Riding Europe’s mountain passes can provide you with some exhilarating cycling and they’re not too far out of reach, thanks to the surge in budget airlines.
While riding up an Alpine pass can be quite a tranquil time, descending is often hair-raising as you battle to control your bike around the tight corners, not to mention avoiding the cars speeding towards you.
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Every summer, though, a number of iconic climbs see their roads closed to motor vehicles for a few hours to allow the cyclists to take centre stage and enjoy their ride without fear of coming face-to-face with a car.
The Cycling Challenge website has listed all of the mountains which have ‘open days’, so if you’re heading to the Alps this summer, check out which days you can experience a traffic-free climb.
Bear in mind, though, that the roads are often only closed in the mornings, and sometimes it is only the top of the climb that is out of bounds to traffic. But still, it’s a great way to experience a beautiful part of the world.
Savoie-Mont Blanc Region
Saturday July 18: Col de Bassachaux
Saturday July 25: Mont Salève
Sunday August 2: Col de Joux Plane
Sunday August 16: Col de Ramaz
Thursday August 20: Col de la Madeleine
Thursday August 27: Col du Glandon
September ??: Le Semnoz (to be confirmed)
Hautes Alpes Region
Monday August 24: Col de Pommerol / Fromagère
Tuesday August 25 : Montée de Chabre
Wednesday August 26: Mont Colombis
Thursday August 27: Montée de Céuze
Friday August 28: Col du Noyer
Oisans Col Series
Tuesday July 14 & Tuesday August 18: Col de Sarenne
Tuesday July 21 and Tuesday August 25: Col du Sabot
Tuesday July 28: Auris en Oisans
Tuesday August 4th: Alpe d’Huez
Tuesday August 11th: Col de la Croix de Fer
Cycling Weekly takes a look at the Alpine stages of the 2015 Tour de France