where in Europe?

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
tommy

where in Europe?

Postby tommy » 7 Oct 2004, 10:46pm

I'm looking for a destination reasonably close to an airport, with enough roads for a two week fixed centre tour.

I took a group to the Vercors last summer and everyone enjoyed it so much I've been asked to organise another trip, but where??

Has to be: quiet, beautifull scenery, reasonably short transfer from the airport.

Anyone know much about the area around Madrid? What about the Picos? Central France? Where to fly to?

All help is much appreciated.

Tony

Re:where in Europe?

Postby Tony » 7 Oct 2004, 11:34pm

I have heard there are flights from Stansted to Carcassonne in Languedoc, but they may be seasonal

PW

Re:where in Europe?

Postby PW » 9 Oct 2004, 2:02am

Corsica's nice, if you like mountains. Used to be reachable by cheap charter flights into Ajaccio.

Pedalling Pete

Re:where in Europe?

Postby Pedalling Pete » 9 Oct 2004, 9:36pm

Re PW's suggestion of Corsica, I'd have reservations with a group. I took my bike to Corte in the central mountains for a week while my wife was on a walking holiday. Unless all the group are good climbers, there will be complaints. There are some quiet roads, but they are very hilly. The rest are still narrow and also hilly, but carry all the tourists in hire cars around the island, so busy and dangerous. The road surfaces are highly polished and lethal in the wet - we saw 3 crashes on wet roads between airport and Corte. Wrecks can be seen down most sharp drops, so the driving doesn't match the roads. Indeed there is a memorial to Henri Toivonen, killed in the 1985 Corsican rally. I also found little life at lunchtime in the central villages. Great area for strenuous walks, maybe for some offroad biking, and popular for family hols by the coast. But for a group, they'd need to be hard riders.

Manu

Re:where in Europe?

Postby Manu » 10 Oct 2004, 2:32pm

very hilly is, I think, an understatement.
That is seriously mountainous. and positively gorgeous!

PW

Re:where in Europe?

Postby PW » 11 Oct 2004, 2:17am

We found that, in common with other parts of France, the motorists may be awful to each other but bikes are seen as "not fair game". Yes Corte is in the mountains, and a scrap merchant would make a fortune with a good crane but I've every intention of going back, with a 22" granny gear!
The southern part of the island is less mountainous, though to my taste less interesting, it does have a wine trail though!
The NW around Piana & Cargese is especially beautiful & has the advantage of having a smattering of Greeks amongst its ethnic groups. Greek/Italian/French food is completely on another planet.

PW

Re:where in Europe?

Postby PW » 11 Oct 2004, 2:24am

PS. There's life at lunchtime in the bars & bistros, it's siesta time. They get up early, work until 12, eat, drink & sleep until about 4, then work/play until the small hours. If you don't wish to fry in the sun I suggest visitors apply similar tactics. Sept/Oct is a similar temp. to Cornwall in a good August.

tommy

Re:where in Europe?

Postby tommy » 11 Oct 2004, 9:07am

anyone know who fly's to Corsica? which is the main airport?

thanks
Craig

Pedalling Pete

Re:where in Europe?

Postby Pedalling Pete » 11 Oct 2004, 10:49am

FYI Ajaccio is main airport. I flew with package, so can't advise on flights. Flying from Heathrow at 7am was an experience to be avoided though. Not much "airside" at Ajaccio airport if return delayed ("plus ca change" as they say in France), so be prepared. My previous comments re central villages at lunchtime: Even the bars seemed closed, as everyone working at coastal tourist resorts. Did find large main road cafe, also seemingly deserted. Owner eating lunch with family but came to attend. At end he asked for loadsamoney. My ONCE team jersey showed Deutsche Bank sponsor's name, so he had assumed I was German. When he realised his mistake I was offered a huge brandy glass of eau de vie by way of compensation! So I now wear a French team jersey when in France etc. Agree with September weather - short-sleeved jersey OK.

Maccman

Re:where in Europe?

Postby Maccman » 18 Oct 2004, 6:34pm

Dear Tommy

Dont know whether you've sorted your trip, but I cycled in the Picos in September. It was fantastic. Climbs up to 5000 ft but not at all gruelling as gradients are not steep. Stunning scenery and accommodation plentiful and cheap.
Let me know if you want any more info.

john.andreae@ntlworld.com

Ciclista

Re:where in Europe?

Postby Ciclista » 30 Oct 2004, 10:21am

Tommy

Spain has some great options. Madrid & its surroundings may be too hot in June (av max 27C peaking at 37C), July (31C, 39C) or August (30C, 38C).

The Picos are so pretty it hurts but they lack an extensive road network for a centrered cycling holiday.

Instead consider heading east to the province of Teruel & base yourselves around Rubielos de Mora or La Inglesuela del Cid. Easy access from Valencia airport (EasyJet).

Lots of quiet well graded roads giving loads of route options. Very pretty hilly area containing Spains highest town (Valdelinares 1692m). Lots of good value accommodation, lots of pretty villages, very few tourists - don't expect much coverage in Rough Guides or Lonely Planet. More routes can be planned in the west of the province based on Albaracin. An undiscovered gem.

Have toured there several times now including twice this year.

Another Spanish option would be west of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. Mild in summer, moderately hilly, very pretty and a fiord coatline that has to be seen to be believed. Not so convenient for airports though.

Have a good time

Ciclista

John1010

Re:where in Europe?

Postby John1010 » 24 Nov 2004, 7:11pm

I'm thinking of going to Gerona (north of Barcelona) someday. Plenty cheap flights by Ryanair, offroad Vias Verdes to coast and 54 kms inland and handy for the Pyrenees.