Monthly motivation - March

Photo credit Joolze Dymond

March is all about getting mentally and practically prepared for Le Loop, so that you can enjoy it all the more! Focusing on a few key areas will make all the difference to your experience, so read on to help you get your head around what you can anticipate on tour.

Your Bike

In order to avoid last-minute changes to your bike set up, March is the time to double check your saddle and bike fit to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible for back-to-back long days

Now some of this might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many riders don’t take the following advice seriously (and regret it):

  • Get a service. There is really no excuse for arriving on tour with worn tyres, brake pads, gear/brake cables etc. Do yourself (and us) a favour and book your bike in for a full service (not the cheap one, the full bells and whistles one – now is not the time to be stingy) before you come on tour. Can you imagine a pro rider turning up to ride a stage of Le Tour with worn tyres? Of course not! Give yourself (and our mechanics) a fighting chance by at least starting your tour on a ‘fit for purpose’ bike.

    All our bike hubs in the UK will be delighted to service your bike for you BUT you must book it in well in advance. June/July is their busiest time of year. So check our bike transport pages for your drop off/collection windows (assuming you’re using our bike transport) and give these dates to the shop when you’re booking your bike in for a service so that they can time it just right for you.

  • Learn the basics. Yes – we have a team of brilliant mechanics on tour, but what are the chances that they’re passing you in a van at precisely the moment you suffer a puncture? In order to get back on the road as quickly as possible, make sure you are carrying a spare inner tube and levers and know how to use them!

  • Bring your own spare parts on tour. Our mechanics have a stock of standard parts on tour for most eventualities. If necessary, they also find bike shops along the route for finding parts as needed, but there are no guarantees that they will be able to find an obscure brand-specific part quickly (or at all!). As bikes become more and more sophisticated and specific to brand, it is harder for us to make repairs quickly without the right parts.

You can help us massively in this by bringing the spares that we recommend in our ‘pre tour information’ page under ‘recommended set up and spares’. And if your bike is particularly ‘fancy’, or non-standard check out our advice on what other parts you should consider bringing. Our recommendations differ depending on how long you’re on tour with us – so have a careful read and please take this seriously.

The first 40km

The first 40km is cycled at group pace, creating a great team spirit and letting you cycle with different people for a short time. The hard and fast rule is that nobody leaves the first feedstop until everyone has arrived (after the first stop, you are free to cycle the rest of the day at your own pace, with rolling feedstops every 40km or so).

For everyone, across the speed spectrum, this is an opportunity to chat to different people. If you’re slow, you don’t need to worry about slowing someone else down – and they don’t need to worry about their usual crowd having left the first feedstop before you get there. 

It’s a chance to ease into the stage and an opportunity to chat to other riders who you might not see for the rest of the day, soaking up the experience. Enjoy it! Remember – Le Loop isn’t a race.

Le Loop is renowned for the incredible camaraderie on tour. Friendships are made for life and there is an atmosphere of mutual support that is very special – unique even. This isn’t an accident. We do all sorts of things to help make this magic happen, and the first 40km is an important part of that. So, trust us – this really makes a huge difference – and we warmly encourage you to embrace this rule and not fight against it. 

If you have a permanent ‘maximum power’ button and find it difficult to ease off the gas, then we would recommend you start practicing on your training rides. Why not invite a slower cycling friend, spouse or child to join you for the first 20-40km of your longer rides? We understand that going slower (for some of you) at the start of a very long day of cycling can feel counterintuitive, but find a way to over-ride that instinct and focus on enjoying the start of each stage for other reasons.

We believe that the first 40km of your day should be a time you relish on tour – a genuine highlight, no matter what speed of rider you are.

Photo credit Joolze Dymond


The route is managed by signing and we don’t (and can’t) give out the official Tour routes. Don’t worry though, our signage on tour is legendary. You’ll probably never meet our staff who do the signage on tour – they depart hours before you do, and work flat-out all day to mark every single twist and turn of around 3,500km of roads through France, falling into bed straight after dinner each night. They’re brilliant people and the unsung heroes of Le Loop.

The key message here is – trust the arrows and bin (or at least stop obsessing with) the Garmin! The arrows are the truth – they will route you around unexpected road works, road closures, village fetes and more! They also mean that you can look up from the tarmac (or your screen!) and enjoy the scenery, the beauty, the villages. You will experience so much more if you can obsess less about your stats and maps, and focus more on just enjoying the ride.


You’ve all been invited to your regional WhatsApp groups and several of those are already quite active.

We use WhatsApp on tour for lots of our communications and so even if you don’t want to join the regional WhatsApp groups, or don’t even have WhatsApp on your phone yet, we would strongly suggest you make sure that you use it on tour.

Not familiar with WhatsApp? Here are a few simple instructions to help you along:

  1. You need a smartphone. Go to the App store and download WhatsApp. It’s free. You can remove it after the tour if you wish.
  2. On your arrival night you will be able to scan a number of QR codes with the camera on your phone (ask anyone for help if you’re never done this before), linking you directly to several groups we use for different messages on tour. These are likely to be:
  • Radio Tour – crucial ‘must know’ information for all riders. This will have things like timings for the next day, rooming lists, luggage instructions, dinner timings and literally any other important instructions relevant to all riders. The WhatsApp settings are “transmit only” ie. only Le Loop posts information, so if you’re not keen on WhatsApp groups, this one is still worth joining.
  • Best Photos and Videos – a great way to share the best of the day with fellow riders. No chat, just images/videos
  • Cyclist chat 2024– for you to communicate with all fellow riders
  1. How to drop a pin in a map and share with us on WhatsApp
    In the event that you need to let us know where you are (injury, mechanical, you think you’re lost), we need you to be able to tell us exactly where you are.

Below is a ‘how to’ for Google Maps. If you use a different map app on your phone, then please familiarise yourself with it before arriving on tour and test sending a pinned location via WhatsApp to a friend.

  • Go into your Google Maps app.
  • You’ll see your location as a blue ‘throbbing’ dot. Press the blue dot until a red marker appears.
  • Below the map you’ll see a row of blue buttons – you may need to scroll right until you see the ‘share’ button. Hit that and you’ll be given options of ways to share the link.
  • Hit the WhatsApp button for Sarah and then ‘send’.


We hope these practical tips will help you anticipate and prepare for life on tour.

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, spring is definitely on the way and March is the month that we really start to pick up the pace with training. We wish you all safe, warm(er), dry rides! Get out there and enjoy!

Vive Le Tour!

You can see last month’s motivation blog here.
Or view all our blogs here.


Photo credit Joolze Dymond
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