While most of my cycling these days is limited to Spinning class at the gym, I totally get the attraction of a challenging bike ride. Not to mention the desire to have a truly remarkable once-in-a-lifetime adventure in the process.
Which got me wondering if there was a way that hardcore cyclists like my friend Julie—a die-hard Tour de France fan whose idea of a good time is grinding out a 50-miler before lunch—could combine these two passions into one extraordinary experience.
Following my curiosity lead me to Robbin McKinney, a man who’s been leading cycling trips to Europe for 20 years. For the 2010 Tour de France—which many sportswriters believe may be Lance Armstrong’s last—McKinney’s company Great Explorations is offering two different adventures that allow serious pedal pushers to be more than just passive spectators at the world’s most grueling cycling event.
The Alps tour—McKinney’s favorite—runs July 8-15 and includes the chance to ride legendary Tour de France routes including the 21 hairpin turns of the Alpe D’Huez. Their Pyrenees program, which runs July 19- 26, offers an opportunity to be there for the event’s exciting conclusion, as the riders circle Paris’ Champs D’Elyssees before crossing the finish line.
No matter which Tour de France program you sign up for, you’ll have a choice of several daily rides—many on the same roads the peloton will be passing over just hours later—plus special behind-the-scenes access at the start or finish lines and prime viewing locations for several important stages. Not to mention great meals at quaint local bistros, wine tastings, and swanky spas.
SPECIAL DEAL: Call Great Explorations at 800-242-1825 to book your Tour de France trip by Monday April 12th, and you and a friend will each receive a $250 discount when you mention XTRORD.com.
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