EuroVelo’s community of marked trails covers 19 biking routes throughout Europe. At the moment, 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 attainable 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 properly. There are 42 of them by which EuroVelo passes.

My spouse, Patty, and I coated 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 guidelines I’d prefer to share that will help you put together for a European biking trip.

EuroVelo's trails are well marked

EuroVelo’s trails are properly marked

Photograph credit score: Kevin McGoff

1. Select A Route

A lot of our route was on devoted bike paths. Some have been transformed rail beds and different parts have been created particularly for cyclists. Throughout our 6-day journey, not often have been we compelled to cycle on a busy highway. We shared lanes of crushed stone with just a few items of equipment tending to the grapes of the Medoc wine-growing area. If not on a motorbike path, we have 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 determine your finest route. Begin with an trustworthy evaluation of your present biking health. If mountain passes and steep hills should not a very good match, search for sections alongside rivers, canals, or the ocean. There may be usually much less difficult elevation.

We encountered just a few 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 p.c downhill grade that ended alongside a pasture of curious calves staring us down as we recovered from the joys of our fast descent.

Are you in search of a visit in a distant space or are you interested in the brilliant lights of the town? It’s attainable to take pleasure in 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 in the course of the first leg of our journey, however over the course of the week, the sounds and panorama various. We wound by the shade of a scented pine forest, handed by a marsh, and dipped into historic coastal cities.

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

We have been apprehensive realizing that our journey ended in the midst of Bordeaux, however discovered the Ninth-largest metropolis in France amazingly bike pleasant. After passing by 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

Photograph credit score: Patty McGoff

2. How A lot Assist Do You Need?

Resolve 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 few self-guided tour utilizing an organization to supply bikes and tools, lay out your route, e book lodging, and organize to haul your baggage from level to level?

A 3rd possibility is to plan all the pieces 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 process given the wealth of data out there about EuroVelo and the abundance of motorcycle leases and tour operators dotting the routes.

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

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

Professional Tip: For those who 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

Except you have got the arrogance to get your bikes to the start line, plan your route, and e book lodging alongside the way in which, determine a good touring firm. There are numerous selections. You can begin your search on the EuroVelo webpage which affords reserving providers. Vet them properly and be certain all of your questions are answered to your satisfaction earlier than you e book.

Curious cows take in passing cyclists

Curious cows soak up passing cyclists

Photograph credit score: Kevin McGoff

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

First, respect 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 is not going to climb a hill with out the bicycle owner biking. You’ll actually benefit from the e-bike if you’re out on a windy day — so would possibly your touring companions. I drafted Patty on her e-bike a number of occasions throughout our journey, saving my lungs and legs which have been struggling when challenged by a gentle headwind.

Our longest day was 42 miles alongside comparatively flat terrain. You’ll not must navigate mountains for those who plan to bike alongside a canal, river, or ocean. It might be sensible to interact in just a few 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 pleasing — for vacationers not wishing to spend weeks in coaching for his or her trip.

5. Pack Mild

A flowery wardrobe doesn’t have to accompany you on a motorbike journey. Since you may be shifting nearly each night time to a brand new city, you received’t stand out for those who put on the identical outfit at dinner a few occasions or extra. Even when your baggage shall be transported from level to level when you are driving, pack mild.

A path along the Canal du Midi near Toulouse, France

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

Photograph credit score: Spech /

6. Plan Your Lunch

There could also be days when the route takes you to distant locations, or it’s possible you’ll 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 received’t add a lot weight to your panniers. You’ll be pleased to be carrying a light-weight repast if starvation strikes and also you’re miles from the following restaurant.

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

Blaye Citadel in France

Blaye Citadel

Photograph credit score: Claire Lumiere /

7. Do A Little Analysis

As you slender down attainable routes, examine what you’ll be passing as you cycle alongside. There are paths that can take you thru a few of Europe’s largest cities. You’ll be able to plan a extra distant route for those who want to go to the sights of an enormous metropolis one other time. When you determine the kind of surroundings you want to take pleasure in, uncover what the cities and villages alongside the way in which have to supply. You’ll be able to then plan the place it’s possible you’ll want to keep over an additional night time permitting you to go to and discover a bit.

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

The strategic worth of the Côte Atlantique in the course of the reign of Louis XIV continues 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

Photograph credit score: Patty McGoff

8. Plan Time For Relaxation And Sightseeing 

Subsequent journey, we are going to price range a couple of night time in cities with websites we’re excited about visiting. After breakfast, it was time for us to start out driving to get to the following city on the itinerary. After pedaling for five or 6 hours, stress-free with a e book within the lodge’s backyard was interesting. Climbing up steps to go to a fortress was not. For those who should transfer alongside every single day to your subsequent night time’s lodge, it’s troublesome to do a lot, if any, sightseeing. Additionally, your legs might respect it for those who 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

Photograph credit score: Kevin McGoff

When To Go

Think about scheduling your trek when summer time vacationers are at work. Now we have discovered to examine the French school holiday schedule. Discovering lodging is simpler, and we aren’t 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 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 was this 12 months’s classic.

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

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