9 Things You Should Know Before Following the Tour de France


This July, the 103rd Tour de France will set off from Mont Saint-Michel in the northwest to follow a route that stretches for more than 2000 miles around the country before crossing the finish line in Paris.

Undoubtedly, the best way to watch the action is to pull up a chair in front of a TV, but the only way to experience the real buzz and adrenalin of Le Tour is to head to France and get involved.

But, before you dig out your passport there’s a few things you should know:

1.      Accommodation

Hotels, hostels and campsites along the route are all likely to be fully booked and even if accommodation is available, it’s actually easier and more enjoyable to book somewhere within an hour’s drive or bike ride of race section you want to visit.

The advantage of cycling, apart from a chance to get a two-wheeled adventure, is that you can avoid the unavoidable traffic that builds up around the route.

2. Transport

Public transport is generally good throughout France but the main lines around the Tour route can get crowded and not all trains allow bikes on board.

The cheapest, and at such a busy time, quickest way to get around, particularly if there’s a group of you, is to drive over via the Eurotunnel or Dover to Calais ferry and take your bike with you.

tour-de-france 20163. Check Your Insurance

Before taking your car or your bike to France, check your vehicle and home insurance to see whether your vehicle, bike, rack and accessories are covered for accidental theft, damage or loss when overseas. If not, a temporary cover note or travel insurance policy will be required.

4. Be Safe

Do you know how to ask for a puncture repair kit in French? Unless you’re fluent, save yourself a headache and take some basic safety supplies with you. That includes:

  • Puncture repair kit
  • Pump
  • First Aid kit
  • Reflective cyclewear
  • Road lights and spare batteries

You can familiarise yourself with French cycling laws and highway codes online at Freewheeling France.

5. Arrive early

Thousands of cycling enthusiasts from all over the world flock to the route to see the competitors race past but be warned, it can take hours of patience to see them hurtle by in seconds so you’ll need to check out the route in detail, plan the best way to get there and arrive early to secure a good vantage point.

6. Refreshments

If you’re planning on cycling to any of the race sections, then you’ll need to take plenty of refreshments with you.

Bottle cages make it easy to carry and sip drinks on the go, but some sections of the Tour, like the mountain passes that start at Stage 5, pose real physical challenges which will increase your chances dehydration and fatigue.

SIS GO produce a range of sachets and energy bars that fit easily into any bag or pannier to help you maintain hydration and energy levels for the duration of your ride. When you’re done, head to a local bistro for some authentic French cuisine!

7. Clothing

With plenty of time to enjoy exploring the variety of rural, mountainous and metropolitan vistas that the Tour passes through, it’s advisable to pack a change of clothes that match the local climate.

Include layers that can be added or removed according to the temperature, some alternative footwear if you wear cleats, a light, waterproof jacket, a hat and some sunblock.

8. Make Friends

One of the greatest parts about visiting the Tour de France is the sense of community among fellow cycling enthusiasts who are keen to share the experience regardless of any language barriers!

You could be standing next to your neighbours in the crowd for hours so introduce yourself, this is a real opportunity to make some new friends.

9. Ride a Route

Finally – you cannot experience the majesty of the Tour de France without riding part of the circuit yourself, so research the stages, choose the ones that you can ride comfortably and once the competitive riders have moved on, the tarmac is yours for the taking.

You can find detailed information about the Tour dates, stages and locations on Le Tour website and get everything you need to take your bike to France and cycle in the shadows of your heroes, online or instore at Formby Cycles.

Learn More

Check out this cool info-graphic about the history of Le-Tour-De-France




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