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Our Guide to the 2020 Tour de France

Sure, you might not be battling for the yellow jersey or a sprint finish, but join us for a Tour de France bike tour and you’ll definitely feel like a winner. As the official partner of Trek-Segafredo, we’ll ride the stages, watch the big attacks, meet the pros, and drink in the drama. TV just can’t capture the electricity of a race. Luckily, that’s what we’re here for.

Grand Depart Ultimate

Our trip starts in sunny Provence, with a bucket-list climb up Mont Ventoux. Then it’s on to Nice for the exciting early mountain stages. It’s only the second time that the capital of the French Riviera will play host to the Grand Départ, with the last time being in 1981, and we’ll be there for the heat of the action.

Why you’ll love it:

Ride epic climbs in the French Alps with Trek Travel
Experience this year’s TDF featured climbs of Col de Turini and Col d’Eze and climb the iconic Mont Ventoux.

Ride across the finish line at the Tour de France with Trek Travel
Official VIP Race Access passes to the finish of Stage 2 in Nice and behind the scenes tours with the Trek-Segafredo Team.

Enjoy exclusive race viewing with Trek Travel
Official VIP Race Access Passes to the Departure Village and exclusive Relais Etape hospitality zone access during Stage 1 in Nice.

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Alps to Paris Ultimate

We’ve hand-picked the most luxurious hotels that land us right in the middle of the action. The Alps are the heart and soul of the Tour de France. Whether it’s the classically beautiful Col des Aravis or the thrilling mountaintop finish at Col de la Loze in Méribel, we’ll take you to where the yellow jersey will be lost and won again. We kept the rides on this trip short to be able to make the most of your time experiencing Le Tour. This also makes this trip ideal for non-riding companions.

Why you’ll love it:

Exclusive finish line viewing with Trek Travel
Stay at the timeless Parisian landmark, the 5-star Hotel de Crillon, adjacent to the Trek Travel race viewing of the Grand Finale in Paris.

Ride epic climbs in the French Alps with Trek Travel
Experience this year’s TDF featured climbs: Cols de la Loze, des Aravis, and des Saisies.

Cols de la Loze, des Aravis & des Saisies with Trek Travel
Official VIP Race Access Passes to the open top-bus at the final mountaintop finish of Stage 17 in Méribel Col de la Loze.

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Alps to Paris VIP Access

Challenge your legs to the same history-making climbs as the peloton, all with privileged VIP access to the race. With first-class, professional support, a wealth of local knowledge, and the best bikes in the business, there’s no better way to celebrate the passion and drama of this exhilarating event.

Why you’ll love it:

Ride epic climbs in the French Alps with Trek Travel
Experience this year’s TDF featured climbs: Col de la Loze, Col de la Madeleine, and Cols des Aravis, Saisies, and Glières.

Ride across the finish line at the Tour de France with Trek Travel
Exclusive Pro Team Access and Trek Travel race viewing of the Grand Finale in Paris.

Ride a gondola in the French Alps with Trek Travel
Official VIP Race Access Passes to the open-top bus at the final mountaintop finish of Stage 17 in Méribel Col de la Loze.

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Alpe d’Huez to Paris VIP Access

Whether it’s the classically beautiful Col des Glières or the thrilling sprint finish in La Roche Sur Foron, we’ll take you to where the yellow jersey will be lost and won again. Challenge your legs to the same history-making climbs as the peloton, all with privileged VIP access to the race and an unforgettable ascent up the iconic Alpe d’Huez.

Why you’ll love it:

Ride epic climbs in the French Alps with Trek Travel
Rise early to ascend the famous TDF climbs of Alpe d’Huez, Galibier, and Télégraphe.

Ultimate race VIP experience with Trek Travel
Enjoy Official VIP race access passes to the exclusive hospitality zone of Stage 17, race viewing at the finish of Stage 18, and exclusive Pro Team Access for the Grand Finale in Paris.

Rise early to climb Hautacam with Trek Travel
Experience this year’s TDF featured climbs, including Cols des Aravis, Glières, and Fleuries.

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Epic Climbs VIP Access

Join us in the Pyrenees to tackle the thrilling climbs of the Col du Tourmalet, Col du Soulor, and Col d’Aubisque. Follow this with the ride of your life up the Giant of Provence, famous Mont Ventoux. Finally, it’s on to the Alps to witness the tour’s final mountain stages where you and the climbers will test your skills atop the hulking giants of this region: Alpe d’Huez, Col de la Madeleine, Col du Galibier, and Col du Télégraphe.

