La Vélodyssée as a single female

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
mediumbird
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La Vélodyssée as a single female

Postby mediumbird » 11 Jan 2020, 8:49am

I'm keen to cycle this route, and have done a couple of unsupported cycle trips with a friend before (Lejog and the Rhine)-staying in hotels or B&Bs. Not able to persuade her to join me this year as she's fully occupied with doing Mallorca 312 and probably part of The Tour route!(her fitness level sooo much greater than mine). So I've been trying to see if there are any companies that do the full route, but failing. I can find some that do some sections, but not all. Does anyone know of any companies that support the full route?

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Morzedec
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Re: La Vélodyssée as a single female

Postby Morzedec » 11 Jan 2020, 10:04am

Hello, hope the below helps:

I know of two other 'single females' who have ridden the route, alone, and unsupported, without even a hint of trouble. It's a straightforward and easy ride, follows well, and is not strenuous. Loads of small hotels and inexpensive campsites available along the route.

I always suggest that people are not too Luddite in following the route exactly, because part of it (along the coast) can be tedious and a little boring: deviate a little to see more of real France rather than just the tourist areas.

As most know I'm in France all summer, and only here on the Forum occasionally during December and January whilst at my Cornish holiday home, so if you wish to respond don't wait too long - I live 'computer-free' when in France.

Happy days,
Image Attachments
Camping at Guipry - better maintained than many.jpg
Bucolic scence along the Rance.jpg
Resting by the Nantes-Brest canal.JPG

Slowroad
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Re: La Vélodyssée as a single female

Postby Slowroad » 12 Jan 2020, 9:02pm

I've not done the Velodessee but I do all my tours as a single female, organising it all myself. I usually either book ahead if youth hostelling or have a good idea where I could stay if camping. I'm busy doing it right now, it's part of January!
Have you tried https://www.freewheelingfrance.com/? They have lots of info for both unsupported and organised trips.
“My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything. The perfect day: riding a bike to the library.”
― Peter Golkin

mediumbird
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Re: La Vélodyssée as a single female

Postby mediumbird » 12 Jan 2020, 9:14pm

Slowroad wrote:I've not done the Velodessee but I do all my tours as a single female, organising it all myself. I usually either book ahead if youth hostelling or have a good idea where I could stay if camping. I'm busy doing it right now, it's part of January!
Have you tried https://www.freewheelingfrance.com/? They have lots of info for both unsupported and organised trips.



Thanks Slowroad. Just discovered that website a couple of weeks ago, so need to spend some time going through it in a bit more detail. Good to hear that some people are braver than me! Maybe it's time I got out my comfort zone.... :D

djnotts
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Re: La Vélodyssée as a single female

Postby djnotts » 13 Jan 2020, 7:45pm

Of no help with the Q whatsoever, but having been sort of looking for a first (health and prognosis permitting) and last (ditto!) short and easy cycle trip abroad, browsing here I followed the link to Velodysee ...... one of my favourite areas when camping with family 20 - 30 years ago. Looks perfect, so thank you for the "sign posting" and good luck! Probably over-ambitious for me, but research beckons.

el flaco
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Re: La Vélodyssée as a single female

Postby el flaco » 18 Jan 2020, 11:05am

You'll be fine on your own. Most French people now speak English.

Lots of people do the route, you'll soon meet up with others.

Well worth getting the guide book even though it is in French.

If you are new to France every town has a tourist office where they can fix you up with

accommodation. Don't book in advance. I've done the route over three years, don't

rush it.

eileithyia
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Re: La Vélodyssée as a single female

Postby eileithyia » 18 Jan 2020, 2:22pm

i've not done this route, but done plenty of solo touring abroad often well before internet existed, I just looked at a map had a rough plan and set off, had an IHYA book with me (or at least the removed relevant pages for the country), it's a great way to travel as you often meet and talk to far more people than you do within a twosome....
Go and enjoy.
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells

djb
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Re: La Vélodyssée as a single female

Postby djb » 18 Jan 2020, 2:41pm

hi from Canada,
I havent done this specific route, but with my wife have done the veloroute 6 route from Nantes across France to Switzerland, following La Loire river, and canal systems.
I have been bike touring for about 30 years and have done three touring trips in France and each time have had a wonderful time, found the French very friendly, and overall am very impressed with the camping and logistical aspects to be very doable, ie lots of good campgrounds, hotels and B+Bs if needed, and villages and towns within reasonable distances to allow getting food fairly easily.
I speak French fairly well so this is an advantage, but I can say from the Veloroute 6 experience--btw, my wifes very first long self supported bike trip, well, supported by me ;-) that the veloroute routes in general are very well set up.

