The 2015 Tour de Travoy started on June 30th when I cycled 140 km from Aughnacloy to Dublin. After a few days in Dublin, we then flew to Paris on July the 2nd. After spending the week-end in Paris, I officially set off on the 2015 Tour de Travoy from the Arc de Triomphe on Mon July 6th. It took over a month to cycle over 3,000 km around France and then back to Ireland via Belgium and the UK. After 7 weeks away, I eventually made it back to Donegal on August the 16th.
Tour de Travoy 2015 (Part 1) Paris – Grenoble
The first part of the Tour de Travoy was from Paris to Grenoble between the 6th and 23rd of July. I manged to see the Tour de France at Tarbes on July 14th and in Lourdes on July 15th. After three days in Lourdes, I set off towards the Med before meeting up with Noel in Grenoble on July 23rd. From when I leave Paris until I arrived in Grenoble I stayed in campsites with the exception of 3 nights in a hotel in Lourdes. I was lucky the weather was good as the distances involved were considerable each day. The planned route took in not only the Tour de France but also the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage routes from Paris to near the Spanish border.
Tour de Travoy 2015 (Part 2) Grenoble – Donegal
The 2nd half of the Tour de Travoy started on July 27th and it took until August 10th to make it back to Ireland. The route took me through the vineyards of Champagne and the World War 1 battlefields in the Somme and Flanders. I had to get an overnight sailing across the English Channel from Dunkirk to Dover as all the daytime sailings were booked up. After 2 day’s break in London, I got the RailSail train all the way back to Dublin.
My name is Ben Doogan and I am from Donegal in Ireland. In 2012, I completed my first Tour cycling 200 km around my home county the day before Donegal played Mayo in the All-Ireland final. I followed that up by cycling to Galway for my brother’s stag weekend and in June 2014, I cycled all the way from London to Donegal after delivering a van and a load of furniture to another brother in Enfield.
For 2015, I wanted to go further afield and made the decision to go to France to see the Tour de France again. I had last seen it live in 1992 and wanted to see if it had changed in any way over the last 23 years and maybe report on some of the stages. I also hoped to experience a small slice of French life and document the differences and similarities between their country and Ireland. I also wanted to go to some of the same places we visited in 1992 to see if they were still as I remembered them or had changed since we were last there. And, finally, I hoped to describe the French way of life, their history, their customs, their idiosyncracies, their joie de vivre.
P.S. There is so much going on in the photo above of me on Alpe d’Huez just after Stage 20 of the Tour de France that it is all a bit surreal. For a start, there is an Audi car driving past me wearing a a Audi cycle jersey. My jersey has 4 rings on it and is beside another ring on the Opel logo at the same time as 5 ski lift baubles go past above me and these also look like 5 rings. And finally, the number plate on the Opel is roughly the amount of time I spent cycling around France and then writing about it for this website.
Why is this website called Tour de Travoy?
Well, Travoy is the name of my trailer, a Burley Travoy and for over 6 weeks between July and August 2015, I tested it to the limit on a 3,000 km tour around France. The Travoy trailer attaches to a bike via the seat-post and is ideal for carbon and other bikes that don’t have holes in the frame for traditional panniers. The upright stance makes it much more visible than most single wheel trailers and the double wheels means the load is evenly balanced. The Travoy is limited to 50 pounds or 27 kg weight but at times, I had over 30 kgs on it and it managed just fine.
In all, I spent about a month travelling around France in 2015 and in that time, must have took about 5,000 photos. You will be glad to read that I have only included the best 500 or so photos in this website. Many cycling journals on the internet and books about cycle touring are mostly blocks of text with just the odd photo. I preferred to write this journal more in the style of a magazine photo essay and have kept long text observations to a minimum. I had a blast during the 2015 Tour de Travoy and I hope it really comes across in the photos I took and the experiences I’ve wrote about in this website.