Bicycle rentals and accommodation in Bagneres-de-Luchon

Cyclophiliac
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Bicycle rentals and accommodation in Bagneres-de-Luchon

Postby Cyclophiliac » Mon Nov 27, 2017 5:29 pm

Anyone rented a bicycle in Bagneres-de-Luchon? I'm still dreaming of my next European bicycle tour, and for one with a Pyrenean flavour, I was considering staying in Bagneres-de-Luchon for a week or more and renting a bicycle there.

Companies I've found so far are:

Luchon Cycling.
Luchon Mountain Bike (but they also lease road bikes).

I know nothing about these, though, so any tips appreciated.

I've stayed at Hotel d'Etigny in this town on 1 night last year, during a previous cycling trip, and it wasn't too bad, but if anyone can recommend any other hotel or B&B, that would be nice also.
I noticed the Hôtel La Rencluse has very good ratings on Google Maps (4.6): any of you been there?

Regards & thanks,

--- Victor.

scirocco
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Re: Bicycle rentals and accommodation in Bagneres-de-Luchon

Postby scirocco » Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:41 pm

Never tried renting in Luchon, but I've always been quite impressed by the bike shop in the main drag. They seem friendly and competent but certainly more mountain bike focussed.

I stayed at the Hotel Alti in August for one night this year while doing the Coast to Coast and it was very good, probably the best hotel of the trip. Clean modern rooms and good aircon which was nice on a hot day. Right bang smack in the middle of town.

If you don't mind being a bit out of Luchon, there's always Pyractif up the valley in Bertren. They do accommodation, full board and bike rental and are completely cycling oriented. (For more than one or two nights I would definitely prefer it over a hotel.)

The couple that ran it for ages sold it last year and there is a new guy called Dean running it. I didn't go there this year, so I don't know what he's like, but it's a nice location and much quieter than Luchon. A big garden to relax in. Easier access to what I think of as the nicer side of the Port de Bales although a bit further to Peyresourde, Portillon and Superbagneres/Hospice.

Cyclophiliac
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Re: Bicycle rentals and accommodation in Bagneres-de-Luchon

Postby Cyclophiliac » Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:04 am

Thanks for the info. Yes, I'd considered Pyractif myself, for the reason you mentioned: plenty of support and the B&B is aimed specifically at cyclists. Did you take advantage of their minibus transfers while there? They mentioned they can transfer you in a minibus to some locations, to make getting to the more distant cols a bit more manageable.

scirocco
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Re: Bicycle rentals and accommodation in Bagneres-de-Luchon

Postby scirocco » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:47 am

I've stayed with Pyractif a number of times and have used their minibus transfers. I don't know if the new guy is the same, but the system used to be that on a Saturday they would do a free shuttle to and from Toulouse airport, because that was their major change-over day.

On other days of the week they were happy to pick you up from the local train station, Montrejeau, which is about 90 minutes from Toulouse and 10 minutes from Bertren. There's a good service, no difficulty to fly into Toulouse airport and get the train.

A couple of times I have taken advantage of minibus transfers over to do the Tourmalet (and back on the same day). Informally arranged on the spur of the moment. They also run a scheduled "one night away" mini-trip called Epic Cols that takes in the Hautacam and Luz Ardiden climbs, overnights in Luz St Saveur and then home via Tourmalet, Aspin and Peyresourde (optional).

I've spent a lot of time in the Garonne valley and like going back there for sentimental reasons, but I have often thought that for someone looking to maximise cycling time, best bang for the buck in the central Pyrenees for a week would be 4-5 nights in Bertren or Luchon followed by 4-5 nights in Luz St Saveur or Argeles Gazost. (For hardcore climbing as opposed to just having a nice relaxing time with some cycling thrown in).

A full week at either location is just slightly too much, and the main climbs in the other valley are too far away to do as day trips. But balanced against that would be the hassle of the transfer mid-week. I guess staying in Bertren and doing the Epic Cols is almost the perfect solution.

