About

My name is Jean-François Philllips and I’ve been into cycling (amongst other things) all my life. Whether this is a throwback from my French heritage, I don’t know. I just know that I like riding my bike.

Time Trialling under the Charlotteville CC colours

The first bike I saved up for and bought myself was a Dawes 10 speed racer, when I was about 11 years old. It cost me £52. Since then, I’ve had numerous bikes, both road and mountain bikes and have Time Trialled throughout the ’90s with the Charlotteville Cycling Club of Guildford.

On the 27th August 2011, I attempted to cycle the route of the 2011 Tour de France on a day-by-day basis. I was due to ride the route on my own: all 3471kms. which include 6 mountain stages and 4 summit finishes, as well as climbing the Galibier twice, without a team car or any other assistance.

Tour de France 2011

Trouble was, It was too tough a chalange and I gave up after the end of Stage 1. I didn’t just ride Stage 1, I rode from the UK over 2 days in order to get to the start but you can read all about it on this blog.

The story starts 9 months previously, after a hernia repair operation.

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18 thoughts on “About

  1. Actually Tim, I have read it. It was that book that started this project really. Another good read is “Riding High” by Paul Howard. Currently reading Mark Beaumont’s “The man who cycled the world”. All very inspirational.

  2. I thought you might have done! It’s on my list of big ideas to try one day so I look forward to seeing how you get on. Alastair Humphreys’ books are excellent too.

  3. Hi Jean-Francois
    5 friends and myself have just come back from a weekend cycling stage 1 and stage 6 of this year’s route. Stage 6 was a very long day – no particularly steep hills, just lots of them. I had never ridden more than 60 miles in one sitting, so this 140 miler really tested my mental strength.

    Best of luck with the whole tour!

    • Thanks Andrew. I’m certainly looking forward to doing it. Hopefully, on Stage 6, there’ll be a Westerly wind for a bit of assistance.
      Did you use the routes on this blog? How long did it take you for each stage? What did you do for food/energy etc? So many questions…

  4. Firstly, good luck, I will be watching with interest this will be an immense challenge being that you will be doing this alone. Just one question really, was their anythng particular about the 2011 Tour that made you decide to do this one?
    The reason I ask is that I am looking to undertake the same chalenge in a couple of years and was thinking of doing the 1966 tour (the year I was born) however, I am having difficulty finding route maps. I then thought about the 2007 tour as this started in London?
    Sorry so many questions!
    Good luck!

    • David,

      First of all, thank you and good luck with your plans.
      In answer to your question, I chose to do the 2011 route a couple of months before the route was actually announced for no reason other than it was the current one. The opportunity was there as far as work was concerned, as well as being able to afford it, as this is actually costing me quite a bit of money (as a purely self-indulgent project).
      What I did know though, was that the route changes direction generally every 2 years with the clockwise routes starting in another country. The fact that this year, the route was quite compact (staying in France) would make is easier dealing with transfers from one stage to another. As it happens, this year’s route goes through the Massif Central which is an area close to my heart as I this is where I brought up for the first 9 years of my life, and still have family there.
      Don’t forget that it’s 45 years since 1966 and so, the French road network will have changed drastically since then. You may have difficulty in tracing the actually 1966 route to today’s roads. I suppose it depends how accurate you want to be.
      Are you or will you be blogging your progress? If so, let me know as I too, would be very interested in following your progress.
      Anyway, good and do keep in touch.

      J-F

      • Jean-Francois,
        Thanks for the advice

        Yes I agree trying to do an older route will be difficult, also bearing in mind the total km in 1966 was over 4000km.
        I think your choice makes good sense< costs are indeed a factor with all the overnight stays.
        This year, one of the tour finishes was in Redon which I visited twice on a schools exchange (twinned with Andover my home town))
        Yes I will be blogging progess, I will be aiming to do this in 2013, so you will be something of a trail blazer!
        I hope all goes well

  5. Good luck on your trip – sounds very ambitious and exciting. I’ll be sure to check it out when you get started.

    I’m starting a trip from Amsterdam to Rome this weekend and will be blogging about it as well.

  6. What are you using for mapping? The reason I ask is that without my Garmin 500, this would be much more difficult. I assume you have a mapping device because you have provide the tracks, but my suggestion would be to have a much better system than my Garmin 500, which has a mapping system that is very rudimentary. Also, going through any town really slows us down. Even on days when we can ride at or above 20mph on average, our average times still end up being in the mid 15 mph range because of the slow speeds through towns. For your longer days, this could really extend your time on the bike so I wanted to give you a heads up. Looking forward to reading about your progress – good luck!!

    • Hi Tod. For mapping, I’ll be using the Garmin 800 with full European Maps. I intend to upload the stages and follow the routes that way but to get to the hotels etc, I will use it as a conventional SatNav and enter the addresses and follow the directions.
      Re the towns, I did notice that when routing through towns, the TDF went all around the houses in order to show of the tour to all many people as possible. I, on the other hand, an just cutting through a town in a straight line without deviation. That way, I’ll go through towns quicker and I won’t get held up trying to go the wrong way down one way streets.
      As far as my itinerary is concerned, I am scheduling an average speed of 25kph with a total of 1hr of stopping time each day which I think is do-able, other than possibly on the mountain top finishes.
      Glad your ride is going OK. Thanks for the tips.
      All the best. J-F

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