under-arches

Biking isn’t always easy in the French countryside. The departmental roads are narrow, with no shoulders and ditches right up to the tarmac edge. Except when platane trees are there.

under-ivy

The small streets of old towns and villages were made for horse-drawn carts, not gas-guzzling 4x4s that take up two parking places. Bike lanes? Rare. But they are catching on. It’s odd it has taken so long, when bikes seem so quintessentially French.

two-bikes

Do you bike in France? What has your experience been?

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12 thoughts on “Bikes and Old Stones

  1. Such inviting byways through these arches! I’ve had some very nice biking experiences in France, including Ile d’Oleron – around the vineyards and out to the beach through pine forest – and on some country lanes in the Touraine. Each region of France has its special pleasures, best enjoyed up close on foot, on horseback, or by bicycle.

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  2. No, never tried biking! Walking is enough for us! I almost didn’t bring sneakers this trip…just Mephistos and Birkenstocks: thank goodness I brought some at the last minute. Those endless ups and downs and cobblestones in each village are so much easier !

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  3. We always thought that bicycles and motorcycles ruled the road. It is terrifying to round a corner and there they are….all twenty of them. Tight pants… neon shirts in your lane/their lane…c’est normal….

    Ali

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    1. Yes, the cycling clubs do take over the road, especially on the weekends. It would be fine except for all the curves and hills so you can’t go around them. I’m not sure why they choose roads with so much traffic. I would think the fumes would be terrible.

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  4. We bike toured in France a couple of years ago and had great experiences, with one or two exceptions in a couple of busy cities. The French countryside is the best. Yes, narrow roads, but generally quiet and the drivers in France are amazing. Very courteous, always slowed down and gave us lots of room. We found there’s great respect for cyclists in France, all due to a much acknowledged culture of biking, and the Tour de France of course!

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  5. My husband brings his bike with him every year, and just loves to ride in France. He finds that drivers are very respectful towards cyclists, unlike here in the States where a car will blare their horn at you as they barrel past. So, even though the roads are more narrow, he feels much safer riding in France.

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