This page was last updated Thu 05 January 2017.

Contents: Tours (6)   

Reports by Suze

All descriptions are in English, unless otherwise noted.

Tours

Solo cycling: Paris to Nice
by Suze, tour started September 2014, submitted 10 February 2015

Paris to Nice: my longest, and in many ways most challenging, solo tour ever. I planned my route inspired by the famous Race to the Sun, and followed various segments of that parcours. But I added detours, making my ride longer and more beautiful, higher and challenging. Detours to climb Mont Ventoux from the west in Malaucene, then turn back to the northeast into the Alps to Barcelonnette, to climb Cime de la Bonette, the highest paved road in the French Alps. The route over Col de la Cayolle, one of the most beautiful climbs I have ever ridden, led me to Nice. Of course, I planned for time to visit museums, Roman ruins, medieval churches and vineyards along the way. It is, after all, France where I was touring.

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Cime de la Bonette, the highest paved road in France
Riding Through History: Atlantic to Mediterranean
by Suze, tour started September 2013

The report of my solo 3-week journey starting in Bordeaux, near the Atlantic and finishing in Montpellier near the Mediterranean. In between were visits to prehistoric caves, churches and castles; Roman ruins, museums and artist studios; markets and (of course, it is France) plenty of restaurants. No camping, this trip I stayed as much as possible in bed and breakfasts. The riding was mostly through rolling countryside, though the Cevennes provided some real climbing. Fabulous cycling on those beautiful little roads of rural southern France.

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From the Aveyron River, looking up towards the castle at Belcastel
French Pyrenees: Pays Basque and Bearn
by Suze, tour started September 2012, submitted 15 April 2013

September 2012 and I was back, solo in the French Pyrenees, staying high and near the Spanish border,specifically in the Pyrenees Atlantique and Haute Pyrenees. My goal was to ride many of the famous cols and to explore the Pays Basque and Bearn. I planned to spend several days in different locations, riding unloaded on the oh-so-beautiful little roads of France before moving on. The ride began with a beautiful, all-too-short ride along the coast south from St. Jean de Luz, then turned inland to St. Jean Pied de Port, Larrau, Arette, Arrens-Marsous, Luz St. Sauveur. Cols climbed included Arnostéguy, Orgambide, Burdincurutcheta, Bagargui, Marie Blanque, Aubisque, finishing with the very famous Col de Tourmalet.

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The famous giant bike sculptures, Col d'Aubisque
Solo, Atlantic to Mediterranean: Pyrenees & Corbieres Tour
by Suze, tour started September 2011, submitted 3 October 2011

In September 2011, I spent a leisurely, though sometimes challenging, three weeks riding solo across France, from Bayonne/Biarritz, on the Atlantic, to Narbonne/Gruissan-Plage, on the Mediterranean.

In between, there were three fabulous Tour de France climbs in the high Pyrenees; gorgeous valleys in their foothills; prehistoric and Roman ruins; medieval walled cities; romanesque cathedrals and abbeys.

I certainly won't forget the many wonderful, friendly, helpful, delightful people I met ... and the superb food I enjoyed along the way. The Pyrenees are for me a cycling paradise.

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Vallee d'Ossau
Provence and Languedoc Tour, 2009
by Suze, tour started May 2009, submitted 2 January 2011

I had long dreamed of visiting France, of seeing the southern countryside, eating what I imagined to be totally delicious food, and experiencing ancient and medieval art and architecture. I had longed to know something of an older culture than ours in Massachusetts. New England is old in the United States, but very young in the world. When I turned 60 I decided to do it, to finally visit France, and when there to travel on a cycle. I had ridden in the 1970s, but gave my Fuji ten-speed away long ago. I hadn't been on a bike since about 1980, but in August 2007, on a whim, bought a new bike and a year later rode it solo around Lake Champlain in Vermont. My husband wanted to go with me to France, so in May 2009 we rode from Avignon, France, in a looping tour of about 500 miles, mostly very flat, visiting Roman ruins and ancient cities. It was his first cycle tour ever, and so I planned an easy trip, staying in bed and breakfasts or hotels, saving time for visiting museums and historic sites. This trip went from major city to major city, with some very beautiful riding in between. It included a ride the length of the famous Canal du Midi, running from Agde to Toulouse. We traveled from Avignon to Orange, then into the Luberon, west to Arles, south to the Camargue, west again along the Mediterranean to Sète and back inland toToulouse. The journal was written after my 2010 visit to the Cévennes in France.

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Landscape near Fort Buoux, Luberon
Cévennes: Solo Cycling
by Suze, tour started May 2010, submitted 22 October 2010

This is a description of my nine-day solo trip, in May 2010, in the Cévennes mountains of France. The trip was mostly camping, but no cooking. My goal was to see the Cévennes, mountains full of history and culture, their geography older than the Alps or Pyrenees. There was a good mix of climbing, mountains, medieval towns, villages, rivers ... always gorgeous and fun riding, but not a very high mileage. I wanted to learn something of the area, its culture and history, without being totally exhausted. In all it was about 300 miles, about 14,000 feet of climbing. I rode from Montpellier to Albi, with a loop up the Gorge du Tarn and down the Gorge du Jonte.

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Taken during descent of Gorge du Jontes