Why you’ll love it:

Ride epic climbs in the French Alps with Trek Travel
Conquer legendary climbs including Alpe d’Huez, Cols de la Madeleine, Galibier, Télégraphe, Ventoux, Tourmalet, Solour, and Aubisque.

Ride across the finish line at the Tour de France with Trek Travel
Official Race Access VIP passes to the open-top bus at the Stage 17 finish and a ride over the starting line of Stage 18 in Méribel.

Ride a gondola in the French Alps with Trek Travel
Enjoy first-class, fully dedicated VIP support from the Trek Travel team while your ride in style on a full carbon Trek Domane Disc road bike with electronic Di2 shifting.

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Etape du Tour

Tackle sprocket-list climbs like Col de Colmiane, Col de Turini, and Col d’Èze. The best part? You’ll be doing it just a few days after the pros. This year’s route covers Stage 2 of Le Tour, traveling a loop of 110 miles from and back to Nice. A breathtaking stage in the Alpes-Maritimes, the ride features two mountain passes, a climb up to Col d’Èze, and some spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea before crossing the finish line in Nice.

Why you’ll love it:

Unrivaled support with Trek Travel
You’ll take on this milestone with full Trek Travel support, whether you need water, snacks, or just a good, loud cheer up that last climb.

Stay at 5-star luxury hotels in France with Trek Travel
Stay at a perfectly located 4-star hotel in Nice, close to the race start and finish lines.

Sip wine and enjoy French cuisine with Trek Travel
Nice is positively chic and fabulous all in one. This charming city on the banks of the Cote d’Azur is a world-class destination that beckons vacationers from all over the world.

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The Grand Finish-Paris

It’s no surprise that the party of all parties happens in Paris as The City of Lights’ proud historic landmarks become the background for a spectacular Le Tour finish. Discover the height of French gastronomy, explore famous landmarks, and be in the center of race action when you attend our exclusive Finish Viewing at the prestigious Automobile Club de France.

Why you’ll love it:

Watch the race from the Automobile Club of France with Trek Travel
See the race from the rooftop terrace or get down to street level and witness the energy of the peloton as it sweeps past at over 30 miles per hour, catapulting another champion toward the podium.

Visit Paris on a Tour de France bike tour with Trek Travel
Savor a glass (or two) of champagne in a toast to cycling’s elite.

Visit Paris on a Tour de France bike tour with Trek Travel
Spot famous landmarks including the Arc de Triomphe and Champs Élysée.


L’Étape du Tour: One epic day on the bike

Trek Travel President Tania Burke has ridden the Etape 13 times in a row, and some might say she is an expert in all the best climbs and routes France has to offer. Read on for thoughts and epic photos of her day on the bike and get inspired to tackle this hallowed event yourself.

I have done a few posts about the Etape du Tour. It is such an awesome day on the bike that it deserves another. My husband John and I have done the Etape 13 years in a row and every year is different. Different course, different challenge, different group of friends we convince to ride with us, and different guides. This year was another great day in the Alps as we rode from Annecy over the Col du Bluffy, the Col de La Croix Fry, Montée, Du Plateau Des Gliéres, Col De Romme and finally the Col De La Colombiére and finished in Saint Jean-de-Sixt. If that sounds long, it was and it had around 13,000 feet of climbing (1,000 feet for every year?) But despite the challenge, it was yet another awesome day on the bike. Enjoy some of my photos from the day, and join us this summer for the bucket list event that is L’Étape.

Take on L’Étape

Book your spot

 

Trek Travel Cycling Vacation Etape du Tour Photo Blog

 
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Trek Travel Cycling Vacation Etape du Tour Photo Blog

 
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Trek Travel Cycling Vacation Etape du Tour Photo Blog

 
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Reservations are filling fast. Don’t miss this bucket list trip.

Book your spot

 

Tour De France And Cycling Are The Best Spectator Sports – For Active Participants

Trek is the best operator I know of that does a trip for the Etape du Tour, a mass participation ride held annually that recreates an exact replica of a full Tour de France stage in the current year’s race, with thousands of enthusiasts attacking the course.

