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Best way to ride Tour de France

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Best way to ride Tour de France

Old 07-23-18, 08:59 AM
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GCJaune
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Best way to ride Tour de France

Hi everyone -- I'm new here and I came with a fairly specific question that I was hoping the experience on Bike Forums could help answer. I have recently become interested in training with the hopes of ultimately completing that bucket list item of riding the Tour de France route. Has anyone here done this? If so, would you recommend a particular way of doing it? I have seen a number of tour groups online that offer packages that are far too expensive for me, so I wondered if there are any options outside of those more structured tours. Granted, I don't believe I would be doing this until at least 2020, so there is time for me to begin saving for whatever the expenses ultimately would be. Anyway, this is dragging, but hopefully someone among you has experience with this and could offer a few pointers as I just get started exploring what it would take to ultimately achieve this relatively new dream of mine.

Thanks!
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Old 07-23-18, 11:31 AM
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There's no reason why you can't ride a Tour de France route for whatever year's Tour route you pick, except of course, on the day the Tour is passing through. France is a great country for touring. There are campgrounds, hotels, and B&Bs all over the country. I don't pay much attention to the Tour, but I've biked on many of the cols (passes) which the Tour frequently selects. Last September, some friends & I were touring in the Dordogne valley and happened to ride through villages which the Tour had passed through 2 months earlier and the villages still had their Tour decorations up. One thing I would warn against, however, is the possibility/likelihood that outside of the mountains, the Tour may use some roads which have heavy car & truck traffic when they're not closed for the Tour. France has a great network of minor roads with minimal traffic, so it would be a shame, IMO, to choose to ride on busy roads just because they had been on a Tour route.
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Old 07-23-18, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
One thing I would warn against, however, is the possibility/likelihood that outside of the mountains, the Tour may use some roads which have heavy car & truck traffic when they're not closed for the Tour.
Good point. The have in the past used "freeways" to bridge gaps. And one stage this year had 11 or 12 cobblestone sections, some of which are used in the famous Paris-Roubaix race.
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Old 07-23-18, 12:46 PM
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there are companies organizing the whole thing for you ..
more expensive that way ,
but you have a group of new friends that way.. too..

unlike the race , the roads are open..

research the routes used over the years? other than the famous mountains,
lots of the countryside has hosted a stage.


...

Last edited by fietsbob; 07-23-18 at 12:50 PM.
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Old 07-23-18, 04:24 PM
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Couple years ago I rode to the finish of two stages of the TdF in Switzerland, which included riding part of the route. It was great fun. The route changes each year, so pretty much any route you ride will probably be part of the TdF.
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Old 07-24-18, 06:33 AM
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This is all very helpful information. I really appreciate you taking the time to reply. The more I look into it, the more I think saving for a few years and then committing to one of the group rides may be the best bet. If I'm being totally honest with myself, I could probably use the time to train on top of saving money. Hopefully one of these years I'll get out there and get a taste of what the top riders in the world experience each year.
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Old 07-24-18, 08:34 AM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by GCJaune View Post
The more I look into it, the more I think saving for a few years and then committing to one of the group rides may be the best bet. If I'm being totally honest with myself, I could probably use the time to train on top of saving money.
I did an organized tour based around the last week or so of the actual '95 Giro. The marketing materials made it sound so cool with all the race route riding One day featured the Cat 1 Col de Sampeyere, the HC Col d'Angel and then the HC Col d'Izoard in France. We skipped the first one because the weather was miserable on that pass. Even if an avalanche had not blocked the Angel, there was no way in the world even the strongest people in the group (and there were some pretty strong riders) would have been able to do those climbs back-to-back-to-back before the race came through. Unless you want to see the race and ride, you might look for organized tours built around race routes that are not run in connection with the race. That way you would have more time to ride the courses. We also spent a some time riding in vans to get from place to place. One of the reasons for that is that the media, race officials, fans, etc,, can put a strain on available hotel space. The owner of the tour company told me the competition for lodging during the TdF is far greater than it is for the Giro.
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Old 07-24-18, 08:42 AM
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Tim Moore wrote a funny book about riding the Tour de France route in advance of the Peleton (I think!).
He got an advance copy of the tour route (journalist) and rode it on a bike carrying his gear.

As said above, the route changes every year, so you could always look for a "classic" route or one where the year has some significance to you.

Are you looking to do the route in "race" mode or "touring mode"? Do you want to follow the route or are you looking to do the same stages in the same order and in the same time-frame? If you want to cycle the stages in the same time-frame as the pros.... Good luck!

