Col de la Croix de Fer
Available from May - October

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Col de la Croix de Fer

The Col de la Croix de Fer is located to the south west of the town Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne in the French Alps and links this region with that of the Le Bourg-d’Oisans and Alpe d’Huez.  The climb also runs up and onto the Col du Glandon (3km away) and it is also one of the longest mountain climbs in the region.

Riding from Saint Jean de Maurienne and the north the climb is quite a long and irregular for the region. You are able to split it up into 3 sections for ease. The first section from the town to the of Saint Jean de Maurienne to Pierrepin is fairly steep for around 3km before dropping down towards Le Cret. From then on the second section is long and fairly steep for around 5km with a few switchbacks to up the profile and keep the aveage gradient fairly high before the gradient decreases again and you gradually descend 2 km. From kilometre 16 you are then cycling the road westwards and towards the summit. The road starts off at around 5% in the same direction before you get to the town of Saint-Sorlin-d’Arves and the switchbacks through the ski chalets dotted on the side of the mountain. The climb is extremely sapping to the legs as you end the final 2 km on an average of 8%.

Climbed for the first time in the Tour de France in 1947, the Col de la Croix de Fer has been another climb that has featured heavily in the Alpine stages of “La Grande Boucle”. Although it has only been passed 16 times in the last 68 years it has proven itself in a race which has many cycling monuments and added to the tour each time it has been used.  It has been able to link many stage races from Le Bourg-d’Oisans and Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne and seen some of the greats pass over the summit first, for instance, Gino Bartali, Fausto Coppi, Federico Bahamontes, Bernard Hinault and Richard Virenque on some of their most stunning victories and campaigns in the Tour.

 

Climb: Le Croix de Fer
From Saint Jean de Maurienne  
Dates: May – October
Average & Maximum gradient: 5.1 %
Length: 30 km
Height & Elevation Gain: 2068 m, 1522 m

 

  • Arc Valley

  • Impressive scenery and challenging Landscape

 
   Dates Adult(PP)

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Frequently asked questions

1. How fit do I need to be for these holidays?

Our Bikecations are designed to attract people of all ages and levels of fitness. All the holidays can be enjoyed by anyone who is reasonably fit. Some holidays involve greater distances or frequency of cycling and some will cover hillier terrain than others. Our tour gradings and itinerary descriptions should help guide you towards the most suitable holiday options for you. If you are not sure, give us a call.

2. How many miles a day can I expect to cycle?

This depends on the Bikecation you choose. These have been graded so you know what to expect.

For a bikecation leisure cycling holiday a gentle pace is about 7-8 miles per hour, so, if you cycle for four hours, you can expect to cover 25-30 miles comfortably. This leaves plenty of time for sightseeing, picnics, visiting castles or churches, stopping for morning coffee or whatever you want to do. You have all day to get to your next stopover, so you can relax and enjoy the countryside. We can also include rest days when you can enjoy other activities if you require.

For our road cycling and bespoke tours for groups we will advise you what is best for the particular trip you wish to ride on. Usually we try to cover 60-100 miles at an average speed of 13.5 to 14.5 mph but this can be slower or faster depending on the group.

3. What do I wear for leisure cycling ?

It is important to be comfortable when cycling so we suggest wearing thin layers of clothing. Padded cycling shorts, a zipped top, windproof light jacket and trainers are standard fare. Fast drying and hardwearing synthetic fabrics are ideal as a base layer as these allow your skin to breathe and wick the moisture away from your skin to the next layer, avoiding the chill which cotton T-shirts can cause. In mid-summer you may just need shorts and a t-shirt. Safety helmets are strongly recommended on all Bikecation holidays and are a legal requirement in some countries so please bring your own helmet. We will send out a What to wear document to you well in advance of your Bikecation.

4. Are cycling holidays suitable for children?

Cycling can make an ideal family holiday, provided the right distances are chosen for the younger members of the party. We would suggest that you call us to discuss the most suitable tours for your children. In most places we are able to offer children’s bikes and child seats, if you have toddlers or babies.

5. How much luggage can I bring?

Your luggage is transported for you every day so bring what you need to make your holiday relaxing and comfortable. Please try and limit it to one item of luggage per person and that it is clearly labelled. On some tours there is a weight limit per item.

6. What happens to my luggage?

We want you to enjoy your Bikecation to the full so, for your comfort, we arrange the transportation of your luggage from one hotel to the next. The only thing we ask is that you leave your suitcases in reception on setting out each morning, and the hoteliers will ensure that it is waiting for you at your next hotel. We will provide luggage labels for you. All you need carry with you are drinks, a camera, waterproofs and sun cream.

