Return to the clouds, Part 1 of 5
They say that France was “made for cycling.” It’s not hard to see why; from the Alps to the Pyrenees, to local towns and villages stretched over each corner of the country. There is an air of adoration for le velo.
It is in this environment: one of warmth, good food and quiet roads that inspired the original members of the London Baroudeurs to create the club. Back in 2009 the summer holidays came early for a bunch of newcomers to cycling, that hatched a plan to head to France, ride their bikes and perhaps catch a glmpse of Le Tour.
Ten years on, what better way than to return and say “Sante!”
A Good Omen
Originally, in 2009, we all jumped into cars and took a carefree road trip from London to Mount Ventoux, but in 2019, with The Tour skipping this giant of a mountain, we decided to return to our old friend, the Alps.
The Tour would head to Alp d’Huez and the mighty Galibier. It was at these monumental climbs that our 2020 adventure would take place. But first, we needed to get there.
Thanks to Glen, ‘Chronos’, we organised a sleepover in order to get on the road as early as possible. The drive down to Dover was incredible. Even Glen commented on how stunning the sunrise was that morning. It was to be a good omen.
If you’ve never taken the car on the Eurostar, it’s very different from the pedestrian journey. There’s less room to move about, but also a lot less faff. The whole process is very efficient and fun. Maybe we were just lucky, but we got to France ready and happy. All we needed to do now was drive the length of the nation in one go. 943.6km. Estimated drive time was 10hrs and, it feels like it.
Camping simply works in France. When the weather cooperates, on-site facilities and views like these, we were glad to arrive in La Grave before dark.
Look out for part 2. At 2,643 metres, we recce le Col du Galibier before the rest of the gang turn up.
Related article: France 2019 – Part 2