Cycle the French Alps: Road Cycling France

Cycle the French Alps: Road Cycling

France

Biking
8 days
2020

Sat, Jun 06

Sat, Jun 13

€1,735

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Overview

Welcome to road cycling – the Intrepid way. This trip takes you from the Jura Mountains to the mighty French Alps as you ride through the same terrain as the Tour de France. Earn your bragging rights as you conquer the legendary climbs of the Croix de Fer, Col d’Izoard and the true legends of the Col du Galibier and the iconic 21 hairpins of the Alpe d'Huez. This is a trip to test your cycling skills but rewards you with sublime Alpine vistas, thrilling downhills, great company and an excuse to eat as much French pastry as you want!

Map

Itinerary

Day 1Aix-les-Bains
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at around 6 pm today. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where and when exactly it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If you arrive early, check out the Roman ruins, Temple of Diana, the town hall or the belle Chateau de la Roche du Roi. If you have brought your own bike it is a good idea to assemble it today to ensure that everything is in perfect working order. There are a number of bike shops in Aix (and nearby Chambery) but please note most close around 5pm on a Saturday and don't open Sundays or Mondays. Please see the Transport section of our Essential Trip Information notes for details of how you can make your own way to Aix-le-Bains from either Paris or Geneva. For those that have brought their own GPS device (e.g. Garmin) we can upload each day's ride directly to your device so that you never get lost no matter how fast (or slow) you are.
Day 2Aix-les-Bains
Set off on your first ride. Start by finding your cycling legs on a gentle ride that loops around Lake Bourget. This route traces the shadows of the Jura Mountains on one side and the towering Bauges Massif on the other. Along the way, pass the Abbaye d'Hautecombe, a 12th-century royal burial site, and come full circle back to Aix-les-Bains. Those looking for a stronger challenge can instead cycle up the snaking road to the nearby Col du Grand Colombier, which makes for a fairly rigorous ride (97km/60 mile long; 1850m/6070ft elevation gain). Note that this ride is unsupported; your leader stays with lake loop ride. Cycling distance: 55 km / 34 miles Elevation gain: 900m / 2950ft
Day 3La Chambre
Experience the sublime Lacets de Montvernier, which is often described as one of the most beautiful roads in professional cycling. Today's ride is the longest of the trip, but also one of the flattest. Start in a southeast direction, cycling through Chambery. Then follow the Isere River before turning towards the Alps themselves and making the gentle climb along the valley to the Lacets de Montvernier. This famous stretch of road features 18 hairpin bends, 17 of which take place within 2 km, making it a cyclist's dream. The climb is quite short (3.4 km). Once at the top, it's time for the thrill – turn around and enjoy the first proper descent of the journey. Arrive at the valley floor, then cycle back to the small town of La Chambre. Be sure to eat a hearty meal tonight to fuel up for the challenges ahead. Cycling distance: approximately 100 km / 65 miles Elevation gain: 950m / 3120ft Feature climb/s: Lacets de Montvernier
Day 4Le Bourg d'Oisans
Today is the 'Queen stage'. Cycle up into the Alps and the first of the legendary 'hors category' climbs in professional cycling – the Col de la Croix de Fer (Pass of the Iron Cross). Reaching an altitude of 2067m/6780ft after almost 30 km/18 miles (with average gradient of 5.5%), this is a long climb but well worth it. The reward is a beautiful, ever changing view – small villages, forested roads, green alpine meadows dotted with stone shepherd's huts, and finally the rocky outcrops of the Col itself. After the obligatory photo, rest at the cafe and a make the very short side trip to the Col du Glandon. Then enjoy a beautiful descent past lakes to the cycling mecca of Le Bourg d'Oisans. Cycling distance: approximately 80 km / 50 miles Elevation gain: 2400m / 7875ft Feature climb/s: Croix de Fer, Col du Glandon
Day 5Le Bourg d'Oisans
Today a highly recommended cycling challenge awaits. This journey leads to the 21 hairpins of the most famous climb in cycling, the Alpe d'Huez. While the record for this 13.8 km/8 mile ascent is an incredible 36 minutes, rest assured you are free to make the climb at a much more relaxed pace. Don’t forget to check out the names of the legendary cyclists on each hairpin, from Coppi and Armstrong at the bottom, to Hinault (you’re half way!) and Pantani right near the top. Descend back through the hairpins into Le Bourg d'Oisans and enjoy a relaxing afternoon in one of the many cafes or bars in this thriving but small holiday town. As this is a relatively short and straight ‘out and back’ ride the support vehicle will not be escorting you, but your tour leader will be available by phone in the unlikely event that you require them. Cycling distance: approximately 30 km / 19 miles Elevation gain: 1250m / 4100ft Feature climb/s: Alpe d'Huez
Day 6Briancon
This is the second of the big days of climbing. Follow the Route Nationale 91 from Le Bourg upward to the Col du Lautaret (2058 m/6750ft). While it's not a steep road overall (its average gradient is 3.8%), it is an almost 35 km climb that will be sure to take the sting out of your legs. Once at the Col du Lautaret, turn off towards the narrow winding road that takes you to the highest point of the trip – the legendary Col du Galibier (2645 m). This section has been likened to a 'ride into the sky' by a professional cyclist. The views from the Col are truly stunning. From here, enjoy on of the longest descents in the Alps, a 35 km/22 mile downhill cruise into the historical fortified city of Briancon. At an altitude of 1326 metres/4350ft, this is the highest city in France. Cycling distance: approximately 85 km / 53 miles Elevation gain: 2470m / 8100ft Feature climb/s: Col du Lautaret, Col du Galibier
Day 7Chambery
The final day of cycling is a special one. Climb up the sublime Col d'Izoard loop (2361m/7750ft). Starting out immediately out from Briancon, the ride rises gradually along a quiet road shadowed by larch trees and snow-capped mountains before hitting the higher forested slopes when the gradient starts to kick in. The trees obscure the views but offer welcome shade in the hot summer months. The climb opens out beyond the tree-line into the bare rock near the summit. Passing by the Refuge Napoleon (and the occasional marmot) you soon arrive at the top, where a tall stone tower marks the summit of the final climb. Take some time to enjoy the view (you can see Italy from here). If we have time, descend the other side for 2kms to ride back up through the infamous barren Casse Déserte - a true highlight in cycling scenery - then head down the same road through tight switchbacks and long straight descents back to Briancon. After a quick drink break, drive north back to Chambery (approx. 4 hours). Celebrate your achievements – perhaps over dinner with fellow travellers. Cycling distance: approx. 41 km / 25 miles Elevation gain: 1380m / 4530ft Feature climb/s: Col d'Izoard
Day 8Chambery
Your cycling adventure comes to an end. Those keen to stay on and do more riding can consult their leader. Choice local climbs include the challenging Dent Du Chat and the nearby Mont Revard.

