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Holiday Overview

Highlights

  • Ride the famous Col du Galibier and Col de l`Izoard
  • Cycle the Cime de la Bonette - Europe`s highest paved road
  • Experience several Tour de France mountain stages
  • The ultimate Alpine challenge for road cycling enthusiasts

This brilliant road cycling holiday completes a classic journey across the heart of the French Alps, via the 'Route des Grandes Alpes'. It is undoubtedly one of the world's great cycle tours! Taking in some of the most famous Tour de France climbs, such as the Roselend, the Iseran, the Galibier and the Izoard, we also cycle over the Cime de la Bonette (2802m), a contender for Europe's highest paved road. At the beginning and end of this memorable cycle ride, we deviate in a couple of places from the main route, to avoid potentially busy stretches of road and to sample instead some excellent sections of quiet country roads. Involving some 16,000 metres of ascent and descent, through the most spectacular scenery in the French Alps, this is a real challenge. This Alpine road cycling holiday is surely a 'must do in a lifetime' ride for 'sportive' riders and cycling enthusiasts alike. It is also now very accessible, thanks to the choice of low cost flights which operate into Geneva and out of Nice.

Is this holiday for you?

ROAD CYCLING. Our epic cycling journey from Geneva, through the Alps to the Mediterranean ranks amongst the world's greats. With 16,000 metres of ascent and descent over more than 700 kilometres distance cycled, it is a real challenge. But, with the gradient on most of the climbs averaging out between 6 and 8 percent only, it's easy to take your time and spin. These climbs are, however, long and unyielding, followed by descents that are often sinuous and always fast. This is a supported ride - at the start of the day, when the group sets off biking, your kit bag will be loaded into the support vehicle, leaving you to ride with just your normal day-ride gear. During the morning, the support vehicle will make a number of stops to allow the riders to regroup and refuel. There will also be a pre-arranged rendezvous with the support vehicle for lunch. After lunch, whilst the support vehicle driver will usually go ahead to sort out the next night's accommodation, he can always be called back if needed. Note that the support vehicle can only ever carry a carry a couple of riders and their bikes, in the case of tiredness or mechanical breakdown. You are free to cycle at your own pace and need only carry the pump, spare tube and multitool that you would take on any day ride. This is not a holiday for inexperienced cyclists - a good level of physical fitness and stamina will be required. Following classic Alpine roads, with major climbs and descents, this is a holiday for regular club, sportive and randonee riders. There is a short first day, followed by 7 days which average around 95 kilometres per day, with a considerable amount of descent and descent. 

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at Geneva Airport. From airport ride along Lake Geneva to overnight stop of Thonon-les-Bain.
  • A day of rural road riding leads to the pass of Col de Cou (1112m) and ends at La Clusaz.
  • Today the route tackles the Col des Aravis (1486m) and Saises (1650m) before arriving at Areches.
  • A day of climbing over the Col du Pre (1703m), Cormet Roseland ending at Val d’Isere (1850m).
  • Climb the Col de I’Iseran (2762m) and onto the Col du Telegraphe (1566m). Finish at Valloire.
  • Cycle the Tour de France climbs of Galibier (2646m) and Col d’Izoard (2361m) to Guillestre.
  • Ride the highest paved road in Europe, Cime de la Bonette (2802m) to St Etienne-de-Tinee.
  • Descend the Tinee Valley, climb via La Tour to St Jean-la-Riviere, then cross to Vence and Cagnes-sur-Mer.
  • Departure day.
2016
Sat 27 Aug - Sun 04 Sep Code GNMB/02/16/ Adult$1,940 Status Limited (Only 2 places left) Book now
More information
  • Geneva to Nice
  • The departure reference for this tour is GNMB/02/16/
  • This tour begins on Sat 27 Aug and departs on Sun 04 Sep
  • This departure has limited availability and departs within weeks. Secure your place today with full payment
  • Single Supplement $480 - Includes all group hotel nights
2017
Sat 24 Jun - Sun 02 Jul Code GNMB/01/17/ Adult$2,010 Status Available Book now
More information
  • Geneva to Nice
  • The departure reference for this tour is GNMB/01/17/
  • This tour begins on Sat 24 Jun and departs on Sun 02 Jul
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • Single Supplement $480 - Includes all group hotel nights
Sat 19 Aug - Sun 27 Aug Code GNMB/02/17/ Adult$2,010 Status Available Book now
More information
  • Geneva to Nice
  • The departure reference for this tour is GNMB/02/17/
  • This tour begins on Sat 19 Aug and departs on Sun 27 Aug
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • Single Supplement $480 - Includes all group hotel nights
Sat 16 Sep - Sun 24 Sep Code GNMB/03/17/ Adult$2,010 Status Available Book now
More information
  • Geneva to Nice
  • The departure reference for this tour is GNMB/03/17/
  • This tour begins on Sat 16 Sep and departs on Sun 24 Sep
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • Single Supplement $480 - Includes all group hotel nights
2018
Sat 30 Jun - Sun 08 Jul Code GNMB/01/18/ Adult$2,010 Status Available Book now
More information
  • Geneva to Nice
  • The departure reference for this tour is GNMB/01/18/
  • This tour begins on Sat 30 Jun and departs on Sun 08 Jul
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • Single Supplement $480 - Includes all group hotel nights
The LAND ONLY dates and prices are for the itinerary joining at Geneva Airport and departing from Nice Airport. Please refer to the 'Joining Arrangements and Transfers' section of the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