The signage is generally pretty good, majority of the time you are on bike paths or very quiet roads, so really nice for quiet peaceful riding, and like i mentioned, the accomodations and food etc aspect is set up well simply because they want to encourage folks to use these routes, and make it easy to do.

All this is to say, do consider doing this on your own, it is by far an excellent place to try a trip on your own given the infrastructure and popularity of bike touring on these Veloroute routes. I've biked in many countries, and have lots of experience in all kinds of touring situations, but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this route or other popular France ones to my daughter if she wanted to go off on her own.
Of course, you have to use common sense and be situationally aware as a woman, but an established bike route in France would be a great introduction to bike touring on your own. Of course, you need to be able to read a map, and plan ahead properly for realistic distances to X town where you know there is lodging or a campground, and be aware of where other towns are for buying lunch stuff etc, but thats all part of bike touring and the adventure of being self sufficient.

Oh, I find campgrounds in France to be even nicer than back in the early 90s when I first did some bike trips there. There are some really nice ones, good shower and toilet facilities and most of them have free wifi also. Camping will bring down costs a great deal, and camping in France is perfectly fine, but then I guess that depends on if you ever have camped and would consider doing it. You could buy a reasonable tent easily and a sleeping bag and mat with the money not spent on hotels.....

I did meet a couple of young women in Nantes, heading down this route, and they were excited for their first trip.

PhilD28
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Re: La Vélodyssée as a single female

Postby PhilD28 » 18 Jan 2020, 4:32pm

el flaco wrote: Most French people now speak English.


Not my experience at all and I spend 3 months every year cycle camping in france. Best to learn some basic French to get by in rural areas where little english is still spoken. Thre's certainly more English spoken in tourist areas, but in the main not.

It's definitely pretty safe to cycle alone for a single female, I've met many and quite a few riding your chosen route, which is very easy and pleasant. as for your original question, sorry I can't help.

Slowroad
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Re: La Vélodyssée as a single female

Postby Slowroad » 19 Jan 2020, 8:45pm

el flaco wrote:
Most French people now speak English.



Not my experience at all and I spend 3 months every year cycle camping in france. Best to learn some basic French to get by in rural areas where little english is still spoken. Thre's certainly more English spoken in tourist areas, but in the main not

Yes, I agree, I definitely find my small amount of French very useful. People do appreciate it, and whilst sometimes they then realise their English is actually much better than my French, several times I've met people who don't (or won't? And who can blame them?) speak English. Even in Paris outskirts.
“My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything. The perfect day: riding a bike to the library.”
― Peter Golkin

djb
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Re: La Vélodyssée as a single female

Postby djb » 23 Jan 2020, 4:10pm

So medium, I guess you are not keen on doing it on your own?
Good luck finding some companies that do supported trips, and have fun doing some other supported trip if you are unable to find any for this specific route.

Tangled Metal
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Re: La Vélodyssée as a single female

Postby Tangled Metal » 23 Jan 2020, 4:30pm

Isn't there a poster on here called BretonBikes? Iirc he has bike hire and a campsite. Plus runs organised and custom arranged cycling tours.

No connection with him but when I was investigating a family tour in brittany he was very helpful indeed without any commercial outcome for that help. Who knows, he might be able to help you with your tour somehow.

If not there seems to be a fair few on here with knowledge of that route. It's a popular one I reckon.

bretonbikes
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Re: La Vélodyssée as a single female

Postby bretonbikes » 25 Jan 2020, 3:00pm

Tangled Metal wrote:Isn't there a poster on here called BretonBikes? Iirc he has bike hire and a campsite. Plus runs organised and custom arranged cycling tours.

No connection with him but when I was investigating a family tour in brittany he was very helpful indeed without any commercial outcome for that help. Who knows, he might be able to help you with your tour somehow.

If not there seems to be a fair few on here with knowledge of that route. It's a popular one I reckon.


Thanks for the kind words and I hope your trip went well.

