Cycling and walking tours?
We cycle a lot (Sarah especially). I wouldn't say we don't cycle for pleasure, as we enjoy it. But our cycling is mostly going somewhere practical. Taking the recycling to the bin or a 16 km round trip to the shops. Definitely not 40 k on a Saturday afternoon with the pack.
Our attire usually includes wellington boots for added confidence around enthusiastic farm dogs. Never anything tight-fitting, logoed and colourful.
We've also not been enamoured with the idea of providing our service to keen cyclists, largely because they cover such incredible distances in a day. But, also because the roads that get you along the coast, where we know the campsites, are often not memorable.
Although you can't cycle on much of the GR34, we provide two decent, basic bikes for our walking guests so they can shorten a walking section (with a detour on the road) or fetch supplies from the boulangerie in the morning. These have also been profitably used in the evenings hunting for menhirs or returning to a harbour to buy fish (never carry fish on a long walk). That pretty much sums up our involvement with cycling to-date.
Whilst we were plotting the west Finistère itinerary, I was driving along the coast to meet Sarah, keeping as near the sea as possible, basically turning left unless it was a no-through-road. I noticed that at every turn there was a little green sign. A closer examination revealed these were signposts for the V5 cycle route. I was inadvertently driving the Baie d'Audierne section which was very nice with sea-views on small, quiet roads.
I remembered that we had received a message from someone wanting to plan a combined cycling and walking holiday. With such pleasant cycling on one of our itineraries, we might be able to help. If you've clicked that Baie d'Audierne link, you'll see that this section of the V5 goes from Bénodet to the Pointe du Raz and doesn't stray far from the coast at all.
After the Pointe du Raz, cycling would be miserable and you'd miss one of the best bits of walking on the Bretagne coast. A long, straight, country road, the kind where people tend to drive too fast, takes you in an exposed and uninteresting fashion the 36 kms to Douarnenez. But of course you'd be walking that section and we'd be going down the dull road, perfectly content as we'd be towing the caravan.
As an exercise I went through our 3 itineraries (which join up) to see which sections could be and which definitely shouldn't be cycled. Here is the list.
(i) Le Pouldu to kerfany (start of our s Finistère itinerary) 2 day's walking (you'd miss too much if you cycled)
(ii) Kerfany to Port Manec'h cycle around the rias lots of small lanes about 25 miles. 1 day.
(iii) Port Manec'h to île Tudy (s finistère and w finistère itineraries) 5 day's walking.
(iv) Loctudy to the Pointe du Raz. 70 miles cycling, so 2 days?
(v) Pointe du Raz to Douarnenez 2 day's walking Now see Crozon itinerary.
(vi) Douarnenez to Morgat cycle. Its coastal roads and about 30 miles. 1 day
(vii) Morgat to Camaret sur Mer 2 day's walking.
(viii) Camaret to Landévennec (including a tour of the pointe des Espanols) about 30 miles cycling. 1 day
Those with the ability to grasp figures from a muddle, will see this is a total of 16 days.
Perhaps this list might help cyclists to make plans. A week's combined tour could be created with a cycling start from Penmarch, finishing by walking in triumph into Camaret sur Mer with us transporting your bikes and gear.
The distances I'm suggesting for daily cycles would probably have keener cyclists frustrated and furiously cycling circuits around the campsites. But chasing cyclists across France and ending up in Marseilles at the end of a week with a caravan is not going to be a new venture for sanssacados.
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