If flying from the UK there are a number of low cost airlines offering flights to Geneva (return Nice). These include Easyjet who have flights from London, Manchester and Liverpool and Jet 2 who have flights from Manchester and Leeds Bradford. Other airports may be available. Click on the 'Flight information' link below for further information on booking low cost airlines. Alternatively if you would prefer to book a 'flight inclusive package' using scheduled airlines from the UK please contact our flights department for a quote. Whilst flight prices are likely to be more expensive you will benefit from full financial protection.


BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee

The price of our holidays can change depending on a variety of factors but unlike some other tour operators, KE have undertaken to guarantee the Land Only price of your holiday will not change after you have booked. The price when you book is the price you will pay, whether you are booking for this year or the next. Book early to avoid any tour price increases, get the best flight prices and take advantage of our 'No Surcharge Guarantee'.

KE Adventure Travel is a fully ATOL licensed and bonded tour operator with ABTA and AITO.

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Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • airport
  • point
  • trip direction
  • bike

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at Geneva Airport. From airport ride along Lake Geneva to overnight stop of Thonon-les-Bain.

    Meet at Geneva Airport between midday and 4.00pm. KE Land Only package services start with our KE crew and support vehicle (stationed at the Swiss side of Geneva Airport from noon to 4.00pm) meeting clients arriving on various flights. On arrival we will assemble our bikes in the airport car park and load our bike bags and other equipment into the support vehicle. The main group will aim to set off at around 1.30pm and (if there are late arrivals) they will set off as a 2nd group no later than 4.00pm. You will be given detailed trip notes that mainly follow a cycle route straight from the airport and then quieter roads through the centre of Geneva. The route continues alongside Lake Geneva on a scenic ride to Thonon-les-Bain. This ride will take around 3-4 hours and we will all meet up at the group hotel for dinner where we will discuss the journey ahead. It’s a pleasant start to our cycling holiday with time to explore the medieval town of Yvoire along the way.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 250m

    • Distance 45km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals d

    • Descent 250m

    • Time 3 hrs cycling

  • A day of rural road riding leads to the pass of Col de Cou (1112m) and ends at La Clusaz.

    It is a relatively straightforward start to the main part of our cycle journey with no major high passes to challenge us today. The roads are fairly quiet and so it’s a great day to loosen up. Our first pass at 16km is the Col de Cou (1112m), which climbs gently through the woods above Lake Geneva. Then it’s onto the undulating roads of the Valle Verte, with a surprise early view of Mont Blanc, before reaching the bustling town of Bonneville. Small lanes lead us under the busy A40 Autoroute Blanche and onto a long easy angled climb through the Gorges des Eveaux to the small ski resort of La Clusaz (1040m). This is a pleasant resort town with many summer attractions as well as a cycle shop.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 1600m

    • Distance 75km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1000m

    • Time 5 - 6 hrs cycling

  • Today the route tackles the Col des Aravis (1486m) and Saises (1650m) before arriving at Areches.

