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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tommasini
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by tommasini

I've from the US and have closely followed pro cycling for decades. But travel to Europe to ride famous roads hasn't been on the top of my list - when I can kick my butt in many great places here in the US...and long airplane rides are not to my liking (I'm a skinny assed climber). But when I watch Col Collective there is an occasional tug at my heart to consider a cycling vacation across the pond.....in fact I have niece who lives in Grenoble France and she too encourages me to come stay. Oh an important note - my wife is not anywhere close to being a serious cyclist.....so if I went somewhere special to ride, she'd have to feel like she got "something" out of the trip

I'm intially drawn to Grenoble for obvious reasons....but also northern Italy/southern Switzerland. So...if you were to suggest a bucket list cycling vacation in Europe - given the wife would need to feel it to be speical too.......where/what would you recommend.

Oh - and to keep it on topic here at weightweenies - it's gotta include some epic climbs that beg me to bring my 13 and soon to be 12 lb Tommasini !!

An added bit of information - I don't ride with a power meter but as a 62 year old I can comfortably climb a 10 to 25 mile climb at 5% to 6% (Colorado Loveland pass, Trail Ridge Road, Independence pass) with 39-25 (used to do those in younger years with 42-23) For a euro trip I realize I will need a bit lower range. Distance- don't need to push myself into a deep void - gotta be up for the wife too.....so distances around 70 to 100 km are ideal.

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Miller
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by Miller

Well, you'd want to visit the famous climbs, right?

Ronin416
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Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:46 pm

by Ronin416

tommasini wrote:I've from the US and have closely followed pro cycling for decades. But travel to Europe to ride famous roads hasn't been on the top of my list - when I can kick my butt in many great places here in the US...and long airplane rides are not to my liking (I'm a skinny assed climber). But when I watch Col Collective there is an occasional tug at my heart to consider a cycling vacation across the pond.....in fact I have niece who lives in Grenoble France and she too encourages me to come stay. Oh an important note - my wife is not anywhere close to being a serious cyclist.....so if I went somewhere special to ride, she'd have to feel like she got "something" out of the trip

I'm intially drawn to Grenoble for obvious reasons....but also northern Italy/southern Switzerland. So...if you were to suggest a bucket list cycling vacation in Europe - given the wife would need to feel it to be speical too.......where/what would you recommend.

Oh - and to keep it on topic here at weightweenies - it's gotta include some epic climbs that beg me to bring my 13 and soon to be 12 lb Tommasini !!

An added bit of information - I don't ride with a power meter but as a 62 year old I can comfortably climb a 10 to 25 mile climb at 5% to 6% (Colorado Loveland pass, Trail Ridge Road, Independence pass) with 39-25 (used to do those in younger years with 42-23) For a euro trip I realize I will need a bit lower range. Distance- don't need to push myself into a deep void - gotta be up for the wife too.....so distances around 70 to 100 km are ideal.
Leave her in Paris and head to the French Alps, or better yet. Stay in Bormio and head up the Stelvio.


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Ronin416
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Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:46 pm

by Ronin416

tommasini wrote:I've from the US and have closely followed pro cycling for decades. But travel to Europe to ride famous roads hasn't been on the top of my list - when I can kick my butt in many great places here in the US...and long airplane rides are not to my liking (I'm a skinny assed climber). But when I watch Col Collective there is an occasional tug at my heart to consider a cycling vacation across the pond.....in fact I have niece who lives in Grenoble France and she too encourages me to come stay. Oh an important note - my wife is not anywhere close to being a serious cyclist.....so if I went somewhere special to ride, she'd have to feel like she got "something" out of the trip

I'm intially drawn to Grenoble for obvious reasons....but also northern Italy/southern Switzerland. So...if you were to suggest a bucket list cycling vacation in Europe - given the wife would need to feel it to be speical too.......where/what would you recommend.

Oh - and to keep it on topic here at weightweenies - it's gotta include some epic climbs that beg me to bring my 13 and soon to be 12 lb Tommasini !!

