useful stuff, mostly -
2nd TNR rally patches - similar to the 1st TNR version shown below yet in 2017 they'll be thicker, more luxurious and more rando than ever before. To get this year's must-have item just read the info below, they're sent out in return for donations to Smart Shelter Foundation. TNR covers the badge costs so all of your dontations go to SSF - the cost of the badges is our way of supporting this. Suggested minimum donation a tenner / 12 Euros plus £1.50 equivalent for post in Europe / £1 for UK post? (your call). They will be sent out in late July so get the order in soon and you'll have it in time to add some brovet style to any bike bag. You can also collect at the dinner the night before the ride, but past experience says this may be less reliable than the post!
If you want a patch or two here's what to do -
1) Sign up for a patch below using the form between now and mid July. Non-committal, just this way I get an idea of demand before fixing the order size. You'll get a confirmation reply.
2) Donate directly via paypal or bank to Smart Shelter's SMARTnet project here. Read more about it on the Smart Shelter page of this site, or better still, on their site. If you want 2, or 6, etc - just donate what you think is fair for the number of patches you want and let me know how many you need.
3) Once you've donated you'll get a reply mail from Smart Shelter+Paypal (eg a Paypal email titled 'Receipt for your donation to Smart Shelter Foundation'). Forward that on to the email that replies to your patch sign-up (ie torinoniceetc@ gmail.com). Include your address for postage, or a 'pick up in Turin' note.
4) Once the Smart Shelter Paypal mail is received here you're on the send list and I'll send your rally patch(es) out when they're here in July.
There are about a dozen 1st TNR patches left if you want one of those also/instead. Future classics maybe.. Maybe not.
With thanks for supporting a worthy cause.
Yes, we have a couple of them on the site now. Proper event aren't we? Actually, no. It's just as thanks, recognising the support from Cafe du Cycliste who welcome us there in Nice as an unofficial finish line meeting point, and also to WTB who have got more involved this year (WTB's road products guy Will Ritchie rode with us last year). As an incentive to come along to the dinner the night before as well as to get to the cafe in Nice during opening times, at the dinner you can pick up a small info pack. 'A note from our sponsors' of sorts plus some useful route info - carry part of that all the way to Cafe du Cycliste and WTB will supply something there in return. Just because they're nice like that. No catch, no money made by the TNR for promotion etc - but if a complimentary set of tyres has value to you, maybe bear that in mind if or when you buy a TNR rally patch and help the cause. Thanks WTB : ) More info in the next mail-out due in a week or two.
Ride in peace, Mike.
Been away recently. Two weeks with the bike in a place where wifi was intermitent, often didn't work and I generally didn't care for it much. One morning in a guesthouse, a lull between the two trips we made, I opened up my emails and saw an obituary email for Mike Hall, a few days after the tragic incident that took him. I'm not sure what this post is for, maybe just to express something I struggled with while I was there, or simply to say Mike - you were an inspiration. For me, one of a small number of truly inspiring cyclists who made me rethink what I might be able to do with a bike. I rode in your tracks in 2013 after we spoke at the start of an event where you showed what you were capable of and humbled the rest of us. You gave me a couple of tips when we spoke that I kept in mind as I rode, one that may have kept me going where others dropped out. I'm not a racer though. That was my one foray into a world that you mastered and it gave me an insight into what a top level endurance rider goes through and what it takes to go back for more, to step up a second or third time - respect is not enough of a word and stunned does not describe how I felt reading that email. Perhaps some of us elevated you to superhero status and superheroes never die, but that's not really it. You're a legend in this world because you were anything but the superhero, you were a regular guy with the focus and ability to simply get it done. We can all 'be more Mike' because Mike Hall was like the rest of us, just a rider, only one with a drive and motivation that few ever find let alone harness and a way of going about his rides that enabled any of us able to take inspiration from it. Thanks Mike.
Smart Shelter Foundation and SMARTnet -
If your interest in the rally has got you as far as this page, please take a moment to read this also. Click for a clearer pdf, download and share if you can. Thanks.
Smart Shelter has been on a long, productive journey over the last decade or so. From one man's aim to use his knowledge to research and develop resistant building techniques -basically buildings that can withstand natural disaster, mainly earthquakes- to a realisation of how little-known these techniques are and how much they may vary when the aim is to use locally-available materials, has come SMARTnet.