Trip title

Cycle the French Alps: Road Cycling

Trip code

AMXA

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Validity: 01 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2019
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Introduction

Welcome to road cycling – the Intrepid way. This trip takes you from the Jura Mountains to the mighty French Alps as you ride through the same terrain as the Tour de France. Earn your bragging rights as you conquer the legendary climbs of the Croix de Fer, Col d’Izoard and the true legends of the Col du Galibier and the iconic 21 hairpins of the Alpe d'Huez. This is a trip to test your cycling skills but rewards you with sublime Alpine vistas, thrilling downhills, great company and an excuse to eat as much French pastry as you want!

Style

Original

Themes

Active Adventures,Cycling

Transport

Bicycle,Support vehicle,Bus

Physical Rating

4

Physical preparation

This is an active trip, requiring a reasonable level of physical fitness. While there is flexibility in the distance you can elect to cycle each day, the cycling on this trip can be challenging at times, with the terrain and weather adding to the physical effort. As a general rule, the more preparation you can do for this type of trip, the more you will enjoy it. Prepare for the trip by doing aerobic type exercises before travelling - jogging or swimming are some options, though cycling is best. If possible take some extended day rides before travelling and, if possible, try and include routes that contain plenty of ascents – the longer the better! The more you are physically prepared for the riding on this trip the more you will be able to enjoy the wonderful cycling in the French Alps. Note that an enthusiasm for bike riding and adventure is essential!! This trip involves some long cycling distances (up to 100kms) and has a significant amount of uphill cycling – the maximum day being 2500m. The total cycling distance is approx. 400 kms with almost 10,000m of climbing. CYCLING DISTANCES: You will cycle around 30-100km/day. Information listed in the itinerary are a guide to the approximate distances cycled each day. However, this may vary depending on the physical capabilities of the group, and changes to local conditions. For safety reasons we only cycle during daylight hours, so there may be some early morning starts. We take regular rest breaks throughout cycling days.

Joining point

Hotel Campanile

Joining point description

Hotel Campanile is located 4 km from the centre of Aix-les-Bains. The hotel has a restaurant and terrace on site as well as free Wi-Fi. The modern rooms are equipped with tv, tea and coffee making facilities and a private bathroom.

Joining point instructions

Aix-les-Bains can be easily accessed by train from either Paris or Geneva. FROM GENEVA: take the TER96642 (towards Valence-Ville) from Geneva's main Cornavin train station and get off at Gare d'Aix les Bains-Le Revard. This journey takes approximately 1hr and has no changes. See http://www.sncf.com/en/passengers for further details. FROM PARIS: The quickest option is the fast TGV train from Paris Gare de Lyon to Gare d'Aix les Bains-Le Revard which takes approx. 3.5hrs. See http://www.sncf.com/en/passengers for further details. From the train station we recommend taking a taxi. The drive will take around 5 minutes and you can expect to pay between EUR5-10 depending on the time of day you arrive.

Finish point

Hotel des Princes

Finish point description

Hotel des Princes is located in Chambery's Old Town, near the le Château des Ducs de Savoie. It offers air-conditioned rooms with satellite TV and free WiFi.

Finish point instructions

TO GENEVA - TRAIN: There are direct trains (TER 96613) to Geneva's centrally located Cornavin Station that take approx. 1hr 20mins. A second class ticket should cost you around EUR28. To book, see https://en.voyages-sncf.com/en From here you can either take a train (7mins, EUR7) or bus #5 (25mins, CHF3) to the airport. TO GENEVA - BUS: Aerocar bus lines operate a direct coach service from Chambery (Gare Routiere) to Geneva Airport that departs 5 times a day, taking approximately 1hr 15mins and costing EUR35. Please note that bicycles are classified as 'non-standard' luggage and incur an extra surcharge of EUR16. See http://www.aerocar.fr/en/ for more detail. TO PARIS - TRAIN: TGV trains run direct from Chambery to Paris' Gare de Lyon station several times a day, taking between 2hr 55mins and 3hrs 35mins. Prices usually range from EUR50-150 depending on how far ahead you book and the time of day you travel. TO PARIS - BUS: While buses from Chambery to Paris are a cheaper option (approx. EUR 20-30) we don't recommend them due to the amount of time they take, usually 10-11hrs.

Important information

1. Bicycle hire is not included in your trip price. Please advise us if you wish to hire a bike at time of booking and provide your height so we can organise a suitable sized bike. See the Transport section of the Essential Trip Information for bike details. 2. Bike helmets are compulsory on this trip. We are unable to hire bike helmets locally so please ensure you bring your own bike helmet from home. 3. On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a back marker where needed). Where the vehicle cannot travel directly with the cyclists (e.g. a cyclists-only path) your leader will assign a person from the group to act as a back marker. 4. A Single Supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information.