    We aim for a 08:30 start for the challenging ride that lies ahead. Climbing out of La Clusaz and past picturesque chalets we continue climbing through Alpine meadows to our first notable pass, the Col des Aravis (1486m). The Alpine scenery here is truly magnificent and there are stunning views across to Mont Blanc. During the August school holidays this route can be busy with cars but is generally very much quieter during our trip dates. A short tight descent takes us to La Giettaz and then more relaxed riding follows to Flumet before we climb again at a relatively shallow gradient to the Col des Saisies (1650m). Descending from the pass, at the end of the first set of zig-zags, we turn left to Hauteluce and follow a lovely, quiet back road down to the pretty town of Beaufort. This is a good place for a cafe stop, before our final climb of the day up to the small ski touring village of Areches (1032m) where we should be able to relax in the afternoon sun. For those who have energy to burn, there is the optional extra of the Col du Pre, Roseland, Beaufort loop.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 1600m

    • Distance 60km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1600m

    • Time 5 - 6 hrs cycling

  • A day of climbing over the Col du Pre (1703m), Cormet Roseland ending at Val d’Isere (1850m).

    Our first really challenging climb is straight after breakfast! We ascend a narrow switchback road, at a steady 9%, to the picturesque Col du Pre (1703m). There is a great coffee stop just over the top of the col with stunning mountain views across the idyllic Lac de Roseland. Then after a short descent to the reservoir barrage we rejoin the main route and one of the Tour’s major cat 1 climbs the Cormet de Roseland (1967m), a true Alpine pass that may still have snow patches on its edges. It’s then a fast 20km descent, which sweeps down the Valle des Chapleux to the large centre of Bourg St Maurice, via several stunning sequences of tight hairpin bends. After lunch in the valley it is a long draggy climb up the D902 to our hotel in the ski resort of Val d’Isere (1840m). This region is much quieter in summer than winter skiers will remember with most of Val d’Isere resembling a ghost town.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 2300m

    • Distance 70km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1400m

    • Time 5 - 6 hrs cycling

  • Climb the Col de I’Iseran (2762m) and onto the Col du Telegraphe (1566m). Finish at Valloire.

    There is no escaping the big days in the saddle now so it’s good to start the ride already half way up the Col de l’Iseran (2762m). The 17km climb up the l’Iseran is not that hard but it is one of the crux stages of our route as it is regularly closed by snow to the start of June. On rare occasions in the past it has even been closed in July and we may still see people skiing on our late June departure! There is a welcome café stop on the top before the huge descent down the quiet Haute Maurienne Valley. This area is noticeably underdeveloped compared to the previous days terrain. Passing Bessans we follow the Arc River all the way through to Modane, with a diversion onto a minor road through the village of Aussois en route. Taking a challenging little back road we then wend our way to St Michel-de-Maurienne and the foot of the Col du Telegraphe (1566m). The last few kilometres to St. M-de-Maurienne are on noticeably busier roads so it’s very pleasant to turn off onto the quieter road twisting its way through woods for 12 kilometres to the top of the Telegraphe before a short descent down to the pleasant ski resort of Valloire (1401m).

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 2200m

    • Distance 105km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 2600m

    • Time 7 - 8 hrs cycling

  • Cycle the Tour de France climbs of Galibier (2646m) and Col d’Izoard (2361m) to Guillestre.

    The riding becomes even better as we start with probably the most famous and possibly the hardest pass of the route - the giant Galibier (2646m), which is often included in the Le Tour. The 18km climb starts off easy enough but its second section is relentless and, if you hit a head wind, you will soon know why it has a reputation as one of the toughest climbs in the Alps. Just below the summit is a memorial to Henri Desgrange the first organiser of the Tour de France. The 38km descent down to the medieval walled city of Briancon is a complete blast. The town is an interesting place to explore for an hour or so. Back onto quieter roads again our final climb of the day, the Col d’Izoard (2361m) should not be underestimated as its gradient also steepens the second half. Look out for the memorial to Louison Bobet and Fausto Coppi, the great French and Italian champions of the late 40s and early 50s, which is about a kilometre below the col. It feels like we are in a much remoter area now and it is a fast descent through the gorges of the Combe de Queyras to the lively small town of Guillestre (1040m), which has a small but excellent bike shop. Yet another 8 hour plus ride day with a very welcomed overnight stop.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 2500m

    • Distance 105km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 2800m

    • Time 7 - 8 hrs cycling

  • Ride the highest paved road in Europe, Cime de la Bonette (2802m) to St Etienne-de-Tinee.

