Really useful thread folks, thank you. Looking to cycle from London to Bordeaux in the summer- thinking cycle to Portsmouth, ferry to St Malo or Caen, then down the western side of France to Bordeaux. Don't often do long rides, so will start training now and trying to knock out a few 100km rides per month. Planning to allow 7 days to get there, with no camping involved, just staying at gites etc. Would it be wisest to book in advance for accommodation? Also, I'm happy to take a backpack, but will likely need panniers etc, but gonna be hard to fit on my Boardman Team Carbon. Would I be better taking my Cannondale Hybrid and attaching panniers, as opposed to buying a touring bike?