Bucket list recommendations for European cycling ventures

Questions about bike hire abroad and everything light bike related. No off-topic chat please

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polpy
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Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2021 11:05 am

by polpy

Dont forget the Klausenpass / Pragelpass Loop from Flüelen, also there are so many hidden gems like Sanetschpass, or the lonely road to the highest village in Switzerland (Juf).

Stelvio from Prad, Umbrail from Sta. Maria, Mortirolo, Albula, Ofenpass from Zernez, forcula d. Livigno.

But to be honest, Klausenpass and Stelvio are hard to beat. But Sanetschpass is next level, the scenery changes every 500m, its rough, if the weather is good you have a perfect panorama of the alps, but i dont want to spoil too much :)

liam7020
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by liam7020

No point sending you to Flanders then!
Tarmac SL6 & Campag Record EPS https://weightweenies.starbike.com/foru ... 0&t=153968

"Sometimes you don't need a plan. You just need big balls." Tom Boonen

by Weenie


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jdecraene85
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Location: Oudenaarde, Belgium

by jdecraene85

I cycled all over Europe. All over France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Switzerland. Did all big climbs multiple times. Forget France, forget Flanders. Go bike packing in Norway. For example, ride from Stavanger to Trondheim over Lysebotn, Suleskarvegen, Rallarvegen, Aurlandsvegen, Tindevegen, Sognefjellsvegen,... Can help you out with an amazing route if you're interested :-)

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jdecraene85
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Location: Oudenaarde, Belgium

by jdecraene85

In case you'd prefer to do the classic, famous stuff anyway and you come as a couple and your wife wants to enjoy a nice holiday to, then I'd forget about Grenoble and more or less any city in France. Generally not the most warming towards foreigners especially US. Hard to find a really good accommodation where your wife will have a great time. Most hotels are in desperate need for a refresh. Aesch' suggestion of the Dolomites is much better. Hard to choose from the numerous exceptional accommodations there. Look for something in Cortina d'Ampezzo or Corvara in Badia. Better scenery for cycling and better accomodations for your wife. Andermatt in Switzerland was also a nice recommendation as there are lots of good hotels there too, but I'd pick the Dolomites.
Or Norway ;-)

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micky
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by micky

If you're travelling with your wife, you can do yourself a favour and spend few days between Lake of Garda and Verona; it will give you chance to ride some nice roads with plenty of cyclists groups while she can visit some touristic areas.

It's difficult to use "epic climbs" and "wife" in the same context.

polpy
Posts: 95
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2021 11:05 am

by polpy

micky wrote:If you're travelling with your wife, you can do yourself a favour and spend few days between Lake of Garda and Verona; it will give you chance to ride some nice roads with plenty of cyclists groups while she can visit some touristic areas.

It's difficult to use "epic climbs" and "wife" in the same context.
My wife also likes to ride epic climbs :)

NickJHP
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Location: Canberra, Australia

by NickJHP


polpy wrote:Dont forget the Klausenpass / Pragelpass Loop from Flüelen, also there are so many hidden gems like Sanetschpass, or the lonely road to the highest village in Switzerland (Juf).
That Klausen/Pragelpass loop is a great ride - my wife and I rode it in 2004. We did it on a Sunday, as on Sundays the Pragelpass is closed to motorised traffic above Richiseau. There are also some great Swiss passes where motorways divert most traffic off the original roads - San Bernardino and Gotthard passes are two that we really enjoyed riding on the old pass roads with minimal traffic.

And few years later we spent an enjoyable ten days at a cycling lodge at Saint Savin, in the Pyrenees, riding the surrounding passes (Tourmalet, Soulor/Aubisque, Hautacam, Luz Ardiden, etc).

If your wife isn't that much of a cyclist, you could try her on an ebike. On our last European tour in 2018, we met several couples where the husband was on a road bike and the wife on an ebike:-)

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micky
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by micky

polpy wrote:
Sun Jan 23, 2022 9:27 am
My wife also likes to ride epic climbs :)
Then you qualify for "epic wife"!

basilic
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Location: Geneva, Switzerland

by basilic

How about Argelès-Gazost. Pretty town (nothing like the drab Maurienne towns) at the foot of Tourmalet, Gavarnie, Troumouse, Soulor/Aubisque and countless smaller cols with no traffic. You drive for an hour and expand that list a lot.

c50jim
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by c50jim

Until COVID hit, I'd ridden at least once a year in Europe almost every year since 1994. I'm sort of in agreement with those who say it's hard to combine big rides with a non-riding spouse. Another couple would be a good way to deal with that. Another consideration might be something like a trip to the Dolomites (Corvara is a great base, try La Perla). You could ride and if your wife likes to hike, you can take cable cars up the hills and walk around forever. As some have said, there are a number of operators who could take you to some great riding spots. I was in Grenoble on a bike trip many years ago and was disappointed by it. Near the mountains but seemed rather industrial. Maybe your wife could stay there and you could head off to the hills (Huez and Galibier not too distant).

After more than 20 trips to Europe, I'd say that France has the best cycling roads because there are so many paved roads with little traffic. Most D roads are pretty good, almost all A roads are too busy. The problem with France for me is that I prefer Italian cooking by a long shot. Corvara is a great base, Bormio has several good rides. Argeles-Gazost was good too, close to Lourdes for some variety and we rode to Cirque de Troumouse one day which was beautiful. Andermatt was decent too but I think there are more good rides from or near Corvara or Argeles than Andermatt. Girona is a nice base too. Nice city with lots of eating options and hotels and there are sites for the non-riding spouse. Sault is OK too and you could ride Ventoux from all three of the big roads.

As to gearing, there's a big difference between hills at 6% and the 8-10% you'll find in much of Europe. Last time I was there, I was 68 and happy to have a 46/30 and 11-32. At 62, I did Stelvio (my favourite climb) with a 39 front and 29 rear but wouldn't think of trying that today. So, if you're buying lower gearing and may want to use it more than once, I'd suggest you get a compact crank and an 11-32 cassette, which may require a derailleur switch.

allepunta
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Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:09 pm

by allepunta

If you want cycling "atmosphere", the basque country is your destination.

ducman
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by ducman

You're always welcome in Flanders. Enjoy the siffering. :D

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tommasini
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by tommasini

I shared this string with my Wife - she (and I) thank all of you for your helpful (and candid) feedback.

I mentioned that there was a suggestion of an ebike....but I had to warn her what goes up at 8 to 10% (=my fun) has to go down at 8 to 10% - guardrails or not. Nice consideration but nope it this case.......besides while being a newbie to such descents....I still would want to reasonably push it downhill (also =my fun :D )

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Guerdi
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by Guerdi

c50jim wrote:
Thu Jan 27, 2022 5:30 am
After more than 20 trips to Europe, I'd say that France has the best cycling roads because there are so many paved roads with little traffic. Most D roads are pretty good, almost all A roads are too busy. The problem with France for me is that I prefer Italian cooking by a long shot.
So true. Best roads are in France but food is a nightmare for me. Italian food anytime. But with Italy you have to deal with their drivers and some of them are incredibly dangerous. I don't know why but you have to be very careful of audi drivers there.

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MichaelB
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by MichaelB

Aesch wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:53 pm
I would add the Dolomites, especially if you can fit your agenda to one of the car free Sundays. Unbelievable cycling, scenery, roads, food, hikes, oh and the cycling.
+1 to that (stayed in Canazei) and also throw in a stay in Como - brilliant food, cycling and scenery

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