Group leader

All Intrepid cycling group trips are accompanied by one of our cycling leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Our cycling leaders are all passionate cyclists, as you’d expect, but they also go through some pretty rigorous cycle-trip specific training. Each one has undergone on-road training and supervision and knows how to do safety checks, basic repairs and emergency first-aid. And at the end of the day they’re still regular Intrepid leaders, which means they will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

Safety

We take safety seriously on all our trips, but cycling tours deserve a few special considerations. HELMETS: Helmets are compulsory and we do not allow anyone to ride without one (including our own staff!). You can bring your own, or purchase one that meets international safety standards on the ground. Your leader can assist with this. FOOTWEAR For safety reasons we strongly recommend that you wear shoes that cover the toes while riding. SUPPORT VEHICLES We usually have a support vehicle following us if first-aid is ever necessary or people are feeling too tired to ride. BIKES: Our bikes are serviced regularly, and we get them checked by experts before each and every trip. Should you choose to bring your own please note that while we are happy to assist where we can with repairs you are responsible for the safety and suitability of your own equipment. TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD: Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware! There are times when traffic conditions make sections of our planned riding route unsafe – in this instance we will use the support vehicle. WEATHER Due to inclement weather posing a serious health or safety issue there may be times when we use the support vehicle instead of doing the planned ride. We will endeavour to reroute if possible but at times may have to cancel the planned ride.

Visas

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time. EUROPEAN COUNTRIES ON THIS TRIP (EXCLUDING RUSSIA, UKRAINE, TURKEY): Australia: No - Not required Belgium: No - Not required Canada: No - Not required Germany: No - Not required Ireland: No - Not required Netherlands: No - Not required New Zealand: No - Not required South Africa: Yes - in advance Switzerland: No - Not required UK: No - Not required USA: No - Not required

Why we love it

Experience the sublime Lacets de Montvernier – often described as one of the most beautiful roads in professional cycling

Is this trip right for you

Although this is a group trip, the differing levels of cycling fitness are more pronounced in the mountains. There will be times when you are likely to be riding on your own (but safe in the knowledge that the support vehicle and group leader are never too far away). We provide downloadable files for your GPS device to make sure you never get lost. While the cycling distances on this trip vary in distance, the terrain of the French Alps is naturally mountainous so you’ll need to be reasonably fit (especially given the warm climate of the summer months).  On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a back marker where needed). Where the vehicle cannot travel directly with the cyclists (e.g. a cyclists-only path) your leader will assign a person from the group to act as a back marker. The route is designed so you can cycle from hotel to hotel. The support vehicle will always be available in case you need to take a break for an hour (or a day) but only has space for 7 people. As the riding is on sealed roads there are no technical cycling skills required. But some downhill practice is a great idea before your trip. There’s the possibility of a few hiccups along the way – perhaps a puncture here and there – but there’s no doubt this is an incredibly rewarding adventure. The weather in this region varies seasonally. Be prepared to get sweaty, and for the occasional rainstorm which may require a change of plans. French summers can get very hot, especially in the mountains. Be sure to use adequate sun protection and drink plenty of water.

Health

All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared. CYCLING HEALTH Riding across unfamiliar terrain in weather conditions that you are not used to can potentially lead to cycling-related health issues. By far the most common issue is that of dehydration. While this is most common on warm/hot days, it is also a factor during cold weather as you continue to sweat. Research shows most riders will typically lose 500-1000 ml of water per hour. While we schedule in frequent rest stops and encourage you to refill water bottles at every opportunity, it is the responsibility of each cyclist to monitor their own levels of hydration while cycling. The key point to remember is not to wait until you’re thirsty but to drink small amounts regularly from the start of your ride. Adding an electrolyte solution can aid in replenishing the salts/electrolytes lost through physical activity. This is especially important on days when you are drinking a lot of the bike.

Money matters

The Euro (EUR) is the official currency in the following destinations: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain. All other European countries still have their own national currencies. The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or Bancomat as they are often referred to. Check with your bank in advance concerning the suitability of your account / card overseas and any international fees that will be applied. You can obtain local currencies easily at airports and major train stations, but be sure to bring some extra emergency cash in a major currency that can be exchanged if the ATMs are not functioning. When leaving home don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it is stolen. Keep this in a safe place. Credit cards are not always accepted in stores and restaurants. While travelling we recommend you carry some cash to pay for restaurant bills and other services. Change can be difficult to obtain so throughout the day, try to gain as many small denominations as you can. You might be advised to take some of your money as travellers' cheques from a major financial institute. Travellers' cheques have security advantages, however please be aware that the exchange rates may not be favourable and that it is difficult to change Travellers' cheques in most countries. Be particularly aware that after hours money exchanges and hotel receptions carry high commissions- sometimes up to 20%. For money safety we recommend that you carry your cash and credit cards in a secure money belt or pouch concealed under your clothes. SPENDING MONEY: When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document). TIPPING If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers: In local markets and basic restaurants and cafes - round your bill up to the nearest €1. In more up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill. Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest €2-€3 per day for local guides. You may also have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest €1-€2 per day for drivers. You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline €4-€5 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service. In total, we recommend you budget approx €5-€10 per day of your trip to cover tipping. Please note that you are responsible for your own visas and taxes. Please have these amounts available prior to departing the various countries. Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less. BUDGET FOR MEALS NOT INCLUDED: EUR 200 CONTINGENCY FUNDS: We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved.

What to take

PACKING On this trip you must pack as lightly as possible because you will be expected to carry your own bag and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we strongly recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb. Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps to accommodate the cobbled streets, uneven surfaces, stairs and steps you are lightly to encounter while carrying your luggage. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips. You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.

A couple of rules

Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information. While we do accept children under 18 on this trip we do have a couple of rules. From a safety and enjoyment perspective they should be confident and competent cyclists capable of completing the riding part of the itinerary without additional assistance. Minors under 18 years old must always be accompanied by a parent/legal guardian. This includes when the minor rides in the support vehicle.

