Tarmac Weather

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Spring is now going into summer here in southern France and you notice the differences. One thing is the heat. It can be 30°C in the shade but remember that temperatures are hotter in the sunshine. Above all, the roads are dark lumps of rock and soak up the heat. It’s common for tarmac temperatures to reach 50-60°C, meaning the air hovering above the road is substantially hotter.

The local roads here are melting, first the tar rises to the surface and then it forms solid puddles. These are smooth and fine for riding over in normal conditions but now they heat up and begin to melt, the tar even bubbles a bit.

You find yourself coming round a corner and the front wheel is suddenly in sticky-tarmac treacle. It won’t cause a handling disaster but you notice the sudden grab.

Today’s stage of the Giro won’t have these concerns, the riders head to the Kronplatz at altitude and half the stage takes place on unsurfaced roads.

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{ 2 comments }

curium May 26, 2010 at 10:20 pm

Where abouts in the South of France are you? I'll be camping with my bicycle this summer near Remoulins and Carpentras. Hoping for good weather and nice roads to ride.

TheInnerRing May 27, 2010 at 7:01 am

I'm towards Monaco and the Côte d'Azur.

You will certainly find the tarmac melting where you're heading but the consolation is some stunning roads. Head north of Remoulin. And if you go to Carpentras, head east towards Ventoux. You don't have to climb the mountain, see if you can head east to the Plateau de Sault.

A tip, if it's hot, is that many villages in southern France have fountains with drinking water. Look for the sign "Eau Potable" as this means it's drinkable, as opposed to "Eau Non Potable" which is not.

Maybe you know this already but hopefully other readers can find it helpful.

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