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-   -   France by bike (http://www.biker.ie/forum/showthread.php?t=244130)

fast3r 12th June 2018 10:27 PM

France by bike
 
Hey guys!
Anyone been to France with their bike?
I'm travelling back home to Sardinia with my CBR this summer, and (damn) France seems to be in the way. All 1350 km of it. Gonna be a long trip, took 3 days between the two ferries (Ireland -> Roscoff and Nice -> Sardinia), that's gonna be exhausting but feasible even on a sport bike (and a bad back).

Suggestions on the journey? Roads that are not excessively slower than the highways?

:thumbsup2:

Fledermaus 12th June 2018 10:48 PM

Re: France by bike
 
No suggestions on a route( loads of great ones to choose from)other than that three days is not a long time to cover the distance,700km plus in a day is well doable on French roads,so maybe a motorway blast day and two days on minor roads.Im just back from Sardinia myself,beautiful place,drove back from Toulon to roscoff comfortably in three days.
One watch out is that some petrol stations,AVIA ones in particular are still putting a charge in the region of €130,on top of your fuel charge,on foreign credit cards when fuelling which takes a week to get refunded,not great if you use them a few times over the course of the trip,so paying cash for fuel might be best.

fast3r 12th June 2018 10:59 PM

Re: France by bike
 
[quote=Fledermaus;3541441]One watch out is that some petrol stations,AVIA ones in particular are still putting a charge in the region of €130[/quote]

Whoa. €130?? Are they mad? Good to know this, thanks for the tip!

Yeah three days is not really enough time to enjoy the ride without getting exhausted but... each day is one less on holiday at home, so I decided to take it as a "marathon". I even considered only two days but that would've been terrible.
I was considering something in the line of what you suggested. First day the ferry arrives at 6am so I'd ride to Bordeaux via highways (~650 km) and take it a bit easier on the next two days, and arrive in Nice with plenty of time to spare.

I doubt somebody in the forum will take the ferries on the same days but, just in case... wouldn't be bad to have someone to share part of the trip: I'm taking Cork-Roscoff on the 14th of July (Brittany Ferries), and back on the 12th of August from Cherbourg to Rosslare (Stena lines).

I'm glad you enjoyed my home island! Sardinia is a bikers paradise. Especially in the inlands, outside of the tourist season, there are hundreds of amazing quiet, windy roads with good tarmac.

Interceptor 12th June 2018 11:01 PM

Re: France by bike
 
Take your time if you can and get as much of the Route Napoleon in as possible. Treat the trip as a holiday and not as a challenge. I'd be planning lots of nice lunches, twisty roads and comfy hotels along the way.

'cptr

bmass 12th June 2018 11:13 PM

Re: France by bike
 
If you wanted to, you could do it in 2 days. I did Cherbourg to Morzine a few years back in 2 days on a sv650 (a little comfier, but also slower, maybe!). 7 hours/day on the bike, roughly, I think. Looks like not too much in the difference, distance-wise. I spent a week there mountain biking and drinking then took 5 or 6 days on the way back. Did all the travel solo, too (was meeting friends in the mountains) and it was great not having any deadlines or pressure to be at x place or whatever. Just ride the bike and if you see a nice looking road, go for it!
You might want to think about treating at least one direction as a part of the holiday.

Kaos Theory 13th June 2018 09:22 AM

Re: France by bike
 
[quote=Fledermaus;3541441]
One watch out is that some petrol stations,AVIA ones in particular are still putting a charge in the region of €130,on top of your fuel charge,on foreign credit cards when fuelling which takes a week to get refunded,not great if you use them a few times over the course of the trip,so paying cash for fuel might be best.[/quote]
This. I got fucking hammered on the way back up through France a couple years ago, unknowingly maxed out the credit card thanks to the fuel surcharges, couldn't afford a room on the boat back to Ireland cause of it, slept in the bar, didn't get a wink of sleep with snoring Legend, ps. I love you Xs, never again.