Bertren is small and quiet, no shops, but there is a supermarket, bank, pharmacy and bakery in the next village (10 minutes by bike).

scirocco
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Re: Bicycle rentals and accommodation in Bagneres-de-Luchon

Postby scirocco » Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:46 pm

Further to the other thread about carrying ID, if you are considering riding out of Luchon over the Portillon into Spain, Chris and Helen Balfour (who used to run Pyractif) mentioned that they have seen gendarmes doing checks at the old pre-EU border post on the top of the col.

France has introduced a lot of random border checks in the last year or two. It’s not a good idea to cross a border into an adjacent Schengen zone country, even in a remote rural area, even on a bike, without having the right paperwork on you.

Cyclophiliac
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Re: Bicycle rentals and accommodation in Bagneres-de-Luchon

Postby Cyclophiliac » Thu Dec 14, 2017 10:03 pm

Thanks again for the info, much appreciated. :) I always carried my passport with me on this and last year's Alps / Pyrenees trip, it never left me. That's why I'm a bit disappointed in that bike shop in Le Bourg d'Oisans. And yes, I was definitely considering the ride from Luchon over the border to that Spanish town: I'd probably do that and Superbagneres on the same day.

scirocco
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Re: Bicycle rentals and accommodation in Bagneres-de-Luchon

Postby scirocco » Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:38 pm

Just a further piece of info with regards to Pyractif. I've been discussing staying with them in late June and Dean said he charges about 100 euros to run the minivan over to the Tourmalet and do the support on the way back. A bit less if it's unsupported and taxi service only. Usually there will be several guests that will band together and share the cost. I've done this myself in the past when Chris and Helen were running it.

He is not planning to run the Epic Cols mini-break that I mentioned earlier in the thread in 2018 as there has not been enough interest.

Pleasure to help with any further info, just ask or PM.

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Re: Bicycle rentals and accommodation in Bagneres-de-Luchon

Postby Cyclophiliac » Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:12 am

scirocco wrote:Just a further piece of info with regards to Pyractif. I've been discussing staying with them in late June and Dean said he charges about 100 euros to run the minivan over to the Tourmalet and do the support on the way back. A bit less if it's unsupported and taxi service only. Usually there will be several guests that will band together and share the cost. I've done this myself in the past when Chris and Helen were running it.

He is not planning to run the Epic Cols mini-break that I mentioned earlier in the thread in 2018 as there has not been enough interest.

Pleasure to help with any further info, just ask or PM.

Thanks. As for Tourmalet, I was planning to do that, but on an earlier part of the trip. My planned itinerary for another Pyrenees tour was something like 1.5 weeks in a B&B near Argeles-Gazost (with Tourmalet easy to reach), then 1 week in Bagneres-de-Luchon.

dalai47
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Re: Bicycle rentals and accommodation in Bagneres-de-Luchon

Postby dalai47 » Fri Dec 15, 2017 10:46 am

scirocco wrote:France has introduced a lot of random border checks in the last year or two. It’s not a good idea to cross a border into an adjacent Schengen zone country, even in a remote rural area, even on a bike, without having the right paperwork on you.


Never bothered to carry my passport when out riding overseas!

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roller
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Re: Bicycle rentals and accommodation in Bagneres-de-Luchon

Postby roller » Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:41 pm

I stayed at Pyractif for a week in 2012, managed to cover a great number of cols in that time - was really a great place to stay.

Superbagneres (my favourite of them all)
Port de Bales
Tourmalet (via mini-bus dropoff)
Col d'Aspin (both sides)
Horquette d'Ancizan (the easy side)
Col du Portillon
Peyresourde

The thing I enjoyed the most was that as a lone traveller the fact that it was a cycling focussed B&B meant that there were other like-minded people staying there I could link up with.

So on the first few days I cycled with a couple I met from Scotland and a girl from England, then later on in the week I went for a couple of rides with a South African guy who was on a break from work.

Of course it's fun to be at one with the mountain, but sometimes being at 2 or 3 is fun too. :D

I know the business has changed hands now, but as far as the style and location go it's pretty good.

