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PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:13 pm 
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Update: I have started to narrow the trip down and have further questions in the post later on.


I have been dreaming of this trip for a while and it is happening this summer! Land in England June 2, see some friends for a few days, get to Paris to see some more friends and then around mid June head to SE France, Lyon area. Then over to Milan to drop my gf at the airport and onto the Dolomites. I plan to use airbnb to stay, mostly. Leaving from Venice July 13.

1. So, in the Lyon area is there a specific area to stay in/ avoid? I plan to ride lots of mountains and possibly rent a car here and there. We have about 12-14 days in SE France and I need to take a side trip to CERN. Maybe further south would be better and just stay near Lyon for the side trip to Geneva. Alp d'huez is a must.

2. Then, we head to Italy. I have a friend in Tuscany, he said 1.5 hour train ride form Milan. I will be there for just a day or two. This brings us to about July 2 or so. I then want to get to the Dolomites. Suggestions?

Generally, I like to stay in a place for a while rather than jump here and there. I am not a city guy but like small towns where I will have enough amenities.

Thank you for any advice you can provide and if you live around these areas and would allow a fellow cyclist to tag along, that'd be great. I love to climb!


Last edited by beatle on Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:20 am 
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Location: eh?
Do a search - there is good info on all these areas in the forum.

Alp d"Huez as a pilgrimage I get, but be advised that most of the other roads in that valley are even more fun. Don't come back down the Alp - go over the back via Col de Sarenne. Also across the valley from the Alp is a little known climb the comes right out of Bourg d'Oisans and climbs to Villard Notre-Dame and beyond to connect with Col d'Ornon . You will need a small light for a short but very dark tunnel. Top few kms are not paved but smooth hard pack dirt trail - epic - don't miss it.

As for the Dolomites, I had a blast in Corvara but all the towns in that area have something to offer. Or Bormio if you must do the Stelvio, Gavia, Mortirolo.

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Posted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:20 am 


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:30 am 
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Posts: 388
Location: France
If you are from the US or Australia distances may appear small but for example it's a a day drive from Paris to Grenoble ...
Driving is a nightmare in most large french cities.
By train you can rapidly go from Paris to Lyon, Macon, Grenoble and Modane but after it's local bus or train and it can take time. Then to Italia I don't know.
We have now cheap long distances bus from and to large cities but they are slow.
Lyon is not exactly the SE of France ... Riding is good west of Lyon ( from Charbonnière les bains area) but no high moutains.
I think you must first plan the Italian part and then look where to go through France , they are not so many roads or trains across the Alps and tunnels are busy.
It can be :
-Paris>Lyon>Grenoble> Bourg d'oisans area ( =>Alpe d'huez, Glandon, Croix de fer, ...) but not close to CERN in Geneva
-Paris>Macon>outside Lyon north > Chambery> Saint-Jean de Maurienne / Modane area ( => other side of Glandon and Croix de fer, Galibier, Mont Cenis, Alpe d'huez loop if your are strong, ...).
-Paris>Macon>Bourg en bresse > Annecy (lesser known climbs but nice and around the lake)
There are other places but I haven't been there : Sallanches/Chamonix, Gap/Embrun, Bourg Saint-Maurice, Val d'isère, Briançon, ...


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:14 pm 
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Posts: 778
Location: Netherlands
If you go by car and the Alpe D'huez is a must, then I'd advise you to take that as last stop in France. It's relatively close to Briançon and from there you can easily pass the border into Italy. If I remember correctly (used briancon to get into Italy 2 years ago) it's a mountain pass and after that you get onto the highway to Turin pretty quickly. Once on the highway you can easily follow it to Milan > Dolomites / or all the way to Venice if you want to go there first.

Regarding to places, I don't really want to know where you want to stay for how long. Loads of nice places in the French Alpes. At Bourg d'Oisans you got the alpe d'Huez, but more interestingly you got the Glandon, Galibier, etc. Also the balcony road Mr.Gibb suggested. I did the Balcony road from Le Freney d'Oissans last year, also great route with spectacular view over the valley, here is that ride (ignore Les Duex Alpes I did before that) https://www.strava.com/activities/625506848
If you like it steep then you can also ride to Vaujany, small climb when your riding from Bourg towards the Glandon, It''s a relatively lesser know climb but it doesn't go under 8/9% on it.

