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DIY Raid Pyrenees

milesemilese Posts: 1,233
edited April 2018 in Tour & expedition
Hi,

I have agreed to go on a cycling holiday with my Dad this July and have agreement in principle from my wife.

I’ve spent a bit of time looking around at organised trips but haven’t found anything that jumps out.

We did Raid Alpine in 2010, Majorca in 2012 and Gran Canaria last March, and would quite like to visit either the Pyrenees or Dolomites as not been before.

We thought about doing our own thing in the Pyrenees, flying to the med, ditching cardboard bike boxes, and riding back to Santander through the Pyrenees along the Raid route to get the Ferry back to Plymouth, but it looks like the transfers at either end will be a bit of a pain – Toulouse airport to a sensible start point on the med, and a sensible finish point on the atlantic (Biaritz?) to Santander, both over 200km.

Does anyone have any experience of these transfers?

Is a particular direction (med to atlantic or vice versa) better with regards to wind direction or other reason?

I could carry our (minimal) luggage to equalise our ability (my Dad is 66).

We’d look to do it over about a week. If anyone has any other advice that would be great.

Thanks.

Posts

  • West to east is the most popular and the prevailing wind should be behind you. As for the transfers, there is no easy way around that. Have you considered going with a tour company? They make the logistics easy and you don't have to carry the luggage.
    Vélo Peloton Pyrénées Café and Bike Rental
    https://pyreneesrental.bike
    https://velopeloton.com/
  • kirkeekirkee Posts: 369
    I agree with above advice, probably a lot more enjoyable if you did it supported. I know a lot of people do the raid unsupported with panniers etc and that would be awesome. As your already experienced riding the mountains you can make the call easier on what to do. I did it in 2001 with Graham Baxter tours, a brilliant trip Atlantic to med. Depends what sort of experience your after? I'd like to go back now and do it unsupported, maybe a mid life 50th trip to blag?! I just remembered, I was on the ferry to st malo the year after I did the raid, going on holiday. I spotted two touring bikes with raid pyreneen number plates on them. Met the riders onboard, they did the ride to do the raid from st malo and back! Muchos respectos! I'm from Plymouth so it'd be easy to get down to Santander to crack the ride. It's a good distance to ride to the raid start in Handaye from the ferry. Don't know if the raid can be done from med to Atlantic officially tho?
    Caveat - I buy and ride cheap, however, I reserve the right to advise on expensive kit that I have never actually used and possibly never will
  • xacasarxacasar Posts: 13
    Honestly, doing the Raid Pyrenean yourself is a bit difficult (especially if you arrive with bike boxes...), you need to find a way to ship your 2 bikes boxes to the other part of the Pyrenees and I don't know any company which can do that.
    Plus, you'll carry your clothes with you during all the trip ? Again you add a real difficulty to all the climbs, and the heat...
    Also, when you get to Biarritz and if you want to head to Santander it is (at least) 4 differents trains (2 in france and 2 in spain).
    What you can maybe do, it is starting from Barcelona and leave your bikes boxes there, riding to San Sebastian (not very far from Biarritz). And then fly back to Barcelona from San Sebastian airport (and take back your boxes...).

    Or, as some people suggested it, going with a company taking car of everything for you, example: www.bikebasque.com :wink:
  • milesemilese Posts: 1,233
    Thank you all for the advice.

    I think the transfers make this a non starter.
    xacasar wrote:
    Or, as some people suggested it, going with a company taking car of everything for you, example: http://www.bikebasque.com :wink:

    e1800 make those guys a non starter....
  • xacasarxacasar Posts: 13
    Milese wrote:
    Thank you all for the advice.

    I think the transfers make this a non starter.
    xacasar wrote:
    Or, as some people suggested it, going with a company taking car of everything for you, example: http://www.bikebasque.com :wink:

    e1800 make those guys a non starter....


    All the prices are on the market and you get what you pay, even Rapha can offer you the Raid Pyrenean for almost 4.500 € :wink:
    If you DIY indeed you can save money, but you have to spend time to find a way to ship your stuff, choose the hotels, routes, restaurants etc. And the most important, you don't get any support, and as a cyclist (and mountain lover...) I know a proper support really matters at the end of the day, especially when you are on holiday.
  • xacasar wrote:
    Milese wrote:
    Thank you all for the advice.

    I think the transfers make this a non starter.
    xacasar wrote:
    Or, as some people suggested it, going with a company taking car of everything for you, example: http://www.bikebasque.com :wink:

    e1800 make those guys a non starter....


    All the prices are on the market and you get what you pay, even Rapha can offer you the Raid Pyrenean for almost 4.500 € :wink:
    If you DIY indeed you can save money, but you have to spend time to find a way to ship your stuff, choose the hotels, routes, restaurants etc. And the most important, you don't get any support, and as a cyclist (and mountain lover...) I know a proper support really matters at the end of the day, especially when you are on holiday.