    An early start is required for this giant of a day. The climbing starts early, with the ascent of the Col de Vars (2108m). The first section of this ride is quite steep before it flattens slightly as the road enters the upper valley. The road ramps up again and snakes through the modern ski resort and before the gradient shallows and after 20kms finally tops out just past a small lake and high alpine pastures. There is a great little café at the top for a regroup and a hot chocolate. We now descend into the Ubayne Valley with a superb backdrop of the Brec de Chambeyron, one of the highest peaks of the Southern Alps. The descent ends at the pretty village of Jausiers and by late morning we should be starting the 24km climb to the Cime de la Bonette (2802m), the highest paved road in Europe. This has to be one of the most enjoyable climbs of our route and there is a real sense of achievement by the time you reach the top. At the col you will find that the road actually climbs higher and loops round the top of the mountain and back to the main pass - this is because by extending the tarmac above col (the Restefond), the locals could lay claim to having highest tarred road in Europe and enjoy increased tourism as a result. The long, fast, freewheeling descent into the picturesque village of St Etienne-de-Tinee is to be savoured, as there are few downhills’ this sustained in Europe. There is a slight sting in the tail with a final 7km climb up to the quiet resort of Auron that ends a superb day.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 3100m

    • Distance 100km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 2600m

    • Time 7 - 8 hrs cycling

  • Descend the Tinee Valley, climb via La Tour to St Jean-la-Riviere, then cross to Vence and Cagnes-sur-Mer.

    Leaving the village it is a fairly easy start to day the day, 50 kilometres downhill on a quiet road through the Tinee Valley. We then turn off onto a quiet back road that winds its way up to the historic village of La Tour and onwards through a remote valley to the hilltop village of Utelle. This is the place to enjoy lunch and escape the midday heat. Then, after a steep descent to St Jean-la-Riviere, we follow the Route de la Vesubie down into the valley of the River Var. We follow the left side of the river southwards for a few kilometres, before leaving the river and cycling up through Gattieres and Saint-Jeannet to the pretty hill-top, Provencale town of Vence, a great place for a final cafe stop. From here, we have just an easy 10 kilometre descent to the sea, through forested hillsides and limestone gorges. We reach the Cote d'Azur at the town of Cagnes-sur-Mer, where our hotel is just a stone's throw from the beach. We will want to dip our toes in the Mediterranean and find somewhere for a well deserved ice cream before checking in for our final night of the holiday. Anyone who has chosen to fly home from Nice Airport this evening has the opportunity to do this. For 2016 departures we have included the cost of transfers to Nice Airport.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 1300m

    • Distance 125km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 2800m

    • Time 7 hrs cycling

  • Departure day.

    KE Land Only package services end with breakfast at the hotel. Again, for 2016 departures, we have included the cost of transfers to nearby Nice Airport. For those with later flight departures, there is the option to take the excellent airport shuttle bus into the city centre, which runs every 20 minutes and costs around 5 euros. There is also a left luggage service at the airport that accepts bikes.

Holiday Information

  • KE road cycling leader
  • Support vehicle and driver
  • All transfers within the itinerary
  • Baggage transfer between overnight stops
  • All accommodation as detailed in the trip dossier
  • All meals
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas (if required)
  • Tips for guide and other local staff
  • Miscellaneous personal expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc
  • Bike Carriage on the flights - please contact your carrier for charges

In France hotel breakfasts are usually continental buffet style. Lunches will be fresh and tasty picnics provided by our vehicle support crew. Dinner will be taken at our accommodation. The hotels we frequent are used to feeding hungry cyclists and generally provide a three-course evening meal, with tasty and large portions of quality local cuisine.

All meals are included in the trip price from dinner on Day 1 through to breakfast on Day 9.
The cycling starts from Geneva Airport and finishes at Cagnes-sur-Mer, just a few kilometres from Nice Airport. On Day 1 of the itinerary, our support vehicle will be at the Swiss side of Geneva Airport from midday until 4.00pm, meeting clients on arrival. We will assemble our bikes here and load all bike bags and equipment into the support vehicle before setting off. The main group will aim to set off at around 1.30pm and (if there are late arrivals) they will set off as a 2nd group no later than 4.00pm.

OVERNIGHT IN GENEVA BEFORE THE TRIP. If you choose flights that do not allow you to make the rendezvous between midday and 4pm on Day 1, you may need to fly out a day early and overnight in Geneva. The Hotel Ibis Geneve Aeroport is very close to the airport and has a free shuttle bus that you can reserve when you make your booking.

