France riding

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France riding

Postby damonik » Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:24 pm

I should just address this post to TLL, since he's the local authority on such matters.

I'm heading to France in late May for around 2 weeks of riding before SWIMBO arrives to ruin my fun - I'll be coming from Marrakesh, so my current plan is as follows:

  • Fly to Lyon (Only place I can get a direct flight on the day from Marrakesh)
  • Train to Grenoble
  • Base ourselves here to ride Alpe d'Huez and other climbs for 3-4 days
  • Drive to a location near Mont Ventoux
  • Ride Mont Ventoux
  • Figure out a way to get from Mont Ventoux region to somewhere in the Pyrenees
  • Ride the Pyrenees for 3-4 days
  • Return to Rome (Figure out how to get bike home, meet SWIMBO)

I'm chasing the following from people who may have done something similar:
  • Recommendations on other -must do- rides!
  • Recommendations on cycling friendly places to stay around Grenoble
  • Recommendations on cycling friendly places to stay around Mont Ventoux
  • Recommendations on best way to get from SE France to the Pyrenees
  • Recommendations on cycling friendly places to stay around the Pyrenees - I have been in contact with these guys who seem to be a good but fairly expensive option - http://www.pyractif.com/cycling-package ... berty.html

I've done a fair level of research on the above, but nothing beats the experience of people who have travelled and ridden in the region before - Thanks for any assistance people can offer.
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by BNA » Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:47 pm

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Re: France riding

Postby Daccordi Rider » Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:47 pm

Damonik,

I travellled over there this year. If you are going to the French alps base yourself in Bourg de Oisans at the base of Alpe d Huez. Grenoble is too far from the action. From Bourg you can access Lauteret, Galibier, Croix de Fer, Glandon etc very easily.

http://www.morethan21bends.com/

I did a tour with these people but you can also just stay there and they will help with a self guided tour, advice, pick up etc plus have a workshop. Really nice English couple.

For Mt Ventoux we stayed at Bedoin at the hotel linked below. This is a 4hr drive from Bourg

http://www.hotel-des-pins.fr/

Bit more upmarket but very cycle friendly, as are all places around there, they rely on the cycling for their business. Hope that helps but feel free to ask any questions by PM or post here.
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Re: France riding

Postby toolonglegs » Tue Jan 17, 2012 6:13 pm

Yup +1 for staying Bourg D'Oisans... Grenoble is 50km from the base of Alpe D'huez. May is outside peak so should be easy to find a place. That and Bourg is a cycling mecca.
No train from Grenoble to Bourg. Lyon airport is 1-2 hours TGV to Grenoble depending if direct or not (about 30 euros)...but then you have to get to Bourg.
These guys do a bus connection airport to Bourg.
Direct connections by bus to Bourg d’Oisans, Les 2 Alpes, Alpe d’Huez and La Grave :
Information Satobus Alpes : +33 (0) 479.68.32.96 - http://www.altibus.com
You can do all the big hills from Bourg, except col de izoard and col de madeleine...you can go up Galibier (100km'ish return) but not by the classic route which starts from the otherside.
Getting to Bédoin for Ventoux will be a pain with out a car.
Getting to Pyrenees from Ventoux will be a pain without a car (600km by car to Pau)...long way either way if your time is limited.
If you have only a week to 9-10 days I would stay around alpes and ventoux otherwise you will spend a lot of time travelling between points...especially if you don't have a car :D ...a gazillion amazing rides around the alpes.
ALSO BIG BEWARE ...you will not be able to take your bike on a tgv unless it is in a compact soft bike bag...there are exceptions but plenty of people get turned around trying to wheel bikes or big bike bags onto TGV's.
PS...Galibier is not always open in May. Also let me know if you want info on doing a cyclosportive while here.
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Re: France riding

Postby damonik » Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:55 am

Daccordi Rider and TLL,
Thanks for the information, really useful stuff there.

