#23: France

trip dates 21.7.2011 - 18.8.2011; 4.8.2012 - 28.8.2012
distance cycled 4028 km; 3593 km
repairs 4x; 2x


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100 cols

A tour in France, covering all the mountaneous regions and going over 150 cols and cotes. A tour with fantastic cycling, probably the best one-month tour that you can imagine.
General information
ROUTE: The route is traced by Dutch cyclists: De Hoderd Cols Tocht. It starts and finishes in Saverne and goes over about 170 cols and cotes in all the French mountains worth mentioning: Vosgues, Massif Central, Pyrenees, Cevennes, Provence, Alps, Jura and back to Vosges. In 2011 I did 90% of it, starting in Dijon rather than in Saverene, but I had added a short digression to Alpe d'Huez, which is the major cycling attraction not included in the original itinerary. In 2012 I did about 82% of it. The route follows smaller secondary roads, away from major, fast connections between bigger towns.

ROADS: All of the roads were paved. There was just a few kilometers of roadworks with a bit looser surface. Surface is sometimes harsh, especially on some forest roads. The route follows smaller secondary roads, away from major, fast connections between bigger towns. It is very hilly (over 66000 m of climbing in total, or 1650 m in 100 km), but nice, scenic and peacefull, with minimal traffic.

MAPS: I had no maps. I got the roadbook (you pay 25 EUR for it) from the above mentioned Dutch web page. The roadbook comes in 35 pages of the size A5. I condensed all the information into 6 cards of the dimension 10x5 cm, which I plastified and carried (at most two at the time) in the pocket. That was my navigation tool - complemented with the help of the local people. For details see my digital map approach.

TRAFFIC: 95% of the route is through smaller roads with very little traffic, as it is chosen so that it avoids bussy roads. The French drivers are very considerate and generally have positive attitude towards the cyclists. On very few, rare occasions when it was not the case, I could bet that the drivers (or motorists) in question were foreigners (probably Italians). In 2012 I had the impression that the traffic was heavier - that was probably true because I rode in August, which is a peak in vacation season. I would therefore recommend July.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT: I flew with Air France to and from Paris. I was pleased that Air France takes bikes without surcharge, if it fits within the baggage allowance weight. I can recommend Air France. I took TGV train two times (Paris-Dijon and Saverne-Paris), the first time the bike was in a box, second time, I just rolled the bike into the last copartment of the train. The second time I had to pay 20 Eur for the bike. From Paris to CDG airport I took a RER train, keeping the bike in the passage between the compartments, and even the airport bus shuttle to Terminal 2. Unfortunately, things change. In 2012 Air France started charging 70 EUR for a bike, one way, in addition to the 100% increase of the flight ticket. I therefore do not recommend them. In 2012 I took a bus from Ljubljana to Torino, and a train from Karlsruhe to Ljubljana on the way back.

ACCOMMODATION: I slept in hotels most of the time. In France a price for a hotel is by the room and not by the person, so if there's more then one of you, your expences will drop so much that it's a question if you'd need a tent at all. 2 times I wild-camped using a bivy bag, 3 times I slept in the "carravanne" or in the tent in the official camp and once in a hostel ("Gite d'etape"). In 2012 I had a sleeping bag and had camped half of the nights. Hotels will frequently be full (especially on week-end), so think of a backup up plan, if you intend to do this tour in a "credit card" way.

FOOD AND WATER: In the morning I would take a petit dejeuner in a hotel, or just had a coffee and some pain-au-chocolat from the boulangerie. At midday I'd buy a bagette, or I'd take a menu lunch in the restaurant. In the evening I stuffed myself with the food (and wine) that I bought in a supermarket, a boulangerie or epicerie. Few times I had dinner. Once, when I stayed in a camp, I even managed to cook my dinner and breakfast. I never bought bottled water. I got the water from the places I stayed in, from village fountains (even if there was a sign "Eau non potable"), from graveyards, from the streams in the mountains, from the taps in camping grounds, or just asked for it at the pub/restaurant.

