Cycling The Col De L’Ecre: Length, Gradient and Difficulty (All The Usual Fandango)

Bianchi Intenso with a nice view

In this post I am going to give you all the ‘must have’ information you need in order to ride (and enjoy) the Col de l’Ecre, a particularly beautiful (and long) climb in the south of France.

This summer I had the particular pleasure of being bestowed with a week of free accommodation in a villa on the Côte d’Azur.

Shadly this was not because I’d hit the veloblogging big leagues and been invited to a high profile bike launch. Instead it was because my parents’ wealthy friends gave us a lend of their gaff. So you don’t have to feel sorry for me.

Anyhoo, me and my brother-in-law both hired bikes (as is our wont on these multi-Monty-generational holidays) and, in amongst a bunch of shorter rides, decided to tackle a ‘Cat 1’ climb in the area. And the Col de l’Ecre was that climb.

So, having thoroughly enjoyed the ride, and the climb (yes!), I decided to share the love. Or rather my experience. You can use it (maybe be inspired by it) if you’re ever in the area.

Read moreCycling The Col De L’Ecre: Length, Gradient and Difficulty (All The Usual Fandango)

How To Plan A Great Road Cycling Route

How To Plan A Cycling Route

I should start this post by saying that I don’t have a definitive answer for this. I am, however, interested in exploring the question.

Until recently, the question of cycling route design, on a personal level, hadn’t really occurred to me, beyond an ill-formed notion floating somewhere at the back of my mind.

I know that organisers of, say, the Tour de France spend ages determining the specific route each year (although that’s as much about fleecing start and finish towns for cash as it is about making the route interesting for riders and spectators).

I assumed organisers of sportives must give some thought to route (after all, how would they know where to put those little yellow arrow signs).

But when it comes to planning my personal rides, whether solo, with my brother-in-law or as part of my nascent village MAMILpeloton, route tends be decided quite quickly, often on the hoof (cleat?) based on how much time I/we have, how tired we feel, whether its raining.

So, the question again, should we be giving this decision more thought and attention?

Read moreHow To Plan A Great Road Cycling Route

The Roads I Ride: Road Cycling In Derbyshire

Cycling in the Peak District

I’m very fortunate, as a cyclist, to live where I do. I live on a quiet country lane which sees as many tractors as it sees cars. In fact, on a nice day, more bikes will pass by (with people on them) than motorised vehicles.

Unlike when I lived in south east London, I don’t have to ride for 30 minutes just to leave suburbia and traffic.

I thought I’d share a little about my local cycling environs, and the sorts of rides I do in them. I doubt the Peak District needs much extra publicity (even if it is not the second most visited national park in the world), but if I can encourage a few more cyclists to ride in this part of the world, I’ll be a happy yellow jonny.

By the way, this post isn’t meant to come over all self-congratulating. After all, it’s not like I live in the Alps, Majorca or Calpe (which seems to have gone to the top of my family holiday/training camp visit list).

Read moreThe Roads I Ride: Road Cycling In Derbyshire

Fitness Progress Report: My First Hilly Century And Bagging ‘Greatest Climbs’

Generally I try to keep my blog posts focused on helping you achieve your objectives on the bike. I’ve not posted about my saddle-based exploits for ages.

I figure that, for the most part, you’re not interested in the specifics of my training programme (a generous description) or the progress of my cycling fitness.

Today, though, I’m publishing a ride-report-cum-fitness-update style post.

And you’re just going to have to deal with that.

Read moreFitness Progress Report: My First Hilly Century And Bagging ‘Greatest Climbs’

Peak District Cycling Advice: Grimpeur Turns Tour Guide

In this post, I’m going to attempt to give advice to those wishing to visit the Peak District for a road cycling mini-break (or indeed maxi-break).

This was prompted by a question from a ‘keen follower of the blog’ (his words), Andy (@andybuttons sur le Twitter):

A small group of riders and I are looking to head up to the Peak District for a 3-5 day cycling trip in May/June 2014. To keep the logistics simple we’d ideally like to find a B&B in a decent location where we can start our long rides from (circa 100 miles a day) – any advice you have about a suitable town/village/route would be hugely appreciated.

I had a crack at responding to Andy via email and decided to post the gist of it up here so that other Peak District cyclists can pitch in with advice or recommendations. If you are that knowledgeable Peak District cyclist, please do share your tips in the comments section below the post.

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Peak District Cycle Routes: Ashbourne – Ilam – Calton – Ashbourne

Cycling Peak District Dovedale
The descent into Dovedale

Do you ever feel frustration when searching for cycle routes on the internet? I do.

I struggle to find courses that have been properly curated and accurately described. When looking at a Jackson Pollock of route markers on a website, it’s difficult to decide whether the route is suitable for me.

There has to be a better way than Google Streetview-ing my way around the A roads of England in order to find my perfect cycle loop.

Oh yay! Oh yay! The rot stops here. At least for the people of south Derbyshire and the Peak District (and anyone visiting the area).

Read morePeak District Cycle Routes: Ashbourne – Ilam – Calton – Ashbourne