Coming Attractions

Corsica-Mountain-Road

The one positive recurring theme I heard during this year’s Tour de France was how stunningly beautiful Corsica is. It was as if the entire world of cycling collectively gasped and wondered aloud, “Who knew?” While the Tour de France has long served as France’s most powerful and enduring postcard to its pastoral beauty, it’s not as if everywhere the race goes is attractive enough to merit a Facebook selfie. And that is what makes the visual aspect of the race’s geography such a marvel. It unearths (ha ha) places that force us to tell the TV our dream travel plans. For those of us lucky enough to watch the event with our better halves, it sometimes affords us the chance to say something novel, something that might not get the rebuke a crazy cyclist richly deserves.

“Hey hon, what do you think about vacationing in Corsica?”

Corsicacliffs

 

I mention this because I, like many of you, saw those mountain roads and cerulean sea and sat, slack-jawed, unable to finish a simple, “Wow!” I just slurred a “wah,” as I watched. Unlike some urges I have, though, I resolved to act on this one. I knew just what to do.

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My friend Julie Gildred owns, runs and generally dreams up all that is RideStrong Bike Tours. She and I have been in a sort of dance for more than a year, trying to come up with the right opportunity to work together. Why not collaborate on a tour of Corsica? As it happens, Julie is the perfect person to work with on this as RideStrong ran a tour on Corsica some years back. The destination has been one she’d been thinking of returning to and after this year’s Tour, there seemed like the perfect occasion.

Julie and I have been talking over the itinerary, co-scheming to present a tour that will be as enjoyable off the bike as on. She’s put the itinerary up here.

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Here’s the basic outline for the trip: it’ll be seven days and six nights, beginning May 24, 2014, and ending May 30. The trip will start and finish in Ajaccio so that we won’t have to move the bike cases. The price for the trip is $3979; the single supplement is an extra $700, which would alleviate you of the need to share a room with me. Which means, yes, I’ll be along on the trip as a special guest, which mostly means I’ll be sweeping the course and arriving late to water stops with spare gels for everyone. I hope you’ll consider joining us. We will be teasing out additional details of the trip in the coming weeks and months.

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In addition to the Corsica tour, we have a couple of other things cooking.

For some time I’ve been wanting to hold a ride to meet and pedal with as many of you as possible. I’m in the preliminary stages of planning a ride, also for next spring, probably late April or early May. I should be nailing down the date in the next week or two. The ride will take place in Paso Robles, half way between Los Angeles and San Francisco. I can also say that it won’t be epic in length because we will be taking in some roads that lack any asphalt. And the first person to call it Paso Roubaix or a gravel grinder will be uninvited. I”m not sure what to call it, other than fun.

Finally, for all those of you who won’t be in a position to travel, there will be a couple of additions to our store soon. First up will be a T-shirt to commemorate a guy and a ride that were unimpeachably epic. I’d hoped to have the shirt ready way back in June, when it would have been more occasion appropriate, but sometimes this stuff just takes more time than you think it should. Shortly after the T-shirt begins to ship we will begin offering prints of it, as well as of the artwork from the Eddy ’72 T-shirt. As it happens, both pieces of art are by the same artist, Bill Cass. The prints, I’ve been assured, will be ready to ship in time for Christmas. The shirt will also mark the first effort on our part to contribute to the success of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association.

Thanks for reading and I hope I’ll get to cross paths with you this next year.

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12 comments

  1. Les.B.

    I’m in for PR, as long as the roads are doable with 23mm tires.
    (Or maybe I can put something wider on my old Trek 1100)
    Sounds like funnnn…

  2. bigwagon

    What’s wrong with Paso Roubaix??!! Think how many new disc brake road bikes you could help sell. You would be doing the bike industry a great benefit!

  3. Al Pastor

    PR sounds interesting. 3hr drive is doable for a bike ride. Don’t know about gravel, though. If you’re talking about dirt fire roads, no problem. Loose gravel and 23mm is a recipe for lost skin.


    1. Author
      Padraig

      Nice to hear that Paso is striking a chord with some of you. That’s cool. I’ll be riding the route soon with the fellow who planned it (based on my harebrained idea). At that point I’ll be able to fill everyone in on just what the conditions are. I’ve ridden a bit of it before and my previous experience was that the unpaved portions were mostly hardpack with some bits that are sandy. I suspect that 23s are possible, but that 25s will make it a good deal more comfortable and 28s will make you feel like a hero. Stay tuned.

      Oh, and Bigwagon, there’s something wrong with you, but that’s part of what I like about you.

  4. Michael

    I rode near Paso on a part-dirt part-road tour last May, and Padraig’s description of sandy seems apt for most of the roads we encountered. The rocks had rounded edges, as sandstone weathers that way, but the sandy patches led to diving front wheels. This was fine with 28s, but I am glad I wasn’t riding 23s. Tread wasn’t really needed, just some flotation. And there are some steep dirt roads – don’t let Padraig sandbag you into thinking because it isn’t long it will be easy!

  5. Ben

    Paso? Sweet awesomeness, as long as it is on a weekend.

    Corsica? Sweeter awesomeness but the week vacation and $4 grand are harder to come by…

  6. Jim DeLara

    I’ve been riding in Corsica for 25 years and felt it was the best place in the world for me to ride. 8 years ago my wife and I bought an apartment in Calvi and go every summer.We were there to see all the stages in corsica for the last Tour and felt that the world would really see what is special place it is.

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