COSTS: I paid between 32 and 65 EUR for a room in a hotel, 13 for a caravanne or a dorm in Gite d'etape. A menu in a restorant is 10 to 15 EUR, a small beer is 2.5 EUR. I spent 58 EUR/day including plane and train tickets. It seems much, but it's about the same as I'd spent on an average "far-away" tour, if I count in the plane ticket. In 2012 I spent 48 Eur per day, including the transport. Saving came mostly because of fewer nights in hotels.

VISAS: I am an EU cityzen, so no need for a visa, nor a passport, just an ID card.

WEATHER: Changeable. It rained about 8 days out of 36. Temperatures were from 15 C (or even less on the high passes) up to 37 C at midday, at night it dropped down enough so that sleeping in a bivy bag was really cold. Daylight from 6:30 to 20:30. In 2012 there was a 12-days heat vawe.

SITES: France is clean and beautiful. The highlights were, of course, the big passes in the Alps and Pyrenees, but you learn to appreciate also the nice little roads through the woods.

ANNOYANCES: Nothing that I can think of! Not even the mosquitos.n

EQUIPMENT: Road bike and very little more. Click the bike icon above for details.

REPAIRS: 4 punctures, some of them because I had half-dry patch glue. The pump broke, and I had to buy another one. The front derraileur had the tendency to throw the chain off the big ring - I couldn't fix that properly, I suspect that the cause were the worn teeth on the big ring. In 2012: 2 punctures and a broken pedal.

LINKS: There are lot of reports on France on Trento Bike Pages. A good overview on cyling in France is on CGOAB.


100 colov

Tura v Franciji, ki pokriva čez 150 manjših ali večjih colov (prelazov) v vseh Francoskih gorah. Tura s fantastičnim kolesarjenjem, najverjetneje najboljša enomesečna tura, ki se jo da zamisliti.
Splošne informacije
POT: Pot so začrtali nadobudni Nizozemci (morda pa ravno zaradi zakompleksanosti z ravnostjo svoje države): De Hoderd Cols Tocht. Pot se začne in konča v Savernu, na severovzhodu Francije, nato pa sledi vsem Francoskim gorskim masivom: Vosgues, Centralni masiv, Pirineji, Cevennes, Provansa, Alpe, Jura in zopet Vosgues. Jaz sem prekolesaril 90% trasirane poti, ker sem štartal v Dijonu namesto v Savernu, sem pa zato dodal majhen vložek z Alpe d'Huezom, ki ni v originalni trasi. Pot vodi po manjših stranskih cestah stran od glavnih cestnih povezav med večjimi mesti.

CESTE: Vse ceste so asfaltirane, bilo je le nekaj malenkostnih odsekov s cestnimi deli, ki jih izgleda Francozi opravijo zelo hitro. Asfalt je sicer v povprečju bolj grob kot smo ga navajeni v SLO. Kot rečeno, je tura speljana po stranskih cestah mimo glavnih prometnic, kar pa pomeni, da je zelo hribovita - ima okoli 66000 m višincev ali 1650 m na 100 km.

ZEMLJEVID: Kot že ponavadi, nisem nosil zemljevidov s sabo, temveč samo kartice z navigacijskimi napotki, ki sem jih naredil na osnovi potne knjige, za katero sem plačal 20 EUR zgoraj omenjenim Nizozemcem. Za podrobnosti o tem pristopu glej digitalne mape.

PROMET: 95% časa vodi pot po stranskih cestah z minimalno prometa. Francozi so izjemni vozniki, strpni, pazljivi in pozitivno nastrojeni do kolesarjev (torej ravno za 180 stopinj obrnjena slika kot v Sloveniji). V tistih par redkih primerih, ko se niso tako obnašali, sem prepričan da je šlo za tujce, najverjetneje Italijane.

