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Overland Bicycle Travel Overlanding questions for two wheels, no motor!
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  #1  
Old 20 Aug 2012
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A Week in France

Hi All, new to this section so here goes. A friend and I have a week off and have decided to get the old bikes out and jump on a train to France. The bikes are nothing special - basic mountain bikes with mudguards and a set of panniers. We plan to do around 50 mile a day, depending upon what we find, sleeping in B&B's etc. A few questions:
- any suggestions of an area to go? (We are looking at mainly scenic road riding and will need accommodation options at, at least 50 mile intervals.)
- basic equipment/bike prep advice from any more seasoned cyclists?

Thanks, Steve.
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  #2  
Old 20 Aug 2012
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About 15 years ago I did that (except it was a ferry), and as a 'hook' to pin the route on, I just wandered around the Commonwealth War Graves between Calais and Paris.

(google 'Commonwealth War Graves Commission' for all the info you'll need about where they are)

Without exception, as far as I found, they are all in areas of unspoilt country scenery, well served by small villages and B&Bs. (Although I camped most of the time). Pretty well every picuresque town has a municipal campsite.

I don't remember how much time I took - 2 or 3 weeks, but pedalled much less than 50 miles per day.
A clockwise route roughly around Arras and Compiegne, to Beauvais, returning around Abbeville and Boulogne - well away from the N roads. I think Compiegne was the only big town I went through, and was worth it (nice place).

Can't say much about preparation - just took my 'everyday' bike, puncture kit (couple of punctures I think) and rear panniers. And a fairly detailed map of that area.
I must do it again sometime!
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Old 21 Aug 2012
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That's great. Thanks McCrankpin. I was looking at the map last night and it occurred that we could land at LeHavre and just follow the Seine down to Paris and get a train back.
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Old 21 Aug 2012
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To get to the start line, and for the return journey from the end location you might want to look at:-
Bike Express - The Best Way Into Europe For You And Your Bike

I've never used such a service (I have seen more than one of such coach companies on the road) but those cyclists I know who have done so think of it as a great convenience to eliminate "the boring bits".
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Old 21 Aug 2012
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Hi Walkabout, that looks like a great service. Unfortunately the times do not coincide with the time I have booked off work. Worth baring in mind for future trips though. Cheers.
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