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on 5 August 2017
A really good overview guide, though a couple of bits of advice slightly out of date now, mostly still very relevant and the routes are great.
You'll need maps and other stuff to really plan your trip, this is not a one-stop shop. Great to get ideas from. We ended up combining two of the routes with a link section (using Google Maps, Garmin Connect and Strava), to make one longer trip.
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on 20 June 2013
I bought this book when I was considering a first lightweight long weekend cycle tour in the Alps. It was extremely useful in helping me decide where to go (mostly followed tour 5, with a couple of changes and added a day from tour 6). The guide is very well written with a general description of the route (usually a few pages). Each suggested day is then described with some ideas for sightseeing along the way. Each day also has turn by turn instructions with all the information you need (including length and gradient of each climb). Each day also have a table of towns and facilities which allows you to plan where you could pick up food, water, accommodation, (including a list of useful websites), etc. Finally, each tour has a profile running along the bottom of the pages (to the same relative scale). The authors photographs illustrate the guide well, but do not really do justice to the views on offer. I cannot recommend this book highly enough if you are planning to ride some of the cols and passes in the French Alps. I can't wait to go back to try another couple.
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on 12 September 2013
Well written and put together, but seems to focus on bike touring over larger distances going from point to point, and as a result there aren't any 'day rides' which loop together. Given we didn't have panniers and were based in one place, in the end we didn't really get much use from it.
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on 21 April 2015
My cycling partner loves this item THX :-)
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on 16 January 2013
I bought this book for my son who will be cycling in France this year, and he says it will be very useful, and informative
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on 23 September 2012
I took this book along on my solo cycling trip in the French Alps, loaded with 90lbs of bike and bags. My itinerary was:
Col de la Ramaz
Col de la Savolière
Col du Ran Folly
Col de Joux Plane
Col de la Colombiere
Col de la Forclaz (Annecy)
Col du Marais
Col de la Croix Fry
Col des Aravis
Col des Saisies
Col de Méraillet
Cormet de Roselend
La Plagne
Col de la Madeleine
Col du Glandon
Col de la Croix de Fer
Col du Télégraphe
Col du Galibier
Col du Lauteret
Les Deux Alpes
Alpe d'Huez
Col d'Izoard
Col de Montgenèvre
Sestriere (Italy)
Colle delle Finestre (Italy)
Col du Mont Cenis
Col de l'Iseran
I found this book a great source for nice photos of the areas covered, and turn-by-turn directions to reach the Cols, but it had some major problems.
The turn-by-turn directions are not really needed! Any map will show how to reach the areas, as the French Alps are a deceptively small geographical area.
Another problem is a lack of an index for the cols. The book has a table of contents with the author's loop configuration for various tours of his devising, but you can't directly find "La Plagne" for instance. You have to look at a map of the loops, figure out which loop has the pass you're looking for, then page through the chapter until you find a reference in the description. His maps are simply awful, a sort of "connect the dots" drawing, with no geography or topography, and the scale of the distances on the maps appears distorted.
There are elevation charts to give one a general idea of the undulations of his routes from day to day. If you take his planned routes, they are continuous, along the bottom of the page, over the number of days each route takes. I don't think most people on a once-in-a-lifetime trip will follow his routes exactly. You'll find yourself jumping from chapter to chapter to map your own route.
Unfortunately, the descriptions of the great climbs of the Alps are prosaic and uninformative. His description of the Col de la Colombiere? "The first part of the ascent, to le Reposoir,is a mere warm-up for the serious work ahead: over the last 8km to the summit the average gradient is almost 9%!" That's it, the entire description of the climb. The Col de la Madeleine? "The climb to the Madeleine is long (25km), but the gradient is quite variable and every few kilometres there are flatter sections where your legs can relax a little." The Col du Galibier? "Whether or not you have the road to yourself, cycling over the Galibier is always a challenge: there are a few easy sections and the last kilometre is the steepest."
I found the book useful for general information on the area, with nice photography, a listing of available facilities and services such as water, as well as shops, cafes, campsites, B&Bs, banks and bike shops (always iffy, as these things change on a continuous basis), but as for good, hard information on the daunting physical challenges of cycling in the Alps, not so good.
However, it is a testament to the lack of any other comprehensive guide to cycling in the Alps, that I have to say this book is almost indispensible if you want to take a cycling trip in the area. I have to give kudos for his effort, but in many frustrating ways, the book is a huge disappointment; but buy it. There is more specific information on many websites, but you won't find anything better in conventional book form.
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on 16 April 2017
I've found this book useful when planning a two week tour. Plenty of useful information and ideas for routes. The negative side has been covered in other reviews - rubbish maps, directions etc. Improve the map quality and/or admit that the internet exists. Maybe even a link to gpx downloads. Simple surely. Can't give 3.5 so 4 stars - it gave me good idea of where to go and the scale of the place.
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