JAVNI TRANSPORT: Letel sem z Air France do Pariza in nazaj. Razen ugodne cene karte (100 EUR) sem imel še brezplačen prevoz kolesa (ker je bilo znotraj dovoljenih 20 kg). Z TGV vlakom sem se vozil dvakrat, enkrat s kolesom v škatli, drugič pa sem ga kar zapeljel v zadnji vagon vlaka. Drugič je bilo treba doplačati 20 EUR. Iz Pariza sem vzel RER vlak (in celo shuttle avtobus) do Terminala 2 letališča CDG. V letu 2012 sem izbral avtobus iz Ljubljane do Torina in vlak nazaj iz Karlsruhe-ja. To pa zaradi tega, ker je Air France podražila cene vozovnic do Pariza za 100 %, obenem pa začela zaračunavati 70 Eur za prevoz kolesa v eno smer. S tem sem prišparal okoli 240 eur.

PRENOČIŠČA: Spal sem večinoma v hotelih. Potovanje solo je sicer vedno nekoliko hendikepirano z večjimi stroški, a tokrat sem imel še dodatno nesrečo, da se hoteli v Franciji plačujejo po sobi in ne po osebi. Kdor potuje v paru bi si stroške tako zmanjšal, da je vprašanje ali se v tem primeru sploh še splača imeti šotor. 2x sem spal v bivak vreči, 3x v karavanu ali v šotoru v kampu in enkrat v hostlu (Gite d'etape). V letu 2012 sem imel spalno vrečo, ki sem jo s pridom uporabljal. Večkrat se zgodi, da so vsi hoteli zasedeni, tako, da je treba imeti nek plan B, v primeru ko potujete v stilu "kreditna kartica".

HRANA IN VODA: Zjutraj sem bodisi kupil croissante in kavo ali pa šel na zajtrk v hotelu, opoldne sem šel na kosilo v restoran, ali pa - bolj pogosto - samo pojedel bageto, zvečer sem se pa nabasal s hrano iz supermarketa, bulangeri-je ali epiceri-je. Nikoli nisem kupoval flaširane vode, temveč jo dobival v hotelu, iz vodjakov, iz pip na pokopališču ali v kampu, iz potokov v hribih, ali jo kar zaprosil v restoranu.

STROŠKI: Plačal sem med 32 in 65 EUR za sobo v hotelu, 13 EUR za karavan v kampu ali za hostel. Kosilo v restoranu je 10 do 15 EUR, pivo je 2.5 EUR. Porabil sem 58 EUR na dan vključno s transportnimi stroški, kar se zdi veliko, a je v bistvu enako kot me je suma sumarum stala kaka "daljna" tura, če upoštevam še ceno letalske karte. V letu 2012 sem porabil nekaj manj: 48 Eur na dan, vključno s prevozi.

VIZE: Vize jasno ne rabimo, niti potnega lista ne, vse se opravi z osebno.

VREME: Spremenjljivo. Deževalo je 8 dni od 36-ih. Čez dan so temperature bile med 15 C (ali še manj na visokih prelazih) do največ 37 C, ponoči pa se je temperatura spustila toliko, da je bilo spanje v bivak vreči prava muka (v spalni vreči iz leta 2012 pa nasprotno pravi užitek). Dnevna svetloba od 6:30 do 20:30.

KRAJI: Francija je čista in lepa. Jasno, visoki prelazi v Alpah in Pirinejih so vrhunec scenskih doživetij (včasih se sprašujem ali ni to že malo kičasto), a se hitro naučiš spoštovati in uživati tudi na manjših mirnih cestah skozi gozdove.

NEVŠEČNOSTI: Ničesar se ne spomnim!

OPREMA: Cestno kolo z minimalno prtljage. Klikni ikono bicikla za podrobnosti.