We will arrive at our hotel in Cagnes-sur-Mer in the late afternoon of Day 8. The hotel is close to Nice Airport and it is possible to fly home this evening. On Day 9, KE group services will end after breakfast. We have included the cost of airport transfers for 2016 departures - whether you choose to fly home on the evening of Day 8 or on Day 9.
Whilst on the tour, accommodation is on a twin-share basis in comfortable, family run, 2 and 3 star hotels. If you are travelling by yourself you will be paired up with someone of the same gender. For single supplement costs please refer to the dates and prices page of the trip on our website. Hotels are subject to availability and prices may vary.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

The holiday will be led by an experienced English speaking road cycling guide. There will also be a support vehicle and driver.

We recommend that £150 (or equivalent in US dollars, Euros etc.) will be sufficient for miscellaneous expenses and should also cover your bar bills - beer, wine and soft drinks are available every night. By far the easiest way to obtain your travel cash is from ATM’s using a credit card or a debit card - there are ATM facilities at Geneva Airport as well as in the majority of the larger towns on our route.

Taking a bike on an aircraft is usually straightforward. Different airlines have differing policies with regard to baggage allowances and transporting bikes. We strongly advise that you check the current policy of your chosen airline for carrying bikes and their baggage allowances before purchasing your air ticket. The baggage section on your chosen airline’s website will usually contain this information. We suggest that you are aware of the weight and dimensions of your intended check-in baggage in advance of your arrival at the airport as airlines may charge for both excess and oversize baggage, or refuse to carry oversized baggage. If you are using a domestic flight to connect with your International flight then it is likely that a different baggage policy will exist for the domestic and international flight sections. Again you should check the baggage policy with your chosen domestic airline prior to booking your domestic flight tickets. Any additional charges incurred for transporting your bike on any of the flights required for this adventure (international, domestic and internal flights within the trip itinerary - if applicable) are the responsibility of each individual client.

A road bike or standard cycle-touring bike is recommended for this trip, fitted with a triple or compact chainset and 23/25mm touring tyres. Please call us if you are unsure about the suitability of your bike. We cannot stress enough the importance of ensuring that your bike is in perfect working condition before you start this trip. You are depending on your bike to transport you throughout your holiday. It is VITAL to ensure it is THOROUGHLY SERVICED to guarantee it is in good mechanical order before departure. If you are not mechanically minded, get your local bicycle dealer to service it for you. For home mechanics, points to note particularly are:

a) Check rims and if they are worn, cracked or dented replace with a new rim or wheel to avoid wheel failure. It is especially important to check that your bike’s rims are not worn concave by the brake blocks - replace them if they are!

b) Check wheels are true and spoke tension is correct.

c) Check and, if required, adjust, grease or replace ALL bearings and quick release skewers.

d) Check and, if required, replace brake and gear cables.

e) Check and tighten, if required, all bolts (esp. crank, bottom brackets, aheadset, stem/handlebars).

f) Check chain, cassette and chain rings for wear - replace as necessary.

g) Take the right tyres, inner tubes and BIKE SPECIFIC SPARES.

Whilst not essential, it is a good idea that you familiarise yourself with how to carry out at least some basic repairs to your bike e.g. changing an inner tube and fixing a puncture. Naturally, the bike guide will always be happy to assist with any repairs, however, due to the often remote nature of our trips being able to carry out a simple repair can save time and inconvenience waiting for assistance.

Travelling with a bike is usually as straightforward as travelling with any other type of baggage, providing you have packed it adequately. We have many years experience of travelling with our bikes, and nowadays we think that the best way to travel and fly with a bike is to partially dismantle it and put it into a purpose made soft bike bag. Although more expensive than a cardboard bike box, they are smaller in size to transport and are considerably easier to handle. To pack your bike you simply remove both wheels and pedals and prepare it for travel as follows. Obviously, extra care when packing your bike can minimise the chances of accidental damage occurring in transit. Ask your local bike store for plastic wheel hub protectors (which will prevent damage to your bike bag) and plastic fork and frame spacers, insert the spacers into the dropouts, tape them in place and then put extra padding over this area. Use pipe insulation lagging (from your local DIY store) to cover frame tubes, forks and seat post. If required, remove your bars from the stem and attach them carefully to your frame/forks using plastic ties or pvc tape -ensure that your Ergo/Sti levers are well padded to minimise the chance of damage. You may also wish to remove your rear gear mech, pad it with foam and tape it to the chainstay out of harm's way. Finally, you should partly deflate your tyres, but leave some air in them to help absorb any impact on the wheels. Don’t forget to pack wheel skewers, pedals and any bolts you have removed, these are the items that tend to get left behind. Finally, find an old cardboard bike box and cut out panels to fit inside your soft bike bag for extra protection. Don’t forget to bring sufficient packing materials to pack your bike on the way home. PLEASE DO NOT USE a purpose-made rigid bike box -these are heavy (which can put you over your baggage allowance) and are also too bulky to be easily stored or transported on the group’s support vehicle.

