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Pyrenees tour advice

waltho bum gravywaltho bum gravy Posts: 153
edited November 2010 in Tour & expedition

I'm organising a tour to the Pyrenees next spring/summer. I've organised a few before but this one promises to have its own particular set of issues.

1 - It's a party of 6. Will there be any chance of hiring bikes or is it best to take our own? I've done both previously. My gut feeling is that we'd be better off hiring bikes if we can. Flying into Pau what are our chances of hiring 6 bikes?

2 - Accommodation. A similar issue to the bikes. A 3 day tour flying into and out of Pau with stops in Laruns, Argeles etc.. Will we find suitable, cheap but clean accommodation. I imagine we will but any advice, recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

3 - The tour Party. We have 6 prospective tourers. One an experienced club cyclist, not a concern. (Not me). Two young whipper snappers, also not a concern. They cycle regularly enough and have a decent level of fitness to get over the mountains. Two keen, but ageing amateurs who know how to get fit enough for a challenging tour. One father of three with a lack of experience over the climbs and not in great shape. (Again, not me).

My main concern is how can I motivate the last member of the group to get fit, (given he has a job, a family, a wife and many other interests outside of training), and what alternatives are there to the climbs if he can't make them? A genuine concern.

Thanks all.


  • I lived in Pau for 5 years and as I remember there is one bike shop that rents out bikes. I never used their services so can't comment on the quality of bike you expect.
    Accommodation shouldn't be a problem. Expect to pay around 30-50 euros a night.
    As for the father of three, I don't think you can do much to motivate him - that's up to him. But you could look into the possibility of a plan B for him if he can't keep up and slows the rest of the group. The gradients in the Pyrenees are not too steep but they are long. The Col de Portalet is my favourite. If he's having real problems, perhaps he can stay on the French side as you go into Spain and back over into France.
  • rc856rc856 Posts: 1,139
    If you'd like someone else to pick you up and feed you etc, you could have a look at who have a range of different tour packages.

    As for your mate some pictures/footage of the Pyrenees and he'll either think he has to get training to survive or at least to make the most of the trip and make it enjoyable :)
  • shawmanshawman Posts: 76
    If you want a supported trip then or are highly recommended. Or just stay in velopeloton where you can ride many of the big climbs from the house. You can hire bikes in Pau or Lourdes. It is my strong conviction that when going somewhere where the riding is as hard as the Pyrenees, always take your own bike.
    I don't think you can motivate someone to do all that training. They either love it or not!!!
  • Thanks fellas. Very helpful advice. I'll look up some of those links.
  • I did something similar last summer where we had our wives and girl friends in tow.

    We chose in the end to stay in Bagneres de luchon as the tour was in and out last year as this left us with a wide range of classic climbs on our door step but also some of the best climbs in the Pyrenees all with striking distance.

    We looked at a number of companies that provided supported and independent breaks for groups but in the end chose a small privately run operation based in the centre of Bagneres de Luchon as this ticked all of our boxes.

    A deciding factor was the reviews on Trip Advisor which i know can be flawed but in this instance we were not disappointed and indeed were happy to post a review ourselves.

    The good thing is that you do have choice in the area but our experience with Mike & Annettes operation was superb. I hope this helps..
  • Cheers Col Basher. That looks good. :D
  • We have trips and gites during the 2nd week of the TDF 2011 too
    See for more
  • APIIIAPIII Posts: 2,010
    Regarding bikes, I hired one for a couple of days from Hubert Arbes (former Renault pro). His bike shop is just outside Lourdes. It was a fairly basic Giant, but was ok for a day or two. I'd much prefer to take my own bike though.
    I stayed at a place called Chez passet a few times, in a village called Lezignan a couple of miles out of Lourdes. It's changed hands now, but I believe it's still being run to cater for cyclists. They have accommodation for about a dozen people if I recall. It's a great base to explore the classic climbs.
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