For Australian Cyclists travelling and touring OS
22 posts • Page 1 of 1
Am looking to see if there is anyone on here that might be either heading up there / already have a trip planned up there between now and early June. Will be going up there for a 2 day recon of the climbs for the Summer season ahead, with the company I'm working for and thought id see if anyone on here might be in the area between now and early June.
Id be coming up From Nice, but thought if i can find some company it would be a bit more enjoyable than being in the box alone for such a long period of time!
I will be there for 6 days from 20-26 July. Is that too long? I've heard the ride around Ventoux is almost better than the ride up it. I plan to ride around it and up it via each of the three different ascent routes over the 6 days.
Incidentally I am wondering if I should take my full carbon wheels (Lightweight Standards clinchers) on this trip I'm doing?
I won't be doing any racing while there so I don't need to descend fast and brake hard but I would not like them to overheat on these long descents just from descending cautiously. Is that likely to be an issue? Probably my biggest concern is the wheels getting stolen from the bike storage places at the B&Bs I'll be staying at, or them getting damaged on the way over. The alternative is to leave them at home and take my Reynolds Solitudes instead which will be a bit slower going uphill but with no braking issues coming back down.
Are carbon clinchers likely to overheat on Ventoux, Alp d'Huez and similar long descents under normal conditions?
Depending how fit you are 6 days may be too much. The riding in the area is nice but Ventoux is the only true climb in the area. If keen you could ride The Club des Cinglés du Mont-Ventoux - all three in one day! So many other stellar climbs to do in the French Alps I moved on after one day.
Personally I took alloy wheels plus a couple of spare spokes of each length (American classic 350 clinchers). Light enough and easily repairable. You don't want to miss riding days chasing up replacement wheels! As you say damage in transit or theft at B&B's are also a possibility...
As to descending, many ride carbon hoops. But the descents off Ventoux (other than the Sault ascent) are steep. I hit over 90 km/hr without trying on one straight section. And if you like to attack descents... I accidentally touched my front wheel after descending into Italy on the Col de la Lombarde with my leg as I went to top my bidon up at a roadside trough and left a nice burn mark! Even cruising down Alpe D'huez, there are 21 hairpins to negotiate. I hit this climb my first day and hands hurt from the heavy braking after one descent cruising it!
The riding around Ventoux is stunning... you don't have to go up everyday.
As to the carbon clinchers ... if your heavy or descend slowly then leave them at home. Last year I saw a couple of pairs of new zipps destroyed descending Alpe D'Huez slowly... racing down is probably safer on the rims.
Anyway if you have Lightweight clinchers in your stable then you probably have some pretty nice alloy's as well.
PS for Riles question, no plans to hit Ventoux before my planned trip there in first week of September. Just that little bit too far away.
Yeah well it sounds like 6 days at Ventoux may be a bit of overkill....
I'm staying at Saint-Pierre-de-Vassols which is about 6km from Bedoin. I'm sure there will be enough nice riding in the area to keep me busy, if not I can ride to a bigger town such as Carpentras or even Avignon for a day (37km away) if I get bored. I will probably ride till about lunchtime each day and chill out in the afternoons. And if I get really bored I can pop down to a beach somewhere for a night or two which is only a few hours away.
My full schedule for this trip is is: July 6-13 in Annecy, July 13-20 in Bourg d' Osains (Alp d Huez region), July 20-26 in Saint-Pierre-de-Vassols (Ventoux region), 26-30 in Annecy again. I was going to go to the Pyrenees from 20-30 July but its a bit of a hike there from Bourg d' Osains and I thought I'd save that region for another trip rather than try and cram every famous climb in France into this trip and maybe not appreciate it so much.
Hey Arlberg I was going to take my Firecrest 303 clinchers but had been given some good advice to leave at home. Taking my Shamal Ultras off my Alan and have switched the freehub from Campy to Shimano/Sram.
I feel much better about this not having to worry about overheating as much.
Just remember to not over inflate your tyres.
Perhaps you could stay around Ventoux for three days and head towards the Menton area, some good climbing there I here.
I will be there for 3 days July 16-19 before heading across to the Pyrenees (long drive).
Beware of your estimated travelling times in July... for example Menton from Ventoux can be a full day if the traffic is bad. Also to be honest while the riding is very nice around there it is along way to go for a day or two. Everybody is heading south in July and August.
Everyone seems to be heading over and I never manage to ride with anyone! .
