8 Ideas For Experiencing Europe’s EuroVelo Biking Trails

EuroVelo’s community of marked trails covers 19 biking routes throughout Europe. Immediately, there are greater than 27,000 miles (45,000 kilometers) of well-marked biking paths, devoted bike lanes, and distant nation lanes included within the EuroVelo. Every route seems attractive making it a problem to pick out an itinerary for a biking trip.

It’s potential to cross the European continent — north to south, east to west, or a mix of the 2 — on the EuroVelo. Narrowing your choice to a rustic you want to go to might take a while as nicely. There are 42 of them by means of which EuroVelo passes.

My spouse, Patty, and I lined a small portion of EuroVelo 1, labeled La Vélodyssée in France, throughout our fall biking journey. On a crisp Monday morning, we set out from the harbor of La Rochelle starting our 6-day, 166-mile (267 km) journey to the quays of Bordeaux.

Listed here are the information I’d prefer to share that can assist you put together for a European biking trip.

EuroVelo's trails are well marked

EuroVelo’s trails are nicely marked

Picture credit score: Kevin McGoff

1. Select A Route

A lot of our route was on devoted bike paths. Some had been transformed rail beds and different parts had been created particularly for cyclists. Throughout our 6-day journey, not often had been we compelled to cycle on a busy highway. We shared lanes of crushed stone with a number of items of equipment tending to the grapes of the Medoc wine-growing area. If not on a motorcycle path, we had been totally on nation roads the place we encountered little site visitors. It was by design that we traveled alongside the ocean and comparatively flat terrain.

The breadth of routes EuroVelo affords presents a problem to establish your greatest route. Begin with an trustworthy evaluation of your present biking health. If mountain passes and steep hills are usually not match, search for sections alongside rivers, canals, or the ocean. There’s typically much less difficult elevation.

We encountered a number of hills on our shortest day, 22 miles from Royan to the port city of Mortagne-sur-Gironde. Patty was capable of zip up the steepest grade on her e-bike. Fortuitously, the steepest was an 18 % downhill grade that ended alongside a pasture of curious calves staring us down as we recovered from the joys of our speedy descent.

Are you in search of a visit in a distant space or are you interested in the intense lights of town? It’s potential to get pleasure from each.

Although by no means removed from the Atlantic and ultimately the Gironde Estuary, EuroVelo 1 handled us to quite a lot of surroundings. The ocean glistened subsequent to us through the first leg of our journey, however over the course of the week, the sounds and panorama assorted. We wound by means of the shade of a scented pine forest, handed by means of a marsh, and dipped into historic coastal cities.

What’s your stage of consolation driving within the metropolis?

We had been apprehensive realizing that our journey ended in the course of Bordeaux, however discovered the Ninth-largest metropolis in France amazingly bike pleasant. After passing by means of the suburbs, separated from site visitors in our designated bike lane, we ended our journey on a sunny Friday afternoon, cruising Bordeaux’s broad quays alongside the Garonne River.

Shaded trail in the Foret de la Coubre

Shaded path within the Foret de la Coubre

Picture credit score: Patty McGoff

2. How A lot Assist Do You Need?

Determine upon the way you want to journey. Would you want a guided journey with a bunch you assemble, or with a bunch the corporate places collectively? How a couple of self-guided tour utilizing an organization to offer bikes and tools, lay out your route, guide lodging, and organize to haul your baggage from level to level?

A 3rd possibility is to plan all the things by yourself. We’ve determined to assemble our personal 2023 European biking journey. It will permit for flexibility however require some work. It isn’t a frightening job given the wealth of knowledge out there about EuroVelo and the abundance of motorcycle leases and tour operators dotting the routes.

EuroVelo may be very well-marked, so staying on the route is straightforward. Signage pointing riders in the appropriate path and offering kilometers to the subsequent city is frequent. The variety of inadvertent detours on our journey was restricted.

Navigation was not difficult. The tour firm offered a highway guide and arrange the route on the Roadbook app. My telephone was on the handlebars, speaking to me as Roadbook introduced each flip and offered an introduction to the cities we entered.

Professional Tip: When you plan to depend on your telephone to information you, take alongside a charger. Navigation apps drain a telephone’s battery over a 5- or 6-hour journey.

3. Discover A Tour Vendor

Until you could have the boldness to get your bikes to the place to begin, plan your route, and guide lodging alongside the best way, establish a good touring firm. There are a lot of selections. You can begin your search on the EuroVelo webpage which affords reserving companies. Vet them nicely and ensure all of your questions are answered to your satisfaction earlier than you guide.

