A Summer French Divide

By Col

Young Tom and his dad Rich had grand visions for a big trip this summer holidays, but you know how it is, some things don't always go to plan. However, they had been putting in some serious miles on their individual bikes and on the tandem, so a new plan was needed...

"We had a plan for this summer and that, as many of you know, involved heading over to Banff in Canada to ride the 2745 mile Tour Divide route. Things haven't panned out exactly how we'd hoped timewise this summer because of other commitments, so sadly we've had to postpone that particular trip until next year.

Not that we do any specific training, but we are both pretty fit as we've been riding our bikes lots this year. So with a maximum of 4 weeks available we were looking for another challenge. Bikepacking is a big thing at the moment. Riders who have done other events, have been inspired to create their own, and one such route is the French Divide.

2200 kms with a suggested maximum completion time of 15 days would make a good starting point for our big trip . The route starts at Bray-Dunes (near Dunkerque) then heads over into Belgium for some Spring Classic cobbles. Speaking of cobbles, a little further south there are some of the Paris-Roubaix cobbles including the famous Trouée d'Arenberg. Big hills, they have some of those in the Massif Centrale, then towards the end of the route we head into the Pyrennees. 70% of the route is off road, so the Tandem will be in its element.

So that's 2 weeks accounted for. How do we get back home from there? Yes, you've guessed we'll ride back.A somewhat easier ride up the Atlantic coast. The 1200km Vélodyssée. It looks like it's a flat route, and of course the wind will be at our backs the whole way back.

We are doing a talk in Birmingham on the 1st of August, so we'll leave there on the tandem on the 2nd, aiming to start riding in France on the 4th.

We'll let you know how we get on when we're back. If you're going to the Alpkit Big Shakeout we'll be talking about our trip there."

We'll be looking forward to some Daring Deeds from this adventure. But if you want to find out about Tom you can in our Mountain Journal Short. If you want to follow them while they are away then keep an eye on thierspot tracker and they will also be over on Twitter or Instagram

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