This year’s route included famous climbs in the heart of the Alps such as the Col de la Croix Fry and Col de la Colombière. Typically held on a rest day in the actual race, this “replica Tour,” is extremely popular, hard to get into, and usually picks a climbing focused stage. The easiest, most luxurious and most turnkey way to participate is on Trek Travel’s 6-day trip that warms up with local rides before tackling the race in day 5. This year’s was 105 miles with four notable climbs. The trip uses the highest level of fancy hotels in Trek’s scale and equips each participant with a pro-worthy Domane SL 7 carbon road bike with Di2 electronic shifting. The 2019 info will be announced here.

Read on»

2017 Hotel of the Year Award

It’s the culmination of our year spent traveling the world, staying everywhere from the heart of the Patagonian Rainforest to a chef-inspired epicurean escape in Sonoma. So, which ones are our favorite? 
 

Le Phebus

Ideally located in a quiet village in the heart of the Luberon countryside between Roussillon and Gordes, this Relais & Chateaux property is a converted farmhouse built on ruins dating back to the Knights of the Order of Malta. The Spa offers luxurious treatments in addition to a heated pool, tennis court, and even a dedicated pétanque playing area. The jewel of this hotel, however, is the Chef Xavier Mathieu’s Michelin Starred restaurant.

“There was some of the most beautifully artistic food I have ever seen and eaten at Le Phebus.”
– Jennifer, Trek Travel Guest

Trek Travel Provence Cycling Vacation Le Phebus Hotel of the Year

Not only do our guests eat at this restaurant, Chef Mathieu also leads guests in a trip to the weekly market followed by a private cooking lesson. And the best part? Le Phebus is a perfect base to explore the region’s best riding: quiet winding roads, colorful villages, gentle climbs like the Gorge de la Nesque, and more challenging ones like Mont Ventoux. This property is legendary, and we’re so glad that our guests will enjoy five full nights there this year on the newly redesigned Provence Luxury trip.

Trek Travel Hotel of the Year Le Phebus

“We love collaborating with Le Phebus for our Provence Luxury trips. The team there is kind, hard-working, and prides themselves on the highest level of service.”
– Jessica Singerman, Trek Travel Trip Designer

 

Ojo Caliente

At the end of the day’s ride traversing the Rio Grande Valley from Santa Fe, guests roll under a canopy of shady Cottonwoods, past an expansive organic farm and into the welcoming embrace of a true high desert sanctuary, Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs and Resort. The historic hotel nestled amidst piñon and juniper dappled mesas beneath the site of the ancient Posí Pueblo, feels like a peaceful home away from home, and for two nights guests get to literally saturate in all the rejuvenating facets of the property.

Ojo Caliente Resort and Spa on Trek Travel Cycling Vacation

Mineral baths, an expansive spa, elegant adobe inspired rooms and an amazing restaurant provisioned by the onsite farm and local organic food, are just the beginning of the experience here. Service is truly what rounds out our stay as the friendly local staff naturally adapt to our needs and requests. The only downside to Ojo Caliente is having to check-out.

Ojo Caliente Resort and Spa on Trek Travel Cycling Vacation

“Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs and Resort is such a welcome sight to guests and guides.”
– Zack Jones, Trek Travel Trip Designer & Guide

 

3 Things the L’Etape du Tour Taught Me About Life

This spring, on an otherwise ordinary Wednesday lunch ride from the Trek Travel office, I was offered the opportunity to participate in the 2017 Etape du Tour. What came next was something I never expected.

The invitation came so casually that it took a moment before the onset of nerves, excitement, and admittedly a bit of panic set in. The Etape du Tour is a citizen’s ride that covers one stage of the Tour de France, and it’s often the year’s most difficult queen stage in the mountains. With a simple verbal commitment during a 12-mile lunch ride around the lake, I had just signed myself up for a 110-mile challenge with almost 11,000 feet of climbing and a summit finish on the harrowing Col d’Izoard.

The Alps seemed unreachable for a recreational cyclist like me. My personal life was taking unexpected turns and I was coming off a frigid Wisconsin winter with too-few miles on the trainer. But so began the journey. Over the next four months, training for and ultimately completing the Etape du Tour taught me three valuable lessons that helped me not only conquer the Alps, but also helped me navigate the ride that is life.