    It really isn't that difficult to organise.
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • kirkeekirkee Posts: 369
    xacasar wrote:
    Milese wrote:
    Thank you all for the advice.

    I think the transfers make this a non starter.
    xacasar wrote:
    Or, as some people suggested it, going with a company taking car of everything for you, example: http://www.bikebasque.com :wink:

    e1800 make those guys a non starter....


    All the prices are on the market and you get what you pay, even Rapha can offer you the Raid Pyrenean for almost 4.500 € :wink:
    If you DIY indeed you can save money, but you have to spend time to find a way to ship your stuff, choose the hotels, routes, restaurants etc. And the most important, you don't get any support, and as a cyclist (and mountain lover...) I know a proper support really matters at the end of the day, especially when you are on holiday.

    It really isn't that difficult to organise.
    Agreed, I believe it would be possible and enjoyable (in varying degrees!) If you even tried it light bike packing style credit card touring with pre booked accommodation across the route. The same could be said for unladen self arranged with a support car carrying kit to pre booked accom. In these days of booking sites etc the hard work is reduced.
    Caveat - I buy and ride cheap, however, I reserve the right to advise on expensive kit that I have never actually used and possibly never will
  • milesemilese Posts: 1,233
    Im not knocking packages or those that use them at all. To me those that charge about a grand for a week are good value, your accomodation and food would easily cost the best part of that and obviously you get transport, routes, support, transfers, luggage moving, interpretation and a lot of peace of mind.

    And like all things, there are more or less premium versions....
  • durhamwaspdurhamwasp Posts: 1,239
    Looks like 4 of us (COVID19 permitting) will be doing the Raid Pyrenees in 2021, along with 2 support drivers in our motorhome.

    Thinking about following the 100hr route but over 6 days, so we can have a good laugh and a few beers along the way! i know the routes that Marmot and Domestique tours use look pretty good, but wondering if anyone has any other tips along the way.

    We wont be looking to get the 100hr medal, so can go a bit of course if its worth it, for example think we'll shorten the odd day, but add in the odd climb such as the Marie Blanque.

    Thanks in advance!
    http://www.snookcycling.wordpress.com - 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....
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 16,848
    I did a more tourist tour back in 2016. My favourite of the trip was Luz Ardiden. It is a dead end and the ski station is ugly but I thought the climb was well worth it, and the descent even better. YMMV.

    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • durhamwaspdurhamwasp Posts: 1,239
    Thanks, yeah Luz Ardiden is a beauty, we did it a few years ago when we stayed in Argeles for a week.

    I notice the climbs that different companies include vary and also vary from the official website list. As we are doing it without the medal, wondering what climbs people would absolutely not miss, other than the obvious
    http://www.snookcycling.wordpress.com - 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....
  • gsk82gsk82 Posts: 3,056
    I did a 6 day version with Pyrenees cycling a few years ago. We added the Marie Blanque and also the Col de Portillon out of Luchon in to Spain. You'll see loads of climbs signposted that you've heard of, particularity before Aux le Thermes and around Luchon.
    "Unfortunately these days a lot of people don’t understand the real quality of a bike" Ernesto Colnago
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 16,848

    As we are doing it without the medal, wondering what climbs people would absolutely not miss, other than the obvious

    Trouble is that if they are "absolutely not miss" then chances are that they are "obvious". ;)
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • durhamwaspdurhamwasp Posts: 1,239
    Well, maybes. Tourmalet would be one such climb, but theres also a lot of hidden gems, that people say are fantastic yet have never been in the tour.
    http://www.snookcycling.wordpress.com - 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....
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 16,848
    Don't get me wrong, I am sure that there are plenty of hidden gems.
    A detour up the valley to the village of Gavarnie for a glimpse of the world famous Cirque may be one of them, but I didn't do it.
    I just think that any "absolutely not miss" will be well known.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 17,796
    pblakeney said:

    Don't get me wrong, I am sure that there are plenty of hidden gems.
    A detour up the valley to the village of Gavarnie for a glimpse of the world famous Cirque may be one of them, but I didn't do it.
    I just think that any "absolutely not miss" will be well known.

    I rode up to the cirque de Troumouse last year - that was spectacular (and quiet). Nice bar at a few km to go as well. The more undiscovered ones will be out and back rides, not passes.




  • durhamwaspdurhamwasp Posts: 1,239
    edited May 2020
    Got my route and climb list more or less decided now i think:
    Day 1 - Saint Ignace, Pinodieta, Osquich
    Day 2 - Marie Blanque, Aubisque, Soulor
    Day 3 - Tourmalet, Aspin, Peyresourde
    Day 4 - Ares, Buret, Portet D'Aspet
    Day 5 - Port, Marmare, Pailhares
    Day 6 - Jau

    Days 3 & 5 look like killers
    http://www.snookcycling.wordpress.com - 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....
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