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Category: Active Vacations in France
In this episode of Join Us in France Annie Sargent talks to Susan and Ron Crump to hear about their 24 day self-guided bike trip through France. We discuss the details of logistics as well as the big picture and the joys of pedaling through the French countryside. They were well prepared, but they still ran into a few surprises as is inevitable on such an adventure. But the trip turned out great overall and they share fantastic tips for anyone who is considering a self-guided cycling adventure in France.
Pedal Through France a Self-Guided Cycling Adventure
Here are the main topics we discuss in this conversation:
1. Shipping vs. Renting Bikes: Susan and Ron chose to ship their own bikes to France, valuing the comfort and reliability of using personal equipment for long-distance cycling. This choice is particularly beneficial for a point-to-point journey, as it eliminates the complexities of bike rental returns in different locations.
2. Bike Box Logistics: Upon arrival in Europe, the handling of the bike box depends on your travel plan. For loop tours, you may store the box for the return journey. In point-to-point trips like Susan and Ron's, the box might be discarded upon arrival, or creatively reused or stored if ending in a different location.
3. Route Planning and Safety Measures: The couple planned to ride through unvisited areas like Normandy, preferring dedicated bike routes for safety but also prepared to share roads with cars. Essential safety gear includes lights, bright clothing, and a robust helmet, considering the added weight of the bike and gear.
4. Accommodation Strategy: Their 22-night journey was a mix of diverse accommodations: 13 nights in campgrounds, 8 in hotels, and a night in a 'Warm Shower' home or 'In My Garden' place, offering free hospitality to bikers. They recommend planning stays no more than 24 hours ahead for flexibility.
5. Experiencing Authentic France: Instead of following typical tourist routes, they sought to experience the 'real' France behind the postcards. This approach led to more meaningful interactions with locals, enhancing their journey.
6. Navigating Around Local Challenges: While they didn’t face issues with dogs generally, they exercised caution around certain farm dogs. They also navigated unexpected road closures due to local events, like the Armada event in Deauville, which required quick thinking and adaptability.
7. Local Reception and Assistance: Throughout their journey, Susan and Ron found that people were extraordinarily helpful and engaging. Local authorities, including gendarmes, were notably cyclist-friendly, contributing positively to their overall experience.
Are you thinking about your own self-guided cycling adventure in France? This episode is a must-listen!
Recommended in this episode
IGN map #924 France Cycling Routes for the big picture
Kamoot App for segment to segment routing. It is not perfect, but neither is Google Maps. Blow up the Kamoot route to avoid goat paths. Sometimes it's better to share the road with cars than take the goat path.
Jetboil to make some coffee in the morning or to heat up water quickly.
The T-Mobile international plan (for an extra $50 a month) has worked brilliantly everywhere.
Table of Contents for this Episode
#CyclingAdventure, #PedalThroughFrance, #BikeTouring, #SelfGuidedTour, #CyclingLife, #ExploreFrance, #BikeTravel, #AdventureCycling, #CycleTour, #BikingFrance, #Podcast, #France, #Travel
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Category: Active Vacations in France