Trek Travel L'Etape du Tour

1. Eat Real Food

When training for and participating in endurance sports, nutrition becomes essential to your success. Trust me when I say that you do not want to bonk in the middle of a 100-mile ride. As someone who typically forgets to eat and drink until we crack a post-ride beer, I had to focus on fueling up at every stop and hydrating consistently. Not just gu’s and gel’s, either. The key to my success at the Etape was eating real food all day long. It is vital to recognize what your body needs and nourish yourself with fuel to sustain you.

Trek Travel L'Etape du Tour

2. Don’t Burn Too Many Matches

For any long-distance event, it’s important to go in with a plan. Use the countless hours of training to learn your limits, so when it comes time for the main event you know just how hard you can go. Unfortunately, race-day jitters and excitement often cause us to make the fatal mistake of going out too fast. Don’t. Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” When hundreds of eager athletes fly pass you at the start, stick to your plan. If you ride at your pace, you will get to where you want to go.

Trek Travel L'Etape du Tour

3. Stay in the Envelope

The best part about riding the Etape with Trek Travel is the overwhelming support. I had a team of 15 people to train with, learn from and lean on leading up to and during the event. I knew when accepting the invitation that I had a lot to learn about cycling – about climbing and descending with 15,000 other riders around me. But the most important lesson I learned is to trust your team. If you want to succeed, surround yourself with people far more experienced than you. They have knowledge, wisdom, protection and strength to offer.

So the moral of the story? Life has a way of surprising us. Enjoy the ride.

 

Sign up for the ride of a lifetime

Join Etape

Meet Our Team: Penny Gatward

Designing for the Tour de France takes a lot of passion, patience, planning, skill and a little bit of luck. Hear from our expert Trip Designer, Penny, who for the last nine years has created Le Tour itineraries that capture the spirit of this iconic race—winning the hearts of guests and guides alike.

Trek Travel Tour de France Cycling Vacation

Tell us your story. How did you end up at Trek Travel?
That’s a very long story! In a nutshell, I guided with Tania (Trek Travel’s President) in the late 90’s. We ran 10-day Tuscany camping trips together! Guides cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner for guests and slept in the trailer! After that I guided wilderness adventures and then I joined Tania once again at Trek Travel in 2005.

How long have you been designing for the Tour de France?
Since 2009.

How do you put these trips together? Tell us about your design process.
As soon as the TdF finishes at the end of July, I start looking for rumors about next year’s race. I contact hotels in the areas where I think the race will be to get our reservations in early. Having great relationships with hotels is a key advantage as the ASO blanket books all hotels in areas where the race will be. Once the race route is announced, we confirm the hotels that are best situated for our guests to view the race and also ride the climbs that will be featured. The ideal itinerary is one that has one or two excellent hotels and is in close proximity to the race action and featured climbs.

Trek Travel Tour de France Cycling Vacation

What are some of the greatest challenges?
Finding great 4- and 5-star hotels especially in mountain areas, working with the ever changing logistics of the race itself and road closures.

What is the most rewarding part of designing for the Tour?
Definitely designing a first class trip on paper which the guides then take and create an experience of a lifetime for guests. Guides put the icing on the cake with these trips, no doubt. Talking to guests at the finale in Paris and seeing that twinkle in their eye that means they’ve had an experience of a lifetime makes it all worth while!

If you could ride any stage what would it be?
Stage 19 Lourdes to Laruns: It has been a while since the final mountain finishes have been in the Pyrenees and this stage features some of the most spectacular climbs of this stunning mountain range. The beautiful Col d’aspin, epic Col du Tourmalet, and the stunning Col du Solour and Col d’Aubisque double.

Trek Travel Tour de France Cycling Vacation

What are you most excited about for this year’s Tour?
Watching the mountain stages. With only four days between the Alps and the Pyrenees and both regions packing huge bucket list climbs such as Alpe d’Huez and the Col du Tourmalet, the pro’s will definitely have a fight on their hands.

Piece of advice for guests going on a tour trip for the first time?
The race has a life, personality and magic of its own that can only be felt up close and personal. A great hotel is nice to stay at, gourmet meals are a pleasure to eat, BUT riding and sweating up a famous Tour climb ahead of the peloton—your legs begging you to stop— and feeling the elation of making it to the top is where it’s at. A short while later while in the comfort of the VIP zone at the finish line you’ll watch the pro’s do the exact same thing, sweat and pain in their eyes. Be warned it is addictive!

Experience the 2018 Tour de France for yourself.

