Thursday, December 31, 2009

travel and tour desain

For the Francophile, there is no better way to see France. On a bike you are part of the picture, not just an observer through the glass of your car window. You see la France profonde — ‘the real France’ at a pace that is relaxed enough to capture the essence of the country, yet swift enough to see the changes in the character of the country as you move through the regions.

“We had the best holiday yet. Great cycling, food, and company. I'm sure we will see you again. Aloha!”

Kelly, Anne & Brooke, USA

For the cyclist, France has everything that you could possibly want — stunning scenery, quiet roads and a culture that embraces the bicycle as a fundamental part of its character and therefore welcomes cyclists with respect and enthusiasm.

The thing that most people would associate with France is the superb cuisine, and a wide variety of wines which complement the recipes of each area. By travelling under your own steam, you will end each day with a terrific appetite that you will be able to indulge without any guilt, because you will have earned it!

We have carefully planned our routes through some of the most beautiful parts of France, travelling on minor roads and, where available, designated cycle paths. A guide is with you on the road, and detailed route maps are provided. All baggage is carried from hotel to hotel, leaving you free to enjoy the scenery.

Our tours are recommended for anyone who is reasonably fit. They are also ideal for more experienced cyclists, as our guides will be happy to recommend (and join in on) additional routes for those wishing to do a few more kilometres.

“Just wanted to say thanks for the amazing time we had cycling through Burgundy with you. We began the trip as "first timers" with no real cycling experience and were completely converted by the trip's end! Can't wait to return!”

Tove & Paul, Canada

tour das col desain

Our tour of the mythical cols encompasses many of the mountain passes that have passed into legend in the battlegrounds of the Tour de France. Each day includes at least one of the géants, yet is manageable for a wide range of sporting riders thanks to our outstanding support team.

You will take on such famous climbs as the Galibier, Alpe d'Huez and of course the fabled Mont Ventoux, which together with the Tourmalet in the Pyrénées make up the most mythical of the climbs of the Tour de France.
Day 1

We collect from Grenoble airport and station, and transfer to our hotel in Vizille. The hotel has a swimming pool for relaxation in preparation for the week ahead - if you need a warm up though, why not have a crack at the Col de Luitel (1262m) before a dinner carefully planned for our sporting requirements.
Day 2
The ascent at L'Alpe d'Huez

The ascent at L'Alpe d'Huez

Following the Route Napoleon, we head through Laffrey and La Mure before heading up the valley of the River Bonne. Those wishing to bag an extra col can take a small detour over the Col de Malissol (1105m). The route continues to climb fairly gently before going over the picturesque Col d'Ornon (1371m) before descending to Bourg d'Oisans. Here you can take a timing ticket from the tourist office before embarking on the legendary 21 hairpins of L'Alpe d'Huez. We stay on the Alpe at a very comfortable hotel.
Total distance for the day is 85km.
Day 3
Col de la Croix de Fer

Col de la Croix de Fer

A very big day! Setting out down to Huez bourg, we cut across the face of the valley to Villard-Reculas, pausing to look back at a perfect view of the hairpins of the Alpe, to Oz-en-Oisans. From there it's stunning scenery all the way to the Col de la Croix de Fer (2067m). Dropping to St-Jean-de-Maurienne for lunch and to refuel for the giants to come. The Col du Télégraph (1566m) is an appetiser for one of the most fearsome of all the cols, the Galibier (2646m). After this it's an exhilarating descent to the Col de Lauteret (2068m, but it doesn't count in this direction!) and we then rocket downhill for 27km to our stop for the night in Briancon.
Total distance 140km
Day 4

An easier day, though it might not feel like it at first, as we head up to the Col d'Izoard (2361m). If time allows, we can visit the cycling museum near the summit. On the way down we pass through the Casse Deserte, an alien landscape of jumbled rocks. Continuing, the descent follows the Combe de Queyras, a beautiful steep-sided river valley. Lunch is in the charming town of Guillestre, to set us up for the second monster of the day, the Col de Vars (2109m). Once over the top, we cruise down into the bustling town of Barcelonnette where our hotel awaits.
Total distance 100km
Day 5

Today is a recovery day, to set us up for Mont Ventoux tomorrow. We head own the valley of the river Ubaye to the lake of Serre-Poncon, Here, we can choose an easy route or take in a set of cols to add to the list - the Col St Jean (1333m), the Col des Garcinets (1185m), and the Col des Sagnes (1182m). Whichever route we take, we finish in the medieval town of Sisteron. If you have the energy you might like to walk the town ramparts or visit the citadelle dating from the 11th century.
Day 6
Approaching the summit of Mount Ventoux

Approaching the summit of Mount Ventoux

A gradually rising road gains us altitude as we head towards the 'Giant of Provence'. A series of small cols breaks the climb - the Col de Pigiere (968m), the Col de Macuègne (1068m) and the Col de l'Homme Mort (1211m), then we descend into the town of Sault, a crossroads for those setting out for le Mont Ventoux, and full of cyclists. The climb from Sault may not be as tough as from Bedoin, but after Chalet Reynard it's the same climb over the same eerie lunar landscape, devoid of any vegetation. Stopping to pay respects at the Tom Simpson memorial, the last kilometre to the weather station at the summit (1907m) is brutal! We descend through Bedoin to Carpentras where our hotel awaits with a welcoming swimming pool, and at dinner we can forget about big miles in the morning and indulge in a glass or three of the superb wine made on the slopes of the mountain.
Day 7

After breakfast we transfer to Avignon for onward journeys via TGV to Grenoble, Lyon or Paris and beyond. Those wishing to stay on can try their hand at Ventoux from Bedoin or Malaucene - or even both!

sports holidays

French Cycling Holidays provides fully supported cycle tours in and around the French Alps and Pyrénées. Join us to ride mountain passes written forever into the history of cycling. Our unparalleled level of support and encyclopaedic knowledge of the mountains, passes and cycling history guarantees that, regardless of your level of cycling experience, you'll have an unforgettable cycling holiday!

We pride ourselves on delivering a 'Blue Riband' service. Dedicated, professional staff are here to ensure that your holiday is fun-filled, challenging and lives up to your expectations - sending you home with your dreams fulfilled is our raison d'être.

Our routes showcase the very best that the French mountains have to offer and have been chosen with great care to provide a challenge to every cyclist regardless of fitness or experience.

Every day starts with a pre-ride briefing where laminated maps are issued. To ensure that no-one is left behind in a mixed-ability group our experienced staff will be right there riding alongside to pass on their encouragement, experience and local knowledge.
Rider Support

Support vehicles accompany every tour; as well as providing a comfortable haven from the rigours of cycling the mountains, our minibuses also function as mobile workshops, safe storage area for clothing and valuables, bike transport and catering car.

For those unforseen mechanical problems, we carry a comprehensive range of bikes, tools and spares to keep you on the road. If you puncture we will replace the wheel just as if you were a seasoned professional. Whilst we offer cycling support throughout the day over the route printed on the tour maps you are entirely at liberty to do your own thing. However the van will stay with the majority of the group to keep you topped up with water, bananas and energy bars, and to be the sag-wagon if you want to take it easy.
Hotels and Cuisine

Accommodation is in luxury hotels and the cuisine, whilst maintaining the highest standards for which our tours are famous, is geared to the nutritional needs of the sporting rider - just because you're riding hard doesn't mean you should have to put up with badly cooked pasta!