Solo Micro Tour de France

Started thinking about what I want to do next year, this year I am not in shape to worry about anything. Im all but done with triathlon for now, and organised events are stressy, expensive, and I just like to march to the beat of my own drum.

Plotting a little solo cycling holiday to France to take in some TdF locations and some nice places and lots of wine.

Havent really looked at logistics in any great detail but thinking couple of nights in Avignon, see the sights, cycle up to Chateaunerf-de-pape and have a glass or two. Then big ride out to Ventoux. Then a couple nights maybe in Grenoble and do Col de la Madeleine and/or Alpe du Huez.

Assuming I am trained for it, is that too much climbing in a short space of time? Also I suck at descending so need to come up with a plan for that.

The coach at my tri club did something similar recently so will tap him up for some tips


I went to Ventoux first and stayed in Sault. Easy rides, correct gearing and you should be alright.

Then went to Bourg d’Oisans and did all the big climbs round there, pretty much the Marmotte Sportive and did ADH a few times.

Then topped it off with ADH tri :joy:

I was a bit younger and lighter then but it was in the days of 53/39 and the biggest cassette was 27, I can get up hills but not particularly quick.

Erm, descending, let’s move on :joy:


Yeah Im seriously wondering if there is a bus I can get down :grin:


I had a pair of Dura Ace alloy rims so braking wasn’t too bad, but a lot of the descents were quite long and straight.

It was the shear drops off a mountain that terrified me :joy:


There’s a good chance my wheels would be carbon rim brakes. So maybe they will explode and ill go down a sheer drop!!!

Luckily for my wife I have plenty of life insurance


Couple of good randonnée type events around that area that you could tag onto. Would take away the hassle of route planning, food and bag transport. The Ardéchoise is one great one.

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Thanks, will have a look at those.

Would you drive down with your bikes, and then cycle at the various places? Or are you thinking of cycling from place to place?

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I asked my coach and he said they drove and it meant they could take everything with them and the big climbs they drove nearby and just did the climbs.

I was thinking of trains between the places. Eurostar to Paris. Paris to Avignon. Avignon to Grenoble via Lyon.

Having a car would be easier. Not sure if TGV allow bikes and dont want to be be boxing and rebuilding. We went down to 1 car few years back and my wife uses it for work so that would mean hiring one maybe.

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I don’t think you can take bikes on the Eurostar at the moment.

And according to the guy downstairs# you have to book them on the TGV.

#Not a euphemism, but my downstairs neighbour

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I’ve been looking at the “Raid” tours but it does mean other people and I don’t like other people much :wink: The tours look great though, about £1500 for a week of catered riding, Alpes, Pyrenees, Massive Central, Dolomites, all the decent places are covered.

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Just booked on TGV and you can take a fully assembled bike for €5 or €20 on the day. If it’s boxed it goes free.

As said, Eurostar can’t be arsed to restart their scheme

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Aha! It was you who had that in a thread. I knew there was one around somewhere, but couldn’t be arsed to search because I hadn’t consumed enough coffee yet!

TBF they said they’d announce again in September though i think they’re just kicking the can down the road but they may have some info for you by then.

Depending on where you live you could get the ferry over which costs £25 with a bike on DFDS. It did only cost £15 in P&O but I won’t be using them again.

I’m planning to do a mini tour myself next year so have looked in to a fair bit. I’m going to fly to Limoges and cycle back to my SE London house and my plan is to get a cardboard bike box from my LBS, pack the bike in really well and just discard the box at the airport. That way it’ll be £5 for the flight, £60 for the bike transport and then just camp sites, food and ferry on the way back.

I think it’s only 6000m of climbing in total over 700km so nowhere near what you’d be getting up to so you may have slightly different luggage needs.

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Oooh, that’s good to know. A few years ago I tried to do London to Paris in 24 hours as a charity thing; I was wondering about having another crack at it solo and wondered about the Ferry

@GRamsay if you’re on rim brakes I’d give serious thought to some alloy rims.

Alpine descending is great fun and if you have several days you’ll pick it up.

I’m a sub 70kg midget who gets to cycle in the alps regularly but still switched over to ally wheels for Marmotte last weekend and will put them back on for Morzine in a couple of weeks.

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I do have a set of training wheels which are alloy. Not the lightest things going, but then neither am I.

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Stayed just outside Borg d’oisans for alpe d’huez tri - absolutely amazing around there. The cycling is simply stunning. I had a flat straight out of T1 so most of the field had gone so had lots of time to myself contemplating the niceness of it all.

If it was me though - how about a spot of cycling in Spain?

Yeah ventoux would be cool but then near Granada you have pico de Valeta. Cycling around there and guadix, the sierras too is other worldly at times

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Years back me and a mate flew to Munich and cycled over the alpes into Italy. I left him at Verona and he carried on to Rome. We did that on mtbs. Don’t need organised tours for this sort of thing

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As someone who’s done a few of these, I feel reasonably knowledgable - enough at least to comment.

As has been said, there’s a trade off between being able to do exactly what you want to do vs a fixed itinerary & having company that you might not like.
The fixed itinerary is very much a personal thing - the 100 hr RAID Pyrenees was a bucket list item for me which I did having got on a bike again just 3 months previously, so barely fit enough. I didn’t really get on with any of the people on that trip and one of them was quite unpleasant (I rode my old tri bike with a wing and no drops which he took exception to).
That nearly put me off but I went back for the RAID du Massif Central and had a blast. Didn’t know any of the climbs so it was a voyage of discovery, every day different and I’m still in touch with 6 of the other riders on a regular basis.
RAID Corsica I did with a cycling friend and there was a group of 7 who were rather unpleasant but we just avoided them. That trip had two days of “challenging” weather and more mechanical failures that I’ve ever seen before or since.

So, taking an organised tour is a potential mixed bag of but there are a lot of good points:

  • You only have to worry about cycling, gear transferred and snacks and drinks when you need them
  • The sense of a journey which I really like (rather than discreet days out)
  • You can avoid the less pleasant people quite easily
  • Sense of achievement is definitely higher after completing a 5 or 6 day trip … you can’t just decide not to cycle on one of the days
  • Bad weather is typically unpleasant at the time but enhances the story in retrospect … just this week I was reliving the wettest cycling experience of my life atop the Col de Bavedda:

I’m just about to go on a Alpine col bagging trip with Marmot tours, rather than a RAID … the itinerary is more relaxed, you can choose to do more or just the main col of the day.

It’s certainly more expensive but if you are time poor (in my case time away from family is the issue), I think it’s a good compromise to maximise cycling time.

I have reports with photos of all my trips if anyone wants to read them:
RAID Pyrenees
RAID du Massif Central
RAID Corsica
Round Wales (my own creation from my doorstep)