Imagine rebuilding after a major earthquake. People need shelter and donations may pour in in the short term but may also dry up fast, many pledges never even arriving. There's a pressure to work fast, but is the work storing up more risk in the future? Are home and schools being build with basic flaws that make them unsafe in quake-risk areas? If Smart Shelter's SmartNet project can bring together the research and experience they have so far it could be as simple as an app supported by a website, identifying the risk of the area, the local materials and the best practices for building simple, cheap and resistant buildings that are safer the next time an earthquake hits.
The downloadable pdf below is from Martijn, the founder of Smart Shelter. The SMARTnet work is focussing on rebuilding work in Nepal as an early test-case for the project that can be rolled out to any area of the world with enough research to support it. Nepal is where I met Martijn in 2008 so I'm really pleased that the rally is able to help support this vital work.
™ and © - Credibility and IP.
A week or so back I posted on twitter about basic Intellectual Property advice, something I've had some experience of through work but not in a direct sense. ‘INAL’. Thought it worth a post on here though, if anyone’s interested in why I was asking - probably not, but anyway … It's interesting to me, IP’s an interesting subject for anyone with a creative mind and this event is proving to be a learning experience for me as well as a bike ride.
An interesting mail received a little while ago started a discussion among a few friends about commercial events and related things. Things that the Torino-Nice isn't involved with for simplicity's sake (I have nothing against pay-to-enter events, the TNR approach is more a nod to how inspired I was by the ethos of a free, open event I participated in a few years ago). One point made while discussing the mail - a point not directly raised by the mail I should add - was that there may come a time where there would be a desire to protect an open event. Could there be a situation where hindsight would suggest doing things differently, having a protectable aspect of the event perhaps? After all, the ride wasn't expected to go the way it's going now.
If that was a concern early on I'd not have chosen a name that has no trade mark potential and a logo that’s an obvious homage to the Monte Carlo Rally car badges. I have little to protect or own there. The ride is all about influences, a tip of the hat to classic events in the area and a love of the era when grand tours climbed dirt tracks into the mountains, just an event expressing some of my own take on riding. Among cycling events I do believe the Torino-Nice Rally has some originality, that was part of the motivation to try it out last year in the first place. It offers something a little different, not in intellectual property value but in the type of ride, a way of getting riders together that breaks away from genres and type-casting and aims to help keep them together more on the route (if they wish). And racing, breaking away from that for those that want to while still providing interest, challenge and a sense of achievement.
The outcome of some conversations about IP was largely as expected (thanks to those who got in touch, it’s very much appreciated). Firstly, the general idea that there’s no point protecting IP that you can’t afford or have no appetite to use litigation to enforce. Secondly, there’s not much here to protect beyond the usual assumed copyright.
I like that outcome. I had hoped that there might be some clause I didn’t know about that might be on the side of people doing stuff for no reward beyond the experience but perhaps it’s not needed. Cycling is a world full of people who love what they do and enjoy sharing it with others. Goodwill, credibility and mutual respect - or ‘Go nice places, do good things™’* - is a lot simpler than the law. The only question any of us need to answer is whether we or anyone else are doing the right thing.
*That wonderful tagline from the guys at Alpkit isn’t really trademarked, I added the ™ bit to make some sort of point. Perhaps they don't need a ™ since it would be a bad thing to rip it off to help sell or promote good things or nice places. Irony and credibility vs the Law? In this small world of bikes and rides it's a nice idea that credibility may be the strongest influence.
The Torino-Nice Rally hasn't got a Facebook page, it probably should have as the social aspect of the event was so good last year, just a time-draw that I've not got into so far. There's now an open group TNR page that's been set up by David Chirnside from NZ who's riding this September so you can catch up with other riders there. It's independently run ie not my page but I'll make sure he has any vital updates nearer the start time so they can be posted up. Thanks David! Open-source bike events, perfect. Click on icon/link below -
The 1st mail out for the 2nd Rally went out yesterday. If you haven't had the mail out but you've had an email (from a torino-nice@ email address) confirming your sign up -
1) check your junk folder - there's no links in the mail out but some mail systems don't like email with multiple recipients.
2) mail me via the torino-nice email address and it'll be re-sent. This is preferable to using the contact form as it means there's not duplicate emails in the mail list, but that's no real problem. Just helps me manage a relatively large mail list and folder.
3) use the contact form if needed.
