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OT: family cycling holiday ideas

cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
edited November 2018 in Commuting chat
Looking at a week-long family cycling holiday next year outside the UK. May half-term looks the most likely option at this stage.

I'd drive, and put the bikes on the rack, so was thinking Brittany, or maybe further south in the Charente-Maritime.

Any recommendations?

Alps and Pyrenees are non-starters, as are the bergs of Flanders ;).

Cheers.
FCN 2-4.

"What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
"It stays down, Daddy."
"Exactly."
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Posts

  • asprillaasprilla Posts: 8,440
    Practicing echelons in Brittany?

    The one I've been looking at, though it might not be great for the kids, is a cycling tour of champagne houses. Wake up in a chateau, gentle pootle to the next chateau and get slowly drunk on fizzy. Repeat. Luggage is taken care of by the tour organisers.

    Probably not what you are looking for.
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  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    Depending how much cycling you want to do, Semaine Federale worth a look? I've heard nothing but rave reviews.

    Clashes with Assen, but we'll be looking if Astrid doesn't get an entry (to Assen).

    Netherlands very nice for relaxed "family" cycling - lots of quiet roads, and all the busy ones have decent cycle paths that you'd actually want to use. Downsides are the weather, which is somewhat British, and the food, which is somewhat Dutch. Same weather caveat for Brittany; seems to be a marginally warmer version of the weather you get in Cornwall. Food is obviously pretty awesome though...

    Edit: What about Provence? I've only been there for a day, but the scenery was pretty stunning, and (with the obvious exception of Ventoux) not excessively hilly. And, if you can get a pass for half a day, Ventoux is a fun ride...
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • hopkinbhopkinb Posts: 7,074
    La Rochelle, Ile de Re, Ile d'oleron? Lots of flat & family friendly stuff round there. Google suggests that cycling tours are a "thing" there. Weather might be better than the UK. Bordeaux & cognac to visit as well if you have a car and don't fancy cycling on a particular day.

    Bit of a trek mind you.
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    Echelons are a must; youngest at the front, taking the brunt of the wind.

    A vineyard tour is a belter of an idea. The kids can carry what we buy in their backpacks (I'll take bigger ones for them, to make it more comfortable for them).

    Netherlands is too far north for Mrs J; definitely looking further south.
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    hopkinb wrote:
    La Rochelle, Ile de Re, Ile d'oleron? Lots of flat & family friendly stuff round there. Google suggests that cycling tours are a "thing" there. Weather might be better than the UK. Bordeaux & cognac to visit as well if you have a car and don't fancy cycling on a particular day.

    Bit of a trek mind you.

    This. This has been on my mind...

    Don't mind the drive. Driven to the Dordogne and Alps on more than one occasion.
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    Ventoux: hmm. There's a train to Avignon, right? But a bit pricey, iirc. But worth considering...
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    cjcp wrote:
    Ventoux: hmm. There's a train to Avignon, right? But a bit pricey, iirc. But worth considering...
    It's a surprisingly easy drive. Very good motorway all the way, no worse than driving to the Alps. In fact, it's no worse than driving from Calais to Brittany (which, counter-intuitively, was both the quickest and cheapest way to get there when we did it).
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    TGOTB wrote:
    cjcp wrote:
    Ventoux: hmm. There's a train to Avignon, right? But a bit pricey, iirc. But worth considering...
    It's a surprisingly easy drive. Very good motorway all the way, no worse than driving to the Alps. In fact, it's no worse than driving from Calais to Brittany (which, counter-intuitively, was both the quickest and cheapest way to get there when we did it).

    You have a point.

    I turned left after Lyon towards Grenoble, and Ventoux isn't much further after that.

    I've raised the idea with Mrs J, who's quite taken by Asprilla's idea...
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • asprillaasprilla Posts: 8,440
    edited November 2018
    cjcp wrote:
    TGOTB wrote:
    cjcp wrote:
    Ventoux: hmm. There's a train to Avignon, right? But a bit pricey, iirc. But worth considering...
    It's a surprisingly easy drive. Very good motorway all the way, no worse than driving to the Alps. In fact, it's no worse than driving from Calais to Brittany (which, counter-intuitively, was both the quickest and cheapest way to get there when we did it).

    You have a point.

    I turned left after Lyon towards Grenoble, and Ventoux isn't much further after that.

    I've raised the idea with Mrs J, who's quite taken by Asprilla's idea...

    You could also do the vineyard thing along the Loire, which would be nice. Touraine whites to start and then some Anjou reds at the end.
    Mud - Genesis Vapour CCX
    Race - Fuji Norcom Straight
    Sun - Cervelo R3
    Winter / Commute - Dolan ADX
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 24,670 Lives Here
    Italy would be ideal if it wasn't for the fact that France is really big and in the way. So, La Rochelle area if Asprilla's idea doesn't work out. Loire valley also good for family friendly cycling with wine.
  • Germany has by far the best network of cycling paths and segregated cycling facilities. For flat, I suggest anywhere around Koblentz, where you can follow the course of two major rivers... lots of castles and old "burgs".

    For less flat, I enjoyed the area around Rothenburg... basically this route

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tauber_Valley_Cycleway

    The ONLY downside ot Germany is that, if you are vegetarian, it's hard to find anything to eat
  • asprillaasprilla Posts: 8,440
    I've had another idea.

    Let the family have a beach holiday and you come with me to Lombardy to do the Stelvio and watch the Giro.
    Mud - Genesis Vapour CCX
    Race - Fuji Norcom Straight
    Sun - Cervelo R3
    Winter / Commute - Dolan ADX
  • rower63rower63 Posts: 1,991
    Tour de Wild Atlantic Way - aka riding round West Cork. You can even use my cottage in Baltimore as one of your bases
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  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    rower63 wrote:
    Tour de Wild Atlantic Way - aka riding round West Cork. You can even use my cottage in Baltimore as one of your bases

    Very kind of you, cheers.

