You have watched the Tour for years, become familiar with the names of the climbs, recognize the key players, know some history, and have ridden all the local neighborhood rides you can. Well maybe it is time to broaden your pedal stroke, step up your game, and take on the climbs of the Tour de France. A trip to France might be just what you and your riding buddies need. Let's have a frank discussion about the nuts and bolts of cycling in France. Nut: total blast worth every penny. Bolt: you gotta plan.
Tour Travel Tips by PedalDancer.com
- I study the bike tour company itineraries to get ideas, why reinvent the wheel.
- 3-a-day - three major activities a day is more than enough.
- Some areas are good for cycling, some are better suited to being a tourist, they are not necessarily the same.
- Travel super extraordinarily light.
- Bring your own bike, when you ride at this level you do not want a knee tweak to ruin your fun.
- Be spontaneous. Join in any local festivals you happen upon. Change your plans.
- Let every person in your group pick 3 things I want to do in France, try to do them, anything else is icing on the cake.
- Keep and leave a list of contacts of people at home (with a credit card #) that can help you if needed on last minute travel changes.
- Learn and practice all of your communication/tech devices before leaving home.
- Expect the unexpected, don't make your itinerary too strict.
- Be kind, no matter what.
- Ride, eat, drink, reminisce.
The Valleys of the Pyrenees in Pictures
Please visit this page for more tips on traveling in France - FRANCE TRAVEL
Cycling to or from a stage of the Tour de France is a totally different experience then riding the climb on a non-Tour day with little traffic and a few friendly fellow cyclists. Try to experience both. I wished someone had explained to me in 2003 when I first rode many of the stages of the Tour, that my training should have included, riding in and out of the Superbowl, strengthening my arms to brake on descents to a rolling 2mph through cars and people, and eating basque sausages and cokes as a recovery meal. Compare that to a leisurely photography session ascent, followed by lingering in a cafe before an all out decent, and you'll get why it is worth cycling in France even when the Tour is not in town.
HELPFUL LINKS - O'nev , Cycle Sport Tour Diary , PezCycling Travel , VeloPeloton , Andrew Hood , Peter Easton , Thompson Bike Tours , Bikestyle Tours, Denis Jouglard , Graham Watson
Part one: press conference hell and hotel heaven
Part two: The boys are suffering from protein overload, and it’s only stage two.
Part three: The awkward conversation about room-sharing
So what were my 3 things I want to do in France the last time I visited? Have a fabulous regional meal at a lodging where I was staying (so I could drink wine!), return to the Col du Soulor, stay at my friend's farm outside of Pau again. I did all three and more. I sat at a cafe lingering over a coffee reading a novel, I found the perfect little beach, I picked fresh berries by a river, I saw all my favorite riders at stages of the Tour de France, I spent my birthday in Paris. Spending 5 weeks in France last year changed my perspective on life, I learned I don't need more, I want less. Whatever your lesson learned, goal or moment to remember, I hope you have a wonderful journey.