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Etape logistics

steerpikesteerpike Posts: 424
Hi,

I'm doing the Etape this year and have only the entry place and x3 nights hotel booked. So I still need to work out how to get me and the bike there (to Valence).

Is there a van collection service (i.e. pick up and drive your bike over there for you to pick up when you arrive) that will take a booking even if you haven't booked a full package?

If not, then what is the recommended alternative for a stress free journey. I'm not keen on having the bike knackered by EasyJet so would consider driving (and getting exhausted!) or maybe Eurostar?

Eurostar offer London to Avignon return(arriving on the Saturday and about 6 hours each way) for £134.00. This might be the best value and least stressful option but not sure about whether they'll charge much more for the bike.

Any ideas or experiences welcome.
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Posts

  • bs147bs147 Posts: 164
    After last years bike arrival debacle I would have thought there would be reasonable interest in a 'bikes via van' service. Does anyone offer this?
  • KléberKléber Posts: 6,842
    Are you staying in Valence?
  • steerpikesteerpike Posts: 424
    Hi - yes I'm staying in Valence
  • KléberKléber Posts: 6,842
    You need a car then, you will find it hard as you need to get the start in one place on the morning, ride to the finish in Ventoux and then find a way back to your car. Or do you have a cunning plan?
  • steerpikesteerpike Posts: 424
    I have a package from Cyclomundo which will do this. It's simply the getting to Valence with Bike (and back) which I need to sort.
  • KléberKléber Posts: 6,842
    OK. You can get the Eurostar to Lille or Paris and change for a TGV to Valence. From Lille, you just cross the platform, in Paris you need to change stations, but there are less trains from Lille.
  • popettepopette Posts: 2,089
    Steerpike, your post prompted me to take action.

    I've just booked my ticket on the train. Going direct on the way out and will change at Paris on way home. I hate flying, but I would do it if it weren't for the worry about losing my bike. We drove last year and it was so tiring - looking forward to the train, should be a good start to the trip.

    We're going to hire a car from Avignon. Now, is there anything else I've forgotten? I'll have to take the car to the finish village the day before I suppose - I guess I'll need to book this in advance. Is there anything else????
  • steerpikesteerpike Posts: 424
    Kléber wrote:
    OK. You can get the Eurostar to Lille or Paris and change for a TGV to Valence. From Lille, you just cross the platform, in Paris you need to change stations, but there are less trains from Lille.

    Thanks Kleber - I'll look into this
  • steerpikesteerpike Posts: 424
    popette wrote:
    Steerpike, your post prompted me to take action.

    I've just booked my ticket on the train. Going direct on the way out and will change at Paris on way home. I hate flying, but I would do it if it weren't for the worry about losing my bike. We drove last year and it was so tiring - looking forward to the train, should be a good start to the trip.

    We're going to hire a car from Avignon. Now, is there anything else I've forgotten? I'll have to take the car to the finish village the day before I suppose - I guess I'll need to book this in advance. Is there anything else????

    Hi popette,

    I'm thinking about using Eurostar from London - Lyon and getting an SNCF from there to Valence. It's a pain transporting a bike isn't it? I might take a Brompton for ease of transport and do the Etape on that instead.

    How's the training? This is my first time so I'm a bit nervous.

    As for anything else - passport?
  • BMCCbryBMCCbry Posts: 153
    Hiya

    Bear in mind (if you get the Eurostar then TGV to Valence) that Valence TGV station is some way outside Valence, not in the centre of Valence (that's Valence Ville station). I used to live in Valence for a year, and I can't remember whether you can get a train from Valence TGV to Valence Ville.

    I'm staying just a little further up the Rhone in Tain l'Hermitage, where the wine growers are (Chapoutier, Jaboulet!). Will be quite an early start for me on the day.

    Just found my number on the website and feeling nervous!

    Bryony
  • popettepopette Posts: 2,089
    steerpike wrote:
    It's a pain transporting a bike isn't it? I might take a Brompton for ease of transport and do the Etape on that instead.

    How's the training? This is my first time so I'm a bit nervous.

    As for anything else - passport?

    Well, this guy on last year's etape wasn't using a typical sportive bike and clothing so perhaps the brompton is an option 8)
    http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/popette74 ... 5757381250

    Training is going very well and I'm feeling good. I did the Brian Robinson Challenge at the weekend and managed a bronze time - avg speed 12.9mph over a very hilly course. Perhaps I may just about scrape through the etape.

