Ever wanted to join the peloton? Now’s your chance to move up a gear from your normal cycle commute and follow the same historic roads as the pros. Ranging from the traditional cycling heartland of France to more culturally diverse destinations like Jordan and South Africa, our iconic rides are a fantastic way to test your fitness and determination. You’ll get a real buzz from riding in a group and sharing the daily challenges with fellow enthusiasts.
What is a cyclosportive?
Also known as Sportifs or Gran Fondos, these long-distance mass participation events are the cycling equivalent of running a marathon. They often replicate professional race routes and there is usually a choice of distances to appeal to a wide audience. Many are fully supported with marshals, mechanic cars and excellent food and water stations to rest and refuel. You may find yourself riding with up to 35,000 other cyclists, all sharing the same goal.
These trips are designed for drop bar racing bikes which are ideal for the challenging terrain. Due to the large amount of climbing on many of the trips, either a compact (50/34 tooth) or triple chainset is recommended. In addition you could consider fitting up to a 28 or even 32 tooth rear cassette. Quality road bikes are available for hire locally on most tours if you prefer not to travel with your own bike. Feel free to bring your own saddle and pedals for additional comfort and familiarity.
Fitness and experience
Due to the challenging nature of the riding on these trips, a good level of road cycling experience and fitness is important, however the basic routes are manageable for most regular fit cyclists with one or two cols to climb each day. Trips featuring a cyclosportive event will be tough whatever your fitness level, so prepare to push yourself and spend a long day in the saddle.
The fitter you are before you go, the more likely you are to enjoy the trip and feel confident in your ability to complete the rides. Although it is impossible in the UK to replicate the climbs of the Alps and Pyrenees, with some focus on stamina and plenty of hills you can prepare yourself well. Booking onto a holiday like this is a great incentive to get out, ride on a regular basis and get fitter! If you need a little help getting started, why not take a look at our Cycling Fitness Plan.
"To me the attraction of competing on a bike is a mixture of things. I ride with girls in a team from all over the world, so it’s a mixture of travel and meeting people from different cultures and then just the challenge of being the best that I can be."
Lizzie Armitstead – Team GB Olympic Silver Medal Winning Cyclist
Andy Ross, Exodus Cycling Programme Manager, writes about Riding the Etape du Tour (January 2013).
Exodus Cycling Jerseys - If you really want to look the part, our stylish new cycling jerseys are now on sale. As worn by our Tour Leaders, these high-tech professional level jerseys are made with 100% SpeedPro advanced moisture transfer fabric, perfect for keeping cool. The jerseys have a ¾ length hidden zipper and 3 rear pockets so they’re ideal for carrying your cycle holiday essentials. The jerseys are available in men’s and women’s cuts and are sold through Primal Europe for £45.
Download the complete fitness plan