Touring - Nice-Barcelona
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03-25-02, 12:47 AM
This summer my girlfriend and I are planning a biketrip from Nice to Barcelona. I guess the distance to be 500 km, and we think about using 2-3 weeks to have a good time. So we are wondering if any of you have taken this tour before or have any ideas of what to see, places to go, cheap b&b during the "holiday" we'll be happy for all suggestions.
Another thing, we both have bicycles at home but we're thinking about renting two bikes in Nice, but we have to return them in Barcelona as our plane leaves from there. Anyone know of a bikehire place in Nice?
Thanks for all usefull help! :)
Can't help you on the bike issue, except that I would recommend that you bring your own bikes (if they are suitable for touring).
However, I did bike from Barcelona to Nice last year on my way to Venice. First of all, I think you need to add at least 300 km to your planned distance. Me and my friend logged over 1000 km on the way to Nice with a few detours (nothing too extreme though, as you can see on this map (http://biketouring.eurotourism.net/bilder2001/2001-karta.gif)).
A few highlights along the way we took:
Avignon (http://biketouring.eurotourism.net/album/images/2001_039_popavignon.jpg) - Home of the Popes for a couple of centuries.
Mont Ventoux (http://biketouring.eurotourism.net/album/images/2001_049_efterchalet.jpg) - One of the biggest climbs in Europe. But don't do it unless you enjoy 20+ km of brutally hard climbing...
Lavendel fields (http://biketouring.eurotourism.net/album/images/2001_060_lavendel_ec.jpg) - If you go during the lavendel season (this picture is taken early July) try to go through the lavendel area near Valensole. True lavendel grows above 700 metres.
Grand Canyon du Verdon (http://biketouring.eurotourism.net/album/images/2001_073_rdc_brant.jpg) - You must see it to believe it.
Try to look for the word "Gorges" on the map, those are often spectacular like the Gorges du Daluis (http://biketouring.eurotourism.net/album/images/2001_097_daluisner.jpg) or Cians Gorges (http://biketouring.eurotourism.net/album/images/2001_102_ciansecner.jpg).
For more information about Provence, check out http://www.beyond.fr/ .
We stayed on camping grounds during the whole trip so I can't give you any help on B&B's.
Finally, make sure you are properly trained before going on this trip. Provence is not flat, and neither is Costa Brava. But, where there are hills, there are beautiful landscapes :).
I also did a section of the route you are doing, we started at Orange (just north of Nice) and cycled to Bordeaux via the south coast and the canal du Midi - we clocked up 550 miles, and had 5 conventional mountain bikes fitted with road tyres and racks. We were all fully loaded with tents/stoves/sleeping bags and the kitchen sink
Average milage was about 40 miles per day, mind you, on the coast is was very hot (35c in the shade at mid day.)
Unless you have already booked flights, I would not go by plane, take your own bikes and travel in comfort with bike expess (www.bike-express.co.uk) they run daily coaches (with TV/loo/kitchen) and a big bike trailer on the back from the Scottish boarder picking up people all the way through England and then dropping them off along the 4 routes through France to Spain, Switzeralnd and Italy.
As for doing it via B&B, I think this depends when. If you are taking end July and all August, forget it, the South of France is rammed with people, and unless you had it all booked up by now and you were prepared to run to a tight unflexible schedule you will not get a bed anywhare, if you are talking about end july and all of August, then be prepared to copy us - tents.
As for routing, i would suggest you join the CTC (www.ctc.org.uk) for member they have loads of route information, maps and will give lots of helpful advise over the phone on everything from what gear to take (or more the point what to leave out) through to what bike to buy.
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