles. These are more efficient at keeping up with road bikers on gradual downhills when the battery assistance cuts out.
  • Remember to charge the battery overnight! Also look out for charge points on route, the café at Chalet Reynard on Mont Ventoux has an arrangement with Albion Cycles to allow battery recharging whilst stopping for a quick coffee.
  • E-bikes are generally more expensive than equivalent road bikes and therefore unfortunately theft is not uncommon, therefore don’t leave your E-bike unattended.

    What a year…

    What a year it’s been….

    400 eggs laid by our hens for breakfast, 94 cakes baked to re-charge you every afternoon, far too many Strava discussions to mention, numerous ascents of Mont Ventoux and plenty of glasses of wine – what a brilliant season we have had in our 1st full year at Serre Des Ormes.

    We have loved meeting you all and whilst it may be a cliché, it really has been a case of you arriving as guests and leaving as friends. The amazing feedback you have given us about your holidays here  is what makes it all worthwhile for us both.  So, a huge thank you to you – we have enjoyed helping you discover and explore the stunning gorges, quiet roads and rolling hills that surround us whether that be biking, walking or running.

    You might be curious as to what is happening at Serre Des Ormes at the moment… well, the hens are taking a break and roaming the garden, jam production has started, a new kitchen is being put in so that Kate can get testing even more delicious dishes for evening meals and we are getting out and about to find more fantastic routes to share with you in 2018.

    We are delighted a number of you have already secured your booking at Serre Des Ormes for next year.. if you haven’t got round to it yet then please give us a shout so we can get the dates you want in the diary. A few of us have asked if you can take over the whole house for your stay – you absolutely can as long as there are enough of you – just get in touch and we can talk through the options for your club or group.

    See you in 2018
    Paul & Kate

    Cycling Holidays 2017

    Top tips for climbing Mont Ventoux

    Top Tips for climbing Mont Ventoux by Bike.

    Whether you are looking just to get to the top of this iconic mountain, or after a bigger cycling challenge then here are some top tips for climbing Mont Ventoux.

    The Easiest Way to cycle up Mont Ventoux.

    The easiest side to climb is definitely from the historic village of Sault. Although the longest climb (26km), Sault is at 760m so you already have a 400m headstart over the climbs from Bedoin and Maulacene. With an average gradient of only 4.4% it is still a fabulous climb but much more forgiving on the legs.

    The Best Way Up Mont Ventoux

    For an unforgettable day on the bike we thoroughly recommend combining it with a descent through the Gorges de la Nesque. Again starting from the market town of Sault, cross the plateau of lavender fields before climbing to the viewpoint at the head of the Gorges de la Nesque where you can enjoy the views before the long gradual descent through the Gorges. From here head North to Bedoin and the climb of Mont Ventoux before descending back down to Sault. It can get extremely hot on the south facing slopes of Mont Ventoux during July and August so you may want to consider doing this loop in an anti-clockwise direction or starting really early. Check out the route on Strava here.

    3 Times up Mont Ventoux

    If you are looking for a bigger challenge why not try climbing the three sides of Mont Ventoux in one day. With 4400m of climbing and descending, the “Cingles” (French for crazy!) is one of the ultimate cycling challenges. We recommend an early start for this one, often starting the climb in the dark which adds to the atmosphere of the day. By climbing the Bedoin side first you get the hardest and hottest climb out the way before descending to Malaucene and finally ending with the Sault climb. We can offer a full van support throughout the day so all you need to worry about is the pedalling.

    The weather

    The weather can be a bigger challenge than the climb itself, if the Mistral is blowing it can be extremely windy at the summit and you will see where the mountain gets it’s name,vent in venteux meaning wind in French. It can also get very cold at the top so be prepared to take plenty of clothes, you can be descending for a long time.

    How steep is it?

    Like the French Alps, the climbs are not as steep as back in the UK just a lot longer! The maximum gradient peaks at 12% and there are sustained sections of 10%. You need to be comfortable peddling at this gradient though the climb typically takes between 1 hour 45 minutes and 3 hours so you don’t want to be running out of gears in the first few kilometres.

    There is lots more technical information on each climbs profile on Climb by bike Climb By Bike.

    Come and find out for yourself!!

    Please get in touch with us if you need any more info or tips for climbing Mont Ventoux or too start planning your cycling holiday with us today.

    Happy Pedalling

    Paul and Kate