Discover France offers Tour de France cycling tours

Cycling fans who have ever wanted to experience the challenge and glory of riding in the Tour de France are in for a real treat this year. Discover France Adventures, a company that specializes in cycling and hiking tours, has announced a host of

itineraries that will put you on the same route as the professional riders, and in some instances, just hours behind those competing in the race itself.

The tours offer two levels of difficult, moderate and challenging. These options allow cyclists of all skill level to enjoy the ride at their own pace. Competitive riders will want to go for the higher level of challenge, while those out to take in the French countryside, while still getting the TdF experience, will want to take on the moderate difficulty level.

Discover France has nine unique Tour de France itineraries available, including the Alpes VIP Tour which puts cyclists on a route between Montpellier and Grenoble that features climbs up Mont Ventoux, Croix de Fer, and the legendary Alpe d’Huez. This tour is scheduled to take place from July 16-23, and will end in time to have the riders in Paris to watch the Tour winner roll down the Champs Elysees in the Yellow Jersey. Details on the moderate version of this tour can be found by clicking here and the challenging version can be found by clicking here.

Similarly , the Pyrenees VIP Tour offers more alpine climbing in a completely different mountain range. This ride also runs from July 16-23 and

features a route that wanders from Clermont Ferrand and ends in Toulouse. One of the highlights of this offering is a ride into Luz Ardiden on Bastille Day and also puts riders in Paris in time for the finish. Sign up for the moderate version of the Pyrenees Tour here and the challenging edition here.

Check out the Discover France website for a number of other Tour de France options, including some for the non-cyclists who simply wish to experience one of the premiere sporting events in the world. There are also plenty of other tours for the adventurous traveler as well, and for those who have already visited France in the past, there are some unique and non-traditional ways to experience the country in a whole new way.

As a cyclist and avid fan of the Tour de France myself, these tours are a dream come true. The thought of making the challenging climb up Alp d’Huez, perhaps the most well known mountain in the history of the race, is an amazing opportunity. Viva le Tour!

Epic cycling tour comes to North America

Tour d’Afrique Ltd., the adventure travel company that organizes some of the best cycling tours on the planet, has announced the latest addition to their catalog, and this time they’re bringing their magic to North America. This new ride is aptly named The North American Epic, and when it launches next May, it will cover nearly 5000 miles, stretching from the Pacific Coast of California to the Atlantic Coast of Canada’s Newfoundland.

The North American Epic gets underway on May 29th from San Francisco, and immediately proceeds south along the Pacific Coast, before the riders turn east, heading into the desert. From there it’s on to the Grand Canyon, and the Four Corners of Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico, before tackling the Rocky Mountains themselves. The tour continues into the American Heartland, taking the legendary Route 66 east across Missouri and Illinois, then turning northward toward Michigan and the Great Lakes region, before finally crossing the border into Canada. Cycling through Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec, before proceeding up the scenic St. Lawrence Sea Way, the riders will experience plenty of Canadian hospitality before the ride finally comes to an end in St. Johns, Newfoundland on the 28th of August.

This three month long cycling tour features 76 days in the saddle, along with 16 rest days, and costs $9950 for the complete ride. But as with all their tours, Tour d’Afrique Ltd. offers cyclists various options for riding shorter sub-sections of the entire route. In the case of this tour, there are five shorter segments that can be ridden in any combination as well, allowing those with time constraints to take part in this great new tour too.

And for adventure cyclists looking for something a bit more exotic, check out the company’s 44 day ride along the Silk Road or their 80 day tour of South America. But for something really adventurous, go for the flagship ride, the Tour d’Afrique, which is 120 days in length and runs from Cairo to Cape Town.

[Photo credit: Tour d’Afrique Ltd.]

Fake 3D crater designed to slow down London cyclists

When the Islington city council tried to think of a way to slow down cyclists on their famous canalway, they came up with a creative and (hopefully) effective solution.

The way I see it, this piece of “art” may have several unintended consequences:

  • Cyclists see this thing and panic – causing them to swerve and hit the fence, shooting them into the river
  • Cyclists see it, know it isn’t real and slow down to stare at it, hitting a pedestrian
  • Cyclists know it is fake, so they speed up to show the council what a waste of money this is

Check out some of these other wacky laws, place names and signs from around the world!

Cycling on rise: around the world, two wheels are being shed

In Canada and in Europe, according to the Toronto Sun, cyclists are seeing more bike paths built. New attractions and offers are being designed to appeal to cyclists, and challenging routes are gaining popularity. In honor of Toronto Bike Month, which runs until June 25, the Sun has offered a few ideas for pedal-pushers around the world.

La Route Verte (the Green Route) is the longest ride in America. At more than 2,500 miles, it crosses Quebec both north-to-south and east-to-west. Take on this challenge, and you’ll pass through 320 cities and towns on bike paths and quiet roads, enjoying attractions like the Laurentian Mountains and St. Lawrence River from a new perspective. Accommodations along the way with “bienvenue cyclists!” signs will be ready for you, including bike tools and a safe place to lock up your ride.

Also in Canada, the Toronto-Niagara Bike Train is a new program to help cyclists get out to the Niagara Region. Some VIA Rail Canada trains are now equipped with bike racks to make transport exponentially easier.

In Trondheim, Norway, look for the world’s first bike lift. If you prefer not to blast your quads attacking a hill steep enough to have a name (Bbrubakken), take advantage of the Bicycle Lift Trampe. Using an electronic key card (buy or rent), you gain access to the easiest way up.

Got what it takes to wear the yellow jersey?

Every cyclist dreams of pedaling through l’Arc de Triomphe and claiming endless glory. Short of that, there is nothing wrong with viewing the action first hand. Great Explorations has put together two trips for the coming year that deliver the latter (to ride it yourself, you have to earn it).

The first itinerary offers great views of at least three stages of the race, including the mountain stage finish at Le Grand Bornand, the individual time trial at Annecy and finish at Mt. Ventoux. The second itinerary takes you to Paris, where you can view the finish at along the Champs Elysees from balconies overlooking the course.

Both trips feature small groups with expert guides and carefully selected local restaurants. Best of all, you can ride the Mt. Ventoux stage ahead of the pros. We’ve all dreamed of this. Now, you can test your time against the pros! Start training immediately (after you book your trip, of course).