A lake with mountains in the background located near Surrey Cycling Club.

Surrey Cycling Club Takes on the French Alps

Written by: Rafal Kukla | Published on: July 8, 2023 | Edited on: November 30, 2023
The morning of June 3rd found us bubbling with excitement. Today, we were setting off on an epic adventure to the heart of the French Alps. The bikes, each carefully prepared and tuned, were loaded into the van as we all pitched in, a real team effort reflecting the spirit of the Surrey Cycling Club. We waved goodbye to Weybridge, our minds set on the upcoming journey and the alpine challenges that awaited us.
Surrey Cycling Club
Surrey Cycling Club

Day 1: The Long Haul - June 4th

The sun barely peeked over the horizon as we boarded the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle in Folkestone. This undersea marvel, an impressive 50.5km long tunnel connecting the UK to mainland Europe, was the perfect start to our adventure. Upon arrival in Calais, we began the long drive to Le Bourg-d'Oisans, nestled in the magnificent French Alps. Our initial ride around the town eased us into the rhythm of the alpine roads and introduced us to the mesmerising beauty of the surrounding peaks.
YouTube video

Day 2: Conquering Le Bérarde - June 5th

Waking up in Le Bourg-d'Oisans, the reality of our alpine adventure sunk in. Today, we would tackle our first climb - the picturesque Le Bérarde. A small hamlet situated deep within the Ecrins National Park, the ride up to Le Bérarde was a challenge of over 65km with more than 1100m of climbing. Known for its breathtaking landscapes, the path to Le Bérarde winds along the Vénéon River, offering a raw, wild experience of the alpine terrain. The challenging climb and stunning vistas were an unforgettable introduction to the French Alps.
YouTube video
YouTube video

Day 3: Scaling the Alpe d'Huez and Venturing through the Col de Sarenne - June 6th

Day 3 marked our conquest of the legendary Alpe d'Huez, often called the "Hollywood of cycling." Known for its grueling inclusion in the Tour de France since 1952, Alpe d'Huez is a test for any cyclist. With its 21 hairpin bends over 13.8km, each one named after a winner of the Alpe d'Huez stage of the Tour, it is a climb that intertwines history with physical endeavor. The challenging gradient, averaging 7.9%, pushed us to our limits, but the sense of accomplishment upon reaching the summit was unparalleled.
YouTube video
YouTube video
After the victory at Alpe d'Huez, we set our sights on the Col de Sarenne. A less-known but equally challenging climb, the Col de Sarenne extends the Alpe d'Huez climb by an additional 9.3km. With a descent considered more challenging than the ascent, this climb added an extra layer of adventure to our alpine expedition.
A man is standing in front of a sign for cycling club alpe-huz in Surrey.


" SCC TDF 2023 - What can I say being part of SCCs first trip abroad was truly amazing and although I had visited the area before being amongst SCCs members made it very special.

Whilst there was a lot of careful planning that went into the trip for which I was happy to play in I can safely say I wouldn't of changed 1 thing about it. I sincerely believe this was the first of many trips in the future and I can't wait to be a part of these. Thanks Team SCC TdF 2023 for making such fantastic memories with me! "

Day 4: Confronting the Col de La Morte and Col d’Ornon - June 7th

On our fourth day, we divided our forces. A portion of our group took a well-deserved recovery ride, while others decided to press on. Our targets for the day were the Col de La Morte and the Col d’Ornon.

The Col de La Morte, translating to "Pass of the Dead," offers a 17.3km climb with a 6.9% average gradient. While its name may be foreboding, the views from the top, peering into the distant valleys and the alpine panoramas, make it a worthy challenge.

YouTube video
YouTube video
Following a thrilling descent, we reached the base of the Col d’Ornon. This scenic climb, stretching 13.9km, has a more forgiving average gradient of 4.6%. It offered us an opportunity to regroup and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Following the tradition of our adventurous trip, the descent of the Col d’Ornon was nothing short of exhilarating, offering sweeping views of the region's green pastures and rustic hamlets.

Day 5: The Grand Finale - Col de la Croix de Fer - June 8th

As dawn broke on our final day, we were already preparing for the last hurrah - the iconic Col de la Croix de Fer. Literally translated as the "Pass of the Iron Cross," the climb has featured in the Tour de France over 20 times, and is revered for its tough ascent and breathtaking views.
YouTube video

Stretching over 29km and featuring an average gradient of 5.2%, the Col de la Croix de Fer is a genuine test of stamina and determination. Reaching the summit was a moment of triumph that encapsulated the spirit of our journey - the culmination of our shared efforts and the joy of achieving something extraordinary together.

The descent from Col de la Croix de Fer was the perfect way to end our journey. We rolled down the twisting alpine roads, the wind in our faces, and the satisfaction of completing an epic adventure pumping in our veins.

Join Surrey Cycling Club

Membership cost Only £49 per year.

A Fond Farewell - June 9th

Upon our return to the villa, we packed our bikes and gear, brimming with stories of the mountains we had conquered, and the bonds we had forged in the process. As we embarked on the journey back home, we carried with us not just memories of the climbs and descents, but the spirit of camaraderie that had defined our adventure.

Our odyssey in the French Alps was a testament to the Surrey Cycling Club's ethos - bringing people together through the shared love of cycling. As we navigated the winding roads of the French Alps, each turn, each climb, and each descent brought us closer together.

Surrey Cycling Club
Our Group leaving Le Bourg-d'Oisans

Final thoughts

We hope this account of our journey inspires you, just as the majestic peaks of the French Alps inspired us. And who knows, maybe next year, you'll be with us, carving your own path through these historic routes, creating your own stories to tell.

"Together, we ride."

Author Rafal Kukla
🚴‍♂️ Pedaling the path of passion, I'm the founder and chief cycling enthusiast at Surrey Cycling Club. When I'm not steering the wheel of our vibrant community, you'll find me navigating the world of tech, offering bespoke Managed IT Services to the Apple users and WordPress aficionados. Balancing work and wheels with family fun makes my life a thrilling ride! Let's cycle together, shall we? 😊

Stay up to date

We will keep you on track with our latest blogs and updates. If you do not wish to see us in your inbox, You may unsubscribe at any time by following the instructions in the communications received.