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Old 15.06.2015, 11:43
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summer cycling trip

have any of you guys being cycling in italy or france and if so have you got any stories, experiences, suggestions to share?

my plan was to go to italy and along the tuscany coast or along the amalfi coast and then maybe to sardinia. (by the way, we would do probably on average 15 km a day! ) hold on ... i'll just wait til you finish laughing.





anyway... my friend when he heard this said something like 'italy's roads are full of crazy bastards and the coastal roads are somehow even crazier and they wind up mountains and overhang fearful drops'

so ... i've heard france is great for cyclists! and although you have to wear a string of onions round your neck which would probably get annoying after a week or so, there are nevertheless dedicated roads (unlike in italy) and whole routes and b and bs just waiting for you at the end of every epic 15 km slog. however, we're going late spetember so the weather might be an issue there! since we're going so late we would go along the south coast (google says average weather is 22 degrees so not too bad). has anyone cycled along the south coast of france?

on the other hand, maybe there are even better places?
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Old 15.06.2015, 12:23
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Re: summer cycling trip

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on the other hand, maybe there are even better places?
The roads on the South coast of France are busy as well.

Can you really only manage 15Km a day?
Are you sure you can't do more - my five year old can walk more than that in a day and you're going to spend longer booking in and and out of hotels each day rather than enjoying the scenery.

But, if it's a fitness thing ten I'd avoid the hills. The Dordogne region (East of Bordeaux is pretty flat with nice small roads and is picturesque too (and no steep drops).
The Loire's nice too.
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Old 15.06.2015, 13:31
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Re: summer cycling trip

there are two of us - we like to see it as 30km a day

nice tips. i think we're gonna get beaten by the weather i.e. we'll have to stay south because it's late september and therefore as you say be prepared to ride the busy roads.

on the other hand, i'll look into weather in the dordogne region etc.
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Old 15.06.2015, 14:00
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Re: summer cycling trip

Hey, I've actually done cycling holidays in both France and Italy - amongst others - at vastly varying levels of fitness, so I hopefully I can offer you some good advice.

First off, I have to agree with Tom; at 15km a day you're really not going to be able to do much of anything. You need to at least be able to make it between two towns. Try taking your bike out in Switzerland and see how you feel after 15 km. Remember, while on the holiday you have a full day to complete the cycling, you don't need to go 30 km in one go.

Secondly, how are you going about organizing this trip?

I personally would advise going through an agency (there are a fair few online) because that will take care of most of your issues, e.g. difficulty of the cycling, booking of hotels (in small towns they get full), cycling routes that are not on busy roads, nice scenery.

Finally, my favourite cycling holiday was actually in Slovenia.

Let me know if you have any more specific questions.
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Old 15.06.2015, 14:23
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Re: summer cycling trip

At 15 km per day I imagine you and your friend must be disabled. I would suggest a trip around the Bodensee: should only take you about 3 weeks and it's basically flat and on a designated bike path for the majority of it. If you can't make the full 15 km per day, you can jump on a train or a boat to help out. Or one of the numerous 80-90 year olds can help carry your gear to the next stop.

If you decide that you want to put in minimal effort of training over the next 3 months to get fit (apologies if you are truly disabled), I can recommend the Southern Umbria/Northern Lazio area for biking (specifically around Orvieto/Lago di Bolsena). Loads of backroads with not much traffic. Just stay in one place and take day rides out to avoid lugging your gear.

edit: For France, the Toulouse area (East, out around Albi) would also be nice for biking without many cars. I would avoid coastal routes in France or Italy if you want less stress.
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Old 15.06.2015, 17:44
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Re: summer cycling trip

Maybe something like this company offers would suit you.

http://www.cycling-for-softies.co.uk/

I don't know them personally, just googled for French cycling holidays, but they seem more focussed on the enjoyment than the kms covered per day side of things. Hotels booked for you and luggage carried as well which makes packing easier. They'll tailor make a holiday to suit your needs too.

15kms a day is really too short, you need to be looking at 25-30kms a day at least. Obviously I don't know your individual circumstances, but don't think that just because you haven't been on a bike for years that you can't do that much a day. I did a cycling holiday years ago when I hadn't been on a bike since my teens and I managed perfectly well. You have all day so there's no need to rush, take your time and enjoy a few breaks along the way and you should be fine.
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Old 15.06.2015, 17:58
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Re: summer cycling trip

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....or along the amalfi coast....
Having driven this I wouldn't go anywhere near it on a bike. Narrow and very busy roads full of Italian drivers.
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Old 16.06.2015, 14:22
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Re: summer cycling trip

In my early days (the 70's) I cycletoured most of Europe. Now, however, I have less tolerance to traffic. I would only consider riding on dedicated cycle paths. Too worried about sharing the road with impaired motorists. (Austrians are notorious for drink driving) I'm familiar with our local Ennstalradweg, very safe, lots of hostels catering to bike tourists. Googling "france dedicated cycle paths" I came up with this site http://about-france.com/tourism/cycling-holidays.htm
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Old 16.06.2015, 16:43
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Re: summer cycling trip

I think you are underestimating yourself with 15 km/day. Last Sunday my family of 4 with an 8 and a 10 year old averaged 16 km/hr and went from Neuchatel to Yverdon (40 total km) in 2.5 hours.
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