I take my hat off to anyone who rides the route of the Tour de France. I only know of one rider referenced as having ridden it on his own, with no support. It was in Paul Howard’s book, “Riding High”. At least, I presume this rider finished it. He was actually doing it the really hard way; camping. Continue reading

What happened next

It was all well and good, finding me a mobile home for the night but, I didn’t have any towels, as I was relying on hotels for all my overnight stays. And so, having ridden 232kms that day, I washed as best I could and walked into the small hamlet looking for food. Nothing was open. Luckily, I had packed a pack of Adventure Food and so, from a vacuum packed silver bag, I consumed a cold Chilli and rice and went to sleep. Continue reading

3 days to go

It’s too late to change anything. The time’s 14:20 and all final adjustments have been made and the bike is fully loaded. In a little while, I’ll be off to the Station to get the train to Portsmouth Harbour where I’ll be catching the overnight ferry to St Malo. Continue reading

My Week in Training – Week 31

Date Kms Time Type Avg Speed (KPH) Links
Tue, 2nd Aug 2011 78 2:45:11 Road 28.5 Strava – Garmin
Sat, 6th Aug 2011 84 2:59:40 Road 28.0 Strava Garmin
Sun, 7th Aug 2011 84 3:03:14 Road 27.5 Strava Garmin

Tuesday was another still, hot day in the Massif Central. I had previously mapped out a ride taking me part way along Stage 9 of this years Tour route (Issoire to St Flour). This section runs from Lempdes to Massiac, along the Allagnon River with a very slight uphill gradient but the roads are fantastic. Most of it had obviously been resurfaced for the Tour with such smooth Tarmac, the reduction in rolling resistance was really noticeable. Continue reading

Tour de France infographic

The 2011 Tour de France is about to begin on July 2nd. To celebrate (and clear up some of the questions you might have about the race) the Dish Network have put together this fun graphic.

Tour de France Infographic

New website – Freewheeling France

Anyone planning their own Tour de France would do well to check out a new website. Freewheeling France is the brainchild of Lynette Eyb, an Australian cyclist living in Bordeaux.

It’s early days yet, with limited information, but the potential is high with information on Where to go, Planning a trip and the Tour de France. It also has a Messageboard where you can ask or answer questions about any aspect of cycling in France.

Start Date – 27th August 2011

I have finally decided that my Tour de France or Bust trip will start on Saturday the 27th August 2011. With that in mind, I can now plan the finer details of the trip such as accommodation and mode of transport from stage to stage.

Hotels or Camping?

Do I really want to carry a tent and sleeping bag with me around France, erecting it after hours in the saddle and dismantling it every morning? I don’t think so. If the trip was a leisurely cycling holiday then maybe, but this will be a 21 day trek following a daily schedule.

For a start, I’d miss out on the all-you-can-eat hotel buffet breakfasts. Secondly, I should really give myself something to look forward to; a goal. Somewhere warm and dry to recover after 200+ kilometres of cycling. Somewhere to wash and dry my clothes, with electricity to recharge my phone and Garmin GPS. Somewhere with Wi-Fi (hopefully free) to update this blog.

The only camping related accessories I may take with me are a camping saucepan set and a single compact CampingGaz burner. These’ll be for those occasions when I can’t find the types of foods I want/need at any given time. I’ll have to have an emergency supply of tins with me for when those needs arise.

In France, there seems to be plenty of relatively cheap hotels such as the Premiere Classes, Kyriad, Etap and Formula 1 chains, situated mainly on the outskirts of most towns. They all have en-suites (apart from the Formula 1s) and are all clean, comfortable and cheap. They also offer those all-you-can-eat buffet breakfasts which will be indispensable in order to start the fuelling process for that day’s activity.

Welcome to my Blog

Dear Reader,

Welcome to my blog. Follow me as I plan and execute my quest to ride the route of the 2011 Tour de France.

I’ve been into cycling 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.

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.

A few months ago, just after the 2010 Tour de France, I decided to ride the route of the 2011 Tour de France. I didn’t actually know where the route would take me as it hadn’t been announced but whatever it was, I would ride it.

This blog will follow the planning stages of this project as well as the actual ride on a day to day basis. I will publish the route every day using my Garmin GPS, plotted on Google Maps, and will include speed, elevation and Heart Rate graphs.

I would very much like to hear your views so please, leave comments.

Follow me on Twitter ( for update notifications.

Jean-François Phillips