Throughout the entirety of the trip we have the back up of our support vehicle and a KE bike leader will be cycling with the group. Each morning our main baggage will be loaded onto the support vehicle and transported to our next night’s accommodation. During our morning’s ride and on the climbs up the big passes our support vehicle will sweep through the group and provide extra water and assistance as required. The vehicle will then stop at a designated rendezvous where we’ll all meet up for a picnic lunch. After lunch the support vehicle will drive onto our next accommodation. We want everyone to enjoy their cycling experience on this trip and we recognise the importance for group members to ride at their own pace. On most of our road biking trips it is usual that there can be a fair distance between the front and rear cyclists in the group and there may be times when other group members, vehicle support and the KE biking leader are out of sight. Each morning the KE biking leader will provide thorough route notes to assist you. However, the KE biking leader will always be cycling the route and maintaining a watch at strategic locations. Both the KE biking leader and our vehicle support will be carrying mobile phones and are easily contactable from your own mobile phone. Should a breakdown or an emergency arise during your cycling day they will respond as soon as is possible. Whilst our support vehicle cannot transport the whole group, baggage and bikes, it is also there to assist the occasional tired cyclist. So if you want to opt out of a morning, afternoon or even a full days cycling, it may be possible to travel in the vehicle.

One option is that you take your own bike on this holiday. It is the bike you know best and will provide you with the best riding experience. However, if you wish to hire a bike, this can be arranged through Legend CHX in Chamonix. If you book your bike through Legend CHX and provide us with the details, we will arrange that the bike is brought to you in the support vehicle to the rendezvous at Geneva Airport at the start of the holiday. Legend CHX have a choice of either the Giant Defy 1 (2016) or the Giant TCR Advanced 1 (2016) roadbikes. The Defy 1 has an aluminium frame and carbon fork. It has Shimano 105 gears, a compact 50:34 chainset and 11-speed, 11:32 cassette. The TCR Advanced 1 has a carbon frame and fork. It has Shimano Ultegra gears, a compact 50:34 chainset and 11-speed, 11:28 cassette. Prices for 9-day hire are currently 230 euros for the Defy 1 and 405 euros for the TCR Advanced 1 (June 2016 - subject to change). To book your hire bike, you should contact Legend CHX either by phone (+33 4 50 90 22 25) or visit their website at legend-chamonix.com. We must stress that your hire contract will be with the local hire company and that KE cannot be held responsible for any issues arising from bike hire. If you do hire a bike, we recommend that you take your own shoes, pedals and possibly even your saddle, which will go a long way towards making it feel like your own bike. You must also take your helmet, which will be worn at all times when on the bike.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

This holiday involves going to moderately high altitude.  During the course of your trip you will reach altitudes in excess of 2500 metres.  Most people will have no difficulty with this level of altitude but before coming on the holiday, we recommend you read the advice on trekking at high altitude.  You can also talk to one of our trekking experts if you have any concerns about altitude.

The following is a basic checklist to help you with your packing. We recommend using the layering principle of clothing for varying climatic conditions. Good padded cycling shorts are essential.

Your Bike MUST be a road bike or standard cycle-touring bike fitted with a compact or triple chainset and a nine or ten speed cassette. It is vital that your bike is THOROUGHLY SERVICED and in perfect working condition before the trip.

PERSONAL CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES

Feet

  • Road or touring cycling shoes

  • Waterproof cycling overshoes

Torso

  • Base-layer - short sleeve cycling top (x 2)

  • Long sleeved cycling top (x 1)

  • Lightweight waterproof jacket

  • Lightweight Fleece top or jumper.

  • Lightweight windproof gillet.

