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Old 15th January 2009   #1
clintsmoker
 
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Travel to France advice

me and jonny are going to france in may to ride some tour mountains. we would like to ride mont ventoux and ald d'huez. Has anybody got any travel to - advice?
for example ....where to fly into for either of these two beasts or is it better to go by eurostar to avignon?
yes we would like to take our own bikes and then pick up a hire car and stay in accommodation as and when we please.

would appreciate any advice

cheers
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Old 15th January 2009   #2
BlueQuinndonor
 
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They don't have proper lavatories there and the food is funny.

hth. Sensible people will be along shortly to give proper advice.
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Old 15th January 2009   #3
mdizzle
 
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I think Pro Cyling had a peice about this a few months back.....all my back issues are in shipment at the moment.....but goback to june/july/august, it isaround that time!
I would avoid flying, french trains are great, as is eurostar,for loading bikes on, just get some bike bags(decathlon do good ones that fold up into a back pack) book a long way ahead, and it is that simple.Word of warning if you are going to the south, try and book eurostar to Lille, lugging bikes and bags across Paris is a pain in the ass.
Take a shit load of sun block, and enjoy!!
other advice i can't give ie about cars, but i am sure someone can!
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Old 15th January 2009   #4
Platinidonor
 
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Try the cheese...
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Old 15th January 2009   #5
andypdonor
 
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I'd second what mdizzle says about taking the train - changing at Lille is very straightforward and you can be in Valence or Avignon in 6 or 7 hours after leaving St Pancras. I've done it a few times and it's a great way to travel, far less stressful for you (and the bike) than flying.

I've ridden in both areas so can suggest some routes if you're interested.

Bright times await.
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Old 15th January 2009   #6
clintsmoker
 
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so far serious advice is losing 1-2. hardly a shocker. wonder what the final score will be? mdizzle - eurostar sounds good. will have to price it up. cheers
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Old 15th January 2009   #7
clintsmoker
 
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sorry andyp. 2-2. sounds like the plan. we should hook up soon anyways and chat about this
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Old 15th January 2009   #8
andypdonor
 
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We should. A night ride or two would be ideal prep.
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Old 15th January 2009   #9
clintsmoker
 
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prep is going to be some pretty solid riding from now until then. night rides can't be far off. i'm sure february will through a cold snap in just to keep up its reputation as suicide month but we ain't far from hitting the black top regular.
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Old 15th January 2009   #10
Jim Jones
 
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Non-gallic-specific generic sun-protection tip: P20

(Apply once and don't spend all day blinded by your salty sweat dripping in your eyes)
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Old 16th January 2009   #11
VeeVeedonor
 
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I would also recommend the train.
Here is the English version of the TGV website, make sure you also check the first class tickets. Well worth it and sometimes surprisingly cheap compared to second class tickets.
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Old 16th January 2009   #12
maxl
 
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i'd go to avignon on the tgv. plane travel just not worth the risk with a bike...

i was working in cannes in october, took my bike, did the col de la madone on a day off (only took me twice as long as lance!). there were tons of people on the eurostar with bikes, going down to avignon to do ventoux. it was very civilised.

good training ride here
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Old 16th January 2009   #13
The Seldom Killer
 
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Take the train there and then fly back. That way, if sleazyjet drop the bike, you won't have ruined your holiday and you'll be able to get a brand new Mercian to replace your knackered old tourer. At least this is what happened to my gf.

Also, because the gf hassled them a lot, they fucked up and paid twice to they also covered some of the cost of the holiday.
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Old 16th January 2009   #14
clintsmoker
 
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well against all the odds sensible advice has taken a 6-2 lead although i was reluctant to put application of sun-cream advice down as goals for seeing as it's a bit obvious and stuff but it's the thought that counts.

train really does sound like the winner. will talk to jonny and see what he thinks. anyone got any idea of prices of the top of their heads?
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Old 16th January 2009   #15
andypdonor
 
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If you book fair enough ahead, and I think you can only book 3 months ahead, then you get good deals. I've paid as little as 120 for a return trip from London to Valence by booking the day tickets are available.

This website is a great source of knowledge for train travel in Europe; The Man In Seat 61.
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Old 16th January 2009   #16
+imMe
Just went to the alps by train, eurostar and tgv, over christmas, traveling out boxing day. St-pancras > paris > bourg saint maurice approx 90 per person per direction. Tickets booked 90 days in advance. I'm fairly sure you could do the train bits without need of a bag so you could then cycle your transfer in paris rather than fight the metro system. Second class was pretty nice.
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Old 16th January 2009   #17
mr_tom
 
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Seat 61 is awesome.