The first mail has a bit of useful info, the main thing being covered by the Turin entry on the POI page - the meeting and starting points. The rest may just help with planning and rider hook-ups where needed. Easy!
E-Biking Is Not A Crime.
Just an attention-grabber attempt there.. The Torino-Nice is a very hilly ride and getting you and your bike to each end has a few logistical challenges. There's a company that may be able to help with one or both of those points - Bcyclet Alps Bike Rental have offered a package of hire bikes with options for delivery to Turin and collection from Nice. You can hire a gravel-style bike, a trekking bike or an e-bike and it can have bikepacking luggage supplied if needed. More details here.
Charging points for an e-bike might work OK - I can't think of any stretches of more than 50-60km where there is no plug available. You might need to look for the odd diversion and have to ask cafes nicely to charge up while buying something there, but my own experience of riding with e-bikers is that the added coffee or food stops are no bad thing.
For clarity, the TNR isn't commercially linked to this service. We're just mentioning the availability after the staff there signed up to ride the 2nd rally this September and said they offer hire packages based around events in the Alps. The company offers other tour support packages as well so if bike hire for the rally or elsewhere in the Alps is of use to you, have a look.
They know how to keep some of us in suspense - now OSM Films and Bombtrack Bikes film of Joachim Rosenlund's ride in the 1st TNR is now up on Vimeo - here
Brilliant work OSM. And thanks to Joachim and Bombtrack for making it happen. You got the old 'what tyres' question about right, I think..
damn, we missed those mountains! but release of the @torinonicerally short documentary is getting closer and closer and we're so excited to finally show it to you! stay tuned ➡ @bombtrackbicycleco // □□ . . #torinonicerally #tnr #bombtrack #bombtrackbicycleco #mountains #behindthescenes #filming #production #1stTNR #bikepacking #bike #cycling #cyclist #bicyclelove #productionlife #bikelife #onset #setlife #mountains #mountainview #nature #naturelover #roadslikethese #rideon #outsideisfree #gravel #gravelbike #alps #italia #italy #gravelroad
A photo posted by OSM films (@osmfilms) on
Odinavatar-TNRfilmstar .. Excited to see this, just what's needed during a dreary January. Thanks Bombtrack and OSMfilms!
More here on Bikepacking.com
Note - Date change, now on the 18th -
Amsterdam area? Interested in the Torino-Nice 2017 and other rides like it? Bas Rotgans and his brother Michiel (check out Michiel's photography site here) rode the 1st Torino-Nice Rally. He's talking at the Rapha Clubhouse in Amsterdam on the 18th Dec, about bikepacking and where road bikes off-road can take you. @basrotgans
PCR Gravier's film of their TNR ride is up on Vimeo - Here
The 2nd Torino-Nice Rally. "Here we go again..". New event poster's up on the landing page. Download a jpg file of it below. There's a new site due at some point, was just time to update the current one as a few 'I'm in!' mails came through for 2017. Mail-outs from ~Feb onwards, same pattern as this year, just confirming mail list then the route, meeting and start info.
Patch sales/donations in support of Smart Shelter Foundation - £604.32 raised in total. More than I expected, thank you. And a little later in totaling up than I aimed for. There were a few late, welcome takers of the remaining patches around the time of the ride but I expect that's about it now (a few left if anyone still wants one - think of the future ebay value!). The donation will be made partly in Euro and partly in £ since early Euro donations were converted to £ but then taken in Euros when the £ rate looked like it'd drop by the time it was totalled up. I've used 1.2 for the exchanges either way and will make up the small shortfall there to the 1.2 rate when £ are sent over. Account summary below, you'll see your name there if you know what you're looking for. Any queries -or tips from currency traders or accountants!- to the usual address or via the Contact page.
Thanks to everyone who donated to a worthy cause, one that we might begin to relate to while camped out on rides like this. Smart Shelter
A Torino-Nice video today from Fraser, Simon and Steven / VC Moulin (no they're not a French bike club) - Youtube
They were riding for fun but also to support the workers helping those affected by the recent earthquake in Italy - Just Giving page here.
Another film here from Wayne 'GFY' Horsey. 'Some pushing expected' ; ) The 'Death Road' section @14.32 ... '.. put your helmet on' indeed -
More film distraction due soon - Paris Chill Racing teasing an 8mm film from Renaud Skyronka on Instagram today.
