What travel insurance do I need?
Travel insurance is essential as is a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for UK and European residents. The EHIC can be applied for online here and takes 7-10 days to arrive after application.
There are numerous insurance companies to get your travel insurance from, Sportscover Direct provide single and multitrip insurance that covers a variety of sports
How fit do I need to be?
You don't need to be Chris Froome level to come on our trips but a good level of bike fitness will be required for you to enjoy the experience and get the most out of it.
For most of our trips you can expect to be riding a 4-6 hour a day and much of that time will be spent going uphill! It's not a race and you will have the opportunity to ride at a pace that suits you. If you have any doubts or concerns please don't hesitate to contact us to discuss this further and give you confidence in your decision to book. Each of our trips will tend to appeal to different rider levels, read the trip descriptions carefully before contacting us.
Each of our trips in 2016 will have a recommended VAM value that riders can use as a guide to determine whether they are of a level strong enough for a given trip.
What is VAM?
Firstly, VAM is something that we've all got! Don't be put off by it, it's one way of measuring a riders fitness level but certainly not the only one. VAM stands for Velocità Ascensionale Media, Italian for average climbing speed. It is a value that can be applied to all bike riders that expresses the rate that a rider gains altitude in metres per hour. A top pro rider like Chris Froome will attain a VAM of around 1600 on a long climb. A strong amateur rider who aspires to get up the full lenght of Alpe d'Huez in under an hour will need a VAM of 1170 to achieve that goal. As a rough guide, riders will need a VAM of at least 650 to enjoy our AlpineWorkshops and Tour du Mont Blanc, 750 for our Tour des Alpes and in excess of 850 for our toughest trips like the Giro Dolomiti and Grand Tour du Sud. VAM figures need to be calculated on sustained hills of at least 20 minute duration to provide a useful figure as to what can be sustained over a long period. VAM figures are provided automatically for riders using STRAVA.
What bike do I need?
You'll need a road bike in good working order with gearing to suit the mountainous terrain that you'll be tackling. Having low gears at your disposal will assist you to keep pedaling smoothly up the long climbs that you'll encounter. Compact or triple chainsets are the way to go to make life easier for you. Gearing can often be quickly and relatively cheaply altered by replacing the cassette on the rear wheel. Give us a call if you need to know more.
What will the weather be like and what clothes should I bring?
Although blessed by a warm summer climate riders should be ready for anything. Our rides involve major altitude differences and even in mid summer riders should be prepared for chilly descents from the big cols. Riders on all trips are advised to bring arm and leg warmers, shoe covers, gloves and a wind/rainjacket.
Typical July temperatures are in the mid to high twenties in the valleys. June and September are likely to see temperatures closer to twenty degrees in the valley. Things can change quickly though and it can snow at the top of the cols at any time of year!
How big are the groups?
For our point to point tours our maximum group size is 12. We operate a high staff/customer ratio to ensure your safety and enjoyment, therefore a full group of 12 would enjoy the support of 3 staff members and a support vehicle
What support is offered?
Vehicle support offers you first aid facilities, essential spares and tools, spare clothing, snacks and drinks and the peace of mind that if you run out of steam you've always got the option of jumping in the van!
You will also receive the support of at least one of us riding with the group, spending some time with each rider to help motivate, advise and observe how you are doing to help you get the most out of your ride.
Are transfers included?
Yes, unless otherwise stated, our programmes all include return tranport in our minibuses from Geneva airport to our chalet in Bellentre. Geneva offers lots of flight options from different UK airports including low cost flights with Easyjet. Journey time is around 2 hours. Contact us so that we can recommend best arrival times to coincide with our transfers and to help you take advantage of cheap and convenient flights.
Can I bring a non cycling partner/friend?
Certainly. Bellentre and it's surrrounds are a beautiful and relaxing place in spring and summer with a large selection of walking trails. Non cyclists can, space permitting, join us in the support vehicles to enjoy the scenery and still be part of the team. Contact us to discuss a discount for non cyclists.
What's the accommodation like?
At our Bellentre base you'll stay in our main chalet or neighbouring aparments/gites. The accommodation is clean, comfortable with a big emphasis on good home cooking. When 'on the road' we stay in small family run hotels that provide us with ideal locations for our stopovers. Our prices are based on twin share occupancy. Single rooms are usually available on our trips, please contact us to find out what the supplement will be.
I'm coming on my own, do I have to pay a single supplement?
No, we'll organise things so that you can share accommodation with another rider on the trip. We can provide single accommmodation if needed (subject to availability) on payment of a supplement.
Do people bring their own bikes?
Yes, the vast majority of riders on our trips bring their own bikes. Bike bags and boxes are becoming more affordable and can often be hired for bike shops too.
Can I hire a bike?
Yes, bikes are available to hire from any of the 3 bike shops in Bourg St Maurice. Contact us in advance and we can arrange this for you.