An added bit of information - I don't ride with a power meter but as a 62 year old I can comfortably climb a 10 to 25 mile climb at 5% to 6% (Colorado Loveland pass, Trail Ridge Road, Independence pass) with 39-25 (used to do those in younger years with 42-23) For a euro trip I realize I will need a bit lower range. Distance- don't need to push myself into a deep void - gotta be up for the wife too.....so distances around 70 to 100 km are ideal.
The US has a lot of great roads, but it simply can’t compare to the climbs or roads in Europe. You have to experience it in person to really understand the differences and what makes them so special. I’ve ridden many great climbs in California and some in Colorado, it’s just doesn’t come close to feeling as Grand as when in Europe. Probably cause you’re always starting from an elevated altitude. But seeing the climb from sea level to the top looks majestic in Europe.

Put all those tv memories and race scenes into real life and go experience it.


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basilic
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Location: Geneva, Switzerland

by basilic

Cycling bucket-list vacation with a non-cycling spouse, that's a non-starter. Best case, you have separate vacations with a shared flight. Worst case, she does kick your bucket at the end. It could work if you join up with a couple in the same situation and the non-cyclists like to hike, because you'll be spending a lot of time in the mountains. Then you base yourselves maybe in the Engadin (St Moritz area), within reach of some big cols, including the Stelvio. The pretty red trains (Rhaetian railways) expand your radius, for the hikers as well. Or else, Andermatt, Sion, Gstaad, Montreux, Annecy, Briançon, Barcelonette, etc etc. You'll find that after 3-4 days you're done with each place.
If you haven't been there before I'd suggest you do a week-long organized cycling trip, such as a crossing of the Pyrenees, or the Route des Grandes Alpes. The organizer will deal with the logistics and you'll just ride, surrounded by other cycling fanatics.
And go in September, avoid the crowds.

the jackel
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by the jackel

Switzerland - Andermatt
French Alps - Saint Jean de Maurienne
French Pyrenees - Bagneres de Bigorre (https://www.allezpyrenees.com for a place to stay)

I'd say these three are the single best places to locate yourself for a week of conquering some famous climbs as well as some great climbs that aren't as well known.

Agree on the above about September, not as busy and cooler. Also agree that having the wife along will make it a challenge unless she loves to hike

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Miller
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by Miller

Maybe husband + wife can go and stay with or near the niece in Grenoble. Grenoble's a lovely town, very french, could be easy to while away a few days there. The cycling around there is fantastic, just look at a map. But for the sake of the relationship, the cycling element would have to be clearly agreed well in advance.

stanvr
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by stanvr

Obviously, there are more beautiful spots to cycle than one can in a lifetime. However, I would like to add a less famous spot, the Mont Aigoual area (National park Cevennes) in southern France. I've been there a couple of times, and I think it's such a beautiful place to ride. It doesn't have the iconic and long climbs that the alps have, but moderate hills to mountains. Some of them insanely steep, others nice rolling up.

It's also legendary in the Netherlands due to a famous novel about cycling by Tim Krabbe, named "de renner".
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiaitFPHtqw here is a documentary (with subtitles i believe) about that book and that area, as a tribute, by Laurens ten Dam.
I don't know if de renner is translated to english, but if so, it should be on everyone's to read list! I think it's some of the best cycling literature there is.

I've used this area before to get a few days of going uphill and downhill in before cycling the Marmotte, it's a great place for that. Get used to climbing again, temperatures, and decending before hitting the big boys.

Image
What the cycling is like there!

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tommasini
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by tommasini

Thanks All!! Very helpful advice!! (Even about the wife).

Aesch
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by Aesch

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.

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Miller
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by Miller

stanvr wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 11:02 am
I don't know if de renner is translated to english, but if so, it should be on everyone's to read list! I think it's some of the best cycling literature there is.
"Meyrueis, Lozere, June 26, 1977. Hot and overcast. I take my gear out of the car and put my bike together. Tourists and locals are watching from sidewalk cafes. Non-racers. The emptiness of those lives shocks me."

Yep, it's translated as 'The Rider'. Fantastic book.
Last edited by Miller on Sat Jan 22, 2022 3:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Miller
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by Miller

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stevesbike
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by stevesbike

you could do the Haute Route Alps. There are a variety of tour groups that operate in conjunction with it that have activities for non-riding spouses. I've done it a couple of times - it is a great week of the most epic climbs in France. Riders range from aspiring pros to retired older people doing it as a bucket list trip. Organization is great.

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robbosmans
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by robbosmans

*Moved to Cycle chat

manystyles
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by manystyles

If you got the scratch, book a trip with Ingamba. They have rides in some epic EU locations, and even have packages for non-cyclist significant others.


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