1st Torino-Nice Rally, done. I thought I'd posted a 'We're Off Riding' update before setting off for Eurobike at the end of August but it seems not. Ah well. Things got busy. Time away from the laptop was good. 10 days on the bike in total was as good as it's ever been, better perhaps. Got back yesterday after some further time off in France.
The main point here is to say thank you! to everyone who helped make the 1st Torino-Nice Rally way more than I ever thought it would be. An idea for a slightly larger than usual group ride with a different route format turned out to be a really memorable trip. You all gambled on this event being either a joke of poor routing or event management, a damp wash-out or a daft type of wacky race and you may have got some or all of it at some point! Overwhelmingly good feedback says it was tough but rewarding and some have asked if there's a 2nd Rally planned, or over beers in Nice may have talked some big talk of riding again next year! There will be a next year - with a proper domain name and a new site. So thank you, again - you all helped start something that I enjoyed (almost) every minute of. I hope you did too.
57 people were in Bodoni Square for dinner the night before - that was a suprise when our bunch of 8 or so riders arrived at around 7pm having survived an alleycat ride between the airport and the square. The ride-out route didn't reverse quite as well as planned! Over 60 riders set off from Turin, more than I thought, a brilliant turn-out. Rally patches are still being taken (got a few left) and the total for Smart Shelter is really appreciated, thanks for all the support there.
The ride - well that really was more than I expected.. Harder than I remember it (dunno about everyone else but my prep / fitness wasn't up to scratch - hey, it's not racing is it..) and also hugely rewarding - great weather, plenty of time spent up high at dawn and dusk, good bivis in both the hills and 'urban' spots .. plenty of pizza, pasta, beers and coffees .. a good time.
Not entirely sure what's next. Not a lot on this site but if there are responses to the group mail due late next week there will be a new page up on here soon that'll be worth a read (update Jan '17, seems that instagram is working out for all that instead). There'll be a few weeks of occasionally looking through everyone's flickr pages, Instagrams and blogs and wishing I was still on the Assietta at dusk with good friends. Some planning for the new site that is due. Following up a couple of tracking / image-linking ideas for next year, maybe. Taking out or revising some bits of the route that could be improved after I was able to ride the options and alternates this year (if you cursed me or anyone else as you pushed amd carried up to Col des Peas or Little Peru this year, your sense of adventure is admired and you got to experience what Andy and I did last year in the name of seeing if the main route/road could be bettered - after this year's ride I'm not sure if they can, but at least we both know that now!).
Overall, no plans to change what the ride was this year - a simple event with a challenging and beautiful route, ridden by people who had little to no intention to 'smash it' and all the time in the world to chat, soak up the views or take time out for coffee or a good dinner and a beer. It was a pleasure. Looking forward to the Second Rally already.
Fitting the Patches - for reference in case you've not fixed yours onto a bag or jersey yet - I was going to experiment on an old bag but thought that was being a chicken so straight in with my Revelate bar bag and a hot iron. I found X-Pac / VX21 isn't easily melted - not at all in this case with the iron on the hottest setting. So be sure whatever you're fixing the patch to can stand an iron at at least the temp you'd use for cotton.
The patches need plenty of heat to fix properly. Use the hot setting, I had the iron on 'silk' (never used that one before). Just go for it - hot and fast. Get the iron up to temp, place a thin cloth in areas where the iron will contact the bag or use a well-sized support underneath the bag and commit. Push fairly hard and flat, 5-6, maybe 10 seconds max. Done. Let it cool off, check and repeat if needed.
I tried warming the patch on the iron first at a lower setting then warming further onto the bag but it didn't stick so it seems the hotter settings and less time work best.
Sew-on if less committed maybe. White thread round the border line should look neat enough.
Cues - ready-formatted versions - Stuart at Bearbones Bikepacking sent over this set of cues with the distance to next supply point added (thinking of your stomach is always good planning eh?) to be shared - if anyone would like to use Stu's Cues just download them below. Cue details are the same as before, easy to use PDF format.
(note that 'Col' points or 'C' in XL cues are at the start of the climbs not the summits - the cue intent is 'you're climbing this much in height, starting now')
Cue abbreviations / key as below,
Earthquake in Italy - supporting those helping the people most affected, this from Fraser at The Happy Cog in Midlothian, Scotland (he's been signed-up since up since pretty much the start and helping out with tips for the Torino-Nice for a while) -
"As many of you know we - Fraser Waters, Simon Muir and Steven Turbitt - are riding from Turin to Nice unsupported. This is an organised event which we have chosen to do for fun. Given the tragic earthquake which struck Italy this week we thought rather then just taking in the beauty of this country we would like to give something back. If you would like to join us and show your support for this spectacular part of the world and the people who make it wonderful then please feel free to donate below and we will make sure you money goes to those who are in need and are making a difference on the ground.