Six weeks touring a TdF route could be a really interesting theme to follow. As said above, some of the route will be on main roads - quieter roads would be a lot more pleasant. Time to wander off course and check out the local sights.

Personally, 3 1/2 weeks flying through France on a bike would not be my dream. Of course, to do it properly, you should do a route at the same time as the TdF itself! Currently there's a heatwave in Europe....

Good Luck!
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Old 07-26-18, 04:31 AM
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Originally Posted by GCJaune View Post
Hi everyone -- I'm new here and I came with a fairly specific question that I was hoping the experience on Bike Forums could help answer. I have recently become interested in training with the hopes of ultimately completing that bucket list item of riding the Tour de France route. Has anyone here done this? If so, would you recommend a particular way of doing it? I have seen a number of tour groups online that offer packages that are far too expensive for me, so I wondered if there are any options outside of those more structured tours. Granted, I don't believe I would be doing this until at least 2020, so there is time for me to begin saving for whatever the expenses ultimately would be. Anyway, this is dragging, but hopefully someone among you has experience with this and could offer a few pointers as I just get started exploring what it would take to ultimately achieve this relatively new dream of mine.

Thanks!
Which Tour de France route?
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Old 07-26-18, 04:33 AM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Couple years ago I rode to the finish of two stages of the TdF in Switzerland, which included riding part of the route. It was great fun. The route changes each year, so pretty much any route you ride will probably be part of the TdF.
We inadvertently rode most of one stage, a few weeks later, in 2007. Didn't realise it until we started coming across all the decorations.
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Old 07-26-18, 04:57 AM
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There's an old musician's joke that goes:

A guy knocks on a car window in New York City and asks "Hey, how do I get to Carnegie Hall?" The driver looks at him and says "Practice, buddy. PRACTICE!"

Nothing useful here, but I thought someone might get a grin out of it.
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Old 07-26-18, 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Which Tour de France route?
My intention would be to ride whichever route the pros are riding that same year. I donít just want to make one up or do a previous yearís route. I want to be riding the 2019 route in 2019 or the 2020 route in 2020, etc.
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Old 07-26-18, 05:16 AM
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Old 07-26-18, 05:42 AM
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Originally Posted by GCJaune View Post


My intention would be to ride whichever route the pros are riding that same year. I donít just want to make one up or do a previous yearís route. I want to be riding the 2019 route in 2019 or the 2020 route in 2020, etc.
Well, one step would be to follow the TDF site, and Facebook site. When they release the new route for the year you want, you can start taking a closer look at it.

https://www.letour.fr/en/
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Old 07-26-18, 06:32 AM
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just saying, a cool dream and all, but holy crap those guys cover a crapload of kms per day and at astronomical speeds.
I once did a trip in the Pyrenees, going fully loaded over a bunch of the tour cols, but we would do one pass per day or so, and afterwards, I saw that they would do three in a day at three times our average speed.

so just saying, its a nice idea, but for normal people, you have to be realistic about what distances are involved, and anyway, riding anywhere in France is lovely and there are tons of great places to ride in, so good luck with your future planning.
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Old 07-26-18, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
just saying, a cool dream and all, but holy crap those guys cover a crapload of kms per day and at astronomical speeds.
I once did a trip in the Pyrenees, going fully loaded over a bunch of the tour cols, but we would do one pass per day or so, and afterwards, I saw that they would do three in a day at three times our average speed.

so just saying, its a nice idea, but for normal people, you have to be realistic about what distances are involved, and anyway, riding anywhere in France is lovely and there are tons of great places to ride in, so good luck with your future planning.
Not only that, they are riding in a peleton most of the time, protected from the wind on 15 pound race bikes. Fully supported with food, drinks, medical, repairs. Roads are cleared of all traffic. Some of the riders weigh in at a whopping 130 pounds. And they donít generally stop for anything.
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Old 07-29-18, 03:57 AM
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The Tour route for the following year gets announced each fall, so keep an eye out for that. If you want to ride the entire route, self-supported, you'll be looking at some multiple of the three weeks that it takes the pros to do it. Unless you're superhuman, probably double that. My suggestion is to pick an area (Alps, Pyrenees, Provence, etc.) and focus on that. Or maybe two areas and take the train in between.

Background: I've been to see the Tour 3x, including twice being a staff person on a commercial group tour that followed the TdF around the country.
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