Introduction

About the book

 

Long after I gave up eating and sightseeing my way around France, researching guide books for Which? and the AA, it took a chance invitation to cycle home from Switzerland with a friend to reintroduce me to the pleasures of exploring the back roads of France; and to introduce me to the bicycle, as the best tool for the job.

I had a bicycle already, but did not consider myself a cyclist.  I had never done a long ride and had no idea if I would enjoy one or be able to do it.  I found I did, and could.   I wrote an article about the trip and positive feedback plus the desire to do more rides gave me the idea for the book.

Cycling for pleasure is the idea.  A bike ride does not require extreme fitness, special clothing or any gadgetry more technical than a bicycle.  It does not have to be a race, an endurance test or a charity fund-raiser.  Rolling along at ten miles an hour is no more and no less than a great way to enjoy rural France.

The rides described in the book, and illustrated here with detailed maps and a few holiday snaps, are 400 to 550 miles long, and the longer ones took us a long week – two weekends and a week, typically, including a day’s travel at each end of the ride.  Many cyclists would cover a much greater distance in that time. Others would prefer to take it more slowly and do the ride in a fortnight.  That sounds an extremely sensible approach.

 

“… an ideal gift for cyclists and francophiles” (Real Travel magazine) 

            Croc Monsieur