EuroCamp or similar as base for cycling holiday

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
Bengdogg
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EuroCamp or similar as base for cycling holiday

Postby Bengdogg » 2 Jan 2012, 4:37pm

Hi not new to the forum just never needed to post till now. I have a question as follows that I hope someone may be able to help with.

This year two cycling friends and I would like to dabble in a little touring/continental cycling. My two friends don't have touring bikes but do have road bikes (carbon race bikes if you like) and a mountain bike each which are hard tails with front fork. I have both of this style of bike but also have a cyclocross with a rack and panniers on bought specifically for winter training and touring at some point just over a year ago. We messed around too much last year and never got round to doing the intended trip and I suggested perhaps to save the expense of them getting panniers and rack we just take the road bikes away and go and spend a week on a Eurocamp site somewhere nice that is full of culture, cycling friendly and scenic. Preferable with some decent mountain roads to test the legs or on a nice hilly coastal area. I think travelling light we could fit the three of us with our bike and kit in my focus estate with a decent sized roof box on to save running too many cars and paying loads in fuel.

The intention would be to do circular rides to places of interest and villages and as we would have the car maybe the odd excursion on rest days. I was thinking of going when the kids were at school also to keep things a bit cheaper and quieter.

Has anyone done anything like this and could they perhaps recommend a good site or just an area that can be used as a central base for newbie tourers on road bikes with cheap French sticks and cheese to keep the tank full. It doesn't even need to be France I also like the look of Belgium. Any ride routes would also be gratefully received also.

Also not to ask too much but preferable somewhere that you can get to in a day as I will be doing the driving and don't want a ten hour autoroute session once we get off the ferry.

Thanks,

Martin

nmnm
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Re: EuroCamp or similar as base for cycling holiday

Postby nmnm » 2 Jan 2012, 7:23pm

I suppose the logistical advice would differ depending on where you live, Martin.

Two thoughts spring to mind:

If near a UK airport, and you are considering a single location at the other end, you could put the 3 bikes in 3 old bike boxes, wrapped up like tanks, and fly to one of the regional French airports. You arrive in the afternoon, dump the boxes (use bags on return leg), pedal to nice campsite, your base camp for the duration! I'm price sensitive so I'd choose destination according to flight price, then scout out some nice wee town for the base camp from there. If it were me, I'd aim to find a nice small municipal camping at about 5E a night, in or near a nice town, not too big, and with a nearby hypermarket. Maybe with 3 of you, priorities will differ. :D

Other thought is that I wouldn't rule out point-to-point touring just for the cost of a £15 rack and £10 panniers(2nd hand ebay Karrimor panniers, v good weight-to-capacity ratio) - the petrol costs will be more than that, surely. Touring on road bikes is broadly fine so long as the weight of you+luggage is less than weight of heaviest road bike customers w/o luggage.

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al_yrpal
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Re: EuroCamp or similar as base for cycling holiday

Postby al_yrpal » 2 Jan 2012, 7:25pm

Matthews Holidays - Quimper Brittany, or perhaps Concarneau


Al
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. Make a difference...

Bengdogg
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Re: EuroCamp or similar as base for cycling holiday

Postby Bengdogg » 2 Jan 2012, 7:37pm

Thanks for the replies so far. I am in Staffordshire if that helps so 220 miles from Dover probably about the same to Plymouth & I think Hull is also similar distance?? east midlands and Bham air port are close by though.

None of us are heavy weights, I think my friends are under 12 stone.

Bengdogg
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Re: EuroCamp or similar as base for cycling holiday

Postby Bengdogg » 3 Jan 2012, 8:39pm

After a quick consult with my friends today we are leaning towards panniers and camping using the mtbs with racks to keep costs down and allow any terrain to be tackled. Destination is still in the air as we would like ideally if the cost was preferable to running a car to just ride from our home to say Stafford or lichfield train station and get on a train to the continent or ferry port leaving the hassle of taking the car behind. We already have all camping gear as we did some wild camping last year so that's already covered and it would add flexibility to just go whenever the weather seems right rather than booking months in advance and crossing our fingers. This will probably turn into a mini tour rather than center based also as one of my friends wants to make it more of an adventure. I personally am keen on this idea too.

james01
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Re: EuroCamp or similar as base for cycling holiday

Postby james01 » 4 Jan 2012, 11:58am

Bear in mind that some Eurocamp-type sites are strictly families-only, they don't accept bookings from groups of young people.

Big T
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Re: EuroCamp or similar as base for cycling holiday

Postby Big T » 4 Jan 2012, 1:42pm

We are thinking of doing something similar and have found a Eurocamp site near Bourg D'Oisans in the French alps. I think it's called Belladonne or something similar. Intending to use that as a base for attacking Alpe D'Huez, Galibier and a few other of the famous Tour climbs.

We are thinking of driving down or using the European Bike Express to near Grenoble, but you could fly to Grenoble.

Alternatively, I did a road-based moving-on tour with friends a few years ago - flying out and back from Geneva and then doing a loop around the French Alps from there.
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Bengdogg
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Re: EuroCamp or similar as base for cycling holiday

Postby Bengdogg » 8 Jan 2012, 9:57am

Well it looks like 3 becomes 2 now. I think we will just go back to plan A and book one of the Eurocamps. I did check regarding three males and they just checked our ages as we were all in our 30's it was not an issue. There are fors and against with two of us going as it means more room in the car and we can probably do without a roof box so that will save some fuel, downside fuel only gets split two ways and we will book smaller/cheaper accommodation to keep things on that side about even.

Thanks for the replys and help. It was all gratefully received.

Cheers!

Martin

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Re: EuroCamp or similar as base for cycling holiday

Postby Big T » 11 Jan 2012, 12:28pm

We've booked at Belladone campsite for a week in mid-June. Driving down using the chunnel and a stopover. Just need to sort out some routes in the locality now. Will be doing Alpe d'Huez, but does anyone have any other recommendations for day rides from Bourg D'Oisans?
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ephgrave77
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Re: EuroCamp or similar as base for cycling holiday

Postby ephgrave77 » 11 Jan 2012, 1:18pm

I stayed near Lourdes 3 years ago in Argeles Gazost at the foot of the Peyresourde. There are plenty of camp sites in the area and in June had no problem getting cabins very cheap. The area was terrific and was able to do Pyrenean climbs heading out each day. Easier days just head away from Pyrenees and its pretty flat. With a car was able to move on to Bearn area - further west. Even quieter and equally beautiful. Also east to Bagnères and Foix gives equally fabulous cycling routes.

Bengdogg
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Re: EuroCamp or similar as base for cycling holiday

Postby Bengdogg » 11 Jan 2012, 6:44pm

Well due to many reasons within the group we are now having a week in Cornwall!!?? Don't worry France is still on the cards this year but later on. Thanks to everyone who chipped in ideas I will be sure to return to this thread nearer the time once the Cornish hills have been tackled.

Cheers,

Martin