A Cycle Through France

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
Benjo78
Posts: 3
Joined: 26 May 2013, 11:33am

A Cycle Through France

Postby Benjo78 » 26 May 2013, 12:14pm

Hello there,

I'm new to this forum and indeed touring. But I have set myself the challenge of cycling from St Malo all the way down to Marseille next month! I have some family in Tours and Bergerac and would ideally like to make stops at these places along the way. I've done a bit of research on the net and many seem to either opt for the atlantic coast/canal du midi or burgundy/massif central routes... Time is not really an issue - I have given myself 3-4 weeks to get down there next month. Try to average 50miles a day.

Has anyone cycled a route like this that has passed Tours and/or Bergerac?

I was going to just buy a large map and plot a route but some advice/comments from those who have done it would be amazing!

Many thanks,

Benjie

Galloper
Posts: 210
Joined: 6 Dec 2012, 2:21pm

Re: A Cycle Through France

Postby Galloper » 26 May 2013, 2:25pm

Not done that particular route but would suggest you buy the Michelin Regional maps. They're a good scale and highlight scenic routes.

Bonne Route!

Benjo78
Posts: 3
Joined: 26 May 2013, 11:33am

Re: A Cycle Through France

Postby Benjo78 » 27 May 2013, 11:58am

Thanks! I had thought of the TOP 100 maps but I'd be looking at having to buy 10 of them!! Are there any maps out there that list campsites??

Cheers

Benjie

tatanab
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Joined: 8 Feb 2007, 12:37pm

Re: A Cycle Through France

Postby tatanab » 27 May 2013, 12:58pm

Benjo78 wrote:Thanks! I had thought of the TOP 100 maps but I'd be looking at having to buy 10 of them!! Are there any maps out there that list campsites??
TOP100 - 10 maps is not a problem. I did a trip needing that number a few years ago. The thing about TOP100 is that you can see many more roads than are shown on Michelin. This may not matter if you do not use the very small roads.

Since you have written about paper maps I assume you will be free of electronics so I will not suggest how to find campsites using what piece of technology comes to mind. Michelin 1:200,000 maps show some campsites but you must be aware that they are only the sites that appear in the Michelin guide and then only in the year the map was printed. I prefer to do a little planning and make myself a note of maybe 5 possibilities for each day taken from http://www.amazon.fr/guide-officiel-cam ... caravaning also available from
https://www.vicarious-shop.com/Every-Ca ... -2013.html

ANTONISH
Posts: 1886
Joined: 26 Mar 2009, 9:49am

Re: A Cycle Through France

Postby ANTONISH » 27 May 2013, 5:55pm

Massif centrale will involve you crossing the Ardeche- lovely area - scenic but I don't find it good for touring. I really dont like descending winding steep roads with a loaded bike- it's ok going up if your gears are suitable.
you could follow the Loire/Rhone valleys for a long way to Avignon and head for Marseille from there.
From your reference to the Atlantic coast and canal du midi I presume you want to avoid a lot of climbing.
When I camp I don't plan campsites I just start looking for one a couple of hours before I stop.

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CJ
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Joined: 15 Jan 2007, 9:55pm

Re: A Cycle Through France

Postby CJ » 28 May 2013, 5:07pm

ANTONISH wrote:Massif centrale will involve you crossing the Ardeche- lovely area - scenic but I don't find it good for touring. I really dont like descending winding steep roads with a loaded bike.

Oh I LOVE that - much better than on a light bike. I find a loaded bike holds the road so much better, doesn't skitter in rough corners, with rear panniers in particular helping to keep the back wheel down - so one can brake harder with less risk of flipping base over apex.
Chris Juden
One lady owner, never raced or jumped.

ossie
Posts: 1063
Joined: 15 Apr 2011, 7:52pm

Re: A Cycle Through France

Postby ossie » 28 May 2013, 6:38pm

If you did have a GPS (Garmin Legend HCX or similar )you could download Archies Camping. http://www.archiescampings.eu/eng1/ and also plan your route in advance, which is great fun. That link will make a little tent appear on your GPS with the location of the nearest camp site.

As for maps you can buy a Michelin 1:200 000 map of France for under a tenner and just rip out the pages you need. I label mine and stick them in plastic sleeves as the book is heavy.

Cachao
Posts: 51
Joined: 23 Jul 2010, 11:56pm

Re: A Cycle Through France

Postby Cachao » 29 May 2013, 1:17am

The Canal du Midi may not be a bad option. We did a section between Toulouse and Montpellier. The quality varies massively according to department and the view can become monotonous. Local French roads on the whole, though, are excellent cycling.

Benjo78
Posts: 3
Joined: 26 May 2013, 11:33am

Re: A Cycle Through France

Postby Benjo78 » 29 May 2013, 12:51pm

Thank you everyone for your comments - much appreciated!