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

Emergency contact

In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Europe Operations Team can be reached on the number listed below: For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/ While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager. You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete. Peak Europe: +49 8677 9186 657

Responsible travel

As part of our commitment to responsible travel a portion of your trip cost will be donated to Bicycles for Humanity – a not-for-profit, volunteer run, grass roots charity organisation focused on the alleviation of poverty through sustainable transport – in the form of a bicycle. In the developing world a bicycle is life changing, allowing access to health care, education, economic opportunity and wider community. A bicycle means you can travel twice as far, twice as fast and carry four times the load, providing a profound and lasting positive effect for the individual as well as their community. Bicycles For Humanity collect donated (used or new) bicycles, repair them if needed and send them to Africa. Along with donated bicycles each of the 40 ft shipping containers that Bicycles For Humanity sends becomes a bike workshop, providing employment, skills, training, business, opportunity and economic development for the community in which it's placed, helping the community to move away from aid dependence. For more information see http://www.bicyclesforhumanity.com/ We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller. DRESS CODE In general, there are few dress restrictions in Europe. Note when visiting churches, monasteries or other religious sites modest dress is required - shorts or skimpy tops may not be permitted, for both men and women.

The Intrepid Foundation

Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation are matched by Intrepid Group dollar for dollar (up to AU$10,000 per donor and AU$500,000 in total each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And because Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/ Intrepid and Bicycles For Humanity At Intrepid, we know a bike can changes lives. Provide a person in the developing world with a bike and it means they can travel twice as far, twice as fast and carry four times the load. The extra mobility and distance gained from using a bike can make all the difference when seeking medicine or trying to find work. This is why we’ve partnered with Bicycles for Humanity to help provide bikes to communities in Namibia, Africa. Bicycles for Humanity takes bikes we no longer use, repairs them, packs them up and ships them off to the African continent in 40-foot containers. These containers then become bike workshops on arrival – a place of employment, education and business for the communities who receive them. Each of these Bicycle Empowerment Centres are self-sustaining, micro-financed small businesses and a massive step towards financial independence for the community. We also help by donating a portion of each booking of our cycling trips directly to Bicycles for Humanity, as well as using our network of contacts to bring greater exposure to the amazing work the volunteer team do every day at Bicycles for Humanity. We are also proud to have Bicycles for Humanity as a partner of The Intrepid Foundation, where our financial support will go directly towards purchasing containers and shipping bikes to Namibia. Every donation to The Intrepid Foundation from our travellers is matched by us dollar for dollar. To find out more or to make a donation, visit The Intrepid Foundation website.

Accommodation notes

OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances. TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on our different trips than your own. CHECK-IN TIME Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination. PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights. FACILITIES Your accommodation may not always have private en suite facilities or air-conditioning. European hotels generally don't provide kettles or fridges.

Transport notes

INCLUDED BIKES Due to the specialist nature of this trip bikes are not included on this itinerary. You can either hire a bike through us or bring your own. HIRING A BIKE THROUGH INTREPID: Bike hire can be arranged at an extra cost, please ask your agent at the time of booking. We ask for your height in order to ensure we can get the appropriately sized bike for you. If you ride regularly we strongly recommend bringing your own pedals and saddle RENTAL BIKES If you choose not to bring your own bike you can hire an appropriate bike from Intrepid. Our hire bikes are 2015 Cannondale Synapse road bikes, featuring: * Full carbon frame and fork * Mountain gearing setup - 50/34t crankset, & 11/32t cassette * Groupset – 11 speed Shimano 105 5800 (with FSA Gossamer cranks) * Brakes - rim * Wheelset – Shimano RS010 * Pedals - not included, please bring your own. For further details on specifications please see https://www.evanscycles.com/en-fr/cannondale-synapse-105-6-2015-road-bike-EV214043 Our hire bikes come in the following sizes: 51cm, 54cm, 56cm, 58cm & 61cm – please stipulate which size you require at time of booking. BRINGING YOUR OWN BIKE If you prefer to bring your own bike, you may of course bring it along. Please advise us at the time of booking if you plan to do so. Any travellers bringing their own bike should ensure they have adequate cover for loss, damage or theft under their insurance policy. All bikes are carefully transported on a specialist bike trailer but there remains a chance they can receive minor bumps or scratches when in transit – Intrepid takes no responsibility for such damage. Please keep this in mind when deciding to bring your own bike or not. BRINGING YOUR OWN BIKE Bringing your own bike has many advantages, not least the familiarity you have with it meaning one less thing to concentrate on when riding up and down the Alps. While common bike parts are readily available in many places we visit along the way, French bike shop opening hours are sporadic (almost always closed lunchtimes, Sundays and Mondays) so we recommend also bringing the following with you. • Spare rear derailleur hanger • Spare brake pads (front & rear) - disc or rim brakes • a spare spoke or two if you have non-standard wheels (e.g. Mavic) • Spare inner tubes/repair kit & pump • Battery charger if your bike has electronic gears • any specialist tools your particular bike may need (note we keep a fully stocked toolkit for Shimano parts) We strongly recommend that you have your bike fully serviced before travelling, with a focus on: • Tyre condition and wear • brake-pads • overall wheel condition, spoke tension and braking surfaces • gear and brake cables • chain and gears (wear and adjustment) • condition of your bar-tape • pedals and cleats While our leaders are happy to perform basic repairs they are not trained mechanics so it is your responsibility to ensure your bike is in perfect working order - we hate for you to be miss out on any rides because you bike isn’t in perfect condition! While there are occasions we use local public transport such as trains, buses or taxis to cover long distances or attend non-cycling activities we predominantly use the bicycle as our main form of transport. On most of our trips we also have a support vehicle as secondary transport for travelling longer distances, avoiding hazardous areas to cycle, as a backup should we have any incidents and of course an option for those that would prefer not to cycle for an hour or a day. These vehicles range from a minivan in most regions up to a full sized coach or overland vehicle in others. Your main luggage is transported in the support vehicle

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php

Your fellow travellers

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. SINGLE TRAVELLERS: Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis. SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: A single supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information.

