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A short flight from the UK, France’s Isère region is a joy for road cyclists and mountain bikers alike in the summer. Here are six reasons to take to two wheels in these epic peaks.

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1. It’s easy to get to

The famous resorts of Isère in the French Alps draw many thousands of winter visitors from the UK. And it’s just as easy to get to in the summer, via gateway airports such as Grenoble and Lyon. For example, Ryanair operates a flight from London Stansted to Grenoble three times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday, prices from £9 one way). What’s more, the airport is also equipped to manage bikes in bag cover.


2. Something for everyone

Isère is true cycling country. From the cycle paths around Grenoble, to the banks of the Rhône and to the summits of the Oisans massif, there is every kind of terrain for every kind of cyclist. The north is where you’ll find rolling hills ideal for more mellow outings, while in the south the mountain ranges of Vercors, Belledonne, Oisans, Chartreuse and Trièves provide more challenging adventures, including legendary Tour de France passes such as Glandon (1,918m), Gallibier (2,642m) and La Croix de Fer (2,068m) and, of course, the famous 21 hairpin bends on the climb up to Alpe d’Huez, which will once again greet the Tour de France riders on 19 July.

The 21 besnds of l'Alpe d'Huez © L Salino - Alpe d'Huez Tourisme .jpg


3. Exploring made easy

There are 21 signposted road cycling routes, covering a total of 1,000 kilometres, to guide you through the huge variety of landscape and terrain. You can even hire e-bikes, for a tour of the Vercors massif. And in the summer, the ski resorts of Isère turn into mountain bike resorts, with routes for beginners and experienced riders alike. Summer is also a great time to cycle across the superb Nature Parks of Vercors and Chartreuse, or the Oisans and Belledonne massifs.


4. Centuries of culture and heritage

Visit historic Grenoble, the capital of the Alps. Make time to enjoy the cultural heritage of Vienne, known as the city of art and history, with an ancient Roman theatre and more than 40 monuments and points of interest. Visit the Château de Roussillon, the only Renaissancestyle castle in Isère. Or ride through beautiful Flagstone Country around Crémieu, where you’ll encounter medieval buildings, archaeological ruins and caves.


5. Spectacular mountain routes

Whether you are crossing high passes or romping downhill on a mountain bike, the peaks of this region offer a variety of challenges - from the 105km Belledonne Balconies route, to the stunning Four Mountains route on the 1,000m Vercors plateau. Or simply experience the silence of an alpine ride amid the natural wonders of Chartreuse Regional Park.

Bike touring on the roads of the stunning Vercors gorges © Urope .jpg


6. A home from home for cyclists

Around Oisans, for example, most accommodations offer special services for cyclists, including bike storage, workshops, route guides and maps, laundry and suitable meals. Talking of which, the region is famous for its mountain cuisine: try a cheesy ‘crozet de l’Oisans’ – a great dish for cyclists and a good alternative to pasta.

For more information about all things Isère, see


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