Marking the 100th Anniversary of the Tour de France
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Tour de France. Started in 1903, for the noble purpose of boosting magazine sales, the race has been held annually ever since, except for a ten year hiatus during the two World Wars. For a hundred years, approximately 20 teams, with nine riders in each, cycle 2 000 miles in 21 days, though participants in 1926 had to cover an anomalously large 3,570 miles. The Tour de France has been described 'as the most physiologically demanding of athletic events' and not just by the knackered cyclists of 1926. Like running 'a marathon several days a week for nearly three weeks', with a total elevation comparable to 'three Everests', the Tour de France is the long-running, long, long cycle.
To mark the 100th anniversary of this monumental event, and to satisfy the growing popularity of road cycling across Europe, this year, amateur cyclists are invited to participate in the grand finale of the Tour de France. Each year, the Tour culminates in a triumphant cycle down the Champs-Elysées, past the Arc de Triomphe, the Obelisk and the Louvre. 5 000 lucky participants are invited to ride the historic route this year, in the Randonnée du Tour, a 6.9km loop which will take place just hours before the champions of the Grande Boucle arrive for their final lap. If you would like to cycle in the Tour de France, you can register here for five euros.
Though the Tour de France always ends on the Champs-Elysées, the route changes every year, switching between clockwise and anti-clockwise, altered to make full use of the fantastic roads in France, wide, firm and surrounded by beautiful scenery, perfect for long-distance cycling. Along with the historic ride through the streets of Paris, the Tour never fails to include a climb up the stunning, and arduous, Alpine passes. The roads through the Alps are favoured by road cyclists across the globe, a mouth-watering and brow-moistening combination of beautiful sights and long, hard ascents. The higher passes (called cols) open around mid-June, after the hot French sun has melted the snow and frost. There are many tour routes to choose between, and people return year on year to try another tack. One popular route is the 'Route des Grandes Alps', stretching from Lake Geneva in Switzerland to the Mediterranean, across and over the most famous French Alps. Another favourite is a climb up the Alpe d'Huez.
The logistics of road cycling in the Alps can be as hard as the cycling and put many an enthusiastic rider off more readily. There just isn't always decent accommodation at the right point at the end of your day's cycle route and you might find yourself drawing and re-drawing those dotted lines on the map to make sure. Opt for camping and you might sacrifice the strength and will power needed to keep going over the Alpine passes, munching on canned food and sleeping on hard, uneven ground. There is an undeniable sense of adventure at going it alone, but to optimise your road cycling holiday, take the pressure of plans and arrangements, you might want to leave the logistics to someone else. Taking a Road Bike Safari saves years of trial and error, letting you cut straight to chasing those peaks in well-rested, well-fed and relaxed, in the best possible frame of mind.
Create your own Tour de France this summer!
With prices starting at £195 per person, Road Bike Safari offers:
Luxurious accommodation - Stay in a cosy, quaint hotel with an outdoor swimming pool or a stunning alpine chalet with a steam room and a hot tub. [link through to your adverts on our site]
Fully catered - All of your much needed sustenance taken care of, seven nights of the week. You'll have a hearty breakfast on the mountain facing terrace in the morning sun (weather permitting), a tasty packed lunch to take on the road and a delicious 3-course evening meal, including a BBQ on the terrace.
Transportation - When you're not cycling, minibus shuttles and bike carriages will be provided to get you to the pastures new. Transfers to and from Geneva airport with a bike trailer available if required at low cost.
Local Knowledge - Fully qualified local expert guiding (English speaking of course) available at extra cost
Break down service - Professional local support for road bike spares and repairs.
All the things you forgot to consider:
• WIFI, IPOD, DVD collection and Sky Sports TV.
• Secure storage and repair
• Power wash for the bike cleaning.
• Enthusiastic, competent hosts taking care of your catering and cleaning requirements for all road bike holidays.
Check out their site for more information & booking, www.road-bike-holidays.co.uk