Itinerary disclaimer

ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

Accommodation

Hotel (7 nights)

Map

Itinerary

Day 1Aix-les-Bains
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at around 6 pm today. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where and when exactly it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If you arrive early, check out the Roman ruins, Temple of Diana, the town hall or the belle Chateau de la Roche du Roi. If you have brought your own bike it is a good idea to assemble it today to ensure that everything is in perfect working order. There are a number of bike shops in Aix (and nearby Chambery) but please note most close around 5pm on a Saturday and don't open Sundays or Mondays. Please see the Transport section of our Essential Trip Information notes for details of how you can make your own way to Aix-le-Bains from either Paris or Geneva. For those that have brought their own GPS device (e.g. Garmin) we can upload each day's ride directly to your device so that you never get lost no matter how fast (or slow) you are.
Day 2Aix-les-Bains
Set off on your first ride. Start by finding your cycling legs on a gentle ride that loops around Lake Bourget. This route traces the shadows of the Jura Mountains on one side and the towering Bauges Massif on the other. Along the way, pass the Abbaye d'Hautecombe, a 12th-century royal burial site, and come full circle back to Aix-les-Bains. Those looking for a stronger challenge can instead cycle up the snaking road to the nearby Col du Grand Colombier, which makes for a fairly rigorous ride (97km/60 mile long; 1850m/6070ft elevation gain). Note that this ride is unsupported; your leader stays with lake loop ride. Cycling distance: 55 km / 34 miles Elevation gain: 900m / 2950ft
Day 3La Chambre
Experience the sublime Lacets de Montvernier, which is often described as one of the most beautiful roads in professional cycling. Today's ride is the longest of the trip, but also one of the flattest. Start in a southeast direction, cycling through Chambery. Then follow the Isere River before turning towards the Alps themselves and making the gentle climb along the valley to the Lacets de Montvernier. This famous stretch of road features 18 hairpin bends, 17 of which take place within 2 km, making it a cyclist's dream. The climb is quite short (3.4 km). Once at the top, it's time for the thrill – turn around and enjoy the first proper descent of the journey. Arrive at the valley floor, then cycle back to the small town of La Chambre. Be sure to eat a hearty meal tonight to fuel up for the challenges ahead. Cycling distance: approximately 100 km / 65 miles Elevation gain: 950m / 3120ft Feature climb/s: Lacets de Montvernier
Day 4Le Bourg d'Oisans
Today is the 'Queen stage'. Cycle up into the Alps and the first of the legendary 'hors category' climbs in professional cycling – the Col de la Croix de Fer (Pass of the Iron Cross). Reaching an altitude of 2067m/6780ft after almost 30 km/18 miles (with average gradient of 5.5%), this is a long climb but well worth it. The reward is a beautiful, ever changing view – small villages, forested roads, green alpine meadows dotted with stone shepherd's huts, and finally the rocky outcrops of the Col itself. After the obligatory photo, rest at the cafe and a make the very short side trip to the Col du Glandon. Then enjoy a beautiful descent past lakes to the cycling mecca of Le Bourg d'Oisans. Cycling distance: approximately 80 km / 50 miles Elevation gain: 2400m / 7875ft Feature climb/s: Croix de Fer, Col du Glandon
Day 5Le Bourg d'Oisans
Today a highly recommended cycling challenge awaits. This journey leads to the 21 hairpins of the most famous climb in cycling, the Alpe d'Huez. While the record for this 13.8 km/8 mile ascent is an incredible 36 minutes, rest assured you are free to make the climb at a much more relaxed pace. Don’t forget to check out the names of the legendary cyclists on each hairpin, from Coppi and Armstrong at the bottom, to Hinault (you’re half way!) and Pantani right near the top. Descend back through the hairpins into Le Bourg d'Oisans and enjoy a relaxing afternoon in one of the many cafes or bars in this thriving but small holiday town. As this is a relatively short and straight ‘out and back’ ride the support vehicle will not be escorting you, but your tour leader will be available by phone in the unlikely event that you require them. Cycling distance: approximately 30 km / 19 miles Elevation gain: 1250m / 4100ft Feature climb/s: Alpe d'Huez
Day 6Briancon
This is the second of the big days of climbing. Follow the Route Nationale 91 from Le Bourg upward to the Col du Lautaret (2058 m/6750ft). While it's not a steep road overall (its average gradient is 3.8%), it is an almost 35 km climb that will be sure to take the sting out of your legs. Once at the Col du Lautaret, turn off towards the narrow winding road that takes you to the highest point of the trip – the legendary Col du Galibier (2645 m). This section has been likened to a 'ride into the sky' by a professional cyclist. The views from the Col are truly stunning. From here, enjoy on of the longest descents in the Alps, a 35 km/22 mile downhill cruise into the historical fortified city of Briancon. At an altitude of 1326 metres/4350ft, this is the highest city in France. Cycling distance: approximately 85 km / 53 miles Elevation gain: 2470m / 8100ft Feature climb/s: Col du Lautaret, Col du Galibier
Day 7Chambery
The final day of cycling is a special one. Climb up the sublime Col d'Izoard loop (2361m/7750ft). Starting out immediately out from Briancon, the ride rises gradually along a quiet road shadowed by larch trees and snow-capped mountains before hitting the higher forested slopes when the gradient starts to kick in. The trees obscure the views but offer welcome shade in the hot summer months. The climb opens out beyond the tree-line into the bare rock near the summit. Passing by the Refuge Napoleon (and the occasional marmot) you soon arrive at the top, where a tall stone tower marks the summit of the final climb. Take some time to enjoy the view (you can see Italy from here). If we have time, descend the other side for 2kms to ride back up through the infamous barren Casse Déserte - a true highlight in cycling scenery - then head down the same road through tight switchbacks and long straight descents back to Briancon. After a quick drink break, drive north back to Chambery (approx. 4 hours). Celebrate your achievements – perhaps over dinner with fellow travellers. Cycling distance: approx. 41 km / 25 miles Elevation gain: 1380m / 4530ft Feature climb/s: Col d'Izoard
Day 8Chambery
Your cycling adventure comes to an end. Those keen to stay on and do more riding can consult their leader. Choice local climbs include the challenging Dent Du Chat and the nearby Mont Revard.

