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Cycling in the French Alps Format Kindle
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Col de la Ramaz
Col de la Savolière
Col du Ran Folly
Col de Joux Plane
Col de la Colombiere
Col de la Forclaz (Annecy)
Col du Marais
Col de la Croix Fry
Col des Aravis
Col des Saisies
Col de Méraillet
Cormet de Roselend
Col de la Madeleine
Col du Glandon
Col de la Croix de Fer
Col du Télégraphe
Col du Galibier
Col du Lauteret
Les Deux Alpes
Col de Montgènèvre
Colle delle Finestre (Italy)
Col du Mont Cenis
Col de l'Iseran
I found this book a great source for nice photos of the areas covered, and turn-by-turn directions to reach the Cols, but it had some major problems.
The turn-by-turn directions are not really needed! Any map will show how to reach the areas, as the French Alps are a deceptively small geographical area.
Another problem is a lack of an index for the cols. The book has a table of contents with the author's loop configuration for various tours of his devising, but you can't directly find "La Plagne" for instance. You have to look at a map of the loops, figure out which loop has the pass you're looking for, then page through the chapter until you find a reference in the description. His maps are simply awful, a sort of "connect the dots" drawing, with no geography or topography, and the scale of the distances on the maps appears distorted.
There are elevation charts to give one a general idea of the undulations of his routes from day to day. If you take his planned routes, they are continuous, along the bottom of the page, over the number of days each route takes. I don't think most people on a once-in-a-lifetime trip will follow his routes exactly. You'll find yourself jumping from chapter to chapter to map your own route.
Unfortunately, the descriptions of the great climbs of the Alps are prosaic and uninformative. His description of the Col de la Colombiere? "The first part of the ascent, to le Reposoir,is a mere warm-up for the serious work ahead: over the last 8km to the summit the average gradient is almost 9%!" That's it, the entire description of the climb. The Col de la Madeleine? "The climb to the Madeleine is long (25km), but the gradient is quite variable and every few kilometres there are flatter sections where your legs can relax a little." The Col du Galibier? "Whether or not you have the road to yourself, cycling over the Galibier is always a challenge: there are a few easy sections and the last kilometre is the steepest."
I found the book useful for general information on the area, with nice photography, a listing of available facilities and services such as water, as well as shops, cafes, campsites, B&Bs, banks and bike shops (always iffy, as these things change on a continuous basis), but as for good, hard information on the daunting physical challenges of cycling in the Alps, not so good.
However, it is a testament to the lack of any other comprehensive guide to cycling in the Alps, that I have to say this book is almost indispensible if you want to take a cycling trip in the area. I have to give kudos for his effort, but in many frustrating ways, the book is a huge disappointment; but buy it. There is more specific information on many websites, but you won't find anything better in conventional book form.
The first section of the grand traverse contains a long narrative for the whole trip between Geneva and Nice; the next section is a description of each days route.
This leaves you flicking between the long narrative and the each days route section . It would be better if the long narrative section was disposed of the information contained in it was included in the description to each days route.
Great route / cycle by the way.
Newer guides should somehow try to give sat nav file.
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