France offers a wealth of scenic and exhilarating trails to the travelling cyclist. If you’re thinking about visiting the country on two wheels, then there are a few things you’ll want to do to ensure that you’re adequately prepared for your cycling holiday in France. Let’s take a look at a few of the more important ones.
Think about the weather
Your time in the saddle is going to be a great deal more enjoyable if the weather is pleasant. You’ll be able to see further, and you’ll be that little bit more comfortable if you travel when it’s warm. Having said that, you don’t want to be exerting yourself at the height of summer, especially if you’re touring the sun-drenched south.
Where to cycle
If you’re considering a cycling break in France, then you’ll have a number of options. Choose the location whose scenery most appeals to you, bearing in mind that mountainous regions tend to offer a little more spectacle (though the views often justify the sweat).
A tour through the Alps during spring, for example, might provide unrivalled views of the mountains. On the other hand, you might take a trip through the Riviera, or the Atlantic Coast, if you’d prefer sea views. If you’re looking for something that’s a little closer in flavour to Italy, you might head to Provence.
Think about your accommodation
If you’re going to be cycling, then you’ll find that your needs are a little more difficult to cater to when it comes to accommodation. Not every hotel is going to provide the facilities to store your vehicle – and even those that do might not offer enough in the way of security. As such, it might be a good idea to research your options ahead of time, or to consider camping, instead. If the weather is favourable, the latter option might make the trip a lot more affordable.
Cycling requires a little bit of extra equipment beyond the bicycle itself. The amount of safety equipment you wear will depend on your personal preference. It’s a legal requirement for children under twelve to wear a helmet, but it’s illegal for anyone to wear earphones while riding.
You’ll need working brakes at the front and rear, a white or yellow headlamp and a red lamp at the rear. If you’re going to be cycling in the dark, then you’ll need a reflective vest, too – which makes it worth packing for everyone. Naturally, you’ll also need a generous supply of water, especially if you’re going to be cycling under the sun. To transport all of your gear, investing in quality panniers is very wise. Get them on the front and back, for the sake of balance.