POPRAVKI: Imel sem 4x predrto zračnico, vsaj ena od tega je bila zaradi slabega flikanja (presušeno lepilo). Pumpa mi je crknila in sem moral kupiti novo. Sprednji menjalnik mi je nagajal, metal verigo čez veliki zobnik.

POVEZAVE: Veliko poročil o kolesarjenju v Franciji je na Trento Bike Pages. Odličen pregledni članek o kolesarjenju v Franciji pa na CGOAB.

Stuff

Aluminium road bike with carbon fork and seatstays, compact double chainring (50/34), 10 speed cassette (12-27) and tyres 700Cx23. Ultralight, as always, in fact with 3.9 kg of stuff, 11.9 kg including the bike. It was the least so far - not surprisingly, as I didn't have a full camping kit, but just an emergency bivouac bag. See further details.


Stvari

Cestno kolo št. 10. Ima aluminijasti okvir, karbonsko sprednjo in zadnjo vilico, dvojno kompakt šajbo (50/34) in 10-prestavno kaseto (12-27). Gume so bile 700Cx23. Ultralahko, kot vedno, pravzaprav najlažje doslej. Z 3.9 kg za stvari in 11.9 kg vključujoč kolo - kar niti ni presenetljivo, saj nisem imel celotne kamping opreme, pač pa samo bivak vrečo. Za podrobnosti poglej tole stran.

Cycling data

2011

Day Date Trip Time Speed Total Accom Notes (daily end-stop) ***
                    Avr                
    d/m   km  h:m  km/h       km   
0  20/7    0  0:0      0     0   H   to Dijon 
1  21/7  166  7:27 22.28   166   H   Tramayes
2  22/7  146  7:14 20.18   312   c   La Bruyere
3  23/7  131  6:36 19.85   443   w   St Poncy+
4  24/7  156  8:11 19.06   599   H   Sousceyrac
5  25/7  163  7:54 20.63   762   H   Tournon-s-Agenais
6  26/7  131  6:23 20.52   893   H   Castera Verduzan
7  27/7  139  6:35 21.11  1032   H   Maslacq
8  28/7  117  6:11 18.92  1149   H   Larrau
9  29/7  140  7:59 17.54  1289   H   Arrens
10 30/7  131  7:39 17.12  1420   H   Bagneres-d-Luchon
11 31/7  122  7:18 16.71  1542   H   Aulus-l-Bain
12  1/8  138  7:04 19.53  1680   H   Limoux
13  2/8  147  8:09 18.04  1827   H   Murat-s-Verbe
14  3/8  148  7:21 20.14  1975   H   Rochebelle
15  4/8  137  7:19 18.72  2112   h   Lasalle
16  5/8  152  6:59 21.77  2264   H   St.Esteve
17  6/8  127  7:00 18.14  2391   H   Revest-d-Bion
18  7/8  128  6:17 20.37  2519   H   Moustiers
19  8/8  147  7:57 18.49  2666   H   Beuil
20  9/8  134  7:33 17.75  2800   H   Vars
21 10/8  164  8:50 18.57  2964   H   Bourg d'Oisan
22 11/8  175  9:53 17.71  3139   H   Val d'Isere
23 12/8  139  7:22 18.87  3278   H   Thones
24 13/8  119  6:41 17.81  3397   w   Bremy ++
25 14/8  147  7:35 19.38  3544   H   Censeau
26 15/8  115  5:16 21.84  3659   c   Isle-s-Doub
27 16/8  177  8:33 20.70  3836   c   Muster
28 17/8  140  7:38 18.34  3976   H   Ottrot
29 18/8   52  2:31 20.66  4028   H   Saverne
30 19/8   31  1:54 16.32  4059   H   Paris
31 20/8   95  4:49 19.72  4154   H   Gyancourt
32 21/8                          w   PBP
33 22/8                          w   PBP
34 23/8                          w   PBP
35 24/8 1248              5402   H   PBP
36 25/8   44  2:45    16  5446   H   Paris CDG
37 26/8   32  1:44 18.46  5478   a   Ljubljana

