London to Cannes, through the Alps - any suggestions/tips ?

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
velo-city
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Location: London, UK

London to Cannes, through the Alps - any suggestions/tips ?

Postby velo-city » 18 Aug 2010, 11:38am

London to Cannes, through the Alps - any suggestions/tips?

Hello.

My friend and I are planning to cycle from London to Cannes from early September, taking a couple of weeks or so ion what will be our first BIG trip.

We've been planning it for a while and have just done London to Paris (via Dieppe) as a warm up, having done quite a few charity type 60 milers over the past years. For Paris, we took just over 3 days and stayed mainly in B&B's on road bikes with Carradice saddle bags, which we've now realised won't be suitable for the longer trip for all the obvious reasons, so are switching to tourers (another story).

It would be fantastic to get any advice/tips from other people that have done similar trips. Obviously, we've been scouring the web for info, and CTC - which is a fantastic resource and made me join just to support it - and have managed to get loads of general advice on touring, camping, wild camping and kit lists.

Route-wise we we're thinking via Dover/Calais and then roughly straight line down to Cannes. This would take us near or through; Arras, St Quentin, Reims, Troyes, Dijon, Lyon/Chambery, Grenoble, Gap, and finally Cannes. We plan to primarily camp, with B&B as a backup for a nice shower/bed!

We're open to suggestions if there are any 'not to be missed' sights or cycle routes along this journey.

One specific area of concern is the last section where we're hitting the Alps around Grenoble, 150-200 miles from Cannes. bikeroutetoaster gives altitudes in the region of 1.2-1.5km at some points. We could probably route around totally, or find lower passes, but we'd love to go through them in some way as we imagine it will be fantastic scenery, BUT neither of us has never cycled on anything like this terrain/altitude. Does anyone have any experience of this? Should we try and route around them or set a max altitude? Is September still summery enough up there?

(***edited to correct my original concerns over 4,000 metre altitudes in the Alps. Bike Route Toaster altitudes were in feet (duh), so 4,000 feet much less of a worry than 4000 metres!***)

Thanks for any input.
Last edited by velo-city on 18 Aug 2010, 4:51pm, edited 2 times in total.

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enigmatic
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Location: Worcestershire

Re: London to Cannes, through the Alps - any suggestions/tips ?

Postby enigmatic » 18 Aug 2010, 2:15pm

If you've got the time and energy then you could take in the Raid Alpine which is a fabulous route over a lot of the classic cols and including a fair bit of the Route Napoleon. If you accept that climbing Alpine passes with (and without!) bags is a slow process and plan daily distances and overnight stops accordingly, you should be ok.

Couple of links you might find useful :
http://www.takenote.co.uk/cycle/raid-alpine/index.html
http://www.sportingtours.co.uk/postcard ... lpine.html

velo-city
Posts: 33
Joined: 17 Aug 2010, 11:33pm
Location: London, UK

Re: London to Cannes, through the Alps - any suggestions/tips ?

Postby velo-city » 20 Aug 2010, 4:58pm

I've just come across this comment on another thread here:

Re: Eagerly Anticipated France Trip 2011
by nirakaro » Sun Aug 15, 2010 2:04 pm

Somebody remarked on this forum a while back that pretty much anywhere in France is nice, as long as you don't go from Calais to Dijon and back!


Can anyone comment on this?? Calais to Dijon is quite a big part of our route, so just wondered if this was meant tongue-in-cheek, or if this route's not actually very nice?!!! Any suggestions welcomed!

~Thanks

willem jongman
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Joined: 7 Jan 2008, 4:16pm

Re: London to Cannes, through the Alps - any suggestions/tips ?

Postby willem jongman » 21 Aug 2010, 10:32am

I was going to say the same. Taking a route north of Paris takes you through a quite boring landscape and declining villages. If you want to enjoy yourself, go south of Paris. This means going from Dieppe to Orleans, then follow the Loire route to Nevers, on to Beaune, Lyon, and then Grenoble. See here for some Dutch routes in Europe, and France in particular: http://europafietsers.nl/2009web1600.gif Many of these are actually based on existing local routes, so with a bit of research ou can put together a much nicer trip.
Enjoy,
Willem

ANTONISH
Posts: 1904
Joined: 26 Mar 2009, 9:49am

Re: London to Cannes, through the Alps - any suggestions/tips ?

Postby ANTONISH » 23 Aug 2010, 10:44am

willem jongman wrote:
I was going to say the same. Taking a route north of Paris takes you through a quite boring landscape and declining villages. If you want to enjoy yourself, go south of Paris. This means going from Dieppe to Orleans,

While I don't agree that the North isn't a good cycling area starting at Dieppe is definitely a good idea (for one thing you can avoid the Paris area).
Make sure that you have a range of gears sufficient for your purpose- riding uphill for twenty kilometres is a testing experience for most, particularly on the first occasion.

velo-city
Posts: 33
Joined: 17 Aug 2010, 11:33pm
Location: London, UK

Re: London to Cannes, through the Alps - any suggestions/tips ?

Postby velo-city » 24 Aug 2010, 2:47pm

Thanks for the info - that's helpful. We'll play with the route a bit more....


velo-city
Posts: 33
Joined: 17 Aug 2010, 11:33pm
Location: London, UK

Re: London to Cannes, through the Alps - any suggestions/tips ?

Postby velo-city » 27 Aug 2010, 6:16pm

I've attached a screen grab below of the rough proposed route so far..

dieppes-cannes-long.jpg
Proposed route

velo-city
Posts: 33
Joined: 17 Aug 2010, 11:33pm
Location: London, UK

Re: London to Cannes, through the Alps - any suggestions/tips ?

Postby velo-city » 19 Sep 2010, 11:42pm

If anyone's interested, this trip is well underway and we've got a blog going for it.

Never done a blog before so it's a bit sparse, but we hope to update it more as we go. We'll also add a more detailed account of the trip as soon as we can.

http://www.london2cannes.blogspot.com

velo-city
Posts: 33
Joined: 17 Aug 2010, 11:33pm
Location: London, UK

Re: London to Cannes, through the Alps - any suggestions/tips ?

Postby velo-city » 15 Nov 2010, 3:38pm

Unfortunately, this trip ended a bit early when we were called back to the UK to take care of a few urgent things for our business.

We were very sad to have not made it to (or through) the Alps, BUT, we did make it to Lyons - which was about 575 miles - so still a big achievement for both of us and we raised a little bit of money for charity too.

We'll be writing up a proper account of the whole trip which we''ll post on the blog linked above.
Already there are some pages about our experiences, and a bit more detail about our bikes, the Garmin GPS's, France, and camping.