Reserve Your Spot

Michael Valenti: Return from Le Tour

This July, Michael Valenti embarked on the journey of a lifetime following and drawing all 21 days of the Tour de France with his two friends and a motorhome by his side. We caught up with him at the start of his journey and were fortunate enough to speak with him again now that it’s over. The verdict? “I’m doing it again, the game is definitely on!”

Trek Travel Cycling Vacations Michael Valenti Return from Le Tour

So welcome back, it’s great to talk to you again. It’s probably a tough question, but if you had to choose, what was the best part of this whole thing?
The people I met. I met people from all over the world and it was easy to talk to them, it was easy to communicate whether we spoke the same language or not. It had a lot to do with everyone had the same passion for the Tour.

What was the most unexpected part?
It was easier than I thought it was going to be because we planned it well. That was unexpected. It went smoothly. As much as there was planning, there was some luck involved as well. You had to have the perfect mix of planning, stamina and luck.

Did all your training pay off?
Without a doubt. I will definitely do that again. I have not had that backpack on since I’ve been back though. Just say no to the 25lb pack.

Trek Travel Cycling Vacations Michael Valenti Return from Le Tour

What expectation did you have going into the trip that did or didn’t pan out how you thought?
The big realization I had after was that I did not see as much cycling and racing as I thought I would or could. It was difficult to follow, because of my phone’s geographical restrictions I couldn’t see parts of the tour in English. I had this vision of we’ll watch it every day like we do back home, I had all the packages and we couldn’t use any of them! And we definitely did not spend enough time in bars. Because at each stop, as soon as I finished working, it was time to leave and move on to the next city. It was time to go. I think I would linger longer next time.

What are your plans for the future?
Do it again, get smarter about sharing with more people, I might do it a little differently. I may not chase the route so closely each day, I might do something where I hit the highlights for longer. Look for three or four places where I invest three days and take a deeper dive into the area and capture a more full experience. And it would do two things for me: I would be able to take an actual bicycle ride, and I’d be able to go to that bar or wherever and watch it on TV. It would afford me more freedom.

There’s another crazy concept on the table as well, but you’ll have to wait until next year to find out if that one works out.

Trek Travel Cycling Vacations Michael Valenti Return from Le Tour

Until next Tour, Michael. Be sure to follow along with his adventures in the meantime here and on Instagram @Veloist

In case you missed it: Michael Valenti’s 21 Days of Cycling Art

Read On

Top 5 Reasons L’Etape du Tour is Better with Trek Travel

Hear from a first time finisher of L’Etape du Tour about how tackling the legendary climbs and descents of this famous stage was made better with the support of Trek Travel.

1. Prep Week

L’Etape du Tour is a one day event. But when you join Trek Travel, that’s only part of the experience. The opportunity to spend four days in the Alps prior to the race was vital to my success on game day. Not only did it give me time to acclimate to my surroundings, including the altitude and time zone, but the daily rides were perfectly designed to prepare me for the L’Etape course. As a result, when I faced the mighty Col d’Izoard 150km into the ride, I was mentally and physically prepared for the challenge. I could relate it to other categorized climbs we had already conquered that week (such as Alpe d’Huez and Col du Galibier), as opposed to being daunted by its stature that just can’t be compared to the meager hills back home.

Top 5 Reasons to ride L'Etape du Tour with Trek Travel

2. Private Rest Stops

The overwhelming support from our Trek Travel guides was the key differentiator that set my experience at L’Etape du Tour head and shoulders above that of the other riders. The ASO does an excellent job organizing the event, but with 12,000 exhausted riders in desperate need of replenishment, rest stop chaos is inevitable. Riding with Trek Travel enabled us to avoid this mess entirely. With strategically located private rest stops, we could simply ride past the traffic jam at official feed zones and instead receive a warm welcome from our Trek Travel guide just down the road. There are no lines, just coolers fully stocked with ice cold beverages, snack tables overflowing with real food, and tents providing relief from the elements. Taking it one step further, we packed bags with extra layers that were available to us in case the weather turned. From sunscreen to caffeine, no detail was forgotten and no element left to chance.

