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6 Reasons Why Cycle Touring in France is Awesome and a Couple Why it Sucks

Thinking of doing a spot of cycle touring in France? Well you really should because quite frankly, the country is built for it, below are a few reasons why we think it awesome. I´m not going to go into the whole, ´the people are brilliant and the scenery is beautiful´  bit, (although they are and it is) but rather, i´ll touch on some of the more practical aspects of cycle touring in France:

  • Boulangeries
    Your new favourite word! Full of tasty bread and pastries these goldmines of energy, (albeit energy that’s not particularly good for you) are open early, (and on Sunday when every bloody other thing in France is shut – see below) for those rise and shine rides, they are also pretty inexpensive…and dam good. If you´re touring on the cheap and want a deal then get there early, they usualy have bags of yesterdays stuff they sell off for next to nothing, still tastes pretty good!
  • Roads/Signs
    The roads in France are for the most part great, (some could do with a touch up, but coming from London which resembles a third world hell road network, they are a godsend). They are mostly well signposted too, (the ´toutes derections´ sign will see you out of most town onto the less traveled B roads).
  • Drivers/The Law
    Who said French drivers were bad? Well maybe they can be, but for cyclists they are brilliant. Why? Because the law requires that they keep 1.5m from cyclists while passing them… and people obey the law.
  • Cycle Paths
    Are many, long and well maintained… enough said
  • Toilettes
    Every town, (baring very few exceptions) has them, now matter how small. So less need for side of the road pit stops, (not that they are a great hardship… but y´know, a real toilet is nice… even if they are not always that nice).
  • Camping
    Frequent and cheap, (´camping municipal´is especially cheap) you don´tCamping Municipal really need to plan much ahead for when you need to stop at the end of a hard day in the saddle – just keep rolling when you decided enough is enough and there will be something soon.

And now for a couple of gripes; don´t get me wrong, these don´t at all detract from the positive experience of cycle touring in France… they are just niggles to watch out for.

  • Closed/Sleeping
    Massive lunch ´hours´/Sundays/whenever they can´t be arsed = shop closed. Can be a little irksome coming from ´everything is open all the time´ London. You soon get used to it but it does require some planning ahead when picking up provisions etc.
  • Bike Shops
    You´d think the home of The Tour de France would have pretty good bike shops? No. I mean you can pick up the basics, break pads, cables etc, but you might have some trouble finding more specialist items.
  • Boom Raves/Karaoke
    Fucking bloody fucking family campsite with its fucking karaoke that went on until fuck knows what AM with its crap unnecessarily loud karaoke/cunt party… ok maybe this was an isolated incident… but still, not cool.

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