In the 1930s, the Armenian-American writer William Saroyan considered the bicycle to be “
the noblest invention of man
British novelist Herbert George Wells supplemented his remarks by saying: “
Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.
In early 2019, a study conducted by the University of Minnesota in the United States even proved that it was the means of transport that provided the most happiness.
Beyond the question of well-being, it contributes to a profound evolution of tourist practices towards a slower pace and constant attention to the environment.
In the space of six years, the number of cycle routes has doubled in France.
With nearly 17,000 km of cycle routes and greenways developed according to France Vélo Tourisme and flagship routes such as La Vélodyssée, La Loire à Vélo or recently La Seine à Vélo, our country has serious advantages in the international cycle tourism market.
But to hear users, novices or experienced, the bicycle trip should still make some progress to establish itself as a global solution.
To read also: Vélodyssée, Vélocéan, Loire à Vélo… Six ideas for cycling routes
For Parisians, it all starts by leaving the capital.
Leaving the mainland often lacking in charm, many opt for the train.
We have the obligation to reserve specific locations when traveling with a bicycle.
But on the SNCF site, many trains (mainly TER) do not offer the service.
Sometimes, there isn't even any more room when we have paid for it,
Same problem for buses, where bicycles often end up being placed in the hold, without any precautions.
This 37-year-old trader also notes certain inconsistencies on board TGVs.
It is required to be able to remove the wheels to slip the bike into a cover, which itself does not always fit in the luggage compartments of the wagons.
And if it is not in its place, the user risks a fine of 50 €!
Not to mention the platform changes with stairs to take and unrepaired elevators in some stations.
Once started on the route, other problems may arise.
Harald, marketing manager of a start-up, paid the price.
Decided to join Montargis from Paris, via the Loing valley, he was disillusioned when he saw the state of Eurovélo 3, also known as Scandibérique, which links Trondheim (Norway) to Santiago de Compostela (Spain).
I had a bike with thin tires and expected a tarmac road in good condition.
In the end, I had a very stony towpath all along.
Absolutely nothing of a cycle route!
Exclaims the 25-year-old cyclist.
Used to departmental roads and German tracks, he regrets the lack of investment and the poor maintenance of the French sections.
With us, we take the bike very lightly.
For my part, I have finished with the dented routes
, ”he concludes.
Read also: Family bike ride on the Véloscénie: from Paris to the wheat fields of Beauce
The map is very practical for locating yourself geographically, locating nearby towns or making notes on your comments or advice.
On the signage side, there too is fishing.
Instead of a bucolic greenway, I reached Langres and its city center by the road of cars and trucks which serve a factory located below the city, near the
", says Stéphane , in a Facebook post.
This summer, the 46-year-old adventurous writer embarked on the crazy crossing of France by bike, from Dunkirk to Hendaye.
A 40-day odyssey in 35 stages to explore little-known territories, enthusiastic people and "
tell the stories of a re-enchanted France
And there is no shortage of stories in 2000 kilometers!
Especially those of loss and punctures, 5 in total for the entire hexagonal journey.
The Komoot app gave us a whimsical trail to the point where we had to get off the saddle to walk along a path with tall grass, prickly brambles and deep ruts.
And it was on this path which then became stony and rooty that I had a puncture and that my traveling companion fell in the brambles
”, he says as he approaches Lake Lavaud-Gelade, at south of the Creuse.
Léo made the same observation: “
Google Maps gives routes that sometimes cross national roads or hiking trails that are clearly not accessible.
As for France Vélo Tourisme, whose goal is to indicate cycle routes, we come back to the problem of signage.
Read also: A short guide to preparing for your first cycling adventure
Although a growing number of travelers have recently discovered a passion for cycling, it must be said that France is pale in comparison to its European neighbors. In Copenhagen, despite a harsh climate, 50% of commuting trips are made by bicycle. It is more than 40% in Amsterdam and 25% in Basel. A rate that is only around 16% for Strasbourg residents and 15.2% for Grenoblois according to figures from INSEE. Despite everything, "
of this green tourism, I will be a staunch defender
", asserts Stéphane. In addition to contributing to the development of rural areas, everyone agrees that the bicycle remains the best way to explore ignored territories, to meet authentic people and to discover lands of incredible richness. One more pedal stroke, we're almost there!