If you are flying, BA will carry a bike for free, which means that they're price-competitive with EasyJet et al.

It depends on how strapped for time you are - you can get to Grenoble or Geneva pretty quickly, whereas the train will be 8-9 hours. But the train will be nice, and the plane won't be.

Inspiration: http://www.cycling-challenge.com/map...ycling-climbs/
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Old 16th January 2009   #18
andypdonor
 
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I've always found that by the time you've factored in travel time to the airport, checking in, then clearing security, boarding, actual flying, then waiting for the bags at the other end that flying takes the same sort of time as the train to somewhere like Lyon or even Valence, especially if you go to Lille and avoid the transfer across Paris. It's even quicker now the high speed link to the tunnel is operational.
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Old 16th January 2009   #19
mr_tom
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyp View Post
I've always found that by the time you've factored in travel time to the airport, checking in, then clearing security, boarding, actual flying, then waiting for the bags at the other end that flying takes the same sort of time as the train to somewhere like Lyon
It depends. I go to Geneva a couple of times a month, and it's lots quicker to fly from City than take the train. Which is a shame, because I'd rather the Eurostar.
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Old 16th January 2009   #20
andypdonor
 
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Fair enough. I didn't know you could fly to Geneva from City. That would make the weekend break to the Alps very straightforward.
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Old 17th January 2009   #21
claus
 
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BA from City to Geneva 1+
Did a 5 day ride last August using Briancon as base camp. You can get many classics cols from there, Ventoux is a bit off track though but possible with rental car. Slightly long handed ridereport at Rollapaluza.
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Old 18th January 2009   #22
clintsmoker
 
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all this advice is appreciated and going down a storm at team etchingham headquarters. would love to do the train to be honest as it is safer for the bikes. i'd have to shoot someone if my derosa took a dent and i'm a lover not a fighter by nature. sounds like you can roll the bike on without a bag (just for confirmation) which makes the train kit and caboodle even more appealing.
thanks to everyone so far. really cool to know there is so much helpful advice out there. knew it but good to confirm it

13-2 by the way
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Old 18th January 2009   #23
clintsmoker
 
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well 11-2 if you discount andy and mr tom's private convo ..lol
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Old 18th January 2009   #24
jonnydonor
 
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clintsmoker and i were riding earlier and talking this one up. definitely think eurostar is the way to go. claus, will be checking that report of yours when i get a bit more time and might have a few more questions for ya. cheers for the advice guys.

will get on to gearing and the like for Ventoux itself a bit nearer the time.
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Old 18th January 2009   #25
andypdonor
 
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If you want to carry your bike onto both the Eurostar and the TGV you'll need to have it bagged. It makes sense as it makes the bike easier to carry and offers some protection from other peoples bags. You don't want a damaged De Rosa after all.
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Old 26th January 2009   #26
Samdonor
 
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Having only just spotted this thread I'm going to be tuning in on it's progress. Funnily enough, my brother and I have always wanted to climb some cols in France, especially Ventoux (my choice) and L'Alpe d'Huez (brother's choice).

Nice one Jonny and Tim.
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Old 26th January 2009   #27
maxl
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyp View Post
If you want to carry your bike onto both the Eurostar and the TGV you'll need to have it bagged. It makes sense as it makes the bike easier to carry and offers some protection from other peoples bags. You don't want a damaged De Rosa after all.
+1

Eurostar you can book your unbagged bike on as freight for 20 knicker but it's hung up in the goods van in a kind of meathook-arrangement - which resulted in n scratches when we brightonengers cycled to paris last september and trained it back.

With a bike bag it's easy. There's loads of luggage racks/space on TGVs.

I'll be watching this thread, too, as I'm hoping to be accepted for the Fireflies ride this year
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Old 26th January 2009   #28
dogsballs
 
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i did london to geneva on train 120 during summer, nice relaxed. none of the pain in the ass airport stuff with cues
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Old 26th January 2009   #29
jonnydonor
 
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cheers dogs, and yes, they can be a bit awkward - particularly the massive ones.

seriously, reckon train is looking like the winningest option

http://www.geordiepool.co.uk/blackgraph.JPG
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Old 26th January 2009   #30
Samdonor
 
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Can we have a bigger cue please.
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Old 4th March 2009   #31
jonnydonor
 
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quick update:

eurostar and tgv booked. out to Briancon on 23 May. Ride our arses off. Back to Blighty for tea and medals on 31 May.

claus, was inspired by your write up earlier dude. set out and lunch to buy tickets and bump into ya in the streets. bright times.

anyway, like you, will take a 39x26 out there. and a similiar period machine, courtesy of Eddy of Fast fame.

it's all coming together.
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