A crash helmet, glasses and gloves are absolutely necessary. You only need to get a fly in your eyes, which might cause you to fall, with disastrous consequences if you fail to wear a helmet and gloves. When cycling downhill, reduce your speed and never cut any bends. As a cyclist, you do not have the protection that you have when sitting inside a car. Therefore, your best protection will be by making yourself visible. You should wear bright colours, high-visibility or reflector bands to put round your ankles and on your back, as well as reflectors on your bicycle. Even during the day, with the changes between sun and shade, you may not always be visible as a cyclist for drivers. So always make yourself visible and indicate when you want to change direction.
You must also abide the highway code. Anticipate your mistakes and those of others! Do not cycle with several persons next to each other at the front and remember to check that your bike is in good condition: air pressure, brakes, etc.
You will also be well advised to check the weather forecast before leaving (phone 08 36 68 02 38 or check bulletins from Tourist Information Offices).
When cycling in Oisans, you sometimes need to ride through narrow, poorly lit tunnels. Remember to take a reflective jacket and fix lights on your bike (front and rear).
Alpe-d’Huez: 1,860m, Sarenne Pass: 2,000 m; Galibier: 2,600 m. At over 1,500 m, you can already feel the impacts of less atmospheric pressure: you may be out of breath and beyond that you may even begin to suffer from ’acute mountain sickness’ with headaches, dizziness or abnormal fatigue.
The higher you get, the lower the atmospheric pressure will be, with reduced oxygen supply, which leads to a decrease in the quality of oxygen and blood exchange. Fortunately, however, the body improves its oxygen-exchanging capacity within a few days and increases its oxygen-carrying capacity. For your information: Alpe-d’Huez is 1,860 m high. Your maximum VO2 is between 2 to 8% lower than at sea level. On the summit of Mount Everest, this may even decrease by 90%!
Three important things to do: Protect, secure, alert