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Cycling Galibier, Glandon, Alpe D'Huez

Jack.Pickering09Jack.Pickering09 Posts: 8
edited March 2013 in Tour & expedition

I'm going to be riding for a long weekend in the Alps based out of Grenoble in July. This is the first visit to the alps for me and I would like to ride Galibier on the Saturday and Alpe D'Huez on the Sunday. My plan is to get the bus both days up to Bourg D'Oisans and go from there.

Could anyone recommend a good route that is accomplish-able that would take in Col du Galibier from the north, taking in Telegraphe? Because I've not been before I'm unsure as to how doable it is to cycle from Bourg D'Oisans to get to the northern side of Galibier, and ending back in Bourg D'Oisans?

If anyone has any advice about the best way to do Galibier, that would be great! We will be training it to Grenoble so once there its public transport to help us get around with the bikes.



  • durhamwaspdurhamwasp Posts: 1,238
    Ive not done it myself, but ive been to that area quite a few times, and i think to do a loop from Bourg over the Telegraph and up the Galibier you will be looking at 150km+

    My recommendation would be to do the Galibier from Bourg over the Lautaret. Its still a cracking ride, and the last 8km after the Lautaret are tough. You could even drop down the other side and climb back up, then have a fast descent back to Bourg the way you came.

    Could maybes do the Alpe and Les Deux Alpes the next day. - Reports on Cingles du Mont Ventoux, Alpe D'Huez, Galibier, Izoard, Tourmalet, Paris-Roubaix Sportive & Tour of Flanders Sportive, Amstel Gold Xperience, Vosges, C2C, WOTR routes....
  • Cheers for that, yeh Lautaret is a good shout. Do you know much about the public transport around that way? there's going to be 5 of us so we were a bit unsure as to whether or not we'd be allowed on buses with the bikes.
  • durhamwaspdurhamwasp Posts: 1,238
    Cycling to Bourg and up the Alpe would be a nice day trip! its not that far (30 miles), especially with 5 of you cycling.

    I don't know about the buses, my guess would be that 5 bikes might be a struggle? But, sure somebody will know. Wonder whether a taxi/shuttle bus between you 5 might be another option. - Reports on Cingles du Mont Ventoux, Alpe D'Huez, Galibier, Izoard, Tourmalet, Paris-Roubaix Sportive & Tour of Flanders Sportive, Amstel Gold Xperience, Vosges, C2C, WOTR routes....
  • daviegbdaviegb Posts: 126
    Bourg is a great place to start for Alpe d'Huez & you could also take in Les Deux Alpes or Col d'Ornon to complete a great day of riding. This link shows a few bus options;

    The best way to do Telegraphe & Galibier is from St Jean de Maurienne - it would be a 100km out & back to the top of Galibier.

    You may be better off arranging for a minibus to transfer you & your bikes - with 5 of you the costs shouldn't be too expensive.
  • craigentycraigenty Posts: 960
    You have a few options - if possible get the bus up from Grenoble to Bourg. I've ridden up the Romanche valley before and some sections are not pleasant (even dangerous) The idea to get a minibus is a good one.
    Once in Bourg if you wanted to do the Galibier from the north you're basically going to have to do The Marmotte route without Alpe d'Huez - doable but still hard.
    Maybe getting a bus up to St Jean would be better and then doing the 100km out and back ride mentioned above.
    Alpe d'Huez from Bourg is the obvious 14km classic but if you do the Glandon too or the Col d'Ornon or Le 2 Alpes or up to La Berarde that would be a more interesting day.
  • brucey72brucey72 Posts: 1,086
    La Berarde from Bourg D'Oisans is a fantastic ride; the scenery is amazing with the high valley walls on either side!

    Another alternative ride would be to cycle towards Bourg D'Oisans from Grenoble up La Romanche valley but turn off at Sechilienne towards La Morte then do a loop which brings you back over the Col D'Ornon towards Bourg D'Oisans. This way you are cycling back down the valley back to Grenoble at the end of the day. I did this route last year and its on really quiet roads (apart from the Romanche valley road).

    Saying that, if I was only there for a long weekend I would want to the 'classic climbs' you have mentioned and would suggest the Marmotte Route without the Alpe D'Huez as someone above has pointed out, depending on fitness and available time. To be honest I wouldn't fancy cycling up to the Lauteret from Bourg D'Oisans during the summer months as its a very busy road with several dark tunnels. Its bad enough coming down with wagons right behind you never mind going uphill.

    This website, which is done by a contributor to this forum, is an excellent source of information:
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 7,137
    Yes as mentioned above how far and how long do you want to ride ? If you are up for all day rides then it opens up more possibilities for doing loops - avoids having to take the bus out to the start.

    I think there are probably some smaller roads too you could use that avoid some of the busier routes such as the Lauteret - very often the well known routes are well known because they suit the TdF or big sportives - but as a small group you've got more flexibility. Unfortunately I don't know the area well enough to be of any help other than to say we did some cracking rides away from the well known routes.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • Brilliant, thanks for the responses. We should all be pretty fit by the end of June. Staying in Grenoble we are hoping to get a couple of hours in on the friday evening locally and doing the same on the monday morning before a 1pm train back to Calais.

    So it leaves two full days, getting in Galibier on the Saturday as an all day loop somewhere around the 150 km mark would be ideal. we will have to look at alternative smaller bail out loops if anyone gets too tired. We're going to keep Alpe D'Huez for the Sunday and included that in a nicer slightly shorter route doing some of the smaller roads. there's some great suggestions in the thread. certainly doing smaller less known roads sounds a lot more pleasant! hopefully we can organise a minibus to take us up to St Jean and do the 100 km out and back route, and on the Sunday, have a go at Glandon or Les Deux Alps/col d'ornon. The La Bararde from Bourg would be a great option.

    Cheers for the advice. Hopefully finding a minibus in Grenoble wont be too difficult!

  • Hi

    If you do decide to head over to the St Jean de Maurienne side for the other classic cols (Madeleine, Glandon, Mollard, Telegraphe, Galibier, Iseran) we could look after you for future trips. We're based on route to the Col du Telegraphe and Galibier and provide either accommodation or more organised weeks and weekend trips plus airport transfers and guiding etc. We have a private chalet with great views of the mountains, bike storage and small workshop etc....

    You've received a lot of good advice above and looks like you're all set for this summer but if you do need any help or advice feel free to get in touch.

    Have a great trip this summer.


    Rob - [email protected]
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