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One big issue on the bikes is if you fit a stock frame. Also what kind of gearing you have on your bike.

If you are fine on a stock frame it is a lot easier not to take your bike. The travel companies will also have the low gears you need.

I went to 10+ days of the 2001 Tour and think it is an experience every rider should undertake. I did not notice any hassles getting to where we wanted to be, but maybe it was because I was enjoying the whole experience so much.

I had not been riding for a few years and was in my 50s so my 39-52 gearing was painful. I think I hold the record for the slowest ride up Luz Ardiden without stopping.

Although you do not see the riders for very long the experience lasts all day. It starts with riders checking in before the race each day, riding on the course and getting a great position for that days stage. The advertising caravan is pretty amazing also. It was great to be with 100s of thousands of people on Plat d'atet the day Ullrich went off the road and over the handlebars descending on the previous climb. I was positioned at the first major turn on the climb near a huge TV so you could watch all of the action before the riders arrived.

Luz Ardiden was amazing too as Laiseka won the stage and the Basque fans painted everything orange.

On the final time trial I spent a lot of time on the final straightaway pounding on the boards.

Nothing but great memories.

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