Seven years ago I took off to Italy and France to ride with a bunch of people I'd never met before through some of the best mountains France has to offer. On that trip I met Andrew Humphris, he was so taken by the riding that he set up Bike France as soon as he got back to Australia.
With six years of running trips under his belt, he has now finalised the details of his 2017 Pyrenees ride, there's a French Château, small groups and with all your riding starting at the front gate with great quality food and drink to keep you feeling spoiled..
I caught up with Andrew to talk about the 2017 Pyrenees trip and Bike France.
Tells us about Bike France…
Bike France really started from the culmination of experiences I’ve had on previous cycling trips to Europe. I took all the great things I learned from these trips and developed a ‘boutique style’ yet affordable cycling tour.
What’s different about a Bike France tour?
Bike France’s tours are not your typical cycling tour. We have a maximum group size of 10, so no big groups. This ensures that everyone gets well looked after.
We stay in beautiful accommodation set in the heart of the Midi Pyrenees. All the rides start and finish at the front door so there is no checking in and out of hotels and packing bags everyday!
Our guests only need to worry about getting on their bikes and testing themselves against the famous climbs of the Pyrenees. We look after everything else.
Your Conquer the Cols tour is coming up in September 2017, tell us about it…
This year will be our 6th year taking tours over to the Pyrenees and looks like being a great trip. September is a great time to ride in the Pyrenees with quiet roads, warm weather and all the famous climbs of the Tour de France are still open.
Our tour caters for the mountain goats looking to take on multiple ‘Hors Catégorie’ climbs in the one day, right though to those on their first trip wanting to test themselves against some of the famous climbs of the Tour De France.
To get the most out of Bike France tours, we suggest that guests have some level of climbing experience and fitness. We provide car support on most days just in case it gets a bit hard.
All rides leave from the driveway of our château and include climbs such as the Col du Tourmalet, Hautacam, Col d' Aspin and many more that are just a short warm up ride away.
We pack some amazing cycling into our trip, we ride anything from 70-120km a day with between 1,000m and 3,000m of climbing each day depending on how hard you want to go!
This year we have also introduced a tour option for non cycling partners to join their beloved with a week of eating, drinking and learning about the fine and food and wine of the Pyrenees. Fully escorted by our resident french chef, this tour also includes a couple of masterclass and even lunch at a Michelin star restaurant!
Where we stay
One of the things guests like and talk about most is our awesome location and accommodation. Our base is a true cycling haven with 180 degree views of the Pyrenees looking towards Spain.
The accommodation is a fully renovated 17th century Château that has 6 separate twin share or king bedrooms each with their own private bathroom. We have our own guest lounge, kitchen, secure bike shed and a heated horizon pool that also looks out to the Tourmalet – perfect for a post ride recovery with a cold beer!
We stay in the same location for the entire trip yet we have all the famous climbs of the Pyrenees riding distance from our doorstep.
We also have wonderful english speaking hosts who make us all feel very welcome and provide us with fantastic home cooked meals each day. The food reviews often rate very highly from guests and we also cater for any special dietary requirements.
How long do your tours fun for?
Our 2017 Pyrennes trip runs for 7 nights. This gives people who have always wanted to experience cycling in France the opportunity to go on an organised tour, get some other sight seeing done be away for less than two weeks.
Alternatively, many guests add their cycling with us to a longer European holiday. Paris is only 6 hours away by the TGV train and Spain’s San Sebastian is just 3 hours by car. This leaves plenty of opportunity to explore Europe before or after our tour.
2017 – 2 to 9 September 2017 (7 nights) – Only 6 places remaining
2017 Classic Climbs of the Pyrenees inclusions
7 nights twin share accommodation
7 x breakfasts
6 x 3 course dinners (incl. beer and wine)
Post ride snacks and beverages
Guided cycling with car and mechanical support
Bike France Jersey
Transfers to and from Lourdes TGV station or Tarbes airport
$3,495 per person – 7 night cycling tour
Note – Above prices exclude flights, connections, lunches, personal expenses, bike hire if required and compulsory travel insurance.