Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Quick and dirty tips for your ultra-light bikepacking trip in France

Information on climbs:

  • Website that states what Cols are open: http://www.sport-passion.fr/parcours/etat-cols.php  (The German http://www.alpenpaesse.co is not always correct!) 

  • The German website: http://www.quaeldich.de has all information possible about a pass. Even as a non-German speaker, coloring and numbers tell more than any word. Just click on "Pässe" (meaning pass) and search for a specific pass or explore by region. Once you click on a pass and scroll down, you can see the elevation gain, profile and much more in detail.

  • For bike tourists on a budget, try www.warmshowers.org, a free “coachsurfing” website specifically for touring cyclists. I have used that site in New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii and Switzerland and I had always fantastic experiences!

  • Otherwise, if you stay in a remote ski resort for a week+, they might have a great offer. I stayed in a 3 Star studio apartment in Modane, for 140 Euro/week. (In other places, I paid 50-70 Euro/night for a one person private bed and bathroom)
  • I always navigated via paper maps (they never run out of battery) of at least 150000:1. I would not get anything bigger (like 200000:1) as the less-travelled cycling roads might not be on the map anymore.

  • Download the maps.me app. From there you can download maps for specific regions.

  • You can also make specific regions offline in Google maps.
  • The meteo earth app is fantastic as you can follow every single cloud and rain drop.
  • Always switch your wifi off while on the road, the battery lasts sooooo much longer.
  • If you don’t speak French, I would get an offline French dictionary app. Otherwise smiling does most of the job.
  • Some stuff to know in regards to the bike might come handy like assembling your bike out of your bike bag and changing a tube. 
 Enjoy your trip!

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