artner and I are going to Barcelona for a business trip in September 2022 and looking into whether we could ride the Raid Pyrenean in the absence of an organized tour group. We might be willing to join a group like that but they’re either not available the final week of September when we could do it, or they’re full. Ideally, we’d fine some way to have luggage transported between pre-booked lodging and then we’d just ride point to point.
Has anyone here done the Raid Pyrenean in some way other than via one of the bigger organized tour groups, but without going fully loaded touring style? Curious to hear the way you did it!
Alternatively: can anyone recommend a good town to base out of for 3-4 nights in the pyrenees to ride the cols or some nice loops through the mountains?
Girona is known for its cycling and might be a good base for you. There are a lot of pros that live or have lived there over the years. When I passed through a 3 years ago, there were several tour groups with operations in town.
Thanks. in all likelihood we will spend a few days in girona and then cross into france for a few days of riding the cols. Maybe it would be worth contacting cycling folks in girona to see what they think about doing the RP with minimal support. Currently we’re contemplating “credit card touring” where we’d carry a few minor clothing-type items between lodgings. Trouble would be getting to the start, getting back from the finish to wherever, and storing excess luggage including bike travel cases.
Just spent 2 weeks close to Girona with the family. Rode my bike almost daily. A nice city for sure. And I can see why it is popular with pros. However, if you want “scenic” it may not be the best place. It’s pretty and so but you don’t have scenic climbs. For that you would have to go to the high mountains.
Thanks. Yeah I can tell it’s not necessarily dramatic topography but I am looking forward to the landscape in otherways especially with the coast nearby.
Re: Girona, did you feel like there was enough riding to keep you stoked for that long? One option is just to be in Girona proper for a few days and then get a place on the coast for a few days. Would be relaxing, without long transfers, and if there’s truly enough distinct riding options, that could work out nicely.
I second the recommendation with Service Course in Girona. I used them three years ago when in Girona for 3 days. Rode every day, and they’ll program courses into your bike computer. Great loop from Girona, down to the coast and back…about 70 miles. You’ll also have access to Rocacorba, one of the most famous climbs in the area.
As far as Pyrenees, Argelès Gazost is a great recommendation. Nice small town and access to the Pyrenees great climbs. I wouldn’t stay in Lourdes though…weird town, and huge religious pilgrimage location.
My family went to Barcelona first by plane. I headed down by car and stayed a few days in the French Alps. I had my share of scenic rides for this vacation
I don’t know how long you’ll stay and what you’re riding will look like but I’d say. Depending on where at the coast traffic can be annoying. And there can be a lot of riding in the plane before getting to the mountains. Personally I don’t mind, I’m happy with just staring at my head unit and collecing kilojoules. And I like to ride long. Just something to be aware of. From Girona I’d say you have 3-5 distinct routes, depending on how long you want to ride. Sometimes you have to ride on bigger roads but this is o.k. because you almost always have this wide side lane.
I have done couple cycling tours in Catalonian Pyrenees with my husband. These tours have been 8-12 days and in August we are going to go for two weeks tour. We don’t have special route, we book next hotel after checking the weather and distance. That hasn’t been problems in previous tours. We have rent bikes from Montefusco Cycling. Claudio has also services for luggage transportations and tailored cycling tours as well.
Do you want to ride big climbs every day? In Spain or in France?
One great place is Ripoll or Campdevanol. You can reach Vallter 2000, La Molina and smaller climbs easily from these place. Ripoll and that area is very easy to reach by train from Barcelona. Couple hours and it costs max. 20€.
Another vote for argeles-gkazost. Did a credit card bikepack trip a few years ago across Pyrenees, from West to East. The cols, roads, views around Argeles were my favourite. Also has lots of accommodation.
Hey thanks for that recommendation. Forgive me for not just reaching out to him to ask–do you know if he would offer super bare bones assistance to a couple? Really just looking for help transporting luggage and maybe booking hotels. I’ve asked a bunch of providers and for the most part they want to sell us more than we want to buy. I can’t blame them–would be tough to make money selling what we’re looking for.