    I keep checking for my number but nothing yet.
  • steerpikesteerpike Posts: 424
    BMCCbry wrote:
    Hiya

    Bear in mind (if you get the Eurostar then TGV to Valence) that Valence TGV station is some way outside Valence, not in the centre of Valence (that's Valence Ville station). I used to live in Valence for a year, and I can't remember whether you can get a train from Valence TGV to Valence Ville.

    I'm staying just a little further up the Rhone in Tain l'Hermitage, where the wine growers are (Chapoutier, Jaboulet!). Will be quite an early start for me on the day.

    Just found my number on the website and feeling nervous!

    Bryony

    Thanks Bryony - that's worth knowing.

    Where on the website do you look for your number?
  • KléberKléber Posts: 6,842
    I think there's a bus between the TGV station and the town centre:
    http://www.ladrome.fr/uploads/media/dro ... nceTGV.pdf

    Don't take a Brompton, with a soft bag you will be fine on the trains. The route is spectacular and you will need a range of gears for the terrain, whether it's the fast descents, the gorges near Nyons or the infamous climb up Ventoux.
  • popettepopette Posts: 2,089
    steerpike wrote:

    Thanks Bryony - that's worth knowing.

    Where on the website do you look for your number?

    go on letapedutour, french version, inscriptions, la liste des inscrits - put your surname in and it'll tell you your number if it is ready.
  • steerpikesteerpike Posts: 424
    Kléber wrote:
    I think there's a bus between the TGV station and the town centre:
    http://www.ladrome.fr/uploads/media/dro ... nceTGV.pdf

    Don't take a Brompton, with a soft bag you will be fine on the trains. The route is spectacular and you will need a range of gears for the terrain, whether it's the fast descents, the gorges near Nyons or the infamous climb up Ventoux.

    Thanks - wow, bike bags seem pretty expensive! I hadn't thought of this.

    As for gears, I have a compact 50/34 10 speed system. I may not have enough gears so I'm planning on getting the engine as well tunes as possible :shock:
  • BMCCbryBMCCbry Posts: 153
    I'm taking 50 34 as well, and a 12-27 cassette (unless the new Shimano cassette with a 28 sprocket is out before then, in which case I'll get one of those!).

    Looking forward to it but am nervous - my first etape too.
  • steerpikesteerpike Posts: 424
    BMCCbry wrote:
    I'm taking 50 34 as well, and a 12-27 cassette (unless the new Shimano cassette with a 28 sprocket is out before then, in which case I'll get one of those!).

    Looking forward to it but am nervous - my first etape too.

    I only have a 12-25 cassette. Do you think an upgrade to a 27 or 28 large sprocket would make big difference with hill climbing? I suppose the only way is to try. I'm a bit paranoid about reaching Ventoux with nothing left in the tank and needing smaller gears!
  • KléberKléber Posts: 6,842
    What level do you ride at, as it depends.

    Ventoux is steep and long. You have 10km of 9%, that is very hard riding. It will depend on your style but 34x25 is a low gear but it's not that low. If you think you'll be grinding up, opt for something lower.
  • IanTrcpIanTrcp Posts: 761
    BMCCbry wrote:
    I'm taking 50 34 as well, and a 12-27 cassette (unless the new Shimano cassette with a 28 sprocket is out before then, in which case I'll get one of those!)

    SRAM & Shimano cassettes are interchangeable and SRAM do an 11-28 which is just the job....
  • steerpikesteerpike Posts: 424
    Kléber wrote:
    What level do you ride at, as it depends.

    Ventoux is steep and long. You have 10km of 9%, that is very hard riding. It will depend on your style but 34x25 is a low gear but it's not that low. If you think you'll be grinding up, opt for something lower.

    thanks Kleber

    2 thoughts (bear with me as I'm fairly novice!)

    1. I've been doing plenty of hill climbing training but want to try and replicate climbing hills of the same gradient as Ventoux (so far as that is possible in UK). Most routes / OS maps list the height of hills in metres. Is there anywhere online where I can find hills listed by gradient so I can do some hill reps on this type of gradient?