Then there is also Bourg Saint Maurice. Really nice area to ride with the Petit Bernard, Iseran, Cormet Roselend, Col du Madeleine and more close by. Also a place where you can ride into Italy via the Petit Bernard into Aosta. From there it's also easy acces to the highway onto Milan.
There are plenty more nice places in France, I don't know how south you go, else the Mont Ventoux might also be an option. I don't have any experience with the Swiss/French border so can't help you with that, but there are plenty of swiss riders here who probably can.

The dolomites, I'd say stay anyway near Corvara, Alta Badia, etc. There you got acces to a few local loops like the Sella Ronda, you can make a nice loop with Giau, Falzarega, Valparola and many more. The climbs in that region are beautiful.
Personally I'm going back to Canazei in September, not as central position as Corvara, but a bit cheaper and most climbs are still in reach.

If you like it small-town I've also been to Borgo Valsugana, it's in a valley near Trento. I've only done the Passo Manghen there but I believe there are plenty of other nice climbs there.

If you want to go more towards the Italian Alpes you can go to Bormio and ride the Stelvio, Gavia, Mortirollo etc. Also nice region with great rides. 1 of my personal favourites there is Cancano. Not as hard as the others, but I just like riding towards it with the sight of loads of switchbacks.

There are plenty of more places, but hope this helps you a bit!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:06 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2008 4:31 am
Posts: 343
Stayed in Canarsie for 4 days of great mountains around the Dolomites.

Did Stelio from Prato, but it was a 2+ hour drive each way.

Worth every second though !!!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:21 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:05 am
Posts: 617
Location: Geneva, Switzerland
Lucky man.
It's hard to give specific advice since all your options are wide open. Have a look at this site
http://www.cycling-challenge.com/
there is a list of 100 climbs better than Alpe d'Huez, and I think the guy is right.

You could base yourself in Annecy for a bit, you'd be <1h from the CERN (by car). Lots of good rides from there.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:39 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 30, 2015 11:08 pm
Posts: 173
Thank you all very much. I will start to look into these options.

I will add that I plan to use a train between most locations, rent a car if need be when I am staying put for a few days. I prefer loop rides and last year put in 1100 miles in a month in the mountains of Colorado, so I plan to ride a bunch!

Cheers.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:07 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 30, 2015 11:08 pm
Posts: 173
basilic wrote:
Lucky man.
It's hard to give specific advice since all your options are wide open. Have a look at this site
http://www.cycling-challenge.com/
there is a list of 100 climbs better than Alpe d'Huez, and I think the guy is right.

You could base yourself in Annecy for a bit, you'd be <1h from the CERN (by car). Lots of good rides from there.


Thanks for the site recommendation and also Annecy looks like a great spot for a few days so that I can get to CERN as well.

How is the riding around Geneva? Northwest side looks like it is close to mountains.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________
The trip is starting to come together and overall looking like:

1. After Paris get to Lyon and then a bus to two locations: Grenoble area and Bourg St Maurice. (We will have about two weeks total for this portion of the trip.) These two seem quite close to one another though. Not sure if it is worth considering staying a few days at each location or add in somewhere else. What could we add in here?

2. On to Geneva area for CERN for a day or two. Any rides that are must do around here?

3. Train from Geneva to Florence. I have a colleague that will be here with family in the Tuscany area, so we are going to visit for about three or four days.

4. My girlfriend, who is accompanying me will need to get leave at this point ~July 1. I will then take a train from Florence to ?? I have about two weeks. Should I go to Bormio area and then onto the Bolzano area or will I only have enough time to really enjoy the Bolzano area?


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:24 am 
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Be sure to ride the col de Faucille in Gva. Stunning views of the city and Mont Blanc

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 3:06 pm 
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cyclespeed wrote:
Be sure to ride the col de Faucille in Gva. Stunning views of the city and Mont Blanc


Excellent, thank you. I think that we might have to spend at least a few days in and around Geneva.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 3:16 pm 
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Posts: 778
Location: Netherlands
I haven't been around Bolzano so can't judge on that, but personally I'd say go the the Alta Badia region instead. The Dolomites are wonderful (one of the most beautiful regions I've been) and you got some very nice possibilities for loops there. (Sella Ronda, Giau - Valparolla, if your in good shape even the entire Maratona route).