Thank you for your support!"
Well put and worth supporting if you can - Just Giving page
Mail-Out #5, the start/finish info and last mail-out, has been sent.
First, many thanks to people I'm very grateful to for their help in getting the ride to this stage - Sergio Aghemo for help with places in Turin and the translation of the cue notes into Italian - Francesco Cerchio for the route tips around Turin - Simon Delacroix for the translation of the cue notes into French - Stefan Eberle for the translation of the cue notes into German - Matteo Eula, the patron of the Refugio Don Barbera on the Via del Sale for welcoming riders there - Cyril Polito for the offer of help with bag logistics and the hunt for a finish line bar in Nice - and Café Du Cyclist in Nice for offering their hospitality to riders who may be less clean and well-presented than their usual clientele! Thanks to Max Leonard for the intro there.
Mail/contact as usual if you haven't received the email. 5 bounce-backs from a list with almost 300 names on isn't bad.
Links and info mentioned in the mail-out -
Café Du Cycliste as a place to catch up at the end, about 100m off-route to the left as you arrive at Nice Port. Open 8.30-6 Mon-Sat, 8-2 Sun.
Turin transport -
If you'd rather get a train towards Turin from the airport, there's a train station right by the airport, Caselle Aeroporto, which goes to Stazione Dora at the end of that line. It has bike transport and is just 3.5€ for a ticket. From Stazione Dora to the piazza and the hostel it's about 3.5km mainly on a bike path. GPX file for that in the mail-out.
Until the 6th, that's about it.
I've been sent a set of route GPS files converted to <500 points, for use with older GPS, to be shared if anyone would like them. Usual address/contact method if you'd like them in that format. Thanks Yoakim.
A last mail-out update is due out very soon - just a confirmation of plans for the start and some ideas for where to be in Nice if you'd like to catch up with other riders, something like an unofficial finish-line bar for the 7-day club (see you there!).
Rally patches just arrived. Will begin to post them out early next week to everyone who's supported the Smart Shelter Foundation so far and applied for a patch, with a follow-up of how the donation has gone to SSF. Thanks for all your support, it's really appreciated. If you want one just look up the 27th March update below for all the info.
PCR in Nice yesterday. TNR done. Good ride, enjoyed watching via Instagram!
Following PCR's ride here also ... They were at the Colle Sampeyre yesterday, a post this morning from the Strada Cannoni says maybe a night out high up, now onto the road option (OPT_2 gps file) up to Little Peru. Great images .. thanks!
From the Colle dell'Assietta this morning, an inspiring image by the ParisChillRacing Gravier crew who are riding the route right now -
Rally Patches. Delayed but back on track, ETA week after next! The update below, 27th March, has all the info for ordering. If you'd like a patch but haven't mailed to register interest yet please send a mail via the box there (just helps keep mail lists separate and organised). They'll be either posted out or brought to the start, your call - more info in the mail going out later today to all that have signed up for one, with thanks for supporting Smart Shelter.
Cue sheet in Italian - thanks again to Sergio in Turin. XL file below. The cue sheet is locked but can be copy+pasted to create your own cues in any format.
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Useful map - courtesy of the guys over at ParisChillRacing, a google maps overview of the route including refuges, B+Bs, campsites and other useful info. Not 100% proofed from riding yet, they're doing that next week - see ParisChillRacing for ride reports when they return.
Cue sheet in French - available thanks to Simon and Emilien. XL file below. The cue sheet is locked but can be copy+pasted to create your own cues in any format. Just email via the contact form if you're not on the mail list and would like all the info with the cues by return email.
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Routes on Komoot - they're up here. Browse the route files in a different format, use the app for offline mapping, 'plan similar' feature allows you to drag+drop to adapt the routes and check the amount of tarmac and dirt in a section .. a useful site.
Calling all photographers - if anyone riding the event with a good camera and the eye for a shot would like to see their images on the site next year, in print in European bike mags after the event, or similar, please get in touch. There may be simple photo credits on the 2nd TNR website or it may amount to paid work of sorts if a magazine buys the images, register interest and we can go from there. No guarantees. Any financial dealings can be done direct, I'll just put you in contact. Thanks.