    2. Would it be a novice / easy job to fit, say, an 11-28 rear cassette?
  • KléberKléber Posts: 6,842
    Just ask for the gradient on the forum, say where you live and I'm sure people can chip in.

    But remember that there's nothing like Ventoux at all in Britain. Say Ventoux takes two hours to climb, then this means two hours of slogging. Since you can't find a hill like this, find a local loop with as few junctions, lights and stops possible and grind it as hard as you can, this creates two hours of solid effort for you, especially if it is flat. You will have to use a big gear, especially on downhill bits.

    As for changing the cassette, it is easy. You will need two tools, a chain whip and a lockring tool, it's just about unscrewing the locking and then putting the new cassette on. It might take 10 mins the first time but normally it's a simple 2 minute job.
  • steerpikesteerpike Posts: 424
    Kléber wrote:
    As for changing the cassette, it is easy. You will need two tools, a chain whip and a lockring tool, it's just about unscrewing the locking and then putting the new cassette on. It might take 10 mins the first time but normally it's a simple 2 minute job.

    thanks for the advice - just to be clear, my current cassette is 12-25 10 speed. My limited understanding is that fitting an 11-28 will increase my lower range and possibly make hill climbing easier. Looking on Wiggle, the only 11-28's I can find are 8 speed. Would fitting an 8 speed mean a narrow gear range? Or am i increasing the range with the increased teeth on the sprockets? Sorry :(
  • BMCCbryBMCCbry Posts: 153
    IanTrcp wrote:
    BMCCbry wrote:
    I'm taking 50 34 as well, and a 12-27 cassette (unless the new Shimano cassette with a 28 sprocket is out before then, in which case I'll get one of those!)

    SRAM & Shimano cassettes are interchangeable and SRAM do an 11-28 which is just the job....

    Ooooh, thanks for the tip - that's a brilliant idea! Even if it won't be hugely different from having a 27, I think the lower the gearing for the Ventoux, the better. Keep options open! :)
  • AlunPAlunP Posts: 106
    have a look at

    http://www.climbbybike.com/index.asp

    you can compare something you know - with something you (and I) dont eg the big windy one that a nasty rumour says awaits at the end of the etape.

    hope the std gearing on my roubaix 50/34 12/27 (and my legs) are Ok....
  • thomasmcthomasmc Posts: 814
    popette wrote:
    Steerpike, your post prompted me to take action.

    I've just booked my ticket on the train. Going direct on the way out and will change at Paris on way home. I hate flying, but I would do it if it weren't for the worry about losing my bike. We drove last year and it was so tiring - looking forward to the train, should be a good start to the trip.

    We're going to hire a car from Avignon. Now, is there anything else I've forgotten? I'll have to take the car to the finish village the day before I suppose - I guess I'll need to book this in advance. Is there anything else????


    Hi
    Do you book the coach back from the finish village on the day when you register in the etape village or can you book it in advance?
  • popettepopette Posts: 2,089
    on checking, I found that you book at registration
    Karen
  • jhopjhop Posts: 369
    Last year we left this a bit late and around lunchtime just got the last ticket!

    My advice therefore would be to get a ticket in the village early on the day before to be certain of a place on the bus back to the start.
  • popettepopette Posts: 2,089
    jhop wrote:
    Last year we left this a bit late and around lunchtime just got the last ticket!

    My advice therefore would be to get a ticket in the village early on the day before to be certain of a place on the bus back to the start.

    hi jhop, was that first day of registration? We probably won't make it there until later on in the afternoon on the first day - I hope that gives us enough time to get a ticket.
  • jhopjhop Posts: 369
    We too were only there on the day before the event when most people seem to register so you should be ok just don't leave as the last thing to do!
  • steerpikesteerpike Posts: 424
    Kléber wrote:
    I think there's a bus between the TGV station and the town centre:
    http://www.ladrome.fr/uploads/media/dro ... nceTGV.pdf

    Don't take a Brompton, with a soft bag you will be fine on the trains. The route is spectacular and you will need a range of gears for the terrain, whether it's the fast descents, the gorges near Nyons or the infamous climb up Ventoux.

    I've just had a look at Eurostar and they do a Registered Baggage service for £20 - but only between London and Paris (I change at Paris for a TGV to Valence). Would a soft bag be too large (I'm guessing yes!) to take on as 'hand' luggage?
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