Here's another possibility for you to look at: get the new Cork to Spain ferry, ride to Nice over the mountains, would be epically scenic and much more craic than blemming across France.

fast3r 13th June 2018 09:28 AM

Re: France by bike
 
[quote=Kaos Theory;3541482]Here's another possibility for you to look at: get the new Cork to Spain ferry, ride to Nice over the mountains, would be epically scenic and much more craic than blemming across France.[/quote]

True that, the Pyrenees must be amazing to ride through. I did consider this but... have you seen what kind of a joke is the ferry to Spain? I takes something like 36 hours, sometimes you spend TWO nights on the ferry and the prices, for one person + bike + room (you have to book private accommodation), checked three months ago, came to about 450 euros return, for the dates I needed. No thanks :lbhbh:

Kaos Theory 13th June 2018 09:34 AM

Re: France by bike
 
[quote=fast3r;3541483]True that, the Pyrenees must be amazing to ride through. I did consider this but... have you seen what kind of a joke is the ferry to Spain? I takes something like 36 hours, sometimes you spend TWO nights on the ferry and the prices, for one person + bike + room (you have to book private accommodation), checked three months ago, came to about 450 euros return, for the dates I needed. No thanks :lbhbh:[/quote]

I haven't seen the ferry myself but I've heard reports from others who have been on it, said it was basic but clean so I know if I was travelling solo, I'd load up the tablet with TV shows/movies and chill out with a few pints.

Longest I heard the trip to take was 28 hours but open to correction on that.

I rode through the Pyrenees on my first euro trip in 2006 on the way to Barcelona, I genuinely tried to convince the others lads to say fuck it, let's just stay here for the week. Amazing roads, amazing views.

GoTilUBlow 13th June 2018 10:26 AM

Re: France by bike
 
I've been up and down France a good few times, did Lourdes -> Caen in a day. Just stuck to the peage.
Use the credit/debit for the toll booths and pay cash for the fuel, they usually do a pre-auth on the card of min €90 and can catch you out.

I noticed on the last trip that they have started to put out a lot more speed checks, usually hiding in dark uniforms in the shade of trees and the like. One Sunday afternoon I spotted three checks, so I got fed up and just booked a hotel and waited til they had real work to do on Monday morning.

If you have time go see the Viaduc Millau, the Auvergne region and the Gorge of Tarn. Some great deserted roads around those parts if you are lucky enough to hit the right one.

Next trip I'm doing ferry to Spain/Aragorn and hopefully they are a little more relaxed there.

If you do one day of hard ploughing you can enjoy at least one day around a nice area. Accor Hotels are cheap and cheerful, only use F1 if you are really stretching the budget.

Dirtyshirt 13th June 2018 10:37 AM

Re: France by bike
 
[quote=fast3r;3541483]True that, the Pyrenees must be amazing to ride through. I did consider this but... have you seen what kind of a joke is the ferry to Spain? I takes something like 36 hours, sometimes you spend TWO nights on the ferry and the prices, for one person + bike + room (you have to book private accommodation), checked three months ago, came to about 450 euros return, for the dates I needed. No thanks :lbhbh:[/quote]

How long and how much fuel would you use to drive to Spain through France? Its an Eleven hour drive from Cherbourg to the south of france or spain. That's after you spent 18 hours on the ferry from Rosslare.(Probably sleeping on a couch in the bar)
That's what happens when places are FAR AWAY! The ferry that leaves cork on Friday night gets to Spain on sunday morning. The Ferry that leaves Wednesday morning arrives in Spain on Thursday afternoon.

GoTilUBlow 13th June 2018 11:55 AM

Re: France by bike
 
[quote=Dirtyshirt;3541503]How long and how much fuel would you use to drive to Spain through France? Its an Eleven hour drive from Cherbourg to the south of france or spain. That's after you spent 18 hours on the ferry from Rosslare.(Probably sleeping on a couch in the bar)
That's what happens when places are FAR AWAY! The ferry that leaves cork on Friday night gets to Spain on sunday morning. The Ferry that leaves Wednesday morning arrives in Spain on Thursday afternoon.[/quote]

You will spend at least €150 on fuel and peage. And whatever you do, don't deviate from the menu in the lunch places on the motorway, prices can double in the space of a dessert!!:ninja:

scorpy 13th June 2018 09:46 PM

Re: France by bike
 
If you are looking for somewhere cheap and friendly to stay check out my folks place in the discount section. They are in Limousin.

motoxyogi 14th June 2018 10:40 AM

Re: France by bike
 
Always look for any national parks along your route. You're almost guaranteed some smashing roads and pussie.

GoTilUBlow 14th June 2018 11:49 AM

Re: France by bike
 
[quote=motoxyogi;3541718]...... pussie.[/quote] :wassat: intriguing.....

motoxyogi 14th June 2018 03:01 PM

Re: France by bike
 
[quote=GoTilUBlow;3541728]:wassat: intriguing.....[/quote]

:lbhbh:
I'm telling you man. Great pussie. If you're into old French hippies and all that.