Will change plans so we're based in Bourg de Oisans now ;-)

TLL, we'll most likely hire a car and drive to the Pyrenees - I'm riding with a mate who is travelling with his non-riding partner, so we can't spend every waking minute riding ;-)

Do you have any recommendations on car hire?

Also would love to hear more about the cyclosportive
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Re: France riding

Postby scirocco » Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:55 pm

damonik wrote:[*]Recommendations on cycling friendly places to stay around the Pyrenees - I have been in contact with these guys who seem to be a good but fairly expensive option - http://www.pyractif.com/cycling-package ... berty.html [/list]


I've stayed with Pyractif just getting bed and board and also done three of their guided tours. Highly recommended, great location, easy to reach a lot of cols with not much travel time. I wouldn't call them expensive, either, if you think they are expensive try a few of their competitors...:). I'm going back in September to do their Coast to Coast.

Appreciate you want to cram in as much as you can into your time but I would seriously consider reconsidering doing both the Alps and Pyrenees in the time you have available (i.e not really enough). France is a big country and even driving direct between them will take up a big chunk of time. You will be more relaxed sticking to one area and see it better. Gives you an excuse to come back in a couple of years and go to the mountain area you didn't visit.
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Re: France riding

Postby toolonglegs » Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:08 pm

There are a lot of cyclosportives in the area from May to September...let me know your dates.All you will need is a doctors certificate saying you are healthy to compete.
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Re: France riding

Postby roller » Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:45 pm

toolonglegs wrote:ALSO BIG BEWARE ...you will not be able to take your bike on a tgv unless it is in a compact soft bike bag...there are exceptions but plenty of people get turned around trying to wheel bikes or big bike bags onto TGV's..


hi !

was wondering what you mean by a "compact" soft bike bag.. .

eg, from experience, do you think would this fall into the "compact bike bag" category: http://www.evocsports.com/en/bike/bike- ... l-bag.html

:?:
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France riding

Postby toolonglegs » Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:05 pm

No...that's a big bag. You would have to check if there is velo carriage. Usually on the time table there will a velo symbol. This means that certain carriages will carry a velo or case. Only about 8 velos on a train though. There is often a charge ( 10 euros or so).
Local trains are no problem... Just tgv's that are the issue and often hard to find the info for each train.
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Re: France riding

Postby scirocco » Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:19 pm

The way it works is that you can turn up at the station and they will not complain if you have packed your bike into a bag or box as long as it does not exceed 120 x 90 cm on the long sides. This is treated as ordinary baggage - not as a bike, no need to book a bike space, no extra cost etc. It is up to you to lug it on the train but it will fit in one of the racks somewhere although you may have to move other people's luggage around to make it fit. I've done this at least 4 times. Travelling first class is easier as there is more space.

If you exceed those dimensions they can get shirty and may refuse travel. The other option is to book a bike hook which some of the TGV's have. You can travel with a completely built up bike this way. As toolonglegs says it is not easy to know in advance which trains have them. The double-decker "duplex" TGV's do NOT have them, so you can go to the DB Bahn journey planner http://www.bahn.com/i/view/GBR/en/index.shtml, enter in your train and if the details say "TGV Duplex" it will not have the bike hooks.

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Re: France riding

Postby roller » Fri Jan 20, 2012 7:50 am

thanks guys for your help :)
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Re: France riding

Postby damonik » Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:47 am

toolonglegs wrote:There are a lot of cyclosportives in the area from May to September...let me know your dates.All you will need is a doctors certificate saying you are healthy to compete.


TLL - will be in France from the 21st of May until the 3rd of June!
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France riding

Postby toolonglegs » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:30 pm

http://www.sportcommunication.info/web2 ... trophee=57
27th may... 172km 3380m or 110km with 2000m climbing.
Close to Grenoble, inscription possible on the day... You should give it a go. French cyclos are fun and very competitive.
This one is not too big... 500 in the 172 km & 700 in 110km.
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