In the plains as in the mountains, the madness of cycling holidays

The city of Utrecht is definitely inventing beautiful ones! This Dutch city, which hosts the start of the Tour de France on July 4 (this day, the riders will set off for a time trial, the next day they will pass in front of the Dom cathedral), had already invented the ‘bicycle- stop’. It is now announcing the construction of the largest bicycle parking lot in the world: it will be able to accommodate 12,500 bikes, nothing less! The goal ? Put a brake on the wild parking of bikes around the central station. Because in Utrecht, the 100,000 inhabitants use their bikes daily in the city center.

We are not there yet in France, but cycling is also on the rise. We know the success of the Vélib in Paris and its ilk in the big provincial towns. But, it’s not just daily commuting. Now weekends, holidays and therefore tourism also rhyme with bicycles and other mountain bikes. Tour operators like Terre d’Aventure or La Balaguère and a few others offer bike tours, free or accompanied (depending on their tastes), but the craze seems such that The Guide du Routard is releasing these days a guide called The Loire by bike, instructions for use. This publication relays the promotion, already old, of this activity by tourism professionals in this region.

chartres Compostela too!

Much better, this year, Center-Loire Valley, launches Marandovelo.fr, the first site dedicated to cycling tourism in the region and launches a new route: Saint-Jacques by bike.

Six cycle routes and 14 loop networks or more than 3000 km are to be discovered on Marandovelo.fr which offers precise routes, dynamic mapping and detailed sheets to discover its territory.

Via Chartres and Tours, Saint-Jacques à Vélo is a 380 km route in the Center-Loire Valley region which borders on the path traveled by hikers on their way to Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle. Those who are part of a pilgrim approach will be able to draw from it a new way of living the path. Those who subscribe to a more profane approach will nonetheless have an amazing experience thanks to this crossing of Beauce and Touraine following the valleys of the Eure, Loir, Loire and Vienne.

But many other regions or cities also use the bicycle to promote their destination. For example Brittany.

bretagne

And all of Brittany!

Brittany offers new ways to take off by bike on its territory. Let’s judge!

* Gourmet holidays for two in Morlaix Bay: a magnificent one-week itinerary for couples! From Plougasnou to Plouescat via Carantec, Roscoff and the island of Batz, the route allows you to appreciate the beauty of the countryside and the local gastronomy.

* A weekend on the Pink Granite Coast by electric bike: it’s a hike gentle for non-athletes thanks to the electrically assisted bikes offered by Trébeurden and Perros-Guirec. The circuit proposes to discover a fairly mineral world between the Chaos of Ploumanac’h and other Breton menhirs.

* A sports day on the Emerald Coast: a first-rate route that alternates cycling pleasure, sport and discovery of breathtaking landscapes from Saint-Cast-Le-Guildo to Pléneuf-Val André via Erquy. The strong elevations will delight the most athletic, rewarded with magnificent views and a few easier portions.

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Brittany has other proposals, adapted to different audiences (young people, seniors, families, etc.) that can be found on the Sensation Bretagne site.

And even in the mountains!

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(Photo D. Machet – Val d´Arly)

Of course, a cycling holiday can be scary if you are no longer very young or if you are not very fit. Fortunately, there are now electric bikes, as we have just seen in Trébeurden and Perros-Guirec! This allows you to think about cycling, including in the Alps, whether you are sporty or not! Indeed, the Arly Valley, at the crossroads of the two Savoys, is offering this spring to test the… electric touring bike! By pedaling between the Aravis and Beaufortain mountains, you can explore a region with a thousand flavors without much effort while admiring unique panoramas of Mont-Blanc and the Alps.

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(Photo D. Machet – Val d´Arly)

In the Arly Valley, the tracks run between green meadows and crystal clear lakes. We stop in villages and hamlets, time to discover the good tables or taste specialties: Savoy cheeses, smoked cold meats … And in the evening, typical inns and cozy guest rooms await travelers.

In short, all you have to do is ride a bike, electric or not!

Paula Boyer

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