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Help planning rides in the Alps

ajb72ajb72 Posts: 1,178
edited July 2012 in Tour & expedition
Hi. I am driving down to the the French alps in a few weeks time for a short break. I will be based at Bourg d'Oissans, so ideal for jumping on the bike and getting to Alpe d'Huez.

Whilst there though it would be great to be able to tick off one or two other classic climbs. My non-cycling wife will be with me though so I need to limit my riding to a couple of hours. In other words, I need to be able to drive to a climb within an hour, ride for an hour or two then head back for an afternoon with the mrs. My wife doesn't drive, so I cannot do a loop including a few climbs and meet her somewhere else unfortunately, it will be a case of up and down a col then back to base.

Can anyone recommend any of the 'must do' climbs I can easily get to from my base? Glandon, Sarenne and Criox de Fer seem within reach (although the latter looked evil on the Tour coverage!). Thanks.

Posts

  • DavidCrDavidCr Posts: 44
    You could ride to the foot of the Glandon/Croix de Fer quite comfortably from Bourg d'Oisans and tick both cols off in the same ride. The 2012 TdF came up from the Maurienne valley and has a tough final 3 km averaging over 10%. Climbing from Bourg there are a few tough sections on the lower half but nothing like those final 3 kms on the other side.
    Col d'Ornon is a nice climb and not too high, you should be able to get back in plenty of time to keep everyone happy.
  • ajb72ajb72 Posts: 1,178
    Thanks for the reply David. From your location I can see you are definitely a man in the know! Do yo mind me asking roughly how far it is from Bourg to the foot of the Glandon? That sounds like a great option.
  • lemon63lemon63 Posts: 253
    Hi, another option from Bourg would be Les Deux Alpes, we did this in the afternoon after doing Alpe D'Uez. Also from Bourg you could ride up the Lauteret and then onto the Galibier.
  • random manrandom man Posts: 1,514
    Here are a couple of rides we did recently. The first one takes you to Villard-Reculas, Alpe d'Huez and the Col de Sarenne and was possibly my favourite ride of the week:

    http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/106565505

    The ride up Col de la Morte was another excellent climb, never seemed too steep or arduous:

    http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/106561817

    Wherever you go you'll love it, so don't worry about the wife, I'm sure she'll be happy to just get away in the sun :)
  • langbarlangbar Posts: 3
    Hi - we had a week in Bourg at the end of June and there are loads of climbs that should meet your needs. The local tourist office does a really good guide that should give you lots of ideas. You can also download it here:

    http://www.bikes-oisans.com/IMG/pdf_186-guide-cyclo-1112-web-2.pdf

    If you are going to do Alpe d'Huez which I'm sure you will I would definitely recommend trying to combine this with either of the balcony roues. The road coming into Garde d'Oisans is amazing with sections where the road is carved into a near vertical cliff. There's a loop you can do over the Alpe and Sarenne and then back to the Alpe along this road which I'd highly recommend.

    As well as the classic cols we really enjoyed the quiter rides up to the Col de Sabot and La Berarde. On the way back from the latter you can take your bike up to les Deux Alpes on the cable car in Venosc and enjoy the ride down from there to Bourg.

    Have fun,

    Richard
  • malcolmfrostmalcolmfrost Posts: 211
    The local tourist office (free WiFi as well) has a leaflet of routes, some rides here http://www.bikes-oisans.com/oisans-trail-cyclo-21.html as well.
    One ride I did last year was http://app.strava.com/activities/1508177
    The lake at the end of this ride http://app.strava.com/activities/1508185 is very pleasant, with a beach and a cafe, so you could drive there and go for a ride.
    Bourg is a nice small French town, so your wife shouldn't be too upset, go early and bring back fresh bread and croissants! The bakers in the main street opposite the mini market is best, and has a very attractive owner!!
  • ajb72ajb72 Posts: 1,178
    Thank you all so much for the fantastic and detailed replies. The suggestions and links will really help me put a few compact rides in - squeezing maximum riding joy into the short time I have available.

    I cannot wait now, just 5 weeks to go….
  • DavidCrDavidCr Posts: 44
    ajb72 wrote:
    Do yo mind me asking roughly how far it is from Bourg to the foot of the Glandon? That sounds like a great option.
    I am hopeless at this sort of thing and often get myself in trouble for giving incorrect distances. I think it is about 15 km, including a short climb after Allemond.
  • ajb72ajb72 Posts: 1,178
    DavidCr wrote:
    ajb72 wrote:
    Do yo mind me asking roughly how far it is from Bourg to the foot of the Glandon? That sounds like a great option.
    I am hopeless at this sort of thing and often get myself in trouble for giving incorrect distances. I think it is about 15 km, including a short climb after Allemond.

    Thanks David, that's great.
  • daviegbdaviegb Posts: 126
    You'll have a great time whatever rides you choose to do - these are 3 rides I did a couple of years ago. From what I remember, it's about 7 or 8 miles from Bourg to Allemont along the valley floor. Alternatively, La Berarde, Col d'Ornan, Les Deux Alpes are amazing rides too.

    Alpe d'Huez including the balcony descent to Allemont via Villard Reculas
    http://connect.garmin.com/activity/51235591

    Climbs of Col du Glandon & Croix de Fer via Allemont
    http://connect.garmin.com/activity/51354778

    Climbs of Lautaret & Galibier & back to Bourg d'Oisans
    http://connect.garmin.com/activity/51525425

    Have a great time!
  • ajb72ajb72 Posts: 1,178
    Cheers daviegb. All these routes are really helping me get a great idea what will be achievable - I am spoilt for choice now with just 4 days in Bourg!
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