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Rides Across France, Spain and the UK
We offer a range of long distance tours across France, Spain and the UK, ranging from 10 days to over two weeks. These are sometimes called 'end-to-end' rides, or in the UK, it is commonly known as LEJOG (Land's End to John o'Groats). Here is a summary which links to their main page on our website:
St Malo to Sete (France) is the oldest established ride across France and the Daddy of them all! It is a straight line route that in 10 days links the closest points between the Channel and the Mediterranean. As such it takes the country as it comes, so has some long and hard days. But you probably won't find a better ride across the country than this if you like the sound of the purity of the route. In previous years our riders have all commented on the quality of the roads we use, the lack of traffic and the fact that they have visited amazing parts of the country that they would not have otherwise gone to.
St Malo to Nice (France) was introduced in 2017 and was an instant hit. Most people who rode it booked within a month for another tour in 2018, they enjoyed it so much! It is still hard, although it is 16 days, not 10, and has a rest day just over the half way point. You will again see some spectacular countryside including the Massif Central, the Ardeche Gorge and the unforgettable descent into Nice. There is a Mont Ventoux option for the grimpeurs among you and our usual blend of comfortable hotels and superb support.
Calais to Nice (France) is probably easier than the two above but has some cracking countryside. After a couple of days in the far north you start to be beguiled by the charms of France as you get into the daily routine. Before long you are in Champagne country, which lasts 3 days! Then into Burgundy (with a rest day in delightful Dijon) and the Rhone before attacking Mont Ventoux (optional detour!) and into the Gorges de Verdon to end on the French Riviera. This is a good first-time long distance ride and has been succesfully completed by many people of differing cycling experience.
Loire Source to Sea (France) is just that: 11 days from the source of the river which is surprisingly far south. A hilly start then eases off and it is mostly plain sailing all the way to the mouth of this wonderful, powerful, impressive and beautiful river. Along the way there are plenty of chateaux, vineyards and fine restaurants and some very historic towns that you might otherwise not visit.
Atlantic to Med (La Rochelle to Perpignan) (France) was introduced for 2018 and is a west to east ride covering the Charente Cognac country, Dordogne, Gascony, Lot and the unforgettable city of Carcassonne, passing Cathar castles before dipping your toes in the Mediterranean. Some of the most rural parts of France are covered and it's a more gentle ride at 50 miles per day - there are still some hills though!
The Atlantic Seaboard (France) takes you cycling up the west coast of France from Biarritz up to Roscoff. A huge variety of countryside, from a pancake flat beginning to the rocky coves of Brittany, via the Bordeaux vineyards, the Charente Maritime with lovely Rochefort and La Rochelle, into the Western Loire before beautiful, unspoilt western Brittany.
Oberammergau Passion Play (France, Austria (just!) and Germany) is a once in a decade opportunity to ride to the famous Bavarian village of Oberammergau and enjoy the Passion Play, with top category tickets included, which has been enacted every ten years since 1634. Quite apart from that, it is a wonderful journey in the truest sense of the word; travel with a sense of purpose and with a reason. The route takes you from Le Havre in Normandy, north of Paris and through the battlefield of Verdun to the wonderful city of Nancy. From there it is on to the Vosges mountains which form the natural boundary between France and Germany. Cycling over the Rhine into Germany we stay in marvellous Freiburg before a day cycling in the Black Forest and from there to the source of the Danube, Neuschwanstein castle and finally to Oberammergau itself. You will even ride a tiny portion in Austria making this a tri-nation ride!
Caen to Cantabria (France and Spain) was added in 2019 and is now firmly fixed in our portfolio of rides! Ferry travel both ways is included meaning you only need to get to Portsmouth; once in France you will pass through evocative Normandy, the Loire Valley, the Charente and Gascony before arriving at Pau in the foothills of the Pyrenees. An optional ascent of the Tourmalet is the alternative to spending the afternoon exploring the town; this is a beautiful climb and well worth the effort. Next day we are into the Pyrenees and then turn west into the Basque country for the last four days of the ride, with some splendid riding and great hotels; arriving in Santander there is a final night to celebrate and then an afternoon ferry back to Portsmouth having spent the morning relaxing on the beach perhaps.
Santander to Cape Trafalgar (Spain) is a varied ride showing what is so special about Spain. The first night is spent in the Picos de Europa, a stunningly beautiful region of northern Spain; this is probably also the hardest day of the tour so good to get under your belt early on. Riding south you will cross the Camino de Santiago de Compostella and before long will be in the central meseta with a succession of beautiful towns in which we spend the night; Segovia, Avila and Penafiel all have amazing castles. Traversing the central mountains you then feel as if you are in the south as the landscape and agriculture change - olives, figs and vines now abound - and before long you are in pretty Andalusia and approaching the end of this fantastic journey.
Land's End to John O'Groats (England, Wales and Scotland) is the classic British ride which should be undertaken by all cyclists at least once in their life! Our Grand Tour version is not the easiest nor the shortest route but passes through sublime countryside on its way from south to north. Highlights (which are difficult to select as there are so many) include the pretty Cornish coast with its tiny fishing harbours; crossing Dartmoor; Cheddar Gorge; the Gospel Pass on the Welsh border; the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales and Lake District; and once into Scotland the mesmeric and addictive beauty of the West Coast which may well start a lifelong love affair with this stunning region, including some island hopping to Arran and Skye amongst others. We throw in visits to the southern and northermost points on the UK mainland too for good measure (the Lizard and Dunnet Head)! This ride is certainly a challenge as you experience the glorious countryside of three countries in 17 days of riding but you will have our customary support to keep you going and the knowledge that everything has been taken care of leaving you to simply ride your bike.