Curious cows take in passing cyclists

Curious cows absorb passing cyclists

Picture credit score: Kevin McGoff

4. To E-Bike Or Not To E-Bike

First, recognize that an e-bike requires the rider to show the pedals and help with the machine’s ahead momentum. The battery’s energy helps the pedaling rider. An e-bike won’t climb a hill with out the bicycle owner biking. You’ll actually benefit from the e-bike in case you are out on a windy day — so may your touring companions. I drafted Patty on her e-bike a number of instances throughout our journey, saving my lungs and legs which had been struggling when challenged by a gentle headwind.

Our longest day was 42 miles alongside comparatively flat terrain. You’ll not must navigate mountains should you plan to bike alongside a canal, river, or ocean. It will be clever to interact in a number of weeks of driving, 2 or 3 days per week, earlier than leaping off on a 150-mile journey. Renting an e-bike will assist make a multi-day biking journey doable — and gratifying — for vacationers not wishing to spend weeks in coaching for his or her trip.

5. Pack Gentle

A elaborate wardrobe doesn’t have to accompany you on a motorcycle journey. Since you’ll be transferring nearly each evening to a brand new city, you gained’t stand out should you put on the identical outfit at dinner a few instances or extra. Even when your baggage shall be transported from level to level if you are driving, pack gentle.

A path along the Canal du Midi near Toulouse, France

A path alongside the Canal du Midi close to Toulouse, France

Picture credit score: Spech / Shutterstock.com

6. Plan Your Lunch

There could also be days when the route takes you to distant locations, or you might lollygag in your morning journey and be hungry earlier than making it to a beneficial restaurant. Pack snacks or a light-weight lunch. A sandwich and a few fruit gained’t add a lot weight to your panniers. You’ll be joyful to be carrying a light-weight repast if starvation strikes and also you’re miles from the subsequent restaurant.

Patty and I loved a quiet path on one morning’s route by means of the dense Foret de la Coubre. One other day white horses grazed and swans gracefully floated alongside as we navigated the quiet highway by means of an enormous marsh throughout one afternoon journey. Every offered quiet corners for a relaxation and a shaded spot for lunch, gas for the afternoon’s upcoming biking.

Blaye Citadel in France

Blaye Citadel

Picture credit score: Claire Lumiere / Shutterstock.com

7. Do A Little Analysis

As you slender down potential routes, examine what you’ll be passing as you cycle alongside. There are paths that may take you thru a few of Europe’s largest cities. You’ll be able to plan a extra distant route should you want to go to the sights of a giant metropolis one other time. When you establish the kind of surroundings you want to get pleasure from, uncover what the cities and villages alongside the best way have to supply. You’ll be able to then plan the place you might want to keep over an additional evening permitting you to go to and discover a bit.

Our first evening was spent in Marannes, world well-known for the oysters coming from the beds close by. They had been on the menu that night.

The strategic worth of the Côte Atlantique through the reign of Louis XIV remains to be evident. We rode previous a barracks and an arsenal constructed within the 15th century alongside a river financial institution in Rochefort. Our journey took us alongside well-preserved fortresses constructed by Vauban throughout the identical period at St. Martin de Ré and Blaye.

This windmill stands out among the vineyards of the Medoc

This windmill stands out among the many vineyards of the Medoc

Picture credit score: Patty McGoff

8. Plan Time For Relaxation And Sightseeing 

Subsequent journey, we’ll funds multiple evening in cities with websites we’re taken with visiting. After breakfast, it was time for us to begin driving to get to the subsequent city on the itinerary. After pedaling for five or 6 hours, enjoyable with a guide within the resort’s backyard was interesting. Climbing up steps to go to a fortress was not. When you should transfer alongside day-after-day to your subsequent evening’s resort, it’s tough to do a lot, if any, sightseeing. Additionally, your legs might recognize it should you put aside an additional day of non-cycling actions at a number of stops alongside your route.

Celebrating our arrival in Bordeaux

Celebrating our arrival in Bordeaux

Picture credit score: Kevin McGoff

When To Go

Think about scheduling your trek when summer season vacationers are at work. We’ve got realized to test the French faculty vacation schedule. Discovering lodging is simpler, and we’re not a nuisance to throngs of households having fun with their time collectively once we journey whereas faculty is in session. It’s a plus that spring and fall usually yield nice climate for meandering the again roads of France on a bicycle.

A bonus to a fall journey in a wine-growing area is the chance to witness the vendange (harvest). Winding by means of Medoc, we adopted wagons teeming with grapes as man and machine relieved the vines of their fruit and carted it to awaiting vintners to be become this 12 months’s classic.

When completed we had pedaled 204 miles (328 km) in 6 days. A few of our pals had been wowed, pondering this an incredible feat. No motive to disabuse them of this notion, nevertheless it was not a frightening journey. We’re already planning which a part of EuroVelo we’ll tackle subsequent 12 months.

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