My schedule is 9-22 June in the Italy ( Dolomites I think ). 6-15th July North France ( Cobbles ) , then Belgium then Evosges mountains in North East France. 18-26th July Pyrenees. 31July- 10th August ( Northern Italy - Alpes ... not sure exactly ). 18Aug - 8th Sept all over the place, first 2 weeks Italy / Alpes, 2nd weeks Beaune to Bedoin.
So if anyone is around those areas let me know ... or any other dates I will be around home ( stunning riding ).
BTW anyone going to try some cyclosportives while over here? ... worth trying, apart from the insanely big ones that everyone knows there are usually one or two on every weekend that are a blast. For example there is this one on 20kms from Annecy on the 12th July Arlberg http://www.paysdefilliere.com/Cyclospor ... Bornes,394
It is beautiful around Ventoux so your time won't be wasted!
I was in France for 4 weeks in 2011 and also decided to leave the Pyrenees for another trip. Filled the dance card easily climbing nearly everyday in the French Alps! In regards to this, best advice I got was to make sure you set the bike with an easier gear. For every climb here in Australia excluding Baw Baw I usually ride 53-39 11-23. Friend who has done multiple trips talked me into fitted a medium cage rear derailleur to run 13-29 and I'm extremely glad I did. Given my schedule was filled with climbs every ride, having a lighter gear to fall back on if you want to cruise is a blessing.
@sambo What climbs are you planning on hitting around Menton? Heading up to Barcelonette? Couple of great loops I can recommend.
I always ride a 53-39 12-25 around Sydney and have never struggled up any 'hill' but I am taking a 50-34 11-28 for this trip, my first cycling trip to France. I will take the Reynolds Solitudes as well and leave the Lightweights at home. Peace of mind.
I wasnt planning on hiring a car as I understand the public transport, especially the trains, are very good and I'm not going anywhere too 'remote'? My routes are Geneva to Annecy by bus or train, (I have heard the bus is easier and quicker), Annecy to Grenoble by train then bus to Bourg d' Osains, Grenoble to Avignon or (Orange?) by train then bus to Saint-Pierre-de-Vassols, Avignon back to Annecy by train, Annecy back to Geneva by bus or train.
Should be pretty easy.....I hope.
Sambo its possible I will be looking for a beach for a few days if I've had enough of riding and 6 days turns out to be too long in the Ventoux region. If I do I probably wouldnt bother taking the bike and would do the tourist thing in Monaco or around Nice instead.
Sorry riles for hijacking your topic. Wish I could join you!
In regards to PT, I did half and half as my France trip was meant to be two weeks before joining my wife in Malta for the rest. She had to cancel so I extended my trip by two weeks and hired a car for the second half.
I took two legs by PT. The first to Bourg d’Oisans from CDG via TGV then regular train to Grenoble. From here I took the regular bus service from Grenoble to Bourg d'Oisans return with my bike case and luggage no problem - http://www.transisere.com which takes ~1 1/2 hours each way
For the schedule - navigate to 'Horaires et infos' > 'Horaires de lignes' > In the 'Par numéro de ligne' search field enter 3000 which will return the schedule for BOURG D'OISANS-VIZILLE-GRENOBLE. Take the bus to the Tourism office stop as it is right in town (main bus stop one prior is on the edge of town).
You probably have already downloaded this, but if you haven’t you can download a cycling guide with 30 routes http://bike-oisans.com/en/footer/guides-to-download for Bourg d'Oisans
Second leg was from Bourg d’Oisans to Bourg St Maurice. Local bus back to Grenoble, Airport bus ( http://www.aerocar.fr ) to Chambery then train to Bourg St Maurice. Biggest issue traveling around the Alps by PT is it isn’t necessarily direct and may involve quite a number of stops. Given I wanted to allow for any delays I had to organise a nice buffer at each stop to guarantee making the next leg. So took over 6 hours for what may only take a couple by car.
The rest of the trip I hired a Peugeot Partner (easily took my bike case, bike and luggage) with Europcar, as I could pick up and drop off easily in different locations. I also only spent a maximum of three days at each location during these extra 2 weeks, so saved time moving around having the car. Does explain why you have planned for 6 days at Ventoux...
Hi Dalia47, I will probably only do some light riding whilst in Menton its more just rest before Letape.
Will do Col de Braus and Col de la Madone circuit one day and just a few shorter rides on the other two days(3 days in Menton).
Toolonglegs, you have me a bit concerned re drive times now.
Our Plan is to drive from Menton to Pau pick up the race kit the same day and then ride the next day. I had pencilled in about 10hrs to get there by car.
Is that reasonable for that time of year?, will be leaving Menton on the 19th July.
