Saturday, March 7, 2015

On your bike

I have to admit that I'm not the most enthusiastic cyclist during the winter months but this current warm and sunny spell has had me poking around the garage to dig out my rusty ( and trusty) old bike. It has been hibernating for some time and needed a bit of a dust off. Know the feeling.

Whilst my old banger of a bike may not glide through a cycling 'M.O.T', it does the job and is really all I need. I'm not into torching the calories or a full cardio workout. To be unglued from the computer screen for a while to embrace the countryside, breathing in a few lungfuls of fresh air along the way does me a power of good. I do admire the stamina and drive of the Lycra clad crowd but if like me you enjoy the slow pace and not the race then this area is a cyclist's dream.

Poitou-Charentes is a relatively flat region that boasts over 1000 km of marked cycle trails making it an extremely bike-friendly place to come for your French holiday.

One of the best things about cycling is that you see things. Lots more things in fact than if you are whizzing by in a car. Sheep, birds, flowers, architecture. And you hear things too. Birdsong, the low hum of a lawnmower and, if I'm passing his way, the friendly 'hee haw' greeting from my favourite donk. Being mindful of the beauty surrounding us is a very uplifting feeling. It's good to be reminded occasionally of how lucky we are to live here.

If you are coming to France for a holiday, then cycling is the perfect activity for the whole family. The lovely people at Bike Hire Direct make it ridiculously easy for you by delivering and collecting bikes and equipment direct to your accommodation. It has to be said that their bikes are far more covetable than mine. All of them undergo rigorous testing to ensure that they meet very high standards and are cleaned and spruced up prior to delivery. They supply quality bikes for all ages, helmets, tag-a-longs, baby seats, car bike racks, even paniers to hold your picnic basket. All at very reasonable prices.

One of my favourite quotes from one of last year's gîte guests reads...

"A lovely fortnight! We will always remember the pool water polo, loom bands, boys morning cycle rides to the boulangerie and Grace and Kirsten’s show. Many wonderful memories"

So go on. Aller sur votre vélo!

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