Trip title

Cycle the French Alps: Road Cycling

Trip code

AMXA

Validity

Validity: 01 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2019

Introduction

Welcome to road cycling – the Intrepid way. This trip takes you from the Jura Mountains to the mighty French Alps as you ride through the same terrain as the Tour de France. Earn your bragging rights as you conquer the legendary climbs of the Croix de Fer, Col d’Izoard and the true legends of the Col du Galibier and the iconic 21 hairpins of the Alpe d'Huez. This is a trip to test your cycling skills but rewards you with sublime Alpine vistas, thrilling downhills, great company and an excuse to eat as much French pastry as you want!

Style

Original

Themes

Active Adventures,Cycling

Transport

Bicycle,Support vehicle,Bus

Physical Rating

4

Physical preparation

This is an active trip, requiring a reasonable level of physical fitness. While there is flexibility in the distance you can elect to cycle each day, the cycling on this trip can be challenging at times, with the terrain and weather adding to the physical effort. As a general rule, the more preparation you can do for this type of trip, the more you will enjoy it. Prepare for the trip by doing aerobic type exercises before travelling - jogging or swimming are some options, though cycling is best. If possible take some extended day rides before travelling and, if possible, try and include routes that contain plenty of ascents – the longer the better! The more you are physically prepared for the riding on this trip the more you will be able to enjoy the wonderful cycling in the French Alps. Note that an enthusiasm for bike riding and adventure is essential!! This trip involves some long cycling distances (up to 100kms) and has a significant amount of uphill cycling – the maximum day being 2500m. The total cycling distance is approx. 400 kms with almost 10,000m of climbing. CYCLING DISTANCES: You will cycle around 30-100km/day. Information listed in the itinerary are a guide to the approximate distances cycled each day. However, this may vary depending on the physical capabilities of the group, and changes to local conditions. For safety reasons we only cycle during daylight hours, so there may be some early morning starts. We take regular rest breaks throughout cycling days.

Joining point

Hotel Campanile

Joining point description

Hotel Campanile is located 4 km from the centre of Aix-les-Bains. The hotel has a restaurant and terrace on site as well as free Wi-Fi. The modern rooms are equipped with tv, tea and coffee making facilities and a private bathroom.

Joining point instructions

Aix-les-Bains can be easily accessed by train from either Paris or Geneva. FROM GENEVA: take the TER96642 (towards Valence-Ville) from Geneva's main Cornavin train station and get off at Gare d'Aix les Bains-Le Revard. This journey takes approximately 1hr and has no changes. See http://www.sncf.com/en/passengers for further details. FROM PARIS: The quickest option is the fast TGV train from Paris Gare de Lyon to Gare d'Aix les Bains-Le Revard which takes approx. 3.5hrs. See http://www.sncf.com/en/passengers for further details. From the train station we recommend taking a taxi. The drive will take around 5 minutes and you can expect to pay between EUR5-10 depending on the time of day you arrive.

Finish point

Hotel des Princes

Finish point description

Hotel des Princes is located in Chambery's Old Town, near the le Château des Ducs de Savoie. It offers air-conditioned rooms with satellite TV and free WiFi.

Finish point instructions

TO GENEVA - TRAIN: There are direct trains (TER 96613) to Geneva's centrally located Cornavin Station that take approx. 1hr 20mins. A second class ticket should cost you around EUR28. To book, see https://en.voyages-sncf.com/en From here you can either take a train (7mins, EUR7) or bus #5 (25mins, CHF3) to the airport. TO GENEVA - BUS: Aerocar bus lines operate a direct coach service from Chambery (Gare Routiere) to Geneva Airport that departs 5 times a day, taking approximately 1hr 15mins and costing EUR35. Please note that bicycles are classified as 'non-standard' luggage and incur an extra surcharge of EUR16. See http://www.aerocar.fr/en/ for more detail. TO PARIS - TRAIN: TGV trains run direct from Chambery to Paris' Gare de Lyon station several times a day, taking between 2hr 55mins and 3hrs 35mins. Prices usually range from EUR50-150 depending on how far ahead you book and the time of day you travel. TO PARIS - BUS: While buses from Chambery to Paris are a cheaper option (approx. EUR 20-30) we don't recommend them due to the amount of time they take, usually 10-11hrs.

Important information

1. Bicycle hire is not included in your trip price. Please advise us if you wish to hire a bike at time of booking and provide your height so we can organise a suitable sized bike. See the Transport section of the Essential Trip Information for bike details. 2. Bike helmets are compulsory on this trip. We are unable to hire bike helmets locally so please ensure you bring your own bike helmet from home. 3. On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a back marker where needed). Where the vehicle cannot travel directly with the cyclists (e.g. a cyclists-only path) your leader will assign a person from the group to act as a back marker. 4. A Single Supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information.

Group leader

All Intrepid cycling group trips are accompanied by one of our cycling leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Our cycling leaders are all passionate cyclists, as you’d expect, but they also go through some pretty rigorous cycle-trip specific training. Each one has undergone on-road training and supervision and knows how to do safety checks, basic repairs and emergency first-aid. And at the end of the day they’re still regular Intrepid leaders, which means they will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

Safety

We take safety seriously on all our trips, but cycling tours deserve a few special considerations. HELMETS: Helmets are compulsory and we do not allow anyone to ride without one (including our own staff!). You can bring your own, or purchase one that meets international safety standards on the ground. Your leader can assist with this. FOOTWEAR For safety reasons we strongly recommend that you wear shoes that cover the toes while riding. SUPPORT VEHICLES We usually have a support vehicle following us if first-aid is ever necessary or people are feeling too tired to ride. BIKES: Our bikes are serviced regularly, and we get them checked by experts before each and every trip. Should you choose to bring your own please note that while we are happy to assist where we can with repairs you are responsible for the safety and suitability of your own equipment. TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD: Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware! There are times when traffic conditions make sections of our planned riding route unsafe – in this instance we will use the support vehicle. WEATHER Due to inclement weather posing a serious health or safety issue there may be times when we use the support vehicle instead of doing the planned ride. We will endeavour to reroute if possible but at times may have to cancel the planned ride.

