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Group Cycling Holidays - The Led Trip for 2010

Some reminiscences of Patricia and Tom Moriarty

Led Trip Group - 2005

On all our other trips once you leave our base you are free of us unless you need help. On the led trips we get to come too! Apart from our sparkling company you also get the benefit of our nose for restaurants, unique knowledge of sub-e2 bottles of wine, scintillating camp-stove recipes and of course the unique camaraderie of other cyclists trying to out-eat each other... On these trips you’ll find men and women, couples and singles, of all ages and from wildly different backgrounds. Yet, without exception, the group soon gels and becomes a group of like-minded friends ‘lost in France’. Because of the nature of these groups the ‘route’ is very flexible, often a poster advertising a fete, or the prospect of another stunning day at the beach, will make us change our plans. For us these trips are the high point of the season, 2010 doubly so, and are the ones that bring people back year after year, so if you want to join this select band don’t leave it too late. To give you some idea of the priorities of the group go and have a look at the Breton Bikes Gourmet Guide... Lastly although the mileage's are not great it is very important that you are capable of them as one ‘non-cyclist’ amongst the group will greatly limit our flexibility.

CAMPING JUNE LED TRIP FOR 2010 - Saturday 5th to Saturday 12th June

As the September trip is rather more demanding than usual we'll be running a beginners tour in June this year. Based on the 'Carnac or Bust' route it will have a maximum of 30 miles or so and will be over fairly easy terrain. It's the ideal introduction for those who've never done such a thing, or who would like company on a trip.

CAMPING SEPTEMBER LED TRIP FOR 2010 - Sunday 12th to Friday 24th September

Youthful cyclists...

Well as I'll be 50 in 2010 I guess it has to be a ride to my favourite cycling area - The Pyrenees. Details are sketchy at the moment, but it'll be hard, fun and something you'll never forget - AT the moment the rough plan is as follows...

Start Toulouse - I'll probably pick a site to the south east of the town - this will cut down the first day's ride to Carcasonne to under 80 kms - be a rude awakening but it's flat (ish) and fast...

Carcasonne -> Axat ->Ax-Les -Thermes (over the Pailheres 2001m)->Tarascon (cave paintings at Neaux?)->Aulus les Bains (via Port de Lers 1517m and col d'Agnes 1579m)->Seix (via col de Latrap 1110m)->Les Bordes (pas de la Cores 1400m)->St Beat (via portet D'Aspet (1100m) and col de Menthe 1350m ). From here we may be thinking of the point where we dive for Toulouse, however if time allows we'll add 3 more cols. - Portillon 1300m, Peyresourde 1569m and the beautiful col d'Aspin 1498m one per day. The run from the mountains could be done in one very long day - but almost all downhill (120 kms...) but I'll probably allow for 2. Not too ambitious...

As always this is a very vague plan that depends on the day-today progress of the tour. The terrain varies but is frequently 'mountainous' and so the tour will be harder than usual. To give you some idea of what is involved see the record of our last adventure in the Pyrenees here

The most important thing is to remember that this is not one of those tours with lots of muscly men with shaved and oiled legs (sorry ladies) though Ian is working on it... It is very much a ride for people who are moderately fit, do a bit of cycling, but want to do one of the great rides of Europe. A typical day in the cols involves getting up early, packing up, eating a huge breakfast at the local cafe and then going straight up a col. The climb will take 2 - 3 hours which means we'll be at the top for a beer and for the compulsory photos at the col sign. Then a 20 km hurtle down to a town nestling in the hills where we camp and generally eat everything we can lay our hands on. I don't want to go on about it, but this is a ride you will never forget... Though 6 years have passed, about half the group will be made up of people who completed the ride last time, who know what it involves and yet can't wait to start again. This also the one tour where you are unlikely to put on weight - you simply cannot eat enough.

Conditions... Unlike any other tour, where we rush out to solve any problems, this will make serious physical demands on you, and because we are 500 miles from our base in Brittany, and there is no back-up vehicle. It means that in the event of illness/injury you will be essentially on-your-own. It is therefore ESSENTIAL that you have holiday insurance that will cover you for any medical attention (Europeans will be covered by the European Health Card), travel expenses, accommodation and of course compensate you for any lost holiday time. Likewise, the nature of the ride means that we will always be at the mercy of the weather. If there are blizzards at the top then we'll be at the bottom riding around, rather than over the mountain.

So be there or be square...

Cost - Because this is a 'special' the price is only 350 pounds/425 Euro, but along with your payment we would like you to donate £25 to our cosen charity – Macmillan Cancer Support. Our charity organiser (Jennie Johnston - email jennie.johnston@btinternet.com) will only be persuaded to do Pyrenean cols for gain – for a charity that is. Please contact her for details, and go see the wedsite Jennie has put up at www.justgiving.com/Pyrenees2010-BB

A view from 2004's led trip to the Auvergne

 

DISCLAIMER!

Only you can judge how fit you are. Please don’t assume a level of fitness when you haven’t taken any exercise for years - try a few rides at the maximum distance before you come. Remember that if in doubt choose an easy route. Please note the distances, don’t book a 30+ mile per day route if you don’t normally ride a bike, or an easy route if you’ll get bored... As a guide most beginners average around 8 mph and more experienced up to 12 mph. Thus a 25 mile ride will take around 3 hours. It’s also worth bearing in mind that if you choose a route at the limit of your ability you’ll have nothing in reserve if you get lost! On the other hand regular cyclists, even only a few miles a day, should have no problem with any of the routes. If you want harder cycling then by combining routes we can give you up to 80 miles a day.

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