I also had a problem with my bike from the trip over, which meant I couldn't use it - so I was able to hire one from Pyractif and not lose any days cycling.
inflammatory statement or idea

Cyclophiliac
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Re: Bicycle rentals and accommodation in Bagneres-de-Luchon

Postby Cyclophiliac » Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:08 am

roller wrote:<very useful information>

Thanks for that. :) I sent you a PM, to ask you for a bit of extra information, if you have the time to provide it.

Regards,

--- Victor.

scirocco
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Re: Bicycle rentals and accommodation in Bagneres-de-Luchon

Postby scirocco » Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:31 pm

Some further info about Pyractif. Last year, Chris and Helen Balfour, who owned the business for the last 10 years, sold the B&B house in Bertren (in the Garonne valley) to Dean Thompson. Dean runs it now as a cycling oriented B&B but without offering the supported point-to-point tours that the Balfours used to run. Link to the website here:

http://pyractif.com/

Chris and Helen kept ownership of the various tours that they used to run, such as the Coast to Coast across the Pyrenees, under their new brand, Mountain High Cycling. These are pretty much the same as they've always been, except that they don't have a base in France any more. They are now based in Spain, in a good riding area where a lot of the pro teams train, allowing them to cater to the British market during the northern hemisphere winter as well as the summer market in France and Italy.

Link here to Mountain High Cycling:

http://mountainhigh.cc/

Sorry if this comes across as an advertisement, but it's not, just information from a repeat client.

Cyclophiliac
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Re: Bicycle rentals and accommodation in Bagneres-de-Luchon

Postby Cyclophiliac » Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:07 pm

scirocco wrote:Some further info about Pyractif. Last year, Chris and Helen Balfour, who owned the business for the last 10 years, sold the B&B house in Bertren (in the Garonne valley) to Dean Thompson. Dean runs it now as a cycling oriented B&B but without offering the supported point-to-point tours that the Balfours used to run. Link to the website here:

http://pyractif.com/

Chris and Helen kept ownership of the various tours that they used to run, such as the Coast to Coast across the Pyrenees, under their new brand, Mountain High Cycling. These are pretty much the same as they've always been, except that they don't have a base in France any more. They are now based in Spain, in a good riding area where a lot of the pro teams train, allowing them to cater to the British market during the northern hemisphere winter as well as the summer market in France and Italy.

Link here to Mountain High Cycling:

http://mountainhigh.cc/

Sorry if this comes across as an advertisement, but it's not, just information from a repeat client.

Thanks, information much appreciated, and I'm sure others who read this thread may find it useful also. :)
Now I just have to do some route creation work on RideWithGPS, to sort out the details on what rides I can do from Pyractif. The trip will probably be in August now, after the TdF madness, and I'll be spending about 1.5 weeks cycling near Argeles-Gazost, then another 1.5 weeks near Pyractif. That should satisfy my col addiction for another year, I suspect... (I hope). Last year's Alps/Pyrenees cycling trip had 2 weeks of cycling, and the year before a similar Alps/Pyrenees cycling trip had 1 week of cycling. See the pattern I'm developing, here? :P

scirocco
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Re: Bicycle rentals and accommodation in Bagneres-de-Luchon

Postby scirocco » Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:18 pm

Lol, all you need now is to add a week of point-to-point riding. In all seriousness these are a good way to get some of the more remote Pyrennean climbs. The central valleys of the Gave, Neste and Garonne are good bases for climbs out of there, but there are a lot of other stunningly good climbs to the west in the Basque Country and to the east in Ariege. The cost and time effective way to reach those is to go from A to B to C rather than A back to A every night. And unless you are on a touring bike you need support to do this.

