Cycling Holidays in the French Alps

Cycling Ascents - FAQs



Will I be fit enough to ride in the Alps? -  If you can cycle for 3 - 4 hours without feeling like you never want to ride again at the end, you’ll be fine.  As the rides are tailored to suit you, we can advise what you’ll be able to achieve after the first days riding.  For more information about how far you are likely to be able to ride compared to what you do at home, and how long it will take, see our How Fit do I Need to Be? Page.


What gearing do I need for the climbs? - Most people use a compact chainset in the moutains, which gives more choice of low gearing.  It’s better to have the option of a lower gear than to end up grinding up a climb wishing you hadn’t come with your standard chainset! The exact choice of gearing really depends on your ability and how long you plan to be riding in the Alps.  Either a compact chainset with a 27 or 28 tooth large sprocket, or a triple chainset would be best for most people. If you are a good climber you could maybe get away with a compact chainset and a 25 tooth sprocket, but might find yourself grinding a little on the steeper slopes. You’ll need to be an ‘A’ grade rider or better if you want to ride all day round here with a standard chainset! (or get a huge dinner plate for a rear sprocket!).

If you dont have suitable gearing already, and dont want the expense of buying new equipment, consider hiring a bike locally (they all come with triple chainsets).  


Should I bring my own bike? - Most people prefer to bring their own bike, but of course you have the disadvantage of the logistics of getting it here.  The advantage is that you know you will be comfortable for long rides. If you would prefer not to have the bother of transporting your bike, or perhaps your gears are not suitable then there are 3 different bike shops within walking distance of the apartment where you can rent a bike.  We use one in particular, and can reserve your bikes for you beforehand.  If you are coming to stay outside June / July / August, there should be no problem turning up on the day and being able to hire a bike.


Our group is of mixed ability, is that o.k? - All the groups we have are of a mixed ability to some extent.  Either way, if you are doing long climbs the only pace to go at is your own, so groups split up nearly every time. What  we can do either before (or more usually) after arrival is sit down with you and plan out rides based on where you'd like to go, how long you fancy riding per day, and you fitness (also with a mind on good places to stop for a coffee / cake / dinner!).


How does the guided cycling work? - We offer guided rides as part of the package which means we can either work out routes with you or more usually ride with you.  That way we can tailor routes to suit you and offer local knowledge about good places to eat, where to get water, not having to worry about maps etc etc.  We can’t guarantee guided rides every day, but on these occasions we’ll always offer route advice and make sure you can find your way.


Does the guided cycling cost extra? - The guided cycling is offered free of charge - we are happy to cycle with you so please take advantage of the offer! (I’ll probably be out cycling anyway, most likely!).  If at the end of your stay you feel that you would like to make a contribution though, that is always appreciated and gratefully received!


How many people can the B&B sleep? - We have 3 rooms which sleep 2 people (either 2 singles or a double) and 2 rooms which sleep up to 4 (two singles or a double, and two full size bunk beds).  We have a travel cot for use for families with a small baby.


Is it close to any restaurants? - Most guests eat out in the evenings - there are plenty of restaurants in Bourg D’Oisans.  Our B&B is a 20 minute walk from the town centre (just under 2 km). We have a fridge for guest use but no cooking facilities.


Are there any supermarkets nearby? - There is a supermarket just outside the town centre (25 minutes walk or 5 minute car drive)


Where do we put our bikes? -  Our B&B has a  secure garage where you can keep your bikes, however security is dependant on guests locking all doors.  As such we’d strongly recommend that you insure valuable bikes before you arrive as we cannot provide that cover ourselves and therefore cannot accept liability for any possible theft or damage


How long should I stay for? - We have a minmum stay of 2 nights in ‘low season’ (mid Sept till mid May) and 3 nights in ‘high season’ (mid May till mid Sept).  The exception to this is during the week of La Marmotte (usually  first week in July) and if the Tour de France comes to town (usually 3rd or 4th Week in July).  As Bourg D’Oisans sits at the junction of six valleys, there are enough rides to keep even keen cyclists going for 10 days....


What’s the weather like? - the cycling “season” is usually from the beginning of May until the end of September.  It is possible to cycle either side of this time but the weather tends to be more variable.  May and September are cooler than high summer but usually good cycling weather.  You'll need to bring extra layers in case the temperature drops (which you'll need if you want to do the high cols at any time of year, as conditions in the mountains can change significantly of over the course of a few days). Generally the weather is pretty good - Alpe D'Huez is known for getting around 300 days of sunshine a year.


When do the Cols open? - The Cols D'Ornon and Lautaret are open all year, with the Croix de Fer, Madeleine and Glandon usually opening around the last week of May (it can be a little later, such as the first week of June, if there is an usual amount of snow in the winter).  The Galibier is the last to open, usually a week or two after the others.  Even if the cols are not open, there are many other rides that can be done from here as we are at the junction of six valleys.


What can non-cyclists do? - Activities for non cyclists are mainly still outdoors based, with lots of walking, climbing, rafting & kayaking etc (we're on the edge of the largest national park in France, the Ecrins).  There are a few more traditional 'tourist' villages that are worth a visit with local artisans selling art, clothing and gifts.  The local tourist website is in english and probably a good staring place.  You can learn more on our Other Activities page.


Is there public transport? - There is a train station at Grenoble, and a bus service from there to Bourg D’Oisans. However most people rent a car if they are wanting to get around the area by themselves.  See our How to Find Us page for more details.


Can you pick us up? - We currently do not provide a pick up service ourselves, however can recommend this company:  www.chairlift.eu


Alpe D'Huez - the descent

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