Cue notes in German are now available, thanks Stefan. XL file below. The cue sheet is locked but can be copy+pasted to create your own cues in any format.
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Route page? There was a new page up on the site yesterday, made live briefly but offline for now. No confusion intended sorry, just the route files will be mail-list distribution until closer to the event. For Komoot app users the files will be available there before the ride.
While I'm here, at the risk of turning this into a blog, ---- I'm looking forward to this ride now. Plenty of 'I'M IN!!' email sign-up responses from keen riders, we'll be riding with some great people from the UK, Germany, Netherlands, Italy and France. No idea how many riders will be there, that'll be an unknown 'til the day. A few dozen signed up for rally patches so assuming you'd not want one unless you were riding that's a good start.
Looking through some images the other day I thought of how cloudy it was at times during our 2015 recce ride, the sort of cloud that opens up views only briefly and casts light in a way you can only watch and appreciate or maybe just wait with a camera. The clouds kept enough hidden to give another reason to return and I'm looking forward to seeing it all differently this time - new sections, some sections ridden the other way, different views or times of day at the same places we remember from last year. Andy, who I rode with in 2015, is setting off on another major tour this weekend, Europe, the Caucasus perhaps, towards India this time. He's joining us on the rally route at some point as a minor diversion while he heads east. Will be sure to catch up and hear some stories from the road at a bivi or a pizza stop along the way.
Route files. Done, sent ('Mail #4 - Route Files'). If you're on the mail list and haven't received the files this afternoon, check your junk folder then mail via the site and I'll re-send to that address. The route is in GPS Route format with XL cue notes to support, for supplies and planning info on-route. Add your own notes as needed.
Audax turn-by-turn cues - available on request, ready apart from two of the shorter optional/cut-off sections, if you can ride on cues-only you could probably find those without notes anyway.
Happy route planning ..
Rally Patches - ordering soon. To get a sew-on patch and stickers use the form below (27th March update) so I have your email. I'll mail everyone when I need to fix the quantity with details of how to send a donation to Smart Shelter in return for a patch. 100% of your donations will go to Smart Shelter, there's no cost-covering margins etc.
Patch design as below, 85mm wide, woven.
Hills... This is a full route profile, for planning or prep. Added up, the approximate gain of the main climbs visible here (the 15 'spikes') is 15,000m. The total is ~30,000m when every bit of ascent is included - including signal bounce and errors etc. How it feels to ride is closer to somewhere between the two figures. The cut-offs can reduce distance on dirt and some of the climbing as you go. (Update from after the 2016 ride - 16-20,000m is a fair estimate, depending on the route or options taken.)
Eurobike show and the TNR
For anyone going to the Eurobike show in Friedrichshafen Germany, the Torino-Nice is timed to fit in nicely afterward to make a full Euro road-trip or tour. Here's a suggestion for a route there that takes in the Swiss alps experience including Zermatt as an option. Cut off the Zermatt end of map 1 at Brig to move onto map 2. GPS files attached. Missing the Simplonstrasse tunnels south of Brig is mostly possible, need a bit more focus on that area.
Alternates and options - with reference to the update below, if you're interested in route planning for road bikes or any other reason they're all now listed in a more organised fashion at the bottom of the POI page.
Road bikes and the Rally route. New Alternate Section.
A few emails about tyre or bike suitability suggest that there's interest in the Rally route from riders with bikes only taking 28c tyres max. Blame Rapha.. ha. An aim of this ride was to ride a mix of terrain that made bike choice less important as long as your tyres could handle some off-roading but also it's about having route options and being inclusive. So 28c, why not. While checking the route with road bikes in mind there was one quite rough section of stony strada - could call it 'gravel' but some would feel stitched up - that didn't have a way out apart from a simple road descent to the valley floor, a shortcut for bad weather or other needs rather than an alternate of value.
Some time on google earth and looking up the location of a stunning image paid off. The alternate to the Varaita-Maria ridge track looks like one of the most interesting roads in the area, possibly on the route. Pics below (via google images). It will be possible to ride it as an out-back bonus section for anyone with time and energy to spare. It means that apart from the first strada and the Finestre/Assietta, then Little Peru and the climb to Fort de la Forca, the other sections of strada are optional and the whole route looks manageable for riders with 28c tyres (plus a sense of humour and a few spare tubes). It'll be a shorter, faster route for you if you take all the alternates - say hi as you ride past the rest of us!
