Travelling by bike this autumn
03 November 2022
A long weekend cycling on the roads of Provence
by Valentin, Abicyclette Voyages
At the end of September, I spent 4 days travelling by bike to discover Provence. And what a treat to pedal there at the start of autumn! Mild temperatures and sunshine. With stages of 30 to 60 kilometers, the concocted route allowed me to criss-cross the Haut Vaucluse region located between Avignon, the Ventoux massif, the Baronnies provençales and Orange.
I mainly cycled on small roads with little traffic. A few bumpy paths between the vineyards or fields of olive and almond trees spiced up the trip. Also, I took several greenways including the ViaRhôna between Orange and Avignon and the Via Venaissia around Carpentras. Well-designed site-specific facilities away from car traffic.
The stages around the Dentelles de Montmirail, Mont Ventoux and Vaison la Romaine were hilly with beautiful hills to climb and even some steep slopes at more than 10%. Indeed, the perched villages must be earned. Among the most beautiful, I can mention those of Séguret, Crestet, Barroux but also Châteauneuf du Pape closer to the Rhône. But let it be said, in Provence sporting efforts are never in vain! They are rewarded with wonderful panoramas and also with tastings of local products. After a tough 3 kilometer ascent to climb up to the Château du Barroux, I remember the tasting of homemade whiskey made from petit épeautre (a small spelt cereal cultivated in the Haute Provence hills) in a room of this medieval castle. Same experience in Châteauneuf du Pape with wine tasting at the village vinotheque after a series of climbs through the vines.
The Haut Vaucluse also has exceptional ancient sites. The guided tour of Vaison la Romaine and that of the Roman theater of Orange allowed me to better understand this period of history. And what to do with the bikes during these visits? Most of the sites are accreditated Cyclists Welcome. Most often you can park your bikes very close to the sites and in safety. Without a doubt, autumn is one of the best seasons to discover Provence. The sun still shines there most of the time, the temperatures are warm (between 20 and 25°C in general) without being scorching as in the summer, the tourists are more scattered there and the flamboyant colors sublimate the landscapes of vineyards which adorn the Rhône valley and the hills of Vaucluse. A must-see by bike!
2 days north of the ViaRhôna: from the shores of Lake Geneva to the Rhône Valley
by Morgane, Abicyclette Voyages
The journey begins for me in the heart of the small village of Yvoire, on the shores of Lake Geneva. With flower in full bloom in the summer, this small medieval town offers a peaceful and rejuvenating atmosphere in autumn. Through fields of sunflowers and regional vineyards, with the Mont Blanc Massif in the background between a few clearings, the ViaRhôna takes us on the first day to Annemasse, located at the gates of Switzerland. This portion of the Véloroute nº1 not being quite finished in places, the route sometimes takes us through small regional roads with little traffic. At the end of the day, we take a small forest path along the Arve where the flamboyant autumn trees mingle with the superb blues of the mountain rivers. We have dinner in the evening at the Observatoire restaurant, offering a breathtaking view of Geneva and cuisine based on quality local products.
After a good night’s sleep, we pack our saddlebags again for a few kilometers along the Rhône. Autumn is here, let’s not forget it: I therefore wear a Merino wool sweater and jacket, but also a raincoat to protect from the wind. I also take with me a pair of very thin gloves, and rain pants just in case (I won’t need them in the end, the weather having once again been kind). The little extra for me: my neck warmer!
After a more urban stroll through Geneva, where it is easy to get around thanks to the various bicycle facilities, we follow in the footsteps of the ViaRhôna through the countryside, vineyards and small villages, zig-zagging between France and Switzerland (don’t forget to cut off your mobile data abroad if your plan is not suitable!).
After a well-deserved picnic break, in the middle of the red glowing vines, we begin the last stage of this journey, towards Collonges. For this, we leave Eurovélo 1 and start a nice climb on the last kilometers. I must admit that at that time, I particularly enjoyed my electric bike, allowing me to follow the rhythm of my fellow travelers while enjoying the beautiful hilly landscapes around.
In the afternoon, after our arrival in Collonges, we take the road again towards Fort L’Ecluse. We pass through in the early afternoon before the route is loaded with cross-border workers… Le Fort is an amazing place, perfectly renovated and offering a plunging panorama over the Rhone Valley.
I will remember from this getaway the palette of colors and autumnal smells, a sometimes overcast but generally mild weather, along a route with diverse landscapes and accessible to everyone. The Viarhôna, from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean, offers diverse landscapes and a very rich cultural and gastronomic heritage. It’s a cycle route that I can’t wait to discover in its entirety and in all seasons!
4 days cycling the most beautiful cycle routes in Flanders
by Johanne, Abicyclette Voyages
At the end of the 2022 summer season, I had the opportunity to go on the roads of Belgium, more particularly on the cycle paths of Flanders.
The first thing that surprised me when I arrived was the gigantic network of cycle paths. Bikes are everywhere, and everything is relatively flat. Bike rides are easy, both physically and in terms of creating routes. The road markings are done thanks to numbers written at each intersection, making it easy to find your way around. Flanders is increasingly invested in this notion of cycle tourism and develops routes covering the whole region. In particular, there are 9 iconic trails that I advise you to discover before planning your Belgian stay.
During these 4 days, I was able to observe 3 aspects of these circuits: nature in Limburg, architecture around Bruges and the history of the First World War on the Franco-Belgian border. Each territory has a little something that is interesting to explore.
When we talk about Belgium, cycling in the rain is a must. I did not miss this experience that everyone would like to live once in their life (without a doubt). To face this weather, I strongly recommend to those who wish to discover this beautiful green region to bring a raincoat, rain pants and of course a change of warm clothes to fully enjoy yourself.
Autumn remains an ideal season to explore Belgium by bike. Temperatures can be milder than in summer, and tourists less present. The autumn colors are also magnificent to see, especially in the forests of Limburg.
Another very important aspect: gastronomy. Country of beer and chocolate, many shops and cafes/restaurants are an opportunity to take breaks throughout your journey and get back in the saddle refreshed!
Traveling the roads of Flanders was a very enriching experience. It makes me want to continue exploring Belgium by bike, as well as its neighboring countries like the Netherlands or Germany.