French Cycling Holidays
Useful information on Cycling Holidays in France
Guided vs Self Guided Cycling Holidays
You have two broad choices – guided or self guided. If following route directions and perhaps occassionally getting lost is not a welcome part of your holiday then you’ll prefer following a cycling guide. You will pay a premium for this service and to some extent your pace will be determined by the group you are cycling with – so you could spend your days frustrated at constantly stopping or continually out of breath trying to keep up! Self-guided always means self-paced and provided the sun isn’t going down (which it wont until after 9pm here in the Summer months) you don’t have a problem. Most cycling holiday providers have great route instructions, which are easy to follow, so navigating around the Loire is no problem. Increasingly, you may be provided with a Satellite Navigation system for your bike or offered routes on your iPhone or Smartphone – if you are technically minded!
A good compromise is having local support throughout your holiday, but still self-guiding on the route yourself. So instead of being given a set of maps at the start of the week (and that’s about the sum of the personal help you will get) how about having the routes explained and discussed each day – perhaps over dinner in the evening. For that you’ll need a centre based holiday where you are hosted each evening by the people who put the routes together – (I think we’re the only provider that offers this!)
Centre-based vs point to point cycle touring
A new and growing style of cycling holiday involves staying in one well located spot for your entire cycling week. Through the clever use of routes and end of day mini-bus pickups these holidays allow you to see more tourist sights than you ever thought possible. Parts of the Loire Valley cram an amazing amount into a small area – none so more than where Loire Life Cycling. So don’t assume that centre based means you will be short changed when it comes to sight-seeing.
The more traditional french cycling holiday involves hotel changes each day as you follow a week long circular tour – with your baggage being transferred for you from hotel to hotel. Just be careful that your holiday doesn’t just turn into Loire Chateau after Loire Chateau – there is so much more to the Loire Valley!
Approach to running the cycling holidays in France
Not long ago any french cycling holiday would be provided by a company which plans routes and then buys in accommodation along the route – running the entire operation from a distance through partners and representatives. This style still dominates, but there is a growing number of cycling holiday providers who own the accommodation, live in the area and design the cycling routes and supervise or personally run the holiday. The internet has enabled small independents to get a foothold in the market and offer unique and value packed cycling holidays. If you’re looking to really get under the skin of an area and see memorable sights that you’ll never find in guidebooks – then these independent providers are where you should go.
Useful Cycling & Holiday Links
Travel Sites & Directories
Cycling Holidays France is recommended by Voyagelinks.com
Cycling Tours and Holidays
Ibike Tours –
Mike’s Bike Tours Amsterdam –
Malaga Bike Tours –
All About Bikes & Cycling!
See our Loire Discovery Tour on FreewheelingFrance
Bicycles Network Australia –
As seen on Ride Advisor