For reference, the 2015 TransContinental race used the Assietta road. There are reports from the TCR available online as a guide to riding road tyres on this kind of terrain.
Update Mail-Out #3 was sent out yesterday / the 12th, mid-day. A bit of repetition of updates below as a catch-up so only the start time info and Andy's images are repeated here. Photo-stoke (sorry) is good, repetitive details aren't. If you didn't get a mail on the 12th May from Jamfirstname.lastname@example.org check your folders and let me know if it's not there, will check the mail list for your details.
In the update a start time here at Bodoni Square was suggested as 8am. Plan on that, any revisions will be made really clear in the route info mail-out due next. That would mean the secondary start point in San Maurizio Canavese, near the airport, would be arrived at by the Turin centre starters around 8.45-9.30am. It's approx 20km between the two points. More info on the start points, meeting points, suggested local hostel etc, all below in various updates.
Until the next update with the route files, more of what it's all about -
Mail-Outs and Updates - Just to reassure anyone that reads updates here and thinks that they've fallen off a mail list as they've not had emails with similar content, don't worry, there's been no group mail sent for some time now, only the first 2 in Feb. All updates since have been minor details listed here rather than sending a lot of emails out. Everyone who's sent us a contact form mail is on the list and the next mail-out will be the route files, cues etc, start times, locations and other details - though start locations won't change from what's already mentioned below (Turin centre start time around 8.00am tbc but locations are listed here, Turin section.). When the route info mail goes out it'll be notified here also so there's plenty of time to make sure you get re-sent the info if you don't get it first time. If you get missed out first time you get a beer* on me in Turin the night before : )
*over-active spam filters don't count in earning free beer
Translations .. Can anyone offer a reliable translation of the route cues into French or Italian? Pleased to see so much interest in the rally from French and Italian riders and would like to be able to offer translated cue sheets to them. Other languages would be good too. It shouldn't be a big job, the cues are shorthand directions in XL format currently so some find+replace would do a good chunk of it. Mail via the contact form here if you can help? Thanks.
Update, early May, had an offer for the French cues.
Cue notes. The cues and route GPS files are done. Been a stop-start job that's taken a long time but it's been an aim for some time to record a route of this scale on paper. There's a set of notes for supporting the GPS files, all they're for is to back up the route options, give some guidance to location of taps, supplies and points of note (climbs, towns, historic interest, etc). The full cue notes are a tribute to the good work of the ACA who map long-distance routes with turn-by-turn directions as well as maps. Riding GPS-free isn't a better way to ride as such, it just that it suits the lo-fi aims of the rally and is a nice option to have. The cues won't be sent out for a while, they need proofing and re-checking. If you choose to ride cues-only you'll need a computer to track miles/kms plus a sense of adventure and the understanding that this route hasn't been ridden cues-only yet. You'll be pioneering it.
Got some really nice cloth rally patches due, similar to the tribute design below, based on the classic Rallye Monte Carlo badges. The 'skyline' detail is the actual elevation profile from the first part of the route. They didn't cost a lot each to have made but I've paid for the minimum run quantity. If you want a badge, (read the Mailout #5 sent 29th July or) see below and use the contact form there to order. They can be sent out in advance of the ride or brought along to the start in Turin.
Donations in return for patches and stickers would be really appreciated for the Smart Shelter Foundation. Any of us who have set up a basic camp in poor weather should be able to begin to imagine the harsh life under plastic and corrugated iron that is a long-term reality for so many people after earthquake or flood devastation, not just a few nights while touring on holiday. The SSF is a charity that builds and develops methods to construct environment-resistant facilities such as homes and schools out of local, sustainable materials with local community involvement then transfers this knowledge and experience via workshops.
I met founder Martijn Schildkamp in 2008 on the edge of a glacier when I was making a basic bivi site among the snow and rocks. He asked about my shelter and we got talking. He was there taking some well-earned time off from work in the area, having started the charity not long before that after a sucessful architecture career, using his knowledge to help improve the lives of people in places such as Nepal, India and South East Asia. The foundation's work is not only the end result in the buildings themselves but also the value of empowering people in those areas to learn building techniques with local materials that help to rebuild their lives, plus working to widen the understanding of their techniques so that they can be used and developed as widely as possible.
