As the Tour de France ends… we start planning ours ….

Like so many millions of others we have spent the last 3 weeks glued to the coverage of this year’s Tour de France, watching not only the incredible cycling, but also the stunning backdrop of the scenery they pass through. So as Chris Froome & the Sky team cycled arm in arm up the Champs Elysee, we were starting to look at planning our trip for next summer.

Watching the Tour de Drance passing through Coustellet - Summer 2014
Watching the Tour de Drance passing through Coustellet – Summer 2014

Our task is to get us (hubby, myself & 2 teenage boys) from Dartmoor to Provence by bike, which on the face of it sounds a relatively simple job (apart from the hills), particularly as we will have potentially just over a month to do it in. However we are already realising the amount of planning that we will need to do, which will keep us busy as we head towards this winter, (in the moments we have between the boys’ rugby training & matches etc)

The perfect end to our proposed cycle - the Veloroute du Calavon, Vaucluse, Provence
The perfect end to our proposed cycle – the Veloroute du Calavon, Vaucluse, Provence

Our first great find has been the CTC website , which has a wealth of information and some fantastic forums, which have already proved useful in helping direct some of our thinking on routes & ways of getting back to Roscoff. We did though find some of the comments about cycling the hills in Devon & Cornwall amusing, as they are our only option & our boys are used to them, having been brought up down here  – although we too enjoy the lower gradient, albeit longer climbs on some of the routes we have done in France, including climbing Mont Ventoux last summer

Starting to head up Ventoux - Summer 2014
Starting to head up Ventoux – Summer 2014

As I mentioned in my first blog we are hoping to revisit some of our old haunts during our trip, including La Rochelle & the fantastic Zoo at La Palmyre, before heading towards the Dordogne & the Tarn on our way across to Provence. We are confident that we will use the Velodyssey route at first, but will then need to make our own route and so today saw our first purchase of the trip, buying maps covering the areas that we will be looking to pass through.

We can’t help it, we love maps & at the moment I have visions of them being laid out in the spare room with thread being pinned in place along our planned route. I’m sure there’s a wonderful digital way of doing it, but there is something real about plotting a route on a map & being able to really visualise what you want to do – I’m sure though that once the maps arrive & we start looking at them in detail, the enormity of what we are looking to do will really hit home, but there is some real excitement in that too.

A cycle route planned on a map - a little habit of ours
A cycle route planned on a map – a little habit of ours

So that’s the first step on the way – but there’s already so much more to consider:

  • What bikes?
  • Hotel, B&B or tent?
  • Panniers or trailer?
  • Insurance and breakdown cover (we will have no support vehicle)
  • Daily cycling distance
  • Scheduled Rest Days
  • Training
  • Charity fundraising?
  • How to get back from Provence to the ferry? (to be honest I don’t fancy cycling back!!)

It’s already causing a lot of discussion & excitement at home, which is great so I’m sure the next few months of planning will actually be good fun, although I’m sure our current (short) list of questions will grow as new things come to mind.

So, as of today we’re members of the CTC and are considering how we can get up to the Bike Show in September to hopefully find a few answers to some of our questions .

The aim being that this time next year we will be watching the Tour de France finish in Paris, whilst relaxing with a glass of wine, after a day in the saddle somewhere in France……

my phone august 14 212

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