BigDiggity 14th June 2018 08:38 PM

Re: France by bike
 
For what it’s worth, I did 1600km from Belfast to Lyon via Holyhead and Folkestone over 36 hours, 2 X 9 hours stints, stopped a little more than I would have normally because I had the missus on the back. But that was by the most expeditious route, all boring motorways and tolls etc.

In a McDonald’s on the way back at the minute.

Hogspace 15th June 2018 12:23 PM

Re: France by bike
 
[quote=fast3r;3541436]Hey guys!
Anyone been to France with their bike?
SNIP
:thumbsup2:[/quote]

Every year.
Top Tip. For Peage, in the automated unmanned sections, you can get 2 (even 4) bikes into the "car space" and flip the credit card for one bike toll.
Watch out for gates that will process you at the car rate.
All the rumours about being timed between toll gates are bullshit but do look out for pairs of dark blue FJR1300 police bikes at the side of the road, although they don't often hassle riders.
They can pursue you here for French fixed camera tickets now so GPS/Bluetooth is good.
Off the Peage you HAVE to look out for mobile radar these days and they lowered the N road speed limit. Carry up to €1200 in cash just in case :ninja:
Always go slow through the small towns, most of the cops are decent enough just to lurk there and appreciate your respect.
Fuel: it is often MUCH cheaper at Supermarket pumps (generally unmanned) away from the main routes.
Cards, you can pick up a Frenchie pre-paid card.
Roscoff - Marseille will take you about half a day longer avoiding the Peage, that's ok. All straight stuff until after Poitiers then it picks up. From Limoge to Montpellier there are some *nice* stretches and you will just have massive fun in the sun.
I've never had any of these problems mentioned with my BOI card but you could look for a French prepaid card just in case, a Carte prépayée.
It's really seriously worth having Punctureseal/Puncturesafe like [url]www.amazon.co.uk/Puncturesafe-Puncture-Safe/dp/B001KTYQT6[/url] in your tyres and make sure you have a BMW style tubeless repair kit.

Olaf Maxwell 16th June 2018 03:44 PM

Re: France by bike
 
Got back into Cork this morning, took in a few places including the Millau Viaduct.

Yesterday I did 880km and came up to Roscoff via Bordeaux. I did pay 2 tolls but much cheaper than hotel night and less hassle that setting up tent for one night. We always use the municipal camp sites, they are excellent.

Beware of the block on the credit cards, €119 at quite a few as they mount up over a few days. Supermarket pumps are cheaper but they are only manned 8 or 9am to noon Monday to Saturday, outside those hours automated.

For the peage make sure you don't go in car lanes, you pay car toll. Bikes are Category 5. The ones you want show only a letter T and a card. Easiest way to pay the toll is a card as it doesn't look for a PIN.

Advice is have more than one card.

In July the 90km/h speed limit is being changed to 80km/h so watch out for that one.

Bring rain over boots too, when it rains in France it can be heavy.

Greyskipper 17th June 2018 12:39 AM

Re: France by bike
 
Heard lately from a mate that has just come back that they have increased to €130 block on your card at the petrol pumps. From experience there myself it can take 5 to 7 days to clear off your card.



[quote=Olaf Maxwell;3542027]Got back into Cork this morning, took in a few places including the Millau Viaduct.

Yesterday I did 880km and came up to Roscoff via Bordeaux. I did pay 2 tolls but much cheaper than hotel night and less hassle that setting up tent for one night. We always use the municipal camp sites, they are excellent.

Beware of the block on the credit cards, €119 at quite a few as they mount up over a few days. Supermarket pumps are cheaper but they are only manned 8 or 9am to noon Monday to Saturday, outside those hours automated.

For the peage make sure you don't go in car lanes, you pay car toll. Bikes are Category 5. The ones you want show only a letter T and a card. Easiest way to pay the toll is a card as it doesn't look for a PIN.

Advice is have more than one card.

In July the 90km/h speed limit is being changed to 80km/h so watch out for that one.

Bring rain over boots too, when it rains in France it can be heavy.[/quote]

faz1 17th June 2018 01:02 AM

Re: France by bike
 
make sure you say categorie cinq ( five) at the toll booth as they can smetimes charge you car rates which are much dearer, cat 5 is m/c's


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