Hands

  • Regular biking gloves

  • Long fingered gloves

  • Lycra arm warmers

Legs

  • Padded cycling shorts (x 2)

  • Cycling tights or tracksters

  • Lycra leg warmers

Head

  • Biking glasses

  • Cycling helmet – mandatory

KE Trek Bag Contents

  • Travel and apres biking clothes

  • Trainers/Leisure shoes for apres biking

  • Wash bag and toiletries

  • Chamois Cream (e.g. Assos or Ozone)

  • Small padlock (to lock trek bag)

To be carried on the bike in your jersey pockets or in a small saddle bag.

Note: If you don’t want to carry any of this, you can leave it in your day-pack in the support vehicle

  • Mobile phone (optional)

  • Mini-pump

  • Multi-tool

  • Puncture repair kit & tyre levers

  • Inner tube

  • Small camera

  • Sun cream

Other items affixed to your bike

  • 1 or 2 waterbottles
  • Rear Light needed for tunnels on the approach to Val d’Isere – Day 4 
  • GPS (Optional)

To be carried in the support vehicle in your day-pack for easy access

  • Lightweight waterproof top

  • Basic First Aid Kit. Including: antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), painkillers, plasters, insect repellent (75-100% DEET) and re-hydration salts (Dioralite).

PERSONAL TOOLS AND SPARES

There are few bike shops on the route and you should consider taking a minimum of spare parts for your bike - see our suggestion below. Whilst not essential, it is a good idea that you familiarise yourself with how to carry out at least some basic repairs e.g. fixing a puncture, changing an inner tube. Naturally our bike guide will always be happy to assist with any repairs, but being able to carry out a simple repair will save time and inconvenience.

  • Pump

  • Plastic tyre levers

  • 1 rear brake cable

  • 1 rear gear cable

  • Spare set of brake blocks (front and rear)

  • 2 spare spokes for front and rear wheels

  • 2 x inner tubes

  • Spare chain links

  • Liquid chain lube

  • Multi-tool with Allen keys

  • Chain link extractor (if not on multi-tool)

  • 2x puncture repair kits

  • A rag and brush for cleaning bike and drive train.

  • Any spares specific to your bike

KE tools and spares

On all of our trips we carry a track pump, toolkit and a basic range of spares for emergencies. If any other spare parts are needed our support vehicle will make a detour to the nearest bike shop, which can be found in some of the larger towns en route.

Energy Gels/Sports Drinks/Power Bars

Our back up vehicle will carry ample supplies of water, snacks and lunches but if you like a particular energy gel, sports drink or power bar we suggest you bring a selection of your preferred choice along.

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport for each country that you visit.

Visa Europe

UK and USA passport holders do not require a visa.

You should contact your doctor or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations. UK residents should obtain a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This entitles you to state provided medical treatment, but is not a substitute for medical travel insurance which is still vital when travelling overseas.

The unit of currency in Europe is the Euro.

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/

The better conditioned you are the more you will enjoy your cycling holiday. We suggest that you adopt a sensible weekly exercise regime and fit in a number of long cycle rides in hilly country to ensure you are physically capable of taking part in this trip - this will also provide you with an opportunity to make sure all your riding kit is tried and tested before you travel. Cycling is obviously the best activity to prepare for this trip, however, running, squash and swimming are also good for developing aerobic fitness and stamina.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: www.fco.gov.uk. North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

The temperatures that we can expect to encounter during the day will be reasonably warm, at around 20 to 25 degrees centigrade. However, at higher altitudes on the tops of passes it will be considerably cooler. During the first departure of the year, there is often snow on the roadsides at the Col de l'Iseran and the temperature might be as low as 5 degrees centigrade. The weather is usually pretty good from late June to late September in the Alps, but mountainous areas do generate their own weather systems and occasional rain and thunderstorms cannot be ruled out. You should be prepared for all eventualities. Visit the World Meteorological Organization’s website at worldweather.org for climate statistics for Geneva or use this link for the weather in Nice.

  • Cycling in the French Alps - Paul Henderson (Cicerone Press)

  • Rough Guide to France. Lonely Planet

  • Downhill All the Way: Cycling Through France from La Manche to the Mediterranean (Paperback) by Edward Enfield

  • In Pursuit of the Yellow Jersey: Bicycle Racing in the Year of the Tortured Tour (Cycling Resources). by Samuel Abt & James Startt

Route Des Grandes Alpes.

IGN Regional Discovery Maps. 1:250,000 scale. Excellent folded map with the entire route.

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