I am actually staying in Aucun but have also booked one night in Pau just in case its better to stay there so I don't have to get up too early to make the start. Aucun to Pau with about 13,000 others staying or heading there that morning might be slow going.
Would you suggest keeping the Pau Booking, or drive on the morning from Aucun. Just means I will pay for a night in Aucun that I don't use, no biggie.
Annecy- July 3rd-9th
St Jean de Maurienne- July 9th-16th
Menton July 16th -19th
Aucun- July 19th-25th
Paris- July 25th-30th
We pick up a car at Annecy and drop it off at Pau before heading to Paris by train
Fair enough. Two great loops if you head back that way are both over 3 cols:
184km from Barcelonette - Col de la Bonette 2715m, Col de la Lombarde 2350m and Colle della Maddalena 1996m. There is a short section of road closed to bicycles after passing the Colle della Maddalena, but as you are descending get through there quickly.
120km from Barcelonette - Col de la Cayolle 2326m, the Col des Champs 2080m, and the Col d’Allos 2250m - descent off the Col des Champs was a bone shaker. I'd recommend riding this loop anti clockwise as the other side was a much better road for descending.
Hehe... "Only light riding in Menton" ... Wait till you get there ... There is a nice ( only ) road along the beach and everything else goes up!. I spent 5 days there last year before going to Corsica and a few days after... It is really stunning country. You will enjoy it but it is hard not to be tempted to just climb all day long.
For the driving... Well for that drive just beware to leave plenty of time. The problem with French motorways apart from the cost is actually paying the tolls. The queue at toll gates can back up REALLY badly in Summer. Menton -Aucun on a Saturday in July... Get away early to miss the jam around Nice... Give yourself a good 9-12 hours. Look usually you will be fine.
I will be tempted to ride more there I'm sure. It really depends on how the body is holding up as to how much riding I do during those three days.
The truth is climbing is not my strong suit hence the challenge of Letape.
We are planning to set of from Menton around 6am, could leave earlier if needed.
I stuffed up the schedule a bit here, I should have planned to arrive in the Pyranees on the 18th.
Anyway enjoy the journey I say.
Yeah not ideal is it. My wife does not cycle so the driving will be shared (read she will do most of it
The idea of the car is so that she can go off and do things in the mornings if she chooses whilst I ride and then we can do the touristy stuff in the arvo together.
She can also meet me at the top of a few climbs for a coffee, and finally if I have a mechanical that I cannot fix on the road myself I have a bail out pick me up.
Well that's the plan anyway, we will see how it goes.
If you can easily then I would... you are going to be exhausting yourself before you even start... Menton - Pau ( 800km ) to get your dossard, then back to Aucun ( another hour or so ) for the night, then up in time for breakie and another hour or more drive back to Pau ( check your route as you will be crossing the race route to get to Pau. The departs for the etape is what time, I seem to remember on my Ventoux one being there around 7.30am.
Changing accomadation might not be possible though... not that much in the way of hotels in Pau, unlike Lourdes which is 2nd only to Paris in number of hotels!.
Thanks Dalai for the time you must have taken to answer that.
Yeah hiring a car would be easier but once I get to each destination the car is just going to sit there idle for up to a week so a waste of money really. And yes I hate dismantling, packing, unpacking and reassembling the bike every time I go to the next place.
Just one more question, in general do bus tickets have to be reserved and bought in advance? For example can I just jump on the first bus from Grenoble to Bourg d Osains or do I need to book and pay for a ticket in advance?
No worries Alberg, love talking about this - so exited for you both heading over!
Agree about the car. Only chose the car for the second half of the trip as I tried to hit a large number of spread out climbs - after Bourg St Maurice; 3 nights Briançon, 3 nights Barcelonette, 2 nights Buis-les-Baronnies and finally 4 nights in the Vercors...
The bus ticket to Bourg d'Oisans was the only ticket I couldn't prebook from OS (maybe you can but my French is basic) so I was a little stressed on arriving in Grenoble if I could get a ticket or seat. It was pretty busy at the ticket office next door to the train centre too. I did a couple of things to reduce the stress; 1. got to Grenoble ~90 minutes before the bus was to leave and 2. had another bus a couple of hours later in the schedule in case I missed the first. In the end got my ticket and on the first bus with a little time to spare. Was a large bus similar to what is used for interstate travel here and the driver happily loaded the bike case and pack underneath in the storage compartment. Note I was there after the summer holidays landing mid August but I was one of only 5-6 people on the bus each way.
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