Monday, July 3, 2017

What's next? Summer Plans

"What's next?" A question that we're often asked. It's a question that I've got usually got an answer to, though the answer often changes.

We'd penciled in a European end to end for this summer. It ticked many boxes. Though when I started to research a route it became clear that we'd have to avoid the mountains to make good time over the 5000+km. Not ideal.

Whilst watching Le Tour on the television with my daughter the other day, a seed was sown that changed our plans. Why not ride the "Tour de France" then we can come out and see you?

I looked at this years route and like most modern tour routes there's a lot of transfers between the end of a stage and the start of the next. As we are planning on riding unsupported, we'd need to find a tour route where riders actually rode the whole route. Oh, and can we have some hills including Mont Ventoux?

I spend an afternoon doing some research and settled on using the 1955 tour route as a template for our trip.

Starting at Le Havre, the route heads clockwise dipping into Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland, then round France. Climbs include - Aravis, Télégraphe, Galibier, Vars, Cayolle, Vasson, La Turbie, Mont Ventoux, Aspin, Peyresourde, Tourmalet, Aubisque.

As usual the route ends in Paris, some 4476 km later.

We're not going to follow the exact route, preferring quieter roads when possible, so we may do a few km more.

In 1955 (the first year that there were British riders) the Tour was ridden in 22 days with 2 rest days. We'll be aiming for something similar. There will be no broom wagon, and we'll be carrying all our camping kit.

Thanks Skye for the inspiration, and for drawing the map. See you in Paris!

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