Visas

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time. EUROPEAN COUNTRIES ON THIS TRIP (EXCLUDING RUSSIA, UKRAINE, TURKEY): Australia: No - Not required Belgium: No - Not required Canada: No - Not required Germany: No - Not required Ireland: No - Not required Netherlands: No - Not required New Zealand: No - Not required South Africa: Yes - in advance Switzerland: No - Not required UK: No - Not required USA: No - Not required

Why we love it

Experience the sublime Lacets de Montvernier – often described as one of the most beautiful roads in professional cycling

Is this trip right for you

Although this is a group trip, the differing levels of cycling fitness are more pronounced in the mountains. There will be times when you are likely to be riding on your own (but safe in the knowledge that the support vehicle and group leader are never too far away). We provide downloadable files for your GPS device to make sure you never get lost. While the cycling distances on this trip vary in distance, the terrain of the French Alps is naturally mountainous so you’ll need to be reasonably fit (especially given the warm climate of the summer months).  On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a back marker where needed). Where the vehicle cannot travel directly with the cyclists (e.g. a cyclists-only path) your leader will assign a person from the group to act as a back marker. The route is designed so you can cycle from hotel to hotel. The support vehicle will always be available in case you need to take a break for an hour (or a day) but only has space for 7 people. As the riding is on sealed roads there are no technical cycling skills required. But some downhill practice is a great idea before your trip. There’s the possibility of a few hiccups along the way – perhaps a puncture here and there – but there’s no doubt this is an incredibly rewarding adventure. The weather in this region varies seasonally. Be prepared to get sweaty, and for the occasional rainstorm which may require a change of plans. French summers can get very hot, especially in the mountains. Be sure to use adequate sun protection and drink plenty of water.

Health

All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared. CYCLING HEALTH Riding across unfamiliar terrain in weather conditions that you are not used to can potentially lead to cycling-related health issues. By far the most common issue is that of dehydration. While this is most common on warm/hot days, it is also a factor during cold weather as you continue to sweat. Research shows most riders will typically lose 500-1000 ml of water per hour. While we schedule in frequent rest stops and encourage you to refill water bottles at every opportunity, it is the responsibility of each cyclist to monitor their own levels of hydration while cycling. The key point to remember is not to wait until you’re thirsty but to drink small amounts regularly from the start of your ride. Adding an electrolyte solution can aid in replenishing the salts/electrolytes lost through physical activity. This is especially important on days when you are drinking a lot of the bike.

Money matters

The Euro (EUR) is the official currency in the following destinations: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain. All other European countries still have their own national currencies. The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or Bancomat as they are often referred to. Check with your bank in advance concerning the suitability of your account / card overseas and any international fees that will be applied. You can obtain local currencies easily at airports and major train stations, but be sure to bring some extra emergency cash in a major currency that can be exchanged if the ATMs are not functioning. When leaving home don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it is stolen. Keep this in a safe place. Credit cards are not always accepted in stores and restaurants. While travelling we recommend you carry some cash to pay for restaurant bills and other services. Change can be difficult to obtain so throughout the day, try to gain as many small denominations as you can. You might be advised to take some of your money as travellers' cheques from a major financial institute. Travellers' cheques have security advantages, however please be aware that the exchange rates may not be favourable and that it is difficult to change Travellers' cheques in most countries. Be particularly aware that after hours money exchanges and hotel receptions carry high commissions- sometimes up to 20%. For money safety we recommend that you carry your cash and credit cards in a secure money belt or pouch concealed under your clothes. SPENDING MONEY: When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document). TIPPING If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers: In local markets and basic restaurants and cafes - round your bill up to the nearest €1. In more up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill. Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest €2-€3 per day for local guides. You may also have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest €1-€2 per day for drivers. You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline €4-€5 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service. In total, we recommend you budget approx €5-€10 per day of your trip to cover tipping. Please note that you are responsible for your own visas and taxes. Please have these amounts available prior to departing the various countries. Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less. BUDGET FOR MEALS NOT INCLUDED: EUR 200 CONTINGENCY FUNDS: We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved.

What to take

PACKING On this trip you must pack as lightly as possible because you will be expected to carry your own bag and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we strongly recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb. Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps to accommodate the cobbled streets, uneven surfaces, stairs and steps you are lightly to encounter while carrying your luggage. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips. You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.

A couple of rules

Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information. While we do accept children under 18 on this trip we do have a couple of rules. From a safety and enjoyment perspective they should be confident and competent cyclists capable of completing the riding part of the itinerary without additional assistance. Minors under 18 years old must always be accompanied by a parent/legal guardian. This includes when the minor rides in the support vehicle.

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

Emergency contact

In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Europe Operations Team can be reached on the number listed below: For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/ While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager. You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete. Peak Europe: +49 8677 9186 657

Responsible travel

As part of our commitment to responsible travel a portion of your trip cost will be donated to Bicycles for Humanity – a not-for-profit, volunteer run, grass roots charity organisation focused on the alleviation of poverty through sustainable transport – in the form of a bicycle. In the developing world a bicycle is life changing, allowing access to health care, education, economic opportunity and wider community. A bicycle means you can travel twice as far, twice as fast and carry four times the load, providing a profound and lasting positive effect for the individual as well as their community. Bicycles For Humanity collect donated (used or new) bicycles, repair them if needed and send them to Africa. Along with donated bicycles each of the 40 ft shipping containers that Bicycles For Humanity sends becomes a bike workshop, providing employment, skills, training, business, opportunity and economic development for the community in which it's placed, helping the community to move away from aid dependence. For more information see http://www.bicyclesforhumanity.com/ We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller. DRESS CODE In general, there are few dress restrictions in Europe. Note when visiting churches, monasteries or other religious sites modest dress is required - shorts or skimpy tops may not be permitted, for both men and women.

