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Old December 1st 06, 10:44 AM posted to rec.bicycles.rides,alt.rec.bicycles.recumbent
Edward Dolan
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Posts: 14,212
Default western Provence in France


"Ken Roberts" wrote in message
news:[email protected]
Sharon and I had a great time doing rides around Aix and Marseille in
southern France. Late November is not the perfect time to ride there, but
the American Thanksgiving holiday allowed us to get a full week for the
cost of 3 vacation days. Selected photos at
http://www.roberts-1.com/t/b06/p/k

Felt like the most fun region for riding which Sharon + I have found so
far. We're already making specific plans for going back: where to make our
base, what new routes to try, what routes to do again perhaps with new
variations.

What's so great:
* Variety of riding: from flat in the Camargue to gentle further north in
the Rhone valley, to villages on moderate-size hilltops, to the giant
climb
of Mont Ventoux.
* Variety from big seaside views, to inland vineyards and stone houses, to
remote forests, and to farm animals beside the road, pleasant valley
cities with large car-free zones.
* Lots of big views on roads that traverse hillsides at a moderate grade.
* Hilltop towns are not so high and steep as some other regions (e.g. the
"T" place). Climbs to cross passes are shorter than in some other regions.
* For visiting in late autumn, tends to have more sunshine and less rain
than places further north. (but it can get windy)
* Easy transportation access to other great riding regions: A7 north to
Auvergne, A8 east to Cote d'Azur and Alpes Maritimes, ferry from Marseille
or Toulon to the island of Corsica / Corse.

non-riding advantages:
* some great hiking in the Calanques, Grand Canyon du Verdon, etc.
* pleasant walking + shopping in the cities.
* great wine (Cotes du Rhone, etc.) and great food.

Highlights for us on this trip
* Cassis tri-adventure -- hike, swim, bike along the Mediterranean coast,
including big sea views riding the Route des Cretes
road to la Ciotat.
* Grand Canyon du Verdon: largest canyon in Europe, two corniche roads
hanging the edges, big hiking adventure down inside.
* hilltop villages in the Vaucluse between Avignon + Apt.
* loop thru toothy Alpilles ridge and les Baux, east of Arles.
* Camargues special atmosphere out on the unpaved flat dikes thru big
lakes
and marshes, with sightings of birds and horses and bulls along the paved
flat roads.
* Mont Ventoux for its special atmosphere of steep roads with giant
unhindered views.
* Aix-en-Provence city on street market day.

We also rode around Mt Ste Victoire (famously painted by Cezanne), over
the Pont du Gard bridge from Roman times, and along the Gorges de
l'Ardeche (nowhere in the same league as G.C.Verdon, we called it "faux
corniche").

We did this trip in "normal Euro" style, putting our bike on a car each
day and driving to the start of our chosen ride. Of course there's been
lots of enthusiastic reports on Provence from "bicycle only" style tours,
and also from expensively guided van-supported tours -- easy to find with
web searches. The very helpful Cycling France guidebook published by
Lonely Planet has detailed routes and descriptions for three or four
multi-day cycle tours in this region.


Are Ken and Sharon Roberts crazy? Or have they spent so much time in France
that they can afford to waste it cycling there? I do not think the average
American will ever want to do what they are doing. Most of us are not so
jaded and have so much time available that we can afford to spend it cycling
about la belle France. Nay, when we go to France we want to make good use of
our limited resources. Cycling about France is just about the dumbest thing
I have ever heard (unless you are French of course).

I myself would never stoop to converse with any of the French since I
consider them all to be traitors to Western Civilization. Only such as Tom
Sherman of ARBR would ever want to go to France and actually converse with
them since he is like them in his political views.

I will only bike in my own country and it would never even occur to me to do
it in a foreign country. What a waste! Do they not have buses and trains to
take you where you want to go?

Regards,

Ed Dolan the Great - Minnesota
aka
Saint Edward the Great - Order of the Perpetual Sorrows - Minnesota


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