Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 21 seconds
Despite the fact I’ve written and published a Very Comprehensive and Totally Kick Butt Guide to Cycling Through France, I thought I’d write a series of posts around the topic as well.
In Part 1, we cover the creation of an itinerary (initial planning) involving Tour stages, climbs to do, as well as what airlines you might look at.
In Part 2, I discuss Accommodation and Car Hire choices.
In Part 3, we discuss booking flights, accommodation and car/campervan hire.
In Part 4, we look at on the ground stuff like Tolls, Fuel, Food and Camping.
In Part 5, we talk about following an actual Tour stage.
In Part 7, we look at pitfalls, tips and tricks, insurance, visas, money, mobile phone roaming and internet, the language and document protection.
Note: I don’t like scarcity marketing at all, so this isn’t shorted content to bait you into buying the ebook. If you see value in a 70-odd page, professionally produced, interactive guide (which you can download a free preview of here), you buy the book and if you don’t, that’s cool too. At the same time though, I won’t replicate all the content in the ebook guide as it’s simply too extensive. So we’ll just cover high level considerations in these posts.
Like Chris says, you won’t die if you don’t buy it. You’ll still be able to plan a great trip to France, but if you buy the guide, you’ll find out the mistakes I made, pitfalls to watch out for, and tips to save money, as well as all the planning info you need in one spot. so it’s up to you.
Cycling in France
Lots of people think a trip to France to cycle and/or follow the Tour can be difficult (and costly) and that you need to book an organized tour.
Read on and I’ll show you why this is not the case, and how you can do this to suit an economy budget.
Some people are happy to pay for a fully guided tour and that’s cool, so if that’s you, check out the specialists at Cycling Adventures.
But some people, through spirit of adventure don’t want to (or can’t afford to) join a tour, and therefore can do it themselves.
If that’s you, read on (but still check out Cycling Adventures for your airfare and tell them I sent you).
So, your trip comprises a fair few elements that need addressing:
- Planning; initial (rough itinerary, stages, riding, airports)
- Planning; on the road (car hire, accom etc)
- Booking; accom, flights
- Equipment lists; what you need
- On the ground; driving, tolls, camping, hotels, watching the Tour
Let’s address Initial Planning first. I’ll write this from the perspective of what we did, so feel free to change the order around as you wish.
Initial Planning – Rough itinerary
Our rough itinerary probably consisted of Tour de France stages (if at all), what riding we wanted to do, dates of transfers etc, as well as accommodation options (detailed in later posts).
As a first step, and bearing in mind we signed up to do L’Etape du Tour up the Ventoux on July 20, we picked what stages we wanted to see, and what mountains we wanted to attack.
This resulted in our first itinerary, which you can download and use as you wish from here.
Once we worked out roughly what we wanted to see/do, we could look at airlines.
Our airline choice was largely determined by the fact that we were able to access extra baggage for free on Malaysian Airlines out of Melbourne Australia into Frankfurt Germany.
Planning flights is a real pain in the bum, and can be done in two ways: tell a travel agent where you want to go, and let them provide you a list of options (or else if they’re smart, a list of the more expensive options), or, you can search lots of different flight routes yourself on the different websites, or a flight aggregator like Webjet or Expedia.
Additionally, baggage considerations play a big part in what airline you fly, so this, coupled with any origin/destination restrictions/considerations, will narrow down your options a bit.
The Guide to Cycling Through France ebook comprehensively covers airline options, baggage restrictions and route information, as well as providing links to all the info you need.
Once you have your rough itinerary and flight/airline options, you need to decide how you’re going to get around.
I’ll cover accommodation and car hire in Part 2, so stay tuned, and add velonomad.com to your RSS reader, or subscribe to our post updates, or mailing list.
- Airline 2 letter codes
- tdftips.com EU flight planner (AUD$5).
- The Guide to Cycling Through France ebook
- My 2009 itinerary which you can copy/model etc
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