Advice for self-supported Raid Pyrenees

I'm doing the Raid Pyrenees (Tourist version; roughly the reverse of this route) in August with a few friends, fully self-supported. However, we'll be starting in Girona instead of Cerbere and then crossing to the French side just east of Andorra. A few questions for anyone with experience out there:

1. We'll be crossing from Spain to France around Puigcerda. We've heard the N20 from Puigcerda (down Col du Puymorens) should not be biked given traffic so instead will go to La Cabanasse than Formigueres before going up Col de Pailheres. Anyone know that route / foresee any issues?
2. How many bike shops are there along the way if we encounter mechanical issues? We'd also prefer not to bring a bike pump...
3. Should we do the Voie Laurent Fignon up Tourmalet
4. Anything else we should know (how much rain should we expect in August, any roads/climbs to avoid, any great food stops, etc)?

Thanks for the help - we're new to the region but can't wait!

Comments

  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 26,558
    I didn't do the Pyrenees self supported but initial impressions.
    2. I can't remember seeing many bike shops. Those I did were focussing on mtbs.
    4. It was torrential rain with the road being like a river when I did the Col de Pailhères. It was 8C, mist and drizzle when I went up the Tourmalet, then was 25C and sunny when I went up Luz Ardiden an hour later. This was in August, you will possibly need a full set of kit.
    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.
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,301
    I did the Puymorens going up, it was trafficky, but it wasn't scary or anything... I suspect going down it should be easy peasy, but yes, if you do it for fun without rush then take another route. Rain: you are in the mountain, weather is more unpredictable than down in the valley... all you can do is carry waterproof layers and spare clothes... maybe choose tyres wisely, robust and grippy rather than light and fast
    left the forum March 2023
  • kingstongraham
    kingstongraham Posts: 27,374
    If you're doing east to west, you can't choose the Voie Fignon - that's on the climb from Luz. You'll be going up the La Mongie side. Unless you are planning to ride back up having half descended? Can't advise on whether it's worth it, I've only ever ridden the main road.

    There's plenty of bike hire places and people with vans supporting bike tours if you need to borrow a track pump. I wouldn't want to be without a (very) mini pump myself, but that only gets you so far.
  • kingstongraham
    kingstongraham Posts: 27,374
    And mid August 3 years ago, these pics are one day apart - you need to be ready for anything, especially when you are going up into any cloud there is every day:




  • Thank you everyone for the advice!! Will pack rain gear :smile:
  • drhaggis
    drhaggis Posts: 1,150

    We ended up having a fantastic trip, self-supported from Girona to San Sebastian with most of the time in France on the "Raid Touriste" (including bike rental in Girona and swap of our stored luggage for bikes in San Sebastian). If anyone needs advice on routes, hotels, or logistics, let me know!

    Did you end up needing all the rain gear, or were you lucky with the weather?
  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 26,558
    drhaggis said:

    We ended up having a fantastic trip, self-supported from Girona to San Sebastian with most of the time in France on the "Raid Touriste" (including bike rental in Girona and swap of our stored luggage for bikes in San Sebastian). If anyone needs advice on routes, hotels, or logistics, let me know!

    Did you end up needing all the rain gear, or were you lucky with the weather?
    🤣
    I took all my gear to the Dolomites last summer. It was sunny and 45C. 🤬
    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.
  • daniel_b
    daniel_b Posts: 11,772
    pblakeney said:

    drhaggis said:

    We ended up having a fantastic trip, self-supported from Girona to San Sebastian with most of the time in France on the "Raid Touriste" (including bike rental in Girona and swap of our stored luggage for bikes in San Sebastian). If anyone needs advice on routes, hotels, or logistics, let me know!

    Did you end up needing all the rain gear, or were you lucky with the weather?
    🤣
    I took all my gear to the Dolomites last summer. It was sunny and 45C. 🤬
    If you take it, you won't need it :D
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 26,558
    daniel_b said:

    pblakeney said:

    drhaggis said:

    We ended up having a fantastic trip, self-supported from Girona to San Sebastian with most of the time in France on the "Raid Touriste" (including bike rental in Girona and swap of our stored luggage for bikes in San Sebastian). If anyone needs advice on routes, hotels, or logistics, let me know!

    Did you end up needing all the rain gear, or were you lucky with the weather?
    🤣
    I took all my gear to the Dolomites last summer. It was sunny and 45C. 🤬
    If you take it, you won't need it :D
    A worthwhile small sacrifice! 😉 Flip side is that I learned that I suffer above 30C and really struggle above 35C. 45C was impossible and I only had 8kms to go up the last climb. 🤬
    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.
  • It is generally recommended to avoid biking on busy roads whenever possible. If you have heard that the N20 from Puigcerda can be dangerous for cyclists due to heavy traffic, it may be a good idea to consider an alternative route. The route you mentioned via La Cabanasse and Formigueres before going up Col de Pailheres may be a good option, but it is always a good idea to check local bike maps and resources or consult with local cycling clubs or experts to determine the best route for your needs and abilities.

    The availability of bike shops along the route may vary depending on the specific areas you are traveling through. It is always a good idea to carry basic tools and repair items with you, such as a spare tube, tire levers, and a multitool. A bike pump is also an essential item to bring along on any cycling trip. You may be able to find bike shops in larger towns or cities along the way, but it is always a good idea to plan ahead and carry the necessary equipment with you to avoid being stranded in case of mechanical issues.

    The Voie Laurent Fignon up Tourmalet is a popular and challenging route that many cyclists enjoy. However, the best route for you will depend on your individual preferences and abilities. It may be helpful to research different routes and consider factors such as elevation gain, road conditions, and traffic before making a decision.

    August can be a popular time for cycling in the Pyrenees, but weather conditions can vary. You may encounter rain or other inclement weather, so it is a good idea to pack appropriate clothing and gear. It may also be helpful to check local weather forecasts before setting out on your ride. As for food stops, there are many great restaurants and cafes along the route that serve local specialties such as cassoulet and foie gras. However, it is a good idea to carry some snacks and energy bars with you in case you need a quick boost on the road.

    Overall, the Raid Pyrenees is a challenging and rewarding cycling route that can provide you and your friends with an unforgettable adventure. It is always a good idea to plan ahead and prepare for any potential challenges or obstacles along the way.
  • drhaggis said:

    We ended up having a fantastic trip, self-supported from Girona to San Sebastian with most of the time in France on the "Raid Touriste" (including bike rental in Girona and swap of our stored luggage for bikes in San Sebastian). If anyone needs advice on routes, hotels, or logistics, let me know!

    Did you end up needing all the rain gear, or were you lucky with the weather?
    We packed *very* light (we stayed in hotels): just one kit and one set of clothing for the evenings. So, I just brought rain-friendly gloves and a very lightweight Gore rain jacket that doubled as a wind jacket. And, that was it! It rained a few days but was very warm last summer.