Top 5 Reasons to ride L'Etape du Tour with Trek Travel

3. Ride Buddies

Trek Travel has a great completion rate among their riders at L’Etape du Tour. If you ask them why, they’ll tell you it’s because their riders aren’t alone. While many registered for the trip solo, we all found riding partners of a similar speed throughout the week. It’s incredible how quickly we got to know each other’s riding styles and preferences, so by the time we reached the start line we were a world tour team. L’Etape is long no matter what – it wouldn’t have the same allure if it weren’t – but it’s even longer if you’re out there alone. On a grueling day in the alps when the weather can be as unforgiving as the grades, having a ride buddy to lean on is the key to success. We quite literally pulled each other through the race. And while some provided words of encouragement and others preferred to suffer in silence, it made all the difference to know we were not alone.

Top 5 Reasons to ride L'Etape du Tour with Trek Travel

4. The Best Bikes

One of the things that surprised me most during L’Etape was the quality of bikes that other riders were on. From vintage road bikes in need of a little lube to beat up hybrids better left in the basement, you could hear them long before they appeared next to you. I can’t speak for everyone, but if I’m going to tackle a ride of this magnitude I want my bike to be in prime condition for the task at hand. I don’t want anything to make the day more difficult than the elevation profile already ensures. With Trek Travel, I got to ride the same bike used by riders in the professional peloton. And just like the pros, I too had a team of expert mechanics who delivered my bike to the start in perfect condition and were there throughout the day if any problems arose.

Top 5 Reasons to ride L'Etape du Tour with Trek Travel

5. Finish Party

The energy around the Tour de France is infectious, and L’Etape is no exception. Nobody captures the spirit of the race better than Trek Travel! After nine hours in the saddle, it was incredible just to have a fresh change of clothes waiting at the finish. The plentiful picnic and frosty beverages were simply icing on the cake. But even better than comfortable shorts and an ice-cold IPA was having new friends there to congratulate one another and celebrate the accomplishment we had all achieved.

Top 5 Reasons to ride L'Etape du Tour with Trek Travel

 

Take on L’Etape

Reserve Your Spot

Michael Valenti: 21 Days of Cycling Art

Michael Valenti, a former ad man and now artist has decided to leave the modern comforts of his studio and set out to be the first cycling artist to follow and draw all 21 days of the Tour de France. Read on to hear about his idea and the journey that has led up to this awesome adventure.

Become a part of history and purchase a print of your own. Scroll down for special discount code.

Michael Valenti 21 Days of Cycling Art

So first up, who is Michael Valenti?
Well…I’m a husband and dad and all that. As a professional I was brought up in the world of ad agencies. I was a designer, illustrator and marketing guy you know. Now I’m an artist. After 35 years of being in the industry I never considered myself an artist, now I answer “artist” and it’s still weird for me. But I’ve always loved what I do.

When did you become fascinated with cycling?
My friends and I are still convinced we invented mountain biking, haha. We used to terrorize the neighborhood as a pack of riders in the late 60s. Just a bunch of 10-12 year olds in Stoughton, Massachusetts. I didn’t really start riding as a cyclist until my 30s when I moved to Chicago and started riding with a friend of mine who taught me the basics. I joined a few clubs, and I’ve been hooked ever since. These days I do most of my riding in the Southeastern part of Wisconsin—Kenosha, Burlington, Lake Geneva areas.

What inspired you to put cycling at the center of your art?
I found myself in any spare moment drawing what I love to do, so it was just a natural progression. I wanted to do something I could build and sustain until I decided to walk away from it.

You seem pretty involved with Avant Bicycle and Cafe, can you talk a little about that?
Yeah Tony Valenti, a friend of my son’s opened a bike shop in Delavan and I was like hey, open a shop in Lake Geneva and I’ll use it as my gallery north and bring all the art for your walls. So he did, and so became Avant and I hang original pieces there. The difference between a starving artist and a successful artist is marketing, you know?

So you did a similar project with the Giro, drawing a piece everyday. Which was your favorite?
Day 16. The Frankie drawing. I like drawing emotional pictures or pictures that have meaning more than I like drawing a picture of a guy with his arms up in the air.

Michael Valenti 21 Days of Cycling Art

How did you decide to go to the Tour?
Well work being good or bad is so subjective. The question is, “Is the person known or not known and what are they known for?” That’s how the Tour de France trip came around. I want to be the most well known cycling artist on the planet and my friend asked me, “Well, have you ever been to the Tour?” and I was like, “No, let’s go!” And that was that.

