Adventures on a Cycling Tour of Alpe d’Huez, Galibier and Mont Ventoux

At More Than 21 Bends our aim is to provide customers with unforgettable holidays when cycling with us in the majestic French Alps. 

Testament to this we are thrilled to feature for the third time in the latest edition of NZ Road Cyclist magazine.

The article follows the adventures and tour highlights of four “getting on a bit” Kiwi’s on our Alpe d’Huez, Galibier and Mont Ventoux tour. 

See below an extract from the article offering an insight into what to expect from this popular tour. 



Ok, there’s the birth of your kids; I’ll give you that. And if you know what’s good for you, you’d better put your wedding – well, the most recent one anyway – on the list. Believe it or not, in just 10 days recently I had at least three of those never-to-be-forgotten experiences on a cycling trip to the French Alps with a group of cycling mates. We were heading to the village of Bourg d’Oisans, at the foot of the iconic Alpe d’Huez climb, where we were being hosted by Phil and Helen Topp, of More Than 21 Bends – a cycle tour company set up to not only introduce visitors to the famous 21 bends but also to share with them the literally dozens of equally thrilling (but not-so famous) local routes.

I hadn’t been able to share the experience with any of my mates; who (naturally enough) soon got sick of my ‘when I was in France’ stories. Recently however, we all managed to organise our schedules so we could take our Sunday rides – and all the banter that goes with them – to a whole new level. To say we weren’t disappointed is putting it mildly; day after day we shared cycling experiences beyond our wildest dreams. Here’s some of the memories we will be sharing forever:

1. THE ICING ON TOP: The Queen Stage of our trip was to be the 21.5km ascent of Mont Ventoux, the legendary ‘beast of Provence’

2. ENDLESS DESCENDING In the lead-up to a trip to the French Alps, it is only natural that all your attention is focused on those legendary climbs. You train for them – well, as much as you can in the midst of an unusually long, wet NZ winter – and certainly use up a decent chunk of anxiety thinking about what lies ahead. Unless you’re a 55kg mountain goat, that anxiety is well-placed. There is no getting around the fact that a 20km or even a never-ending 30km climb – like Croix de Fer – is going to push the Average Joe Kiwi cyclist to the edge of your ability and then some.

3. THE FRISSON OF THE NEW One of the great thrills of cycling in France is riding – admittedly at a dramatically slower pace – in the tyre tracks of the great cyclists who have gone before. Phil Topp, our tour leader from More Than  21 Bends, says he had ridden past it for years without even knowing it was there. Once ridden though, it’s never forgotten. The constant hairpins take the sting out of the climbing and while you welcome the opportunity to cool off in the village trough at the top, there’s a special thrill from having completed a climb that’s bound to become a ‘must do’ challenge for future travelers.

Having now enjoyed two cycling adventures with the team from More Than 21 Bends, I can thoroughly recommend the experience. It’s nowhere near as difficult to organise – or as expensive – as you might think; and I can promise you years of great memories.

If you fancy joining one of our tours and making your own memories, Contact us for more information, or check availability and book online here.

Happy Cycling

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