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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    North Vancouver

    Lyon to Barcelona ?

    Heading to Europe for the first time ever this October.
    Flying into London early Oct and will be heading to Paris and beyond with the plan to ride from Lyon to Barcelona.
    It is a shortish trip I know, but its what I have to work with. Planning on cycling from Lyon to Barcelona in about 7-9 days.
    Early recon says to just do the Rhone river route South and then onward to Barcelona.
    What say the collective ?
    Not a stranger to touring on the fly but never have I been to Europe.
    I have mostly biked in Mexico, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and the entire Pacific coast from Vancouver to Puerto Escondito in various stages.

    Any feedback welcome !
    What if "Alternative" energy wasn't so alternative ?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    I did a similar route 20 years ago (as part of one of several multi-month trips), so no recent or specific beta, but France had the nicest touring country-wide of the 10 or so countries Iíve toured in.

    I hope itís largely the same. There were plenty of country roads in great condition but with minimal traffic. They were everywhere. (Italy on the other hand has tons of roads but they were way busier and the country was far denser. Spain was much less dense than France, but fewer roads to choose from.)

    Back then I carried around an atlas, and on breaks would figure out the towns along the way, and then just follow the signs to those towns. There used to be plenty of postcard perfect villages. Navigation was pretty simple even before smartphones. I think Iíd actually prefer the old way over pulling my phone out every few minutes.

    Iíve biked the north part of Spain as well, but never in Catalonia. I enjoyed it but not nearly as much as France.

    The guy who got me into bike touring had toured in literally dozens of countries all around the world and then kept coming back to France despite no particular previous interest in the country other than the Tour.

    Anyway, the Rhone route is good. If youíre at all interested in wine you can pass through some of the famous wine villages there, like chateauneuf-du-pape, gigondas, that sort of thing.

    Lyon has great food, Iíd be happy to go back.

    Orange and Carpentras have cool Roman ruins, like amphitheaters and aqueducts.

    Avignon is/was a charming mid sized college city.

    Montťlimar is famous for nougat, but youíll see that when you pass through.

    Youíd be in range of the mont Ventoux if thatís of interest to you. I climbed it with a fully-loaded touring bike (ah, the foolhardiness of being in your early 20s!) which I donít really recommend, but itís an incredible, hallowed climb. Tougher than the Alpe díhuez I think.

    Iíve been wanting for a while to go to the Catalan countryside. Some wine people I know go visit some winemakers in a town there every year and it sounds fantastic.

    Iíve been to Barcelona three times over the last 20 years and it gets sadder every time. A wonderful city thatís over loved by tourists.

    Iíll try to dig through my journals and old photos, nice to see this and reminisce.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    northern BC
    France along the TDF route into the pyrennnes was beautiful the mist rising in the morning, the sycamore tree every 100meters and there was at least one camp ground in every small town, touring with camp gear we could do one col a day to the next town, the 5 cols that the TDF racers do in one day took us 5 days, went as far south east as Carcasonne and back to toulouse on the canal du midi, there is definalty some thing about France worth going back for bike touring

    a few years later bike toured narthern spain along the Camino, we started in France from st John Pied de Port and it was as beautiful as i remembered until we got up into spain where it was more barren than France and there are not a lot of camp grounds, so while we had the camp gear the rooms for pilgrims were cheap/ plentiful, so thats where we stayed, the food was cheap if i had it to do again i would leave the camp gear at home for the Camino
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

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