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An ambitious project yet resulted, far from it ! ...

In recent years Veloroute the draft in France is in the minds of some elected and enlightened cyclists.

In spring 2000 the magazine specialized technical construction and public works "The Monitor" published an article about the introduction of French first sections of this project along Loire called "The Loire by bike." " La Loire à Vélo"

After taking information from the Regional Council concerned and navigation services for the most part to the east, the planned route across the national territory seemed feasible even before all the works are made, but it ' was far from the case.

Each year, new portions are regularly open, following extensive studies and major investments, but the paths site, or simply calm are not yet a majority.

Of the other countries (Switzerland, Austria, Hungary) information are available from tour operators and guides mostly on paper maps, descriptions, various lists. The facilities and services available are much more numerous than in France, with formulas walking with assistance more or less developed.
For more information you can consult the general of each country on this site.

An informative experience

During the summer of 2000, I had the opportunity to test the route between Besancon and Pornic (coastal town near Nantes). The challenge was dared to link these two cities (1100 km) without much training in 3 weeks, with 3 young teens aged 14, 15 and 18 years, in total autonomy (tent, sleeping popotte, etc ... ). But joining the ocean bike, pioneers, was exciting!
The trip has been done from East to West, therefore wind in the nose, in the rain (!), Sometimes with temperatures below 10 degrees in the morning, with some campsites removed because of bad company, or the hungry belly Because greenfield without shops!

Based on this experience, not entirely pleasant (sic), it was interesting, thanks to the Internet, to share this adventure to avoid others, to encounter the same difficulties.

Some tips:

  • To make the most of the cities, sites and landscapes along, it seems necessary to do that steps short and well prepared about stewardship. Indeed, the setbacks are common about the sleeping and shops available. In addition, bags filled to be autonomous are already heavy, it is not reasonable to add too many provisions.
    On average, about fifty km seems good gauge. Indeed, the average speed was recorded, according to the day, between 10 and 15 km / h by step according to the topography, the state of the road, wind, fatigue .... It should also not spend more than 5 to 6 hours in the saddle. There are also other things to do along the way.
    Family for example, it was found that the food supply and erection of the tent at night, took about 2 hours! In the morning, take-off was not until after an hour also ...
    The trip to bicycle solo ", with hotel accommodation and meals at the restaurant is probably easier, but ...

  • It seems important to make the journey from West to East because of the prevailing wind. That is why the steps that are mentioned on this site go in this direction, even if it is feasible in the other direction.

  • Moreover, even if the slope is generally a low point to another, in some cases there are significant drop intermediaries. With bikes loaded, the slightest coast is tiring and descents little restorative. Along the canal, for example, the passage of storeys caused by repetitive crossing bridges, are painful, because not productive. He is also rising in each lock but to a lesser extent.

  • Work is still not consecutive, many portions are still dangerous, uncertain and Unsignalized.

- Between Ocean and Nantes, there are no small road really quiet except those vineyards ! Hello coasts and detours.
Along the Loire between Nantes and Briare, the route is mainly on anti-flood dikes called "lifted". Originally reserved for cycles and service vehicles, they have gradually been appropriated by the traffic. In some cases they are thus paving roads in poor, but calm. In other cases small departmental quiet routes , but narrow and lined with berms, or walls about 80 cm that make them dangerous. In other cases, in the absence of the highway to come forward and relieve the traffic of these roads, national littered with trucks and cars are no specific planning. Anxieties Hello! Fortunately, there are portions which are designed and reserved for cycles but they are not very many and not very well signposted for access. In 2000 they sometimes ended miserably.
The edges of channels with tow paths are mainly used by fishermen, personnel manager locks and local inhabitants. As a result, a portion of the path can be attractive for its appearance but stalled almost from the last lock to serve and not coupled with a bridge. Make several miles twist is always frustrating. This tends to improve with signs that goes up gradually ...
Other portions of routes make use of small roads sometimes perfect, sometimes laborious.
In any event, the portions are always better handled on the outskirts of major cities where users are numerous Sunday, or on areas easy to adjust.
However, there were also bicycle paths which focussed on roads and roundabouts huge!
One might prefer, when travel great distances, more rustic accommodations and continued that "billiards" interrupted over long distances. Sometimes a trace of land compact, well mown near enough, then coated with a coarse fatigue.

  • Attention, it is important to be aware that we do not give a bicycle loaded anywhere. The visits of monuments and amplettes largely surface are risky unless you have a volunteer to guard. It is sometimes frustrating. Experiments are tempted around major stations by SNCF to develop sets of instructions on a bicycle. In these cells grouped in clusters completely closes on the whole bike and luggage possible. It is an excellent beginning.

  • "The weight of words, the shock photos" said a newspaper! Be careful. The photos contained on this site were mainly taken in May 2004 during an ad hoc report, under a beautiful sun, highlighting the corners and cool places like castles of the Loire.
    This appearance is misleading but the pictures in the rain in the brambles, or next to a 38 tonnes have not much interest either.

  • For practical and technical recommendations, see the description of each stage of this site, , and the page of recommendations.

  • You can also obtain the Michel Bonduelle guide, recently published by Ouest France, which describes the route between Orleans and the Atlantic.

  • For the party to the east of France, the site now describes the trip to Switzerland, Germany and Austria soon.

Enjoy and see you soon on the number 6 Veloroute ... Eurovéloroute rivers