First Cycle Tour Starts in 2 weeks - France

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by Ryan Dixon, 19 Aug 2012.

  1. Ryan Dixon

    Ryan Dixon Member

    My first cycle tour starts in France on the 1st September. I arrive at Brive La Gaillarde on 1st September and depart from Bordeaux on the 19th September. I don't have an exact route in mind but will prob head south from here via Rocomadour and Quercy National park. Will then horseshoe back up to Bordeaux.

    I'm thinking 50 miles a day is realistic. I'm going to have at least 5 rest days over the 18 days. So there's potentially 600 miles worth of cycling to do.

    Any general tips for a first tour welcomed.Or just a chat about cycling in France.

    Other than clothing, tent, stove, toileteries, tools anything I should be taking anything less than obvious?
  2. oldfatfool

    oldfatfool Veteran

    Just got back from my first tour, also in France. Fab roads, fab drivers, fab food, fab people. Crap toilets.

    I took a packet of flushable moist bog wipes as opposed to a bog roll well worth the extra. Also take a few wet wipes for chain cleaning duty/ If you end up wild camping. Take plenty of plastic bags to bag clothes up in/ seperate stuff out with.

    Didn't bother with a stove on the basis that if I could buy food to cook I could buy it to eat, and cooking on the floor in a small tent is no fun. Also saves a chunk of weight when you take fuel etc into consideration. I did however take a sealed bag of muesili mixed with bannana whey, great brekky even when only water was available if I was getting up before the local cafe/ boulangerie had opened.

    Don't know the area you are visiting but I was in the alps and 50miles a day was easily achievable, just steady away,no rush,enjoy the view and stop for coffee and snack whenever you feel like it.
  3. vernon

    vernon Harder than Ronnie Pickering

    Meanwood, Leeds
    Toilet roll or toilet wipes are a necessity in France. Even the poshest campsites can fail to supply toilet roll and there's no way of predicting whether or not a campsite will have toilet roll in their toilets. Some of the seedy looking sites provide it while some of the poshest ones don't.

    A stove is great for making a brew if nothing else. A hot cuppa is a great moral booster if you have had to pitch your tent in pouring rain not that I've had many wet days.

    Table wine is perfectly quaffable.

    Buy alcohol from the supermarket rather than cafes apart from when you want an ice cold pression - you'll save a small fortune if you drink as much alcohol as I do while on tour :thumbsup:
  4. AnneW

    AnneW Über Member

    Completely agree :thumbsup:

    Would add that the French themselves are fab too. My French is very limited but it didn't matter, whenever we stopped people were realy helpful.

    Enjoy your trip.
  5. yello

    yello Legendary Member

    Agreed and....


    50 mile a day is very much achievable, giving you time to enjoy the journey.

    Pretty much every town/village will have a boulangerie so there's usually something to eat not too far away. Bigger shops are less reliably found so if you're approaching the end of the day and you see somewhere open then it might be an idea just to grap the evening's dinner just in case. I always carry a box of generic munchie bars, just for when I do find myself hungry but with miles to go until the next town.

    Treat yourself to lunch. They can be surprisingly good value if somewhat unexciting. The days of the €10 lunch are gone, but you could see them at €12... that'll be 3 courses with bread and sometimes wine. It's incredible what some places can provide for next to nothing.

    Most restaurants, tabacs, cafe's etc will happily refill your bidons so don't be afraid to ask. Or if you're really stuck, knock on someone's door and ask. As a rule, people will happily oblige.

    Bikes shops are, perhaps surprisingly, thin on the ground so make sure you take a good supply of inner tubes, and a spare brake/gear cable. Give your bike a decent service before you go too, replace tyres and brake blocks if necessary.

    Other than that - enjoy!
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