From having done several long cycle tours across the UK, Ireland, France and Italy including some classic stretches of both the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia, we began to think why not do the ultimate – THE TOUR – so we committed quickly before we could change our minds!
What’s so special about the Tour de France?
We love the tour! We’ve combined cycling parts of it with watching it 3 times and have got really into every aspect – admiring the beauty of France; respecting the speed and endurance of the riders; following the rivalry and scandals – the Tour has it all!
Watching a stage finish in Alpe d’Huez along with literally a million other mad-for-it spectators out on the slopes of the mountain probably clinched it – an experience of a lifetime.
Can you do it?
We hope so – watch this space! We’re definitely daunted and in awe of what’s ahead, but ultimately we want to enjoy our version of the Tour de France (and if that means missing the odd metre here or there in extremis, so be it).
Have you got amazing bikes?
No! We’ve done most of our trips on quite basic hybrid bikes. Recently we’ve switched to better and lighter tourers, but they’re not as light & fast as the bikes Tour or racing riders use. So they’ll get us there but not as fast as others. It might seem risky to contradict Lance Armstrong, but we’re hoping that for our Tour it’s not ‘all about the bike’
Why have you got a marmotte on your bike?
There’s a big cycle event covering several legendary climbs of the Tour De France called “la marmotte”. Once we’d completed the route (which fitted conveniently into 2 of our trips) we awarded ourselves a marmotte. It has now become the official team mascot. We’ve also now spotted a few out on the slopes.
What’s its name? The Marmotte.
He was even awarded his own hat on reaching the summit of the monster pass of them all – Passo dello Stelvio, 2760m in Northern Italy
How far is the Tour?
This year it’s 2,157 miles (or 3,471 km if you’re a Euro). Check it out here.
Hit me with a good TdF fact!
The route alternates clockwise & anticlockwise around France each year (& every year it goes to different towns and mountains although some classics pop up a lot eg Col de Tourmalet or Alpe d’Huez for example)
Will the real Tour overtake you?
No! Although we’ll be going much slower, we’re still covering exactly the same ground in the set stage or “etape” for each day, and have to keep to the stage schedule.
Why are you always celebrating or eating in your photos?
We’re often going a long way on our bikes & it’s quite hard to take pictures. The moments we stop for some of the best photos are often when we’ve reached a major destination/ summit or are having a break to eat – both are highlights for us!
Do you camp?
No. Although we’re sure we could sleep anywhere after a hard day in the saddle, these trips are holidays and we enjoy staying in a nice B&B and having a good dinner as our reward at the end of each day!
How are you doing this trip?
We’re going with a company who will support us with food and drinks en route and take us and our bikes to the start of each stage, and to the hotels (transfers can be around 45 mins to 2 hrs as the Tour doesn’t go from A to B). There are 5 of us in total doing the whole thing, so we have other people to ride with.