The Raid Pyrenean
Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 November 2013 14:06
The Raid Pyrenean is one of the 'must do' rides for any cycling enthusiast - it is truly an epic! The route across the Pyrenees from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean was established in 1950 keeping as close to the Spanish border as possible on surfaced roads, not surprisingly this takes in most of the big cols en route. Then, as if this was not hard enough the organizers introduced the rule that the route had to be completed within 100 hours!
It is a challenge for sure, as any multi-day cycling event is, however, it is also a chance to ride most of the famous cols in the Pyrenees, including beasts such as the Tourmalet and Aubisque, and to cycle the quiet and beautiful back roads and passes of France's southernmost mountain range. The scenery is stunning, the road surfaces good, and the occasional car drivers are extremely courteous and respectful of cyclists. Consequently the Raid Pyrenean is also a holiday and Marmot Tours takes care of all the logistics (and a lot more) for you, so all you have to do is ride, eat and sleep. If you are looking for an even greater challenge then have a look at our Raid Pyrenean in Reverse, during which we undertake the route from the Mediteranian to the Atlantic in just 4 days!
Why choose Marmot Tours for your Raid Pyrenean?
There are several companies offering a Raid Pyrenean package so we thought we would point out the benefits of doing the trip with us. Marmot Tours has been running road cycling holidays since its conception in 2003. James has been in the leisure industry for even longer and so you can be sure that we will not overlook any aspect of your trip, from the riding, to the travel arrangements, to the accommodation.
- We are a small company (run by James and Cathy Thompson) focusing on customer service and the personal touch.
- We help more people take on the Raid Pyrenean than any other company (about 150 people per year). To date everyone has been very happy with our service and attention to detail.
- We are always available to answer any queries you may have or discuss honestly with you, whether this is the trip for you. Contact us by phone or email with any questions.
- We let everyone cycle at their own speed, be it fast or slow so there is no being held or or holding up of other riders - meanwhile we offer support to everyone!
- We follow the exact route of the original Raid Pyrenean, to keep the ride official - you use the Cyclo Club Bearnais Carnet, and get their medal and certificate if you complete the Raid.
- We cater for various dietary requirements and supplement your breakfasts with wholesome cereals and fruit to give you that kick start in the morning (continental breakfasts aren't always the best for cyclists!)
- During the Raid Pyrenean we use small friendly and family run hotels that know our company and our needs (particularly regarding cyclists), and who make every effort to make your trip comfortable and easy
- We provide you with home made snacks en route - our banana and walnut bread (the walnuts are from our garden!) and flapjacks have a very good reputation!
- We limit our group sizes to 20 so you get the benefits of being with enough other cyclists to find others who cycle at your pace and to have a good laugh en route, but also so that you are not just 'one' in a sea of faces who never get to know anyone else in the group, or your leaders.
- Regardless of the group size we will always have 2 support vehicles for the Raid Pyrenean. The front van offers support to the speedier cyclists in the group, plus makes sure that everyone's bags are at the hotel before they arrive. The back van stays on the road with the second half of the group ensuring that they have support for as long as it takes for them to complete the days ride. This means that we can have a group with mixed cycling experience and different paces, and still offer everyone the same, high level of support. It also means that in the case of any emergencies or mechanicals, a van is never far away. We consider that 2 vehicles is essential for a challenge like this.
- We provide GPS notes and comprehensive route notes with colour maps, altitude profiles, detailed directions, information of places to stop for food and the odd bit of local / historical information.
- We use experienced leaders who know the cycle routes from the Atlantic to the Med very well. They speak French, are cyclists themselves (of varying levels of seriousness!), who have cycled most of the cols en route, and know what it is you are going through on the climbs, and when you are most likely to need support, snacks, water, or a wave from Margo (our marmot mascot!)
- One leader will be a bike mechanic to give you a hand with any problems en route (though it is helpful if you are independent as regards punctures).
- Our support vans are very well kitted out. We carry a lot of spare parts, so can fix most common bike problems. In the event of a serious problem we will lend you a spare bike, so you can carry on raiding, while we get your bike fixed for you in a local shop!
- We know that annual leave is like gold dust, and that you may have family commitments that can make taking a trip like the Raid difficult. We therefore make our Raid Pyrenean as short as possible, so that you only use up 5 days of your holiday entitlement.
Have a quick look at our reviews to see what some of our Raiders from the past couple of years have said about our Raid Pyrenean.
Raid Pyrenean Dates and Prices
We like running the Raid Pyrenean when the conditions are 'at their best'. By this we mean less traffic on the roads and not too hot. Unfortunately in recent years the weather has been 'wrong' with snow on the cols in August and extreme heat in September. We often get asked if it is best to do the trip in June or September; I think the only real difference is with regards to daylight hours - If you are worried about your speed then June / July is better! We do not run the Raid Pyrenean in May as some of the higher cols are still closed due to snow cover.
Raid Pyrenean Dates
Sun 1 - Sat 7 June 2014
Mon 2 - Sun 8 June 2014
Sun 8 - Sat 14 June 2014
Mon 9 - Sun 15 June 2014
Sun 15 - Sat 21 June 2014
Mon 16 - Sun 22 June 2014
Mon 23 - Sun 29 June 2014
Mon 30 June - Sun 6 July 2014
Mon 7 - Sun 13 July 2014
Mon 25 Aug - Sun 31 Aug 2014
Mon 1 Sept - Sun 7 Sept 2014
Mon 8 - Sun 14 Sept 2014
Sun 14 - Sat 20 Sept 2014
Mon 15 - Sun 21 Sept 2014
Cost (2014): £900 (twin share basis), starting at Biarritz Airport and ending at Perpignian or Carcassonne Airports (Toulouse transfers possible for an additional cost - see transport section). Single room supplement: £180 [To be arranged on booking. This supplement only applies if you are booking alone and would like to guarantee your own room for the holiday. If you are happy to share with someone of the same gender then there is no need to pay this supplement.]
Flights are not included but can be picked up very cheaply if booked in advance. Allow about £80 for lunches and daytime drinks that are not included (outlined below). There are no other local payments or hidden costs.
Please note that we offer a 5% discount if you book more than 6 months before the departure date. We also offer group and loyalty discounts.
If your currency isn't GBP £, then you may find the Caxton FX currency calculator useful.
This Raid Pyrenean price includes:
5 days supported rides. Route notes / descriptions and colour maps of the Raid Pyrenean route. Entrance to the official "Raid Pyrenean". Airport Transfers (at specified times and from specified airports). Medical, Mechanical and Moral support from 2 vehicles. 6 nights accommodation. 6 evening meals with table wine. 6 substantial breakfasts suplemented with fuit and cereals. Cycling snacks, fruit, cake, nuts etc. during the ride. Certificate and Raid Pyrenean enamel badge on successful completion of the challenge.
NB. There will also be included a freebie Marmot Tours pack: Raid Challenge musette bag, Marmot Tours water bottle and Raid Pyrenean velopac (waterproof transparent mobile/money holder) for each client. Raid Pyrenean jerseys are available to purchase either before or on the trip (contact us to add the price to your invoice) - see our Merchandise section for jersey piccies and prices.