l’édition Française e.1

When considering a cycling holiday, one of the first destinations many will think of is France. The rolling mountains, the colour littered fields, the warm sunny weather and all the fresh carbs you can dream of from the local patisserie.

So, I guess it’s no surprise that I spent a week en France this summer dans ma velo!

The Vercors, a region not familar to most, is a range of mountains in the Rhone-Alps, otherwise known as the Prealps; a 1.5 hour drive from Lyon or half an hour from Valence (Eurostar/TGV drop off). The scenery is simply stunning. Sheer rock faces suddenly appear on the horizon, displaying thousands’ of years of history, as the surrounding farmlands provide green tranquility. And, the roads through and around the Vercors are not only well kept (no sneaky pot holes) but quiet too. And by quiet, I mean you’ll see only 1 or 2 cars on a 4 hour ride!

Within riding distance are the beautiful and historic towns and view points of Pont en Royans, who’s houses hug the cliff-side; St Nazaire en Royans which is over shadowed by its aqueduct and fresh water lake; and Europe’s largest gorge, the Combe Laval; which, when cycling through can only be described as a scene from a James Bond car chase.

I stayed with Velo Vercors, a small but specialised cycling holidays company run by Roger Dunne – an ex GB pro cyclist, and his wife Teresa. Velo Vercors cater for everyone, that is, families that may get out on their bikes a couple of times a year but want to explore the French countryside, through to training camps for cycling clubs (sounds familiar!). And, with a broad range of abilities they also provide a range of suggested/mapped rides from 10-20km routes to spend the day at the lake; to a climb (and descent) up Alpe d’Huez, only 1.5 hours drive away. Arranging bike hire prior to your arrival, travelling there couldn’t be easier.

Their typically ‘French’ property, in the heart of St Jean Royans, one of the larger towns in the region, boasts self-catering gites (rural cottages) for a weekly break or B&B accommodation with independent front door access for shorter stays. All surrounded by fantastic gardens, a ‘summer lounge’ and of course, over-looked by the stunning mountainside. Plus, there’s an open-air pool a 2 minute walk up the road for the well needed rest days, and a masseuse on call to ease out the tight legs after a hard day’s climbing.

Roger, cycling clearly in his blood, is available as a cycle guide or domestique, which makes riding in a new area a breeze – there’s no worrying about taking the wrong turn, plus with his experience, he provides great advice and tips on the climbs and descents. God knows how he keeps going though – Alpe d’Huez twice and Mont Venteux in the space of 1.5 weeks? He must have a motor hidden somewhere!

All in all, a week at Velo Vercors may be absolutely shattering, but is definitely a holiday worth taking!

– Local area ride I took: http://runkeeper.com/user/hayleydavies/activity/100305127
– Tour of the Vercors including Pont en Royans, Col de Carrie and Combe Laval: http://runkeeper.com/user/hayleydavies/activity/100676919

Hayley Davies

Hayley Davies

Writer

Riding since Feb 2011 Hayley is a 30 year old female who loves adventures. If she’s not on one of her many bikes or in the water on a bodyboard/surfboard, then Hayley is probably out looking for something new to keep the adrenaline pumping!
Website: www.hjdonline.co.uk

The Cycling Life – Riding Across the US

Ryan & Nick with Me and the kids.

I was very fortunate (and Thankful) to spend three days with a couple incredible guys who are currently cycling their way across the United States.  I’ve been online buddies with Ryan van Duzer for over a year now and have enjoyed following his amazing adventures.  I watched the Out of the Wild television series last year only because Ryan was one of the cast members, but so glad I did because it was a very interesting show.  Nick Albini was also on Out of the Wild and has joined Ryan on his latest cycling endeavour.

Nick and Ryan should arrive in Florida around December 12th and you can follow their wild escapade at www.ryanvanduzer.com.  These guys are super fun, positive, and inspirational…..before they took off, we sat down together and talked about “The Cycling Life”.

There was so much great information and wisdom that flowed from Ryan and Nick that I decided to put together an extended version of this video with much more footage.  To view the longer version of the video, check it out right here.

How about you?  Have you ever wanted to go Cycling Touring?  If so, what would you like to accomplish?
 
 
 
 
 
 

5 Reasons You Need to Go Cycling in Bonaire

 
Do you picture bikes or cycling when you think about the Caribbean?  I’m sure sun, sand, and palm trees pop into your head a lot sooner then the idea of riding a bicycle in the Caribbean….especially on the beautiful island of Bonaire.  But I’m here to tell you that bikes and Bonaire go hand in hand.

 

I was lucky enough to spend three years of my life living on the amazing island of St. Kitts, which is also in the Caribbean just a little north of Bonaire.  It too is a great cycling island and one of the most memorable rides I’ve ever had was on it’s South East Peninsula.  Many other islands should be looked at as good places to cycle as well, but I wanted to point out the fabulous Dutch island of Bonaire in this post.

Bonaire is well known as one of the best diving locations in the world, and is also highly regarded as a windsurfing and kitesurfing haven, but what about cycling?  Well, here is what the people from Bonaire Bike Tours have to say about riding on their island:

The best way to experience the beauty and outdoors, meet the locals, and enjoy all Bonaire has to offer, is on a bike.  See the flora and fauna, cycle past our natural history, and get exercise in our clean Caribbean air.  We have challenging climbs, incredible mountain bike terrain, and miles and miles of fabulous road and off-road cycling routes.

Here are my top 5 reasons you should consider Bonaire as your next great cycling escape, holiday, or adventure:

1.  Where else do you get to go cycling in a beautiful climate (consistently between 24 and 30 C / 75 and 90 F), with limited rain, and located outside the hurricane belt?  I’ll bet that sounds awfully nice as the temperatures begin to drop in your home town.

2.  Cycling is important enough on this island that they even have a Cycling Map available.  I’ve never seen one of these for any other Caribbean island:

3.  Cycle along with Donkeys and Flamingos – Bonaire has both a donkey and a flamingo sanctuary on the island….and who doesn’t like donkeys and flamingos?  This is sure to be scenery that you don’t generally experience at home.

4.  Learn Dutch or Papiamentu – The official language of Bonaire is Dutch, but English is widely spoken.  But the native language just happens to be Papiamentu which is a mixture of many languages including Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, French, English, Caribbean Indian, and African.  Imagine how beautiful that must sound.

5.  Road and MTB Riding – Mountain Biking is probably the most popular type of cycling on Bonaire, but they do have some excellent road riding as well. There may not be a lot of options for road riding (the island is only 180 sq. km / 112 sq. miles, with only part of that with paved roads), but they do have great riding on the north end of the island that includes a small climbing optional section as well.

If you’re looking for a beautiful cycling package to get you to Bonaire to experience all the island has to offer, have a look at this Bonaire Cycling Holiday: Click here.