The Intrepid Foundation

Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation are matched by Intrepid Group dollar for dollar (up to AU$10,000 per donor and AU$500,000 in total each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And because Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/ Intrepid and Bicycles For Humanity At Intrepid, we know a bike can changes lives. Provide a person in the developing world with a bike and it means they can travel twice as far, twice as fast and carry four times the load. The extra mobility and distance gained from using a bike can make all the difference when seeking medicine or trying to find work. This is why we’ve partnered with Bicycles for Humanity to help provide bikes to communities in Namibia, Africa. Bicycles for Humanity takes bikes we no longer use, repairs them, packs them up and ships them off to the African continent in 40-foot containers. These containers then become bike workshops on arrival – a place of employment, education and business for the communities who receive them. Each of these Bicycle Empowerment Centres are self-sustaining, micro-financed small businesses and a massive step towards financial independence for the community. We also help by donating a portion of each booking of our cycling trips directly to Bicycles for Humanity, as well as using our network of contacts to bring greater exposure to the amazing work the volunteer team do every day at Bicycles for Humanity. We are also proud to have Bicycles for Humanity as a partner of The Intrepid Foundation, where our financial support will go directly towards purchasing containers and shipping bikes to Namibia. Every donation to The Intrepid Foundation from our travellers is matched by us dollar for dollar. To find out more or to make a donation, visit The Intrepid Foundation website.

Accommodation notes

OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances. TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on our different trips than your own. CHECK-IN TIME Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination. PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights. FACILITIES Your accommodation may not always have private en suite facilities or air-conditioning. European hotels generally don't provide kettles or fridges.

Transport notes

INCLUDED BIKES Due to the specialist nature of this trip bikes are not included on this itinerary. You can either hire a bike through us or bring your own. HIRING A BIKE THROUGH INTREPID: Bike hire can be arranged at an extra cost, please ask your agent at the time of booking. We ask for your height in order to ensure we can get the appropriately sized bike for you. If you ride regularly we strongly recommend bringing your own pedals and saddle RENTAL BIKES If you choose not to bring your own bike you can hire an appropriate bike from Intrepid. Our hire bikes are 2015 Cannondale Synapse road bikes, featuring: * Full carbon frame and fork * Mountain gearing setup - 50/34t crankset, & 11/32t cassette * Groupset – 11 speed Shimano 105 5800 (with FSA Gossamer cranks) * Brakes - rim * Wheelset – Shimano RS010 * Pedals - not included, please bring your own. For further details on specifications please see https://www.evanscycles.com/en-fr/cannondale-synapse-105-6-2015-road-bike-EV214043 Our hire bikes come in the following sizes: 51cm, 54cm, 56cm, 58cm & 61cm – please stipulate which size you require at time of booking. BRINGING YOUR OWN BIKE If you prefer to bring your own bike, you may of course bring it along. Please advise us at the time of booking if you plan to do so. Any travellers bringing their own bike should ensure they have adequate cover for loss, damage or theft under their insurance policy. All bikes are carefully transported on a specialist bike trailer but there remains a chance they can receive minor bumps or scratches when in transit – Intrepid takes no responsibility for such damage. Please keep this in mind when deciding to bring your own bike or not. BRINGING YOUR OWN BIKE Bringing your own bike has many advantages, not least the familiarity you have with it meaning one less thing to concentrate on when riding up and down the Alps. While common bike parts are readily available in many places we visit along the way, French bike shop opening hours are sporadic (almost always closed lunchtimes, Sundays and Mondays) so we recommend also bringing the following with you. • Spare rear derailleur hanger • Spare brake pads (front & rear) - disc or rim brakes • a spare spoke or two if you have non-standard wheels (e.g. Mavic) • Spare inner tubes/repair kit & pump • Battery charger if your bike has electronic gears • any specialist tools your particular bike may need (note we keep a fully stocked toolkit for Shimano parts) We strongly recommend that you have your bike fully serviced before travelling, with a focus on: • Tyre condition and wear • brake-pads • overall wheel condition, spoke tension and braking surfaces • gear and brake cables • chain and gears (wear and adjustment) • condition of your bar-tape • pedals and cleats While our leaders are happy to perform basic repairs they are not trained mechanics so it is your responsibility to ensure your bike is in perfect working order - we hate for you to be miss out on any rides because you bike isn’t in perfect condition! While there are occasions we use local public transport such as trains, buses or taxis to cover long distances or attend non-cycling activities we predominantly use the bicycle as our main form of transport. On most of our trips we also have a support vehicle as secondary transport for travelling longer distances, avoiding hazardous areas to cycle, as a backup should we have any incidents and of course an option for those that would prefer not to cycle for an hour or a day. These vehicles range from a minivan in most regions up to a full sized coach or overland vehicle in others. Your main luggage is transported in the support vehicle

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php

Your fellow travellers

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. SINGLE TRAVELLERS: Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis. SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: A single supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information.

Itinerary disclaimer

ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

Accommodation

Hotel (7 nights)
Time until next start
261
days
18
hours
:
22
min
:
13
sec

Prices from

€1,735

Duration

8 days
2020

Sat, Jun 06

Sat, Jun 13

€1,735

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Overview
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Safety
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Why we love it
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Health
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A couple of rules
Feedback
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Responsible travel
The Intrepid Foundation
Accommodation notes
Transport notes
Travel insurance
Your fellow travellers
Itinerary disclaimer
Accommodation
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