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Old 02-21-10, 02:40 PM   #1
KivanAtaris
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Riding the Tour de France

I'm brainstorming logistics as to how one would be able to ride a full Tour de France in the month of July while watching as much of it as possible - at some point in my life I'd like to go hosteling/backpacking/riding my way through the Tour de France.

Is it possible to ride stages early in the morning before the stage begins such that we can watch the pro's finish from a distance? Or is that just not possible.

In addition is it possible to carry everything you need (water bottles, extra clothing, shoes, tubes, etc) in a backpack while doing this? Any thoughts on how laundry would work? What other necessities am I obviously omitting?

Thanks all, just starting to brainstorm the how-to's about doing something like this!
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Old 02-22-10, 12:01 AM   #2
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Sounds interesting. One thing I would wonder is if they had those roads blocked off three days in advance or something like that. Another thing would be that you can use routes for a race or rally that may be great when traffic is blocked off, but terrible routes when the traffic is running on them.
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Old 02-22-10, 12:13 AM   #3
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Look at pictures of some of the bikes posted on here, you don't carry a backpack while touring but you can carry everything you need in panniers

you can do laundry at hostels.
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Old 02-22-10, 01:19 AM   #4
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It might be possible, but you are going to have to look at the daily mileages in advance to [lan your assault. . The flat stages can be over 100 miles per day, and the climbing stages would be brutal at 90 - 100 miles, but some are longer. There are also rest days where they travel by plane or bus. These can cover a few hundred miles and it might not be possible to catch back up if you have to ride. I just looked at the map for this year, and it looks like the big transfer is the next to last day, so you would miss the finish in Paris. There also looked to be some long stages and decent gaps between finish towns and the following day start. There are tour groups that follow the tour and allow you to ride the course each day, but they carry your gear and are really expensive. Trek does one, and some old tour riders have set up tours. Here's a LINK to the map. Below are all the starts, finishes and distances. France is beautiful, I hope you can pull it off.
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Old 02-22-10, 07:16 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KivanAtaris View Post
Is it possible to ride stages early in the morning before the stage begins such that we can watch the pro's finish from a distance? Or is that just not possible.

In addition is it possible to carry everything you need (water bottles, extra clothing, shoes, tubes, etc) in a backpack while doing this? Any thoughts on how laundry would work? What other necessities am I obviously omitting?


How long does it take you to ride 110 miles on the flats, rolling hills or mountains?
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Old 02-22-10, 01:55 PM   #6
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It would seem, just from a logical viewpoint, that your best bet would be to plan a ride involving a past Tour route, and then maybe try to intercept the current one at a stage or two that you would like to see.
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Old 02-22-10, 03:16 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by KivanAtaris View Post
I'm brainstorming logistics as to how one would be able to ride a full Tour de France in the month of July while watching as much of it as possible - at some point in my life I'd like to go hosteling/backpacking/riding my way through the Tour de France.

Is it possible to ride stages early in the morning before the stage begins such that we can watch the pro's finish from a distance? Or is that just not possible.

In addition is it possible to carry everything you need (water bottles, extra clothing, shoes, tubes, etc) in a backpack while doing this? Any thoughts on how laundry would work? What other necessities am I obviously omitting?

Thanks all, just starting to brainstorm the how-to's about doing something like this!
It's an easy matter to carry everything you need in a saddlebag or a couple of small panniers. Riding the Tour is a completely different matter. You can always do L'Etape du Tour or maybe ride a few choice stages before or after the professionals get to them.
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Old 02-22-10, 03:52 PM   #8
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Great ideas everyone. Thanks for the input!

Riding a past tour and intercepting at points has crossed my mind. Again, the biggest issue for me is not the distance ridden each day, but the logistics of whether or not the roads are open, a way to carry my items, etc. I'm in excellent shape and road race at a fairly high level.

To ride 110 miles - It would take me 6-10 hours depending on wind conditions, terrain, if someone else was with me, how much stuff I had to carry and how fast I wanted to go that day. The plan with the rest days was to train it or bus it to the next city and continue on from the next spot. An issue comes in with ticket availability, if there are such buses/transportation, staying on some sort of schedule, etc...maybe I should just hire somebody to be my personal chaffeur for the month so I can paceline behind their car for time's sake, they can lug my stuff, and can drive me from stage end to stage beggining, ha.

The biggest issue being if the Tour closes all the roads for the day. Maybe like doing a half-tour is another option. Rent a car, drive from stage end to stage end, bike the finish, hang out a few hours, watch the finish, then drive again. Sort of defeats the 'touring' piece though...

A lot of issues with the idea, of course, just brainstorming how it would best be done and seeing what you guys all thought!
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Old 02-22-10, 08:42 PM   #9
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The roads are generally open in the morning, but that depends where you are in relation to the race. In many place you could be riding along and they'll just kick you off or you can pull off along the way and let the race pass. The official cars will make sure you are not in the way long before the race passes. Seems like there were at least a hundred of them last time I was there. Most days the race starts at 11:00 am, and the Caravan leaves 1 to 2 hours before that, depending on the stage. When we were at Alp d' Huez, you could ride the hill till about 1 or 2pm, then it was closed to all traffic.
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