Can you give us a quick run down of this project?”
I will follow each stage of the 2017 Tour de France and draw what I see, feel and experience. I couldn’t be more excited; I couldn’t be more frightened! How can such a simple thing be so overwhelming and awesome at the same time? For a first time Tour follower I’m really jumping in with both feet here. Three of us are spending 21 days on the road in a little motor home together. The first of us, me and Keith, conceived this trip on a whim. Keith is my friend that lives here in Wisconsin, he’s just a regular guy, a cycling enthusiast, an experienced camper, he’s great with logistics, he loves wine and he takes good photographs. But the third guy, Harm Job has the most interesting story. Harm Job lives in the Netherlands outside of Amsterdam. I’ve known him since 2007, but we’ve never met in person! We first met on social media, he was an early adopter of the Veloist. We would email back and forth, send pictures, jerseys, we were pen pals. He is by trade a court reporter but by passion reports for cycling races. He speaks 5 languages, has traveled extensively in France, is an over achiever in social media and a completely passionate cycling nut. His chief job will be translating, navigation and social media.

How are you preparing for your trip?
I’ve been riding around with a 20lb backpack on. Hills are hard. I’m also walking with the same pack for three miles every other day. It’s my art pack, so I’ll take it somewhere, unpack it, draw something, pack it back up and ride home. I go through this process a few times to make sure I have everything I need, it makes me feel like a traveling art fair. And I can’t even tell you how many pens I’ve been trying! When I work in the studio I use a quill and ink but in the field that won’t really work so I’ve had to rethink my process a bit. I also like to draw big, but for this trip I’m using 12×18 paper, it feels like a post-it note!

What are you looking forward to most about following the Tour through France?
I have never done a project this big. Like a really focused effort where at the end of three weeks I will have a body of work that I’ve never had before. And I’m really looking forward to seeing what it looks like. There will be good days and bad days I’m sure, and I’m excited to see what days will be magic moments. One good idea in a day is a gift.

Which pro would you most love to have a drink with?
Well I’d love to have a pint with Sean Kelly. He has a connection to the history and would be a ton of fun in a pub. I would have a whiskey with Peter Sagan. You know who I’d like to just sit down and talk to because I think he’s normal? Christian Vande Velde. He’s grounded, he’s had a great career, heir apparent as an announcer and so smart and interesting. I bet he has some great stories.

Tell us about your favorite ride…
In 2000 I did the AIDS ride in Alaska from Fairbanks to Anchorage and that was the hardest ride and the most amazing ride. It’s funny how there’s a sliver of space between the most euphoric thing you’ve ever done and an excruciating amount of pain.

Dream bike?
I know you want me to say Trek but I’m a steel guy. I now ride a custom Waterford. Any bike would be an older Colnago steel bike.

Dream Trek Travel Trip?
This is the easiest question to answer, Tuscany. I would go to Italy in a heartbeat.


In honor of his one-of-a-kind trip, Michael has created a special Tour de France print and is offering it as well as other Open Edition prints to Trek Travel fans and guests at 30% off. It’s your chance to own a piece of art history, simply use the code TT30TDF at check out before August 31st.

And be sure to follow along with 21 Days of Cycling Art project here and on Instagram @Veloist

Michael Valenti 21 Days of Cycling Art

Three Ways to Enjoy the Tour Even if You aren’t a Cycling Superfan

The Tour de France is one of the world’s most well-known sporting events, bringing people from all over the globe to its legendary peaks as they hope to catch a glimpse of racers flying by. But even if you aren’t a cycling fanatic, the Tour offers something for everyone. Whether it’s sipping wine in one of the centuries-old towns along the route, enjoying a saucisse and a beer with the locals, or exploring the romance of Paris while the peloton blazes across the finish line carried by the cheers of a whole city.

 

Experience France on a Trek Travel Cycling Vacation

1. THE ENERGY

First, it’s hard not to get at least a little swept up in the energy of the Tour. If you don’t go for the racing, you’ll likely find yourself inspired by the people. The Tour de France has become a source of national pride for the French, a race so deeply rooted in the country’s history it often becomes synonymous with France itself. Some love it as a way to see parts of the country they’ve never been able to visit. Others relish in the opportunity to bond with their neighbors, friends and even visitors over cheese and baguettes while waiting for the peloton. And whether you opt to stay back and explore the villages along the route, or decide to go try and get a glimpse of the action, the Tour and it’s fans will welcome you to France with a warm embrace.

