French alps : moderate rides?

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by DaveW, 12 Jul 2012.

  1. DaveW

    DaveW Well-Known Member

    We are driving to the French alps (Sainte Foy en Tarentaise not far from Bourg St Maurice) in a couple of weeks. I am training for a ride from Basingstoke to Paris in September but I'm still a relative beginner (about 100 to 120 miles per week and my furthest ride so far is 60 miles). I'm taking my bike to the alps and have the option that my wife can drop me off and pick me up if needed. Over the 2 week holiday I'd like to do a few rides of about 50 miles starting anywhere from Bourg St Maurice to Val d'Isere but I'm worried that I don't have the fitness for some of the climbs so I would like to find out if there are any moderate rides, or are they all challenging. I'll do some research but if anyone has any suggestions let me know!
  2. lulubel

    lulubel Über Member

    Malaga, Spain
    What kind of gearing do you have on your bike?

    With low enough gears, you can get up pretty much anything. You might just need to stop a few times to take breaks on the way up.
  3. OP

    DaveW Well-Known Member

    Shimano Tiagra with 2 cogs up front and 10 at the back. Bike is a Specialized Secteur elite. Reckon maybe I'll just head out and ride with iPhone at the ready to call my wife if I get stuck/exhausted!
  4. Alun

    Alun Guru

    The problem with the Alpine roads is not that the hills are steep but that they can go on for miles and miles at a steady 8/10/12%.
    Try some hills of a similar incline in Britain and see how you get on.
    The main valley roads in the alps can be busy and unpleasant with traffic due to the lack of alternatives.
    Get yourself a decent map (perhaps 1:100,000 scale) from Dash4it and plan some routes, otherwise you could be disappointed.
  5. TheDoctor

    TheDoctor Resistance is futile! Moderator

    I'd certainly try heading up the Col D'Iseran from there. Go to Val D'Isere and out the other side. You probably won't get to the top, but you'll enjoy the ride back down!!
    Also, head down the valley to Albertville, turn right towards Annecy and pick up the Voie Verte at Ungine. It's a converted railway line that runs to Annecy, mostly beside the lake. Very pretty ride, and a lot of bars and cafes along the way. And a tunnel to ride through :biggrin:
  6. compo

    compo Veteran

    French Alps and moderate rides sounds to me like a contradiction in terms.
  7. theloafer

    theloafer Guru

    newton aycliffe
  8. TheDoctor

    TheDoctor Resistance is futile! Moderator

    Well, riding in the Alps is like any other range of mountains. You go along the valleys (quite flat) or you ride up out of the valley (quite un-flat).
    As long as you've got low gears, then it's doable without superhuman efforts. The Cormet de Roseland , f'rinstance, would be an obvious one. OK, it'll mean some walking up the 11% bits, but the scenery is stunning.
  9. willem

    willem Über Member

    I take it the bike has a 12-30 cassette and a 50-34 chainset, as per specification for 2012. That would be the very minimum you need, but it will still be pretty hard going for an inexperienced rider. Even compact doubles are not very compact, with their 34 teeth. Traditional ultra compact doubles like the TA ProVis and the Stronglight 49d went much lower, all the way to 26t.
  10. psmiffy

    psmiffy -

    Ive ridden both these a couple of times - but never on a unloaded bike - on a light road bike neither should be much of a problem - if you you are running out of umph just get off and admire the view for a while - you could also ride up to Le Rosiere (plenty of lunch spots) or beyond - wicked view coming down.
  11. TheDoctor

    TheDoctor Resistance is futile! Moderator

    Good call. The bar up at the top (where the St Bernards are) has excellent views.
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