Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

tour de france tourist climb

Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

tour de france tourist climb

Old 10-16-13, 09:17 AM
  #1  
lenA
Banned
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: West Coast of Wisconsin
Posts: 665

Bikes: 2011 Surly LHT 2005 LeMond Zurich

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
tour de france tourist climb

If a guy was to go to France and rent a bike to chug up one of the Tour climbs, which would you choose?

Not necessarily the toughest, but perhaps the most scenic, or the one with the most history

Pics OK
lenA is offline  
Old 10-16-13, 09:49 AM
  #2  
axolotl
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,771
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 162 Post(s)
Liked 6 Times in 4 Posts
I'm not really an expert on the Tour de France, since bike racing holds little interest to me. But I've toured a lot in France and I've biked up both the Col du Tourmalet in the Pyrenees and Mont Ventoux. I haven't been up Alpe d'Huez, which is the only other regular climb I can think of on the Tour. I rode the Tourmalet east to west. It was a great pass with very nice scenery. For Mont Ventoux, I began in Sault, the easiest of the 3 possible starting points. It was only the last 6 km which were particularly difficult. I had perfect weather for both (late May for Mont Ventoux, and late May/early June for the Tourmalet).

The Col du Tourmalet is the more scenic of the two, but it is also more difficult.

I've been at the base of the Alpe d'Huez climb when I crossed the Col du Lauteret. The Lauteret is a nice and fairly easy climb itself, and I suspect Alpe d'Huez has very nice scenery, too.
axolotl is offline  
Old 10-16-13, 10:19 AM
  #3  
Gus Riley
HomeBrew Master!
 
Gus Riley's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: West Central Illinois
Posts: 2,208

Bikes: Aegis Aro Svelte, Surly LHT, Cannondal R3000 tandem, Santana Triplet.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Alpe d'Huez is on my "Bucket list".
Gus Riley is offline  
Old 10-16-13, 12:29 PM
  #4  
jabantik00
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oceanside
Posts: 413
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by lenA View Post
If a guy was to go to France and rent a bike to chug up one of the Tour climbs, which would you choose?

Not necessarily the toughest, but perhaps the most scenic, or the one with the most history

Pics OK
most history and most climbed is probably the tourmalet. ventoux, galibier, and alpe d'huez are all famous and popular, and the nearby towns (e.g., bourg d'oisans) probably have a shop with rentals.

most scenic is mostly personal preference. i like iseran, allos, cayolle, and pretty much anything else on the routes des grandes alpes. anything on the raid pyrenean is quite nice too, particularly in the hautes pyrenees. i think most tour climbs are in part chosen by their scenic qualities. if the length of your trip allows for it, either of these routes will give you a lot of bang-for-the-buck scenery and famous tour cols.
jabantik00 is offline  
Old 10-16-13, 01:02 PM
  #5  
Philly Tandem
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: SE Penna., USA
Posts: 1,094

Bikes: Santana Cabrio triplet, Santana Fusion S&S tandem, Co-Motion Pangea S&S, Co-Motion Nor'wester S&S, Santa Cruz Tallboy, Ellsworth Enlightenment Carbon, Niner EMD9, old-school C'dale F2000

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 65 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've biked up and down Alpe d'Huez and Galibier, and biked *down* Ventoux twice (I was a staff person on a commercial bike tour and had to support clients by driving the van up). I've also driven up/down cols du Glandon and Croix de Fer (again, stuck in a support van).

Alpe d'Huez is the least interesting visually, IMO, but the most "mythic." It's pretty, but not as much as other climbs. More of a "been there, done that" sort of ride. But just about every cyclist has heard about it, so if you want bragging rights, you need to ride it. The switchbacks get kinda monotonous, and also make the ride back down not much fun as you are constantly braking at each turn and can't really enjoy the downhill much (I've personally seen two amateur riders fly over the guardrails at the Alpe due to improper braking). If you do this ride, I recommend riding up the "normal" side of the Alpe and then doing a loop over the top and down the back side via the Col de Sarenne and down through Clavans and Mizoen (the Tour did this backside route for the first time ever in 2013). Once you get down to D1091 you can hang a right and head back to Bourg d'Oisans. A really, really nice loop.