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 4:41 pm 
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Posts: 388
Location: France
For french trains book the tickets as soon as possible, it's much cheaper : http://www.sncf.com/en/passengers

The older part of Lyon is nice , local people are friendly and the food is great, so you may want to stay at least one day.

Grenoble is not that nice or safe, better to go straight to Bourg d'Oisans. Once you'll have done all the climbs there you can go East to Briançon (80kms).

Then from Lyon to Grenoble you can take the train or a cheap bus (several companies like https://www.flixbus.fr/ ).

From Grenoble train station to Bourg d'oisans the local bus (a bus is also called car or autocar) : http://www.transisere.fr/fr/recherche-ditineraire/4/JourneyPlanner/Index http://bourgdoisans.com/.
I don't think there is any direct bus from Lyon to Bourg d'oisans, you have to stop in Grenoble.
You can rent a car in Grenoble.

If you carry a bike it should be ok in the train , from the web site : " Do you have a folding bicycle that is stored inside a case? Then you can travel without having to make a special reservation. (Except on OUIGO trains.)
If you have a standard bicycle, you will need to order a bike ticket when making your booking. To view the bicycle ticket option, go to this page and start entering your travel preferences. These tickets are available for TGV, INTERCITÉS and TER journeys (excluding double-decker TGVs)."
TGV is the fast long distance train, intercités and ter are local trains.
Ok also in a local bus but probably difficult to carry a bike in a cheap long distance bus.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:10 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:05 am
Posts: 617
Location: Geneva, Switzerland
Buy yourself detailed maps (when you get there) so you always avoid busy roads. France has a great network of small/farming roads, white on Michelin maps.
Check about cols opening. In early or mid June many of the high cols (Galibier, Croix-de fer, Iseran) may be impassable.
Public transport in the French Alps - I don't know about that. I could take you a full day to change locations.

Grenoble is a busy city with somewhat hellish traffic. I'd try and stay in the mountains. For cycling around Grenoble: the Chartreuse mtns, to the North, very quiet roads, some serious climbs (col du Coq!), not too high. To the South-West, the Vercors, again very quiet, beautiful gorges, roads carved into cliffs. South-East, the Bourg-d'Oisans area you know about.

Bg St maurice: 1 -Climb the Petit St-bernard (by Châtelard, smaller road), descend to Morgex in Aosta valley, climb back by way of col San Carlo, a small road in the woods, 10km at 10%. 2- Climb Cormet de Roselend, descend to Beaufort, back to Arêches (from where you can go up col du Pré and back, then Cormet d'Arêches (maybe 6km of dirt road, doable on a road bike), back to BSM. From Beaufort you can add col du Joly and back, a dead-end with great views of Mt Blanc, but it'll be a long day.

Favorite loop in that area, a bit to the West: Start in Flumet, climb col des Aravis, then just before la Clusaz turn left to col de Croix-Fry, descend to Manigod, where you turn left, and after about 1 km turn right, steep down, to cross the river, climb col de Pré-Bois, descend to les Clefs, turn left over col du Marais, in Serraval take a left over col de l'Epine, descend to Marlens, take a left on the main road (or better the cycling path) and after 1 km turn left toward les Rippes and col de l'Arpettaz, then descend to Héry, and eventually Flumet. You'll thank me later. You can also start this from Thônes, near les Clefs, from the Annecy side.

Geneva, sure, lots of good rides. If you want epic, climb the Salève to col de la Croisette, from Collonges-sous-Salève, the last 4 km are at 12%. For col de la Faucille, I'd advise you ride NE of Gex along the base of the Jura, past Vesancy, and turn up the "route des montagnes" over col de Combe Blanche. No trafic, but poorly maintained road, super quiet. Then you can do a loop in the Jura and descend by col de la Faucille on the big fast road.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 11:28 pm 
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Posts: 343
Another good ride from Bourg St Maurice was to do La Plagne, and then descend and return to BSM via the Cote d'Aime. Nice little roads back to BsM.

Also did the Cormet de Roseland and up to Col du Pre as well.


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Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 11:28 pm 


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 2:14 am 
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Posts: 173
Okay, wow, extremely good advice here. Thank you all. I am a bit overwhelmed with the specific ride details, but I will spend the next few days trying to map things out further.

I really appreciate the suggestions of towns to stay in or to avoid.

Cheers.


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