We know that on every tour there will be riders of differing ability levels and so we program our days to enable everyone to achieve their ambitions at a pace they can sustain and enjoy.
Anyone who is reasonably fit and who rides regularly should be able to tackle most of the climbs successfully, albeit at their own pace. Once the road starts to point upwards groups of riders naturally start to split up. Our support vehicles continually leap frog up and down the ride to ensure no one is left struggling as well as to give some moral encouragement! We always regroup at the summit usually over a coffee or a cold drink.
And, if it all does get too much then just hop aboard one of our support vehicles until you are ready to begin riding again. Also we often find that some guests don’t actually enjoy the descents but prefer to take the minibus down instead. No problem for us, you ride as much or as little as you choose.
We run seven different Alpine tours; each has its own character and level of challenge:
The Legendary Cols Tour features cycling’s five most famous climbs: Stelvio, Galibier, Alpe d’Huez, Ventoux & Tourmalet amongst others. Experience riding in four different regions of Europe: the French Alps, the Italian Alps, Provence and the Pyrenees in one visit. Plenty of climbing but spread over 11 days with an optional rest day. A solid base of endurance fitness should be enough to conquer its challenges.
The Icon Tour is designed to be a really practical way to bag 10 of cycling’s most iconic climbs in one week. Although undeniably tough, it’s still a very achievable challenge for anyone with a reasonable level of fitness.
The Circuit des Alpes is specifically designed with Alpine novices in mind. Ride a continuous circuit packed full of classic Tour de France climbs, with moderate daily distance, ascent and average gradient.
The Route des Grandes Alpes follows the classic route from Lake Geneva to Nice on the Mediterranean coast. We cover the journey in 7 consecutive days of cycling averaging around 2200m ascent daily. There are some 17 major cols to be conquered so a good standard of fitness is required.
The Icons of Italy weaves together Italy's most iconic climbs in a single tour, including Stelvio, Mortirolo, Gavia, Monte Grappa, and the classic cols of the Maratona Sportive.
Only available as a private tour in 2018:
The Future Classic Cols Tour is intended for those riders that have probably already ridden many of the Alpine classics and who are looking for new and challenging climbs to conquer. In all there are 18 hidden gems waiting to be discovered. It features mainly minor roads with low traffic density allowing riders to savour the true tranquillity of the mountains. With daily ascents averaging around 3000m over the week it demands a good level of fitness.
The Marmotte Tour follows the route of the famous Marmotte Sportive plus some other classic cols. Good for riders used to longer days in the saddle who are looking to ride some of the best climbs in the Alps in a short 4 night trip.
We have selected exceptional hotels in each location chosen for their quality, comfort, dining experience, secure bike storage, location and cycling heritage. All holidays include a sumptuous 3 or 4 course meal every evening (drinks extra) and a plentiful breakfast every morning.
Our hotels range from 2 to 4 stars; we keep going back to the ones that get the best feedback from our guests (remarkably, the hotel that is consistently rated the best has only 2 stars, but is favoured due to it's cycling heritage and the remarkable experience it offers). All our hotels regularly host cycle tour groups, and understand our dietary and logistical needs.
Accommodation is on the basis of two persons sharing twin bedded rooms unless prior arrangements have been made for single occupancy.
All our holidays include airport transfers for you and your bike.
We appreciate that you may be limited to specific arrival times and so we will collect you whatever time you eventually land. For guests on one of our tours which start in Morzine you should aim to arrive by 16:00 so that you will be in resort in time for the important pre dinner briefing.
We use a transfer company to bring you to Morzine on a shared service so they may be carrying other clients. It's possible there may be a wait whilst they combine guests arriving on different flights but this should typically be less than 90 mins. If you would prefer a private transfer please let us know and we will advise you of the additional charge.
At the end of the holiday many guests choose a late return to the UK in order to enjoy another full day in Morzine. If you take this option please note that the transfer to Geneva will leave Morzine about 4 hours before your flight departure time. If you wish to return earlier in the day we suggest you choose a flight departing after 11:00 at the earliest.
Arrivals by train to Geneva
All train services arrive into Geneva International Cornavin station in the centre of Geneva. You will need to book or buy the short additional rail or bus journey which connects to the station at Geneva airport. The airport station is situated close to arrivals hall so you just need to take the lift up one level to rendezvous with the transfer driver. If you choose the bus service it stops right outside the arrivals hall.
On return we will take you to the airport so you will need to take the same journey back to Geneva Cornavin station.
The station to airport service runs approximately every 20 minutes and takes about 10 minutes
Routes des Grandes Alpes only
We will collect you from Geneva airport and take you to our start hotel in Thonon les Bains on Saturday 24 August. You will need to arrive in Geneva at 16:00 latest. Your return flight at the end of the holiday will be from Nice airport. Please book a flight departure time no earlier than 12:00 on Sunday 1 September.
Legendary Cols Tour only
We will meet you at Milan Malpensa airport. Your inbound flight needs to arrive no later than 9:00am on Thursday 27 June. You may choose to arrive a day earlier if so we will collect you from a local airport hotel on the Thursday morning.