Days Trip Time Speed Avr km h:m km/h 29 4028 209:25 - Sum 28 3976 206:54 - Sum, cycling days - 177 9:53 22.2 MAX, cycling days - 115 5:16 16.7 min, cycling days 29 139 7:13 - average per day 28 142 7:23 19.2 average per cycling day
*** Legend 12 10/7 - cycling day 38 5/8 - non cycling or rest day Trip - daily cycling distance Time - daily cycling time (while in motion) Speed - daily cycling speed (while in motion): Avr - average; Max - maximal. Total - cumulative distance Accom - accommodation: a: airplane; m: motel; H(h): ho(s)tel; c: camp; w: wild camping
2012

Day Date Trip Time Speed Climb Total Accom Notes (daily end-stop) ***
                    Avr                
    d/m   km  h:m  km/h    m      km   
 1  4/8   72  3:59 18.1  1200     72   w   border I/F -2km
 2  5/8  148  8:03 18.4  3278    220   h   Briancon
 3  6/8   63  4:11 15.1  1999    283   h   Vars
 4  7/8  171  9:18 18.4  3711    454   w   Entrevaux +2km
 5  8/8  150  7:29 20.0  2159    604   c   Manosque
 6  9/8  148  7:22 20.1  2142    752   h   Malaucene
 7  10/8 163  8:06 20.1  2363    915   w   Caunes -3km
 8  11/8 172  9:30 18.1  2998   1087   c   Aveze
 9  12/8 125  7:14 17.3  2290   1212   c   Murat-s-Verbe
10  13/8 156  8:06 19.3  2130   1368   w   Chalabre -10km
11  14/8 130  7:50 16.6  2310   1498   c   Aulus-l-Bain
12  15/8 121  7:05 17.1  2710   1619   h   Bagnere-d-Luchon
13  16/8 139  8:13 16.9  3897   1758   h   Soulom
14  17/8 111  6:14 17.8  2600   1869   h   Arette
15  18/8 156  9:01 17.3  3437   2025   w   Navarenx
16  19/8 175  8:40 20.2  2137   2200   h   Vic Fezensac
17  20/8 141  6:55 20.4  1619   2341   h   Tournon-d-Agenais
18  21/8 141  6:39 21.2  1705   2482   h   St. Cere
19  22/8 158  8:44 18.1  2983   2640   w   Le Soul +1km
20  23/8 139  7:21 18.9  2455   2779   c   Bruyeres +1km
21  24/8 171  8:36 19.9  2543   2950   h   Cluny
22  25/8 158  7:40 20.6  1443   3108   w   Pont-d-Pany
23  26/8 177  8:09 21.7  1795   3285   h   Bain-l-Bain
24  27/8 152  7:45 19.6  1990   3437   w   Walscheid +1km
25  28/8 156  7:26 21.0  1000   3593   h   Karlsruhe

Days Trip Time Speed Climb Avr km h:m km/h m 25 3593 189:36 - 58890 Sum, cycling days - 177 9:30 21.7 3897 MAX, cycling days - 63 3:53 15.1 1000 min, cycling days 25 144 7:35 19.0 2356 average per cycling day
*** Legend 12 10/7 - cycling day 38 5/8 - non cycling or rest day Trip - daily cycling distance Time - daily cycling time (while in motion) Speed - daily cycling speed (while in motion): Avr - average; Max - maximal. Climb - cumulative ascent. Total - cumulative distance Accom - accommodation: a: airplane; m: motel; H(h): ho(s)tel; c: camp; w: wild camping

Travelogue

I wrote a blog about this trip, it's here: Over Honderd cols to PBP. A report about the trip in 2012 is in a separate page: 200 cols tour.


Potopis

Blog v angleščini lahko vidiš na: Over Honderd cols to PBP. Tura iz 2012 je na posebni strani: 200 cols tour.