More about the work of Martijn and his team here - Smart Shelter Foundation
To get a patch use the form below so I have your email (or look up the emailed Mailout #5 from 29th July). If using the form below (removed now, see Contact page for 2017 patches info) you'll get a mail back with details of how+where to send a donation. Suggested donation £10/12 Euros? Any donation is welcome though. TNR will cover the patch costs so 100% of your donations will go to Smart Shelter and I'll mail you the donation recipts individually. If you want them sent out before the ride (expected to be in the post 12th-13th August) please add a bit to your donation to cover postage - estimated £1.50 to EU / 64p for UK average.
Twitter page added. Might be useful for planning or during the ride. Also a fan of the phone staying in the bag on rides, 'your call' there .. Between now and the ride it's just an outlet for posts or links related to the route, share your kit ideas, usual stuff.
Here's the general route. Not 100% final, this is an upload with one or other of the optional sections chosen. A couple of details have been corrected or revised since this full route was linked up. Created with GPSVisualiser.
Route files for the main route uploaded to check evelation profiles. The GPS data for total elevation gain could be off-putting and having ridden the route it's not really representative as it adds up every slight undulation rather than the combined height gain of the sections that do feel like real climbs. Still, it's a hilly ride. Pack light.
Start point and night-before pasta/pizza/beers spot is confirmed, it's all at a square a short walk from the Tomato Backpacker's Hotel mentioned below. If you're looking for accommodation this area of Turin would be convenient. The straggler's start point (see POI, Turin) closer to the airport is here.
Also I've heard from the proprietor of the Rifugio Don Barbera on the Via Del Sale, they're confirmed as open in the first weeks of September. Call ahead about accommodation, or if you're hungry and in a big group! They have 60 beds including the winter shelter and are generally only full on a Saturday night so chances are you'll have a place to stay there if you want it.
A recommendation for a hotel in Turin - The Tomato Backpacker's Hotel comes recommended by an entrant to the TNR living nearby. It has rooms as well as a dorm and they offer bag storage and other facilities that could be useful. "From Caselle Airport to Turin there is a train with bike transport (3,5€ ticket cost). From stazione Dora (the train end stop) and the hostel there are 3,5 km mainly in bicycle path" - thanks for the tip Sergio. Map from station to hotel.
RE Coach travel mentioned in the email below
Although National Express coaches in the UK will take bikes it seems that Eurolines who are the 'partner' coach service for the London to Turin route, won't. From the company enquiries address - "Unfortunately not all Eurolines service allow you to take bicycles. The coach that travel to Italy would not allow you to do so. I do apologise for this".
"The first group mail to everyone who's expressed interest in riding the Torino-Nice Rally so far -
Getting there and back seems like a good place to start. Thanks to some kind offers of help that might make the non-bike travel part of the trip more enjoyable, the aim here is to get people who may be able to help in touch with those who would appreciate it. Use the contact form here initially if any of this is of interest or something you have can help with, have knowledge of etc -
Nice area riders. Any potential lift shares up to Turin? If anyone is driving from the Nice area and can offer a lift to riders arriving at Nice airport, or you would like a lift yourself - get in contact and you can be put in contact via a group mail, assuming you're all happy for email addresses to be shared.
To anyone else near Turin, Nice or an airport in the general area, if you're brave enough to have random riders arrive at your house, sleep on your sofa and raid your fridge, offers of places to stay are welcomed. Even just places leave bike bags and kit for storage, anything.
The Bearbones Bikepacking website is a good place to arrange all this, there's a thread about the ride here or just mail any offers or requests via the contact form.
A road-ride from Nice to the start - 3-4-5th Sept. Any interest in co-ordinating a group ride on a pre-planned route? It looks like 160-180 miles miles would do it. Anyone who would like to ride with others, get in touch. Same goes for riding from anywhere else that works for you.
Coach class? (edited - see note above, 28th Jan) Possibly useful info for some travelling from the UK is that Eurolines coaches go from London Victoria coach station to Turin, around £70 one-way and they take boxed or bagged bikes if booked in advance. National Express go to Victoria from many places in the UK. Currently the timetable for Sept isn't up yet, due on the 1st March. Could be a more relaxing experience than flying with more time to eat on the way there.
Also a new page due up on the site before long, about the actual route since the GPXs are pretty much done and it's looking good with more hairpinned roads and dirt tracks than our 2015 ride."