As this is my first tour I think I will try to keep the climbs to a minimum. I had thought of getting a sat nav but looks a bit expensive. Paper maps it is. Might just rely on Google Maps on my iphone if I get lost!

On a clothing note can anyone recommend a place for getting base layers and merino tops which won't break the bank?

Also: just discovered warm showers.org - has anyone used this at all?

Thanks!

Benjie

ANTONISH
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Joined: 26 Mar 2009, 9:49am

Re: A Cycle Through France

Postby ANTONISH » 29 May 2013, 4:31pm

CJ wrote:
ANTONISH wrote:Massif centrale will involve you crossing the Ardeche- lovely area - scenic but I don't find it good for touring. I really dont like descending winding steep roads with a loaded bike.

Oh I LOVE that - much better than on a light bike. I find a loaded bike holds the road so much better, doesn't skitter in rough corners, with rear panniers in particular helping to keep the back wheel down - so one can brake harder with less risk of flipping base over apex.


Unloaded bike skittering in rough corners - are you sure your setup is right? My problem with the Ardeche is descending through villages where I have to keep down the speed and use the brakes more. I don't like the rims getting too hot.
Whereas an alpine or Pyreneean descent with lascets allows me just to use the brakes approaching a bend.

bretonbikes
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Joined: 3 Dec 2008, 12:35pm
Contact:

Re: A Cycle Through France

Postby bretonbikes » 29 May 2013, 5:51pm

Benjo78 wrote:Thank you everyone for your comments - much appreciated!

As this is my first tour I think I will try to keep the climbs to a minimum. I had thought of getting a sat nav but looks a bit expensive. Paper maps it is. Might just rely on Google Maps on my iphone if I get lost!

On a clothing note can anyone recommend a place for getting base layers and merino tops which won't break the bank?

Also: just discovered warm showers.org - has anyone used this at all?

Thanks!

Benjie


Re maps - a good start is to buy the Michelin 1;200,000 atlas and just tear the pages you need out. Then next time you automatically have to do a totally different area.
35 years of cycletouring, 30 years of running cycling holidays, 5 years of running a campsite for cyclists - there's a pattern here...

Binkyboy
Posts: 83
Joined: 29 Oct 2010, 5:05pm

Re: A Cycle Through France

Postby Binkyboy » 29 May 2013, 9:55pm

Re maps - a good start is to buy the Michelin 1;200,000 atlas and just tear the pages you need out. Then next time you automatically have to do a totally different area.[/quote]


That's what I do. It's much cheaper than buying individual maps, but do mark the maps so that you know how they join up!

ossie
Posts: 1063
Joined: 15 Apr 2011, 7:52pm

Re: A Cycle Through France

Postby ossie » 29 May 2013, 10:25pm

Benjo78 wrote:Thank you everyone for your comments - much appreciated!

As this is my first tour I think I will try to keep the climbs to a minimum. I had thought of getting a sat nav but looks a bit expensive. Paper maps it is. Might just rely on Google Maps on my iphone if I get lost!

On a clothing note can anyone recommend a place for getting base layers and merino tops which won't break the bank?

Also: just discovered warm showers.org - has anyone used this at all?

Thanks!

Benjie



ok fella you know best, where do you intend charging your iphone that you are going to rely on ? France is an odd place where nothing appears to be open most of the time.But dont let me spoil it for you :wink:

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Swallow
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Joined: 4 Feb 2010, 10:13am
Location: Cornwall

Re: A Cycle Through France

Postby Swallow » 29 May 2013, 10:49pm

Benjo78 wrote:On a clothing note can anyone recommend a place for getting base layers and merino tops which won't break the bank?


Thanks!

Benjie

Have a look at Mountain Warehouse for base layers http://www.edinburghbicycle.com/product ... ring-bikes
'Kernow bys Vyken'

bretonbikes
Posts: 659
Joined: 3 Dec 2008, 12:35pm
Contact:

Re: A Cycle Through France

Postby bretonbikes » 30 May 2013, 8:15am

ossie wrote:
Benjo78 wrote:Thank you everyone for your comments - much appreciated!

As this is my first tour I think I will try to keep the climbs to a minimum. I had thought of getting a sat nav but looks a bit expensive. Paper maps it is. Might just rely on Google Maps on my iphone if I get lost!

On a clothing note can anyone recommend a place for getting base layers and merino tops which won't break the bank?

Also: just discovered warm showers.org - has anyone used this at all?

Thanks!

Benjie



ok fella you know best, where do you intend charging your iphone that you are going to rely on ? France is an odd place where nothing appears to be open most of the time.But dont let me spoil it for you :wink:


It's about where Britain was in the '60's (even half-day closing in some places) and all the better for it...
You can charge stuff at any campsite.
35 years of cycletouring, 30 years of running cycling holidays, 5 years of running a campsite for cyclists - there's a pattern here...