I'm planning to cycle in August from Genoa (Italy) to Barcelona along the mediterranean coast.. a big chunk of that will be in France. I've never cycled in France before and have read that I might need to take the highways for some parts! anyone knows anything about this? are there any cycle paths? are cars used to cyclists riding with them? will i be able to find cycling directions signposts?
Any tips would be highly appreciated!
Hey! I'm on the same way, just crossed the border to Spain. You certainly mustn't take the highway, you would be risking a rather high fine as well as your life. There are almost always cycle paths along the coast or you can find main roads OK for cycling, the drivers are usually respectful. I was too lazy to do some thorough planning, so I used my smartphone most of the time or asked people ... Wouldn't rely just on the signposts. You can generate a route using the planner on bikemap.net or download routes there posted by cyclists. The first option guarantees you cycle paths/almost unused roads. But sometimes it can be (literally) a pain in the ass, not all is paved. On the other hand, the downloaded routes often include dangerous main roads, sometimes even the ones prohibited for cyclists... And there is the Eurovelo 8 of course, but I think you miss some really beautiful parts of the coast if you follow it all the time ... Feel free to ask if you have some more questions :)
Thanks a lot for the helpful tips, hope you continue to have an awesome time in Spain. What's your plan from there? continue by the coast?
Here is the track I had like a guideline: https://www.bikemap.net/es/route/3308798-milano-barcelona/
But it's all main roads, I wouldn't follow it all the way unless on a fast road bike ... I'm posting it just to pick out the part around Monaco, that was one of my favourite rides. Then from Cannes to Frejus it's perfect too. The road around Spanish border was also really nice, almost no cars.
In Spain make sure you don't do the detour inlands from Passeig del Mar to Lloret del Mar - keep hugging the coast, the road is a cycling paradise. You will notice it on the map by the curves (the count is around 360 according to some stranger on a beach).
And yeah, I think I'll stick to the coast, ride around the whole peninsula and than arrive in Zaragoza, where I'm going to stay until January on Erasmus.
Hi Marcel! I am planning to do the same route Italy to Spain through the coast of France, but I am a little worried about the hills, since I have a a 21 speed bike. At least the Eurovelo 8 route shows a lot of hills, do you know if the alternative routes are as steep as the eurovelo? thank you!
Yeah, the coast is hilly but I don't remember nothing too steep, used my granny only when really tired. But it's true that the bike paths can include some crazy gradients from time to time ... Than it's better to look for the road nearby, a map that shows altitude lines can be handy. Above I posted some of my favourite parts, it's all hills but definitely doable without the lightest gears. But for a trip this long, I think it's worth having a look for a cassette with bigger sprockets or upgrading to 3x9 for example... Some tough climb always appears.
highways ("autoroutes" in french) and freeways ("route pour automobiles") are forbidden for bicycles, and there is a sign reminding you that they reserved for high-speed motorized vehicules, like in most countries.
Hopefully, there are better ways to ride a bicycle in France, there are plenty of small backcountry roads and backroads, and even sometimes ;-) some cycle paths on your route ! Incredible, isn't it ?
To help you plan your route the best way, you can have a look at these few resources :
And of course, feel free to ask here as well.
Cheers and ride safe !
Thanks ! these links are very helpful.. i'm gonna be using them for some proper planning :)
Hi - I'm trying to do a smaller section in the other direction, from Toulon to Genoa, though might pull up into the mountains. I can give some tips later, hopefully. I wanted to know what the road from nice to genoa is - I don't want to be passed by cars coming very close. Does anyone have any idea of that route?