Your return flight at the end of the holiday will be from Toulouse airport. Please book a flight departure time no earlier than 15:00 on Monday 8 July. There is also the option to ride back with us in our support minibus where we can drop you at Geneva airport. Please ask if you wish to take this option.
Icons of Italy Tour only
We will collect you from Venice Marco Polo airport, or a nearby hotel, around 9:00am on 9 June in preparation for the transfer to Bassano del Grappa. Feel free to arrive a few days early to spend time in Venice (you will need to meet us around 9:00am at an airport hotel on the start day of the tour).
Your departure flight will be from Milan Malpensa airport on the final day of the tour. The transfer from Bormio to the airport takes around 3-4 hours. We shall leave the hotel at around 9:00 am on Sunday 16 June so please arrange your onward flight to suit. We may be able to obtain transfers with third party companies if these time don't work for you. Regrettably their is likely to be a financial supplement in this case.
Pyrenees Coast to Coast only
Details to be announced
Cols of the Cote d'Azur only
Details to be announced
You are welcome to arrive by your own transport and as a result enjoy a discount of £25pp in lieu of not requiring airport transfers.
Our base, Chalet Eira, is 250m from Morzine town centre. There are two entrances to the chalet but please use this address for access to the car park:-
241 Route de la Manche,
Insurance is not included in the holiday package. It is a condition of our holidays that you are covered by a medical and personal accident insurance policy that includes repatriation to your home country and includes cover for road cycling.
We pride ourselves on a high staff to guest ratio which will always be better than 5 guests to one staff member, to maintain exceptional standards of service.
The maximum group size for our supported Alpine tours is 14 riders and for Corsica it's 16. On the Legendary Cols Tour the maximum is 14 riders but with the capacity for a few extra non cycling partners.
All our tours include the provision of a support minibus and sometimes a second vehicle too. The vehicles hold supplies of chilled, fresh drinking water and an extensive selection of High 5 energy powders, gels, bars, dried & fresh fruit, flap jacks, salty nuts and even good old Haribo for that sugar hit. These are all freely available for you to consume at any time during the ride.
The vehicles also carry basic bike maintenance kit as well as a track pump and stocks of tyres and inner tubes. Should you suffer a mechanical issue our team will be happy to assist with any on the road repairs and there’s usually a spare bike on board if all else fails.
The support vehicles continually leap frog the ride so it’s easy for you to hitch a lift should you choose not to cycle for a while.
Additionally, our vehicles are equipped with appropriate first aid kits in the unlikely event of an incident.
Each day’s route will allow for various possible lunch and coffee stops at selected locations according to the progress of the ride. The cost of coffee stops and lunches are not included within the holiday package. We suggest you budget for around 20 Euros per day to cover these incidentals.
Sometimes it’s necessary to transfer the whole group by road; this may be to cut out tedious sections of the route or because the journey is just too far to ride easily. All our vehicles are air conditioned so just sit back, take a break and enjoy the stunning Alpine scenery.
All our supported tours include at least one support personnel plus one support vehicle and driver, and as with all our tours a minimum ratio of 1 team member to 5 guests.
We take great care to ensure that all riders are well looked after. Our team work together to ensure everyone goes the right way and no one gets lost or becomes detached from the ride.
Additionally, we issue detailed maps with an optional GPS download facility for use with a Garmin or smartphone.
In our opinion, cyclists are by their nature an independent bunch. We offer friendly support and efficient navigation, whilst allowing all our guests the freedom to enjoy the ride without intrusion.
Our support vehicles and staff will be on hand to deal with any problems throughout our supported tours. Guests who suffer mechanical or other issues whilst on a self-guided holiday can call upon our rescue service to bring them back to Morzine.
Gearing is probably the most important consideration. Only very strong riders are likely to be comfortable with the conventional 39 inner chainring and 25 rear sprocket.
For Alpine climbs a compact setup works better for most riders by utilising a 34 chainring and at least a 28 rear sprocket. All our hire bikes are fitted with compacts and all have a super low 32 rear sprocket.
It is sensible to have your bike serviced before your holiday ensuring that the wheels, tyres and brake blocks in particular are all in good order.
On most of our tours it is necessary to ride through tunnels. We strongly recommend you fit a powerful rear light for these situations.
For the overland tours we request you bring:
- A small day bag for quick access in the minibus containing your personal stuff eg. suntan cream, gilet, gels, etc.
- An overnight bag containing all the kit you will NOT need during the ride. We will transfer this bag for you directly to the next hotel.
Whilst the weather in the Alps in the summer is typically sunny and warm, it must be remembered that conditions in the mountains can and do change quickly. It’s not unknown for snow to fall on the higher passes even in July.
You should bring cycling clothes for all conditions. Arm warmers are sometimes useful in the early mornings, rain tops and/or gilets are essential for the long descents to protect you against the combination of wind chill and high-altitude temperatures.
It is not a legal requirement to wear a cycling helmet in France or Italy but we recommend that you do so, especially on descents.
Not at all. But if you do want to test yourself against the clock we will again be running our popular Forever Cycle Tours Bottom Gear Challenge. Created in the style of a well-known TV programme, the ‘Guest on a reasonably steep test’ requires setting a time on the 13km climb to Avoriaz. This is strictly not compulsory but just for fun and totally at your discretion. All qualifying times will be generated via Strava.