    As beautiful as that coastline looks, isn't it the one they use to physically and mentally break people in the enduro race? :shock: :lol:
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    Asprilla wrote:
    I've had another idea.

    Let the family have a beach holiday and you come with me to Lombardy to do the Stelvio and watch the Giro.

    Won't work -- the idea was Mrs J's!
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    Germany has by far the best network of cycling paths and segregated cycling facilities. For flat, I suggest anywhere around Koblentz, where you can follow the course of two major rivers... lots of castles and old "burgs".

    For less flat, I enjoyed the area around Rothenburg... basically this route

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tauber_Valley_Cycleway

    The ONLY downside ot Germany is that, if you are vegetarian, it's hard to find anything to eat

    Now that is certainly a bit different - cheers!

    There'll be no issues with the food; between them, the kids will eat most things have looked through or over a fence. Beer will be good, too.

    Adding that one to the list to discuss.
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • La Loire a Velo - start where you like as it runs for a heck of a long way.

    See the chateaux, drink some loire wines, learn some history. No traffic, good weather, on the riverside.

    i did it with my wife 2 years ago. Zero planning. Booked each B&B the day before and just pottered and stopped based on which castles looked prettiest.
  • Asprilla wrote:
    Practicing echelons in Brittany?

    The one I've been looking at, though it might not be great for the kids, is a cycling tour of champagne houses. Wake up in a chateau, gentle pootle to the next chateau and get slowly drunk on fizzy. Repeat. Luggage is taken care of by the tour organisers.

    Probably not what you are looking for.

    This is fun although when you are on holiday, so are all the french, so all the houses may well be shut up, so phone ahead!

    Some amazing restaurants around there, all associated to some random Champagne house. I was there in July this year on the way back from Ventoux. Riding is surprisingly tough!
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    Oh, very cool - cheers!

    Mrs J is very impressed by all this.

    Rower - the husband of one of her mates rode the WAW earlier this year, so there's no pulling the wool over her eyes on that one.
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • elbowlohelbowloh Posts: 7,078
    Wasn't a family tour, but I did a short cycle tour of Brittany with a group of friends (all cyclists, but mixed ability).

    We cycled down to Portsmouth and caught the ferry to St Malo. We cycled down to Vannes, via Dinan, Rennes and Elven (there are more places, but I can't remember!). It was only over 5 days or so, but was great. We had planned to try and get to see the Carnac stones, but ran out of time.

    Was pretty quiet and not a lot of traffic. We went in May and the weather was glorious (2014). Hardest part of the ride was the leg to Portsmouth!
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  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    Also good! That beats the drive across northern France from Calais.
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • elbowlohelbowloh Posts: 7,078
    cjcp wrote:
    Also good! That beats the drive across northern France from Calais.
    Ours was an overnight ferry, but i'm sure there are others. You can get cabin if you wish!
    Felt F1 2014
    Felt Z6 2012
    Red Arthur Caygill steel frame
    Tall....
    www.seewildlife.co.uk
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    elbowloh wrote:
    cjcp wrote:
    Also good! That beats the drive across northern France from Calais.
    Ours was an overnight ferry, but i'm sure there are others. You can get cabin if you wish!

    Nah, the kids can sleep on the floor :mrgreen:
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • Champagne really isn't that far from Calais. We stayed in Reims for 3 nights and did some loops out to Epergnay (sp?).

    https://www.strava.com/activities/1734998773
    https://www.strava.com/activities/1733783687

    As I noted - beware the holidays and make sure you phone ahead before visiting any of them. The riding is lovely and picturesque but its quite rolling.


    This is the week's cycling in the Loire. No idea if the link will work. We flew to Nantes with easyjet, Picked up Bikes in Angers then cycled to Orleans over the week (25m per day) and took the Eurostar home.

    This is dead easy, even for someone as useless as me at booking holidays. There is 1 guidebook and 2 maps you need but it's pretty self explanatory and signposted. Also perfectly safe. I took all valuables in a backpack, everything else we left on the bike in unsecured paniers.

    Chenenceau is by far the most spectacular chateau - we took the train there and then cycled on through amboise forest which was an adventure in itself!

    https://www.strava.com/athletes/152209/training/log

    30545242518_74e77ceb2f.jpg
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,674
    The ONLY downside ot Germany is that, if you are vegetarian, it's hard to find anything to eat
    That's a pretty good recommendation in my book :) - and not actually true, there are any number of Kuchen and Torten you can live off...

    Actually I'd recommend anywhere North European: the food may be better in France and round the Med, but there's a lot of good stuff elsewhere, and the cycling infrastructure is better in the Low Countries and Northern Europe.
    The family Bomp have done a bit of continental cycling - not a lot, just short rides, not multi-day - and have thoroughly enjoyed DK, NL, D and B - one of my lifetime top memories is leading a mini-peloton back to the campsite in Bruges after eating out nearby, doing 20mph along the canal path with 2 under-10s in tow as we tried to beat the gathering dark and the torrential thunderstorm that was approaching. We arrived just as the first drops of a biblical deluge started to fall.
  • rower63rower63 Posts: 1,991
    cjcp wrote:
    ...Mrs J is very impressed by all this.

    Rower - the husband of one of her mates rode the WAW earlier this year, so there's no pulling the wool over her eyes on that one.
    Near us there aren't many gradients over 30% and those that are are only short ;)
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  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 19,964
    Chris assuming your google email address still works i've emailed you a suggestion, dont want to give the game away on here :-)
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
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    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • In case it becomes overrun with commuters?
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 19,964
    exactly
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 19,964
    nodders as far as the eyes could see
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
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