Couple of weeks in France/Holland May 2018

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by lazytyke, 2 Mar 2018.

  1. lazytyke

    lazytyke Über Member

    Location:
    London
    I've got the chance (pass from wife) to do two or three weeks touring on the bike in May this year. Thinking of either France (Caen), or Holland (Hook of) as starting point. Not looking to do anything to strenuous, gentle 40-60 miles per day, plenty of cafe stops and nice meal and wine in evening. Will probably camp with option of hotels if the weather is foul or just fancy a change. At this stage I'd prefer not to do on my own, although understand after a few days with someone might not feel that way any longer ! I'm 56, male, reasonably fit, but not looking to set any records for speed, like pootling along and enjoying the scenery /cafe/bars.

    Anybody free in May who might interested in joining me, drop me a line.
     
    Last edited: 3 Mar 2018
  2. OP
    OP
    lazytyke

    lazytyke Über Member

    Location:
    London
    After doing bit of research last night, contemplating maybe doing the Velo Francette (La Rochelle to Caen). It looks like you can take fully assembled bikes on Eurostar to Paris and then via TGV to La Rochelle. Anybody done the ride or taken bike on TGV to La Rochelle ?
     
  3. Cranky Knee Girl

    Cranky Knee Girl Über Member

    Location:
    N Somerset
    Would a better idea to do a round trip? It should be very easy to plan, I had a quick look on Ride with GPS and starting at Caen, to La Rochele and up the coast to St Nazaire and back to St Malo. About 850km and 650m ascent so plenty of long lunch/sightseeing time even in two weeks. You have to do a circuit of Ile de Ré too, done that a couple of times. Or perhaps do the length of France to Toulouse and just fly back? I've thought about that one too.
     
  4. Brandane

    Brandane Rain magnet.

    Location:
    Ayrshire.
    Another suggestion @lazytyke . You could take the overnight ferry from Portsmouth to St. Malo, then take as circuitous a route as suits you, to end up at Ouistreham (Caen) for your return ferry to Portsmouth. 40/60 miles per day for 2 weeks gives you plenty of scope; you could even ride south to La Rochelle and then do the Velo Francette.
    A couple of years ago I did St. Malo - Avranches - Coutances - Barneville Carteret - Cherbourg (where there is another ferry option) - Barfleur - Ste Mere Eglise - Carentan - coastal route to Caen. Last year I did it again but due to time constraints I took a more direct route to Caen. No problems finding accommodation along the way, at a similar time of year as you are planning.

    Brittany Ferries run both ferry routes mentioned above and they are a great way to travel IMHO.. Not stupidly expensive either (unlike P&O from Hull).
     
  5. OP
    OP
    lazytyke

    lazytyke Über Member

    Location:
    London
    Hi Both - thanks for the suggestions. Funnily enough I'd been reconsidering along the lines you suggested. It's probably more appealing than Eurostar to Paris and the TGV. I took the car on the ferry to Caen last year and I was really impressed, so it's maybe looking like a plan. I've done a week in the Normandy beaches area before so St Malo out - La Rochelle and Caen back or via versa, sounds good. I'd love to do length of France as well, maybe that's one for the Autumn if this goes well !
     
  6. Dave Davenport

    Dave Davenport Guru

    Location:
    Hampshire
    Ferry to Santander, ride back to St.Malo (or the other way round).
     
  7. OP
    OP
    lazytyke

    lazytyke Über Member

    Location:
    London
    I haven’t done that much moving on touring before, so that sounds a bit daunting as a first solo tour although quite interesting ! I’m a bit less worried about a circular tour around top end/ middle France on my own although company would be welcome there as well, if only to avoid me drinking a whole bottle of wine on my own every evening !
     
  8. Regulator

    Regulator Scourge of stale, pale, male snowflakes.


    You can take full sized bikes on Eurostar but it can be a pain in the arse it if doesn’t fit through the X-ray machine - you end up having to disassemble it. But it’s doable.

    You can only take full size bikes on the double decker TGVs, so you’ll need to check whether they run on the La Rochelle line - and whether they run at the times that you want.
     
    lazytyke likes this.
  9. Dave Davenport

    Dave Davenport Guru

    Location:
    Hampshire
    It's a nice route and and easily doable in two to three weeks, without having to faff about with trains.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    lazytyke

    lazytyke Über Member

    Location:
    London
    What's it like getting from Santander, over into France ? My recollection of Northern Spain is its a bit hilly ! Is the navigation fairly straight forward as well ?
     
  11. Dave Davenport

    Dave Davenport Guru

    Location:
    Hampshire
    It's a really lovely area to ride, but yes it is a bit lumpy. You can get a ferry across Santander harbour which puts you straight onto the coast road, there's also a transporter bridge that avoids going through the middle of Bilbao (although it's worth a visit). The bit around the border is a bit messy but then you've got a couple of hundred miles of nice cycle paths along the coast to the ferry that crosses the mouth of the Garonne to Royan. After that, it's typical French rolling countryside to Rennes where you can pick up the canal path nearly all the way to St. Malo.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    lazytyke

    lazytyke Über Member

    Location:
    London
    Thanks , will have a think about this as well
     
  13. Crankarm

    Crankarm Guru

    Location:
    Nr Cambridge
    Googlemaps and BikeMap.net are your friend. You could buy IGN or Michelin maps but they are probably a more expensive option. What's wrong with hills? They are all part of the fun of cycle touring.
     
  14. OP
    OP
    lazytyke

    lazytyke Über Member

    Location:
    London
    Nothing wrong with hills, just prefer not to have to ride up and down them constantly. The odd one is fine. Everything in moderation !
     
  15. Crankarm

    Crankarm Guru

    Location:
    Nr Cambridge
    So I guess you are not going to be riding in the Picos or the Basque country at all then, two beautiful areas?
     
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