Planning the Alps Tour 2019

A long time ago….

It was never in doubt that I would do another tour of the Alps. Not only is it a stunning place to ride but with the BikeShuttle service that I used last time, its very easily accessible.

This time however we were going to be joined with a number of my friends travelling from the US. 

Having talked about 2018 then 2019 it felt that the final planning was always way into the future. That was until the last few weeks where it seems everything has fallen into place.

The plan

There will be eight of us in total with an even split of four from the UK and four from the US. We are making our way to Geneva, myself using the aforementioned BikeShuttle, where we will meet on the 4th July.

After eight days of riding we will return to Geneva and return to our respective bases.

Following a flurry of activity flights, transport and rentals (for those that need them) have been booked and confirmed. It was now down to me to work out where we would be going.

The route

Much of the route would be re-visiting many of the passes which we did on the previous trip. Having the advantage of knowing what we enjoyed best it meant we could be confident in guiding those who had never been to the Alps, or touring in general.

Our previous indulgence took us on a long detour to Monaco but with that box ticked and no desire to repeat that trip I had two days in my pocket.

The wish list of places to visit came down to the Combe Laval road in France, the Dolomites in Italy and a trip down the iconic Stelvio pass. Despite the latter being a traffic hotspot it was felt that we really need to tick that box. With the Combe Laval being a firm requirement the Dolomites were dropped on this occasion. 

The D76 Combe Laval – DON’T LOOK DOWN!

From there the planning was relatively easy. My usual approach is to draw out the total route and then see where I could divide it up into the correct number of days. I usually take into account the daily milage and riding times, together with finding places that could offer the desired accommodation.

I had agonised over some of the mileages. Some days, particularly the first couple seemed a bit high but the longest day is not too dissimilar to the Home to Inverness run we did on this years NC500. Other days seemed a bit short both on time and distance but as I had done these road before I was happy that the totals were correct. The pace can be slow with so many hairpin switchbacks and with the stunning scenery there is always a tendency to jump off the bike for photos. You can add 3 hours a day for stoppages. I always like to go by the advice I was given. Enjoy the journey and don’t be a slave to the mileage and a distant destination.

Day 1 – Geneva to Grenoble vis the Combe Laval
Day 2 – Grenoble to Martigny
Day 3 – Martigny to Curaglia
Day 4 – Curaglia to Val Müstair
Day 5 – Val Müstair to Prata Camportaccio
Day 6 – Prata Camportaccio to Bedretto
Day 7 – Bedretto to Grindelwald
Day 8 – Grindelwald to Geneva

You can find the routes I’m working on and the daily alternatives here

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