Galibier is a really pretty ride from either side. Gorgeous scenery. I totally enjoyed that ride, even though my legs were killing me at the top.

The scenery en route from Bourg d'Oisans up to the cols du Glandon and Croix de Fer is top notch, and you can "bag" two cols with one climb. Really, really pretty ride. I recommend it.

For the above rides, nice road bikes can be readily rented in Bourg d'Oisans.

Ventoux is also a really great ride, and easy to get bike rentals at the base in the town of Bedoin. Different from the Alpine rides, since it is a singular massif in Provence. Definitely worth doing (the best downhill ride I've ever done!), but might not be on the tourist route you are taking. Some really nice other riding in Provence, too, if you are there.

For me, the rides in the Alps are the best scenery wise (note I haven't been to the Pyrenees).

Reply if you need more details or suggestions...
Philly Tandem is offline  
Old 10-16-13, 03:13 PM
  #6  
lenA
Banned
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: West Coast of Wisconsin
Posts: 665

Bikes: 2011 Surly LHT 2005 LeMond Zurich

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
The way this is shaping up looks like more then one ride might be an necessity...Oh darn :-)
lenA is offline  
Old 10-16-13, 05:04 PM
  #7  
BobG
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: NH
Posts: 709
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 163 Post(s)
Liked 5 Times in 5 Posts
This one was a lot of fun. I do remember a scary, curving, illuminated tunnel just before Val D'Isere. The road gets quieter and narrower from there over to Bonneval-sur-Arc..........







For a more obscure pass in the Pyrenees The Col du Soulor is a really picturesque back road, D 126, south of Pau, beyond Lestelle-Betharram. Another 10K will bring you to the Col D'Aubisque. This is the town of Arbeost where the 1995 pack finally chased me down and I had to pull over and let them go by (grainy slide scans).............


Last edited by BobG; 10-17-13 at 08:16 AM. Reason: Town name correction
BobG is offline  
Old 10-17-13, 08:12 AM
  #8  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 22,225
Mentioned: 163 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8446 Post(s)
Liked 242 Times in 152 Posts
Originally Posted by briwasson View Post
If you do this ride, I recommend riding up the "normal" side of the Alpe and then doing a loop over the top and down the back side via the Col de Sarenne and down through Clavans and Mizoen (the Tour did this backside route for the first time ever in 2013).
I watched the coverage of that stage. Sarenne evoked one of those "I have to do that some day" responses.

As noted, it's not always the famous climbs but rather the obscure ones that are often the nicest. I spent 2 weeks in northern Italy this spring in the shaddow of Monte Grappa, the sort of Alpe d'Huez of that immediate region. Never did the climb up there. Some friends I was with said it's not that scenic and monotonous at times. Instead, we did some routes with hard climbs that turned out to be popular with locals due to the fantastic scenery.
indyfabz is offline  
Old 10-17-13, 08:34 AM
  #9  
axolotl
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,771
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 162 Post(s)
Liked 6 Times in 4 Posts
Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
As noted, it's not always the famous climbs but rather the obscure ones that are often the nicest.
My favorite climb in Europe was the Grosse Scheidegg in central Switzerland. It's a fairly easy pass that's directly across from the north face of the Eiger. The scenery is stunning and it's closed to car traffic, a great combination.
axolotl is offline  
Old 10-22-13, 05:35 AM
  #10  
BobG
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: NH
Posts: 709
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 163 Post(s)
Liked 5 Times in 5 Posts
Originally Posted by briwasson View Post
Galibier is a really pretty ride from either side. Gorgeous scenery.
BobG is offline  
Old 10-22-13, 05:57 AM
  #11  
Caretaker
Heretic
 
Caretaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Posts: 2,007

Bikes: Specialized Sirrus, Giant OCR3, Giant CRS3

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 515 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 4 Posts
Mont Ventoux because I meant to do it on one tour but missed it out because I wasn't feeling well.

I've done the Col du Tourmalet from West to East fully loaded, great scenery but tough (was in my late 50s)especially the last bit.
Caretaker is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Inpd
Bicycle Mechanics
4
09-15-15 09:35 AM
RyanArf
Fitting Your Bike
1
03-02-15 11:14 PM
jwa
Great Lakes
1
02-22-09 02:14 PM
rabbitt
Recumbent
23
08-19-06 09:40 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.