Why aren’t the Vercors more popular as a cycling destination? Maybe it’s because it’s overshadowed by the Alps next door and the famous climbs of the Tour de France (Alpe d’Huez, Galibier, Izoard, etc). Every ride we’ve done in the Vercors has been amazing. The only thing lacking is a cafe/bar at the top of the climbs, something that seems to be written into French law for most summits. In the Vercors, you get a sign and… that’s about it. You’ve also got to be more careful about carrying enough water, but there actually are a number of small villages in the region so it’s really not a huge issue, as long as you plan a bit.
Today we took the train from Grenoble to St Hilaire-St Nazaire, a 45 minute train ride, and cruised up into the Vercors. There’s no real climbing until 10 miles in, and then you climb for… 10 miles. Then you descend 8 miles (so yes, this bike would be steeper, at times MUCH steeper, in the reverse direction) before an almost pancake-flat 22 miles back to Grenoble.
The pictures tell the story. Some incredible views, a few cliff roads, and perhaps the most-welcome and clean public bathroom in France.