Greece to France

Anna

New Member
Hi,

I'd like to plan a bike trip from Greece to France starting May 2012 through June 2012.
I need as much help as possible.
I'd like to buy a new bike in Greece.
Advice on tires, gear, routes, places to visit, anything else, is welcomed!

I was thinking of: Athens, taking a ferry to Italy, riding through naples, rome, florence, monaco, marseille, barcelona, toulouse, bordeaux, la rochelle, and ending in reims.

I'm a college student and a female.

While I'm in France, I'm thinking of also taking a train to Lisbon and riding back to Paris.
Another route would be: reims, lyon, turin, milan, zurich, munich, vienna, prague, berlin, amsterdam, luxemburg, and back to reims.

Anna
 

Ian Cooper

Expat Yorkshireman
I expect you mean May-June 2013. But if you do happen to have a time machine that goes backwards, could I borrow it to fix a few of my more silly mistakes? :smile:

I did the first route you mention as part of my European tour in 1984-'85 - only place on your list I didn't go was Toulouse. I highly recommend this route. Not sure how my experiences nearly 30 years ago relate to the present day, but one thing that won't have changed is the scenery, which will be fantastic.

I would urge you to fit the coast of Yugoslavia in there somewhere - it's incredible!

Buying a bike in Greece may pose some problems. 28 years ago, Greece didn't have many bike shops, but things may have changed. If I was doing a similar trip based on my experiences back then, I'd probably get my bike in Trieste, Italy. Then I'd go through the old Yugoslavia, see Dubrovnik, ferry to Greece, then do a bit of day-cruising (ferries were dirt cheap back in my day - maybe a bit more expensive now), maybe a train or ferry to Istanbul (everyone should see Istanbul, but getting there from Greece by bike takes a good few days and with little in the way of interesting places to visit), ferry to Brindisi, then back on the bike through Italy to the south of France, Carcassonne, across the Pyrenees to Barcelona. Of course, I've just added a thousand or more miles onto your trip.

Places to miss - there's a flat plain between Bayonne and Bordeaux. I cycled it and it's mind-numbing. I seem to recall a perfectly straight road for 80 miles with nothing but the same kinds of trees either side. If I was re-doing the whole trip, this is another place I'd get a train. Better still, head farther east towards Toulouse and head for the Dordogne.

Your second route looks good too, though I've only been to 7 of the places you mention.

The first route seems a bit more adventurous, but you shouldn't worry about safety too much. Even 30 years ago, all the places you mention were perfectly safe for anyone to go alone.

I'm no gearhead, but I would advise on getting a long-wheelbase touring bike (or a hybrid) for the trip and some good kevlar tyres. North of Greece, roads are always pretty good, and even the Greek ones aren't too bad unless you're up in the mountains, where rock falls can take out roads (I once had to double back 20 miles because of this in the Pindos).

Highly recommend Youth Hostels, though prices may be a lot higher than they were in the 1980s. North of Greece, they are (or at least they were) spaced very nicely for cycling. Major cities have unofficial hostels that are as good as the official ones, but many are more laid-back, co-ed, and have bars and a party atmosphere. Places like Balmers in Interlaken, the YoHo in Salzburg (where I worked for 3 years and where I met my wife - we on the staff used to call it the Hotel California, because, like the song, it's a place that you can never leave - though it's a bit tamer nowadays), and numerous party hostels and cheap hotels in Athens and Istanbul.
 

bikoutelis

Regular
Hello Anna,

what a great adventure you have in mind!

I am a greek citizen, so I will try to help you with some of your questions.

First of all, you won't have any problems whatsoever finding any bicycle you would like in Greece, especially in Athens. In the past few years cycling has greatly expanded its fans over here and there is a pretty big active community in bicycle touring and in the brevet/audax area as well.
So not only, will you be able to buy your bicycle, most probably you can find company for your quest as well.

I suggest you start the same topic on the biggest Greek bicycle forum ( http://www.cyclist-friends.gr and you will get lots of answers by eager Greek cyclists willing to help. There is a section for English-speaking people so no worries on that as well.

You will definitely need some help on planning the route, since some roads are not suitable for cycling (highways etc.) and there are no maps of cycling routes that I know of.

Let me know if I can be of anymore help
 
OP
A

Anna

New Member
Wow both of you were so helpful!! and for the mistake correction!
I've now found one friend to go with so that's great!

It's a relief to know I can buy a good bike in Greece because going back and forth between Italy and Greece would be more expensive and would take more time.

Any places or events you recommend I try to get to while on my trip?
 
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