AFAIK there are no companies that do supported tours all along the route, and in addition if you are doing a camping tour (which would be my choice;-) then apart from us there isn't a company that does supported camping anywhere in Europe. To be honest if you are reasonably well equipped you don't really need support most of the time. In emergencies the emergency services take over, and if you have equipment failure you need a little money set by for a taxi to the bike shop;-)

The Velodyssee is a great first trip but I'd be inclined to use the route 'intelligently' - that is don't follow it slavishly and use maps (no GPS) so you actually get a feel of where you are travelling through and can see obvious alternatives at a glance. For example I certainly wouldn't follow the route through Nantes as there are much easier alternatives. Obviously I'm well informed about the Brittany sections more than elsewhere so have made a short guide on the Brittany section that will help here - https://www.bretonbikes.com/homepage/cy ... n-brittany - which will also give you an idea of how you can alter the route.

As a company we get lots of single women cycling with us on our cycle camping tours and non have had any problem - in fact quite the opposite - the point being that if you are a couple (for example) people see you as a 'unit' - when you are on your own other campers will come and chat, you get invited to all sorts of things and you make friends you wouldn't have if you'd been with someone else, at least that's the experience of our campers.

In rural France you need to have some French - just learn 50 words as homework and smile a lot and everyone will really appreciate the effort and be far more helpful. As a minimum learn 'please, thankyou, hello and goodby! This may help https://www.bretonbikes.com/homepage/cy ... val-french

I don't want to blizzard you with links but these will help a little and as above please get in touch for free advice.

https://www.bretonbikes.com/homepage/cy ... -to-diy-it
35 years of cycletouring, 30 years of running cycling holidays, 5 years of running a campsite for cyclists - there's a pattern here...

mediumbird
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Re: La Vélodyssée as a single female

Postby mediumbird » 25 Jan 2020, 11:01pm

djb wrote:So medium, I guess you are not keen on doing it on your own?
Good luck finding some companies that do supported trips, and have fun doing some other supported trip if you are unable to find any for this specific route.


"Feel the fear and do it anyway" It's weird. I've happily organised and done unsupported trips with friends in the UK, Europe and Ireland, but somehow am more apprehensive about going alone in a foreign country where I only know a smattering of French learned at school. From what everyone says though, it looks like it's a good route to do as a first solo trip. Never done cycle camping, always BnB or hostels, as I like the luxury of a real bed....

I think February will be my planning month :D

mediumbird
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Re: La Vélodyssée as a single female

Postby mediumbird » 25 Jan 2020, 11:03pm

bretonbikes wrote:
Tangled Metal wrote:Isn't there a poster on here called BretonBikes? Iirc he has bike hire and a campsite. Plus runs organised and custom arranged cycling tours.

No connection with him but when I was investigating a family tour in brittany he was very helpful indeed without any commercial outcome for that help. Who knows, he might be able to help you with your tour somehow.

If not there seems to be a fair few on here with knowledge of that route. It's a popular one I reckon.


Thanks for the kind words and I hope your trip went well.

AFAIK there are no companies that do supported tours all along the route, and in addition if you are doing a camping tour (which would be my choice;-) then apart from us there isn't a company that does supported camping anywhere in Europe. To be honest if you are reasonably well equipped you don't really need support most of the time. In emergencies the emergency services take over, and if you have equipment failure you need a little money set by for a taxi to the bike shop;-)

The Velodyssee is a great first trip but I'd be inclined to use the route 'intelligently' - that is don't follow it slavishly and use maps (no GPS) so you actually get a feel of where you are travelling through and can see obvious alternatives at a glance. For example I certainly wouldn't follow the route through Nantes as there are much easier alternatives. Obviously I'm well informed about the Brittany sections more than elsewhere so have made a short guide on the Brittany section that will help here - https://www.bretonbikes.com/homepage/cy ... n-brittany - which will also give you an idea of how you can alter the route.

As a company we get lots of single women cycling with us on our cycle camping tours and non have had any problem - in fact quite the opposite - the point being that if you are a couple (for example) people see you as a 'unit' - when you are on your own other campers will come and chat, you get invited to all sorts of things and you make friends you wouldn't have if you'd been with someone else, at least that's the experience of our campers.

In rural France you need to have some French - just learn 50 words as homework and smile a lot and everyone will really appreciate the effort and be far more helpful. As a minimum learn 'please, thankyou, hello and goodby! This may help https://www.bretonbikes.com/homepage/cy ... val-french

I don't want to blizzard you with links but these will help a little and as above please get in touch for free advice.

https://www.bretonbikes.com/homepage/cy ... -to-diy-it



Thanks for the above info, and in particular the bit about Nantes. Think everyone has persuaded me to give it a go. All I need to do is plan it!