Enjoy classic French Cuisine on a Trek Travel cycling tour

2. THE FOOD

France is known the world over as a staple of fine dining, with cuisine that varies from region to region and features specialty recipes crafted from the local bounty. Indulge in authentic French Alpine cuisine near the mythic Alpe d’Huez. Savor local cheeses and sip the best of French wines in Provence. Or watch the sun rise over Paris with a traditional café au lait and pain au chocolat. No matter which regions along the tour you decide to wander, your taste buds are sure to be satisfied.

Discover France on a Trek Travel Cycling Tour

3. THE SITES

Whether you watch the race or not, there are plenty of breathtaking sights to see. For the first time since 1992, the Tour will travel through all five main mountain ranges of France. Giving you the chance to explore some of the most beautiful views and villages of the Alps, the Vosges, the Jura, the Pyrenees and the Massif Central. Then board a high-speed TGV train to Paris to see The Thinker at the Rodin Museum, float down the Seine, and finish it all off with a French craft beer at La Fine Mousse.

 

Experience the best parts of France during Le Tour.

See our trips

Private

If a date is marked as Private, it is reserved for a private group.

Looking to travel with a small group or looking for a custom date?
Call our trip consultants at 866-464-8735

What is the Difference?

Ultimate Luxury:

Savor some of the most spectacular, 5-star properties in the world. Exuding luxury and elegance, these one-of-a-kind accommodations offer the chance to rejuvenate at award-winning spas, dine at Michelin-starred restaurants, and more.

Luxury:

Enjoy luxurious accommodations handpicked for a refined experience. From signature spa treatments to delicious local cuisine, you’ll be more than provided for; you’ll be pampered.

Explorer

These handpicked hotels provide relaxation and fun in a casual and comfortable environment. Delicious cuisine and great service mix perfectly for a memorable stay.

Combined

On select cycling vacations, you’ll stay at a mix of hotel levels, from Explorer to Luxury to Ultimate Luxury. Rest assured, no matter which level of hotel you’re at, our trip designers carefully select every accommodation.

Activity Level

Level 1:

Road: 1-3 hours of riding. Up to 25 mi (40 km). Up to 1,000 ft (300 m).

Gravel: 1-3 hours of riding. Up to 20 mi (35 km). Up to 1,000 ft (300 m).

Hiking: 1-3 hours of hiking. Up to 5 mi (8 km). Up to 1,000 ft (300 m).

Level 2:

Road: 2-4 hours of riding. 20-35 mi (35-60 km). Up to 2,500 ft (750 m).

Gravel: 2-4 hours of riding. 15-30 mi (25-45 km). Up to 2,000 ft (300 m).

Hiking: 2-4 hours of hiking. 4-8 mi (6-12 km). Up to 1,500 ft (450 m).

Level 3:

Road: 3-5 hours of riding. 25-55 mi (40-85 km). Up to 4,500 ft (1,500 m).

Gravel: 3-5 hours of riding. 20-40 mi (35-60 km). Up to 3,000 ft (900 m).

Hiking: 3-5 hours of hiking. 6-10 mi (9-16 km). Up to 2,000 ft (600 m).

Level 4:

Road: 4+ hours of riding. 40-70 mi (60-110 km). Up to 8,000 ft (2,400 m).

Gravel: 4+ hours of riding. 30-50 mi (45-80 km). Up to 4,000 ft (1,200 m).

Hiking: 4+ hours of hiking. 7-15 mi (11-24 km). Up to 4,000 ft (1,200 m).

What are your trip styles?

Classic - Reserve:

Savor the finer things as you relax in luxurious 5-star accommodations and wine, dine, and ride in some of the most unforgettable destinations around the world.

Classic - Signature:

Explore beautiful destinations by bike, enjoy extra inclusions, savor delicious local cuisine, and enjoy the perfect mix of accommodations.

Classic - Discover:

Enjoy a casual cycling vacation with fantastic routes and comfortable accommodations.

Ride Camp:

Train like the pros in some of their favorite riding destinations.

Pro Race:

See the pros in action at the biggest cycling events of the year.

Cross Country:

Tackle an epic adventure that takes you point-to-point across mountains, countryside, and more.

Self-Guided

Enjoy a bike tour on your schedule with just your chosen travel companions.

Single Occupancy

Sometimes it’s more convenient and comfortable to have your own room while on vacation. We understand and that’s why we offer a Single Occupancy option. The additional price guarantees a private room all to yourself