If you search RidewithGPS in Find > Keyword under my logon name (scirocco) and Chris Balfour's name (use Pyractif or Mountain High Cycling) you will find a good number of local rides in the area that we've generated over the years. Copy and edit as you wish. Many of them are point to point but there are a few loops in there. This one was a good day out, and even has a bail-out option where you can skip the last climb:

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/2777074

Cyclophiliac
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Re: Bicycle rentals and accommodation in Bagneres-de-Luchon

Postby Cyclophiliac » Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:56 am

scirocco wrote:Lol, all you need now is to add a week of point-to-point riding. In all seriousness these are a good way to get some of the more remote Pyrennean climbs. The central valleys of the Gave, Neste and Garonne are good bases for climbs out of there, but there are a lot of other stunningly good climbs to the west in the Basque Country and to the east in Ariege. The cost and time effective way to reach those is to go from A to B to C rather than A back to A every night. And unless you are on a touring bike you need support to do this.

If you search RidewithGPS in Find > Keyword under my logon name (scirocco) and Chris Balfour's name (use Pyractif or Mountain High Cycling) you will find a good number of local rides in the area that we've generated over the years. Copy and edit as you wish. Many of them are point to point but there are a few loops in there. This one was a good day out, and even has a bail-out option where you can skip the last climb:

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/2777074

Agreed, there are so many nice climbs out there. Just last weekend, I watched the Col Collective's latest Youtube video, the climb up to Col de Pailheres, a fair bit east (110km straight line) of where I'll be going this year, but a nice climb by the look of it.

Now, my trip will be in September, due to work commitments, but it will now be 15 days riding from Bertren and 13 days riding from Saint-Savin (near Argeles-Gazost), so 4 weeks total, when my original plan was 3. I'm a glutton for p̶u̶n̶i̶s̶h̶m̶e̶n̶t̶ cols. :P

Cyclophiliac
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Re: Bicycle rentals and accommodation in Bagneres-de-Luchon

Postby Cyclophiliac » Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:41 am

Bloody "scope creep". :roll: :P
Now my trip is 15 days riding based at Pyractif in Bertren, followed by a short bus transfer to Lourdes, then I spend 13 days riding based at the Pyrenees Cycling Lodge about 5km south of Argeles-Gazost. 4 weeks of cycling heaven! :D

I've paid deposits, and booked leave from work, so it's all happening...

scirocco
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Re: Bicycle rentals and accommodation in Bagneres-de-Luchon

Postby scirocco » Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:57 pm

Wow, 15 days. Glutton for punishment. :)

Well you will have no excuse to skip the Devil's Pitchfork (see link below). If you see a wooden pitchfork hanging on the wall beside the dining table, that's why.

I'll be there myself in July, I'll warm it up for you. :)

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/9648764

Cyclophiliac
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Re: Bicycle rentals and accommodation in Bagneres-de-Luchon

Postby Cyclophiliac » Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:13 am

scirocco wrote:Wow, 15 days. Glutton for punishment. :)

Well you will have no excuse to skip the Devil's Pitchfork (see link below). If you see a wooden pitchfork hanging on the wall beside the dining table, that's why.

I'll be there myself in July, I'll warm it up for you. :)

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/9648764

Yes, I heard of that one. I'm not sure I want do all those climbs in 1 day, but I'll think about it when I get there. I'll certainly have plenty of time to consider all the options.

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Re: Bicycle rentals and accommodation in Bagneres-de-Luchon

Postby g-boaf » Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:37 am

dalai47 wrote:
scirocco wrote:France has introduced a lot of random border checks in the last year or two. It’s not a good idea to cross a border into an adjacent Schengen zone country, even in a remote rural area, even on a bike, without having the right paperwork on you.


Never bothered to carry my passport when out riding overseas!


Agreed about this - very good advice. I nearly did it last year by accident going down towards Italy near the Brenner Pass area, turned around and went back towards Innsbruck. I still did have some identification though.

Cyclophiliac wrote:Bloody "scope creep". :roll: :P
Now my trip is 15 days riding based at Pyractif in Bertren, followed by a short bus transfer to Lourdes, then I spend 13 days riding based at the Pyrenees Cycling Lodge about 5km south of Argeles-Gazost. 4 weeks of cycling heaven! :D

I've paid deposits, and booked leave from work, so it's all happening...



Sounds like some great riding. I was reading earlier in this topic some of the famous climbs mentioned. Brilliant. They are tough, but they are very satisfying.

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