7. Is my money safe if anything happens to Bikecation?

Your money is safe when you book your Bikecation. To protect your payments fully, all monies paid by you to us for your holiday are held in a separate Client’s Trust Account and are not released to Bikecation until your holiday has taken place. This practice fully satisfies the requirements of EC and UK law. Please call us if you would like to discuss this further.

Bikecation is also fully licensed by ATOL ( no. T7462) that is issued by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). for full details how how your payments are protected, please read our Your Financial Security page.

8. Do I need to bring my own bike? What type of bike should I bring?

We arrange for hire bikes to be provided for your holiday or tour. However, if you would prefer to bring your own bike then by all means bring it with you, but it must be in good working order. We recommend either a hybrid or a mountain bike fitted with road tyres for our leisure cycling holidays.

For our road cycling trips we can advise on what is best for your situation but we regularly transport bikes to the start destination.

If you do bring your own bike, you should insure it separately. Most household insurance policies can be extended to cover your bike whilst on holiday.

9. What happens if I have a problem with the bike or any other problem en route ?

If you are provided with a bike it will be well-maintained and serviced before being rented out so there should be no problems however, there are emergency numbers provided in the Route Notes for more complex problems.
If you have brought your own bike and you are unable to fix it, we will find you a replacement for the rest of your holiday.

Our road cycling trips will also have back up support with a mechanic unless requested otherwise with a possible spare bike for any major problems.

10. What should I do about holiday insurance?

If you choose a holiday abroad, you should have adequate insurance to cover you for medical expenses and for cancellation or curtailment of your holiday. For holidays in the UK we recommend everyone should have holiday travel insurance. Not all insurance policies cover cycling daily so we recommend Campbell Irvine. For full information, please read our ‘Trip Preparation’ page

11. Where will I leave my car for the duration of the leisure cycling holiday?

In most cases you can leave your car for the duration of your holiday in the car park of the hotel used for the first night’s accommodation. Where parking is not available at the first hotel, you will be advised of the alternative arrangements made for you.

12. I’m on my own – Which holidays are best for me ?

Nearly all our holidays are open to single travellers, but our Group guided holidays may be of most interest. Group holidays give you the opportunity to meet others of like mind and to enjoy cycling together. The group ‘vibe’ continues into the evening if you decide to eat together. A guide will help you appreciate the history and culture of the area you’re visiting.

13. What type of accommodation can I expect?

There is a variety of accommodation ranging from Castles and Chateaux to small boutique hotels and good quality B&Bs, thereby offering a range of different priced holidays. If you have any questions regarding which accommodation is used in the trip you are interested in riding please contact the office.

14. What are the routes like?

The descriptions of our Leisure Bikecations indicate the main types of routes we use on each holiday, such as provincial roads, country lanes, dedicated cycle ways, some tracks and Casa Verdes (disused railway tracks). While we try to use quiet routes wherever possible, you should be comfortable riding occasionally in traffic. Traffic volumes can vary even on minor roads, especially in more popular tourist areas; we sometimes have to use short sections of busier roads to cross rivers or connect scenic routes, and traffic will inevitably be heavier in and near towns.

Some routes include occasional sections on unsurfaced tracks, but these don’t require any specific technical riding skills. If you are unsure of your level, or would like to know more about the cycling on specific holidays, then please do not hesitate to contact our knowledgeable reservations team.

15. Do I need to bring money for food?

All the holidays include a hearty breakfast each day. Some also include lunch and an evening meal. Where they are not included, you are free to choose where and when to eat. Some hotels will provide you with a packed lunch on request, but most people like the freedom of stopping at the place of their choice to experience the local cuisine. Some routes have been designed to incorporate gastronomic delights and will include an evening meal. Details are given with each individual tour.

16. Is it possible to extend one of the holidays from a few days to a full week?

We have the resources to design a tour to suit your requirements, incorporating rest days if desired, taking in places that are of interest to you. Give us a call and we will try to accommodate your wishes. The only constraint may be the availability of the accommodation.

17. Can you arrange flights for the overseas tours?

Flights are not included in the tour price, however we can book flights for you. Holding an ATOL licence means that if you book a tour and flight together with us you will have the added piece of mind of the financial protection offered by ATOL. If you prefer to book your own, we recommend that you wait until your tour booking is confirmed before you book any flights and booking separately means you will not be covered by ATOL. For full information on our flight services please contact us on email@bikecation.co.uk

18. When are the tours available?

Departure dates are shown for all tours. Please be aware that the holidays are very dependent on the availability of the selected accommodation. These have been chosen carefully, looking for a high standard to ensure you are comfortable at all times. During busy periods this is not always available, so we advise that you should book as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

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