Channel to Med

PaulSB

Legendary Member
May even bite the bullet and buy a proper bike box and have it shipped to hotel in Nice.
I did this in 2014. I have friends who live in Nice. I sent my bike box down about three weeks ahead. From memory it cost £60/70. Flying from Nice to Manchester with the bike box was a doddle.

There is a book called France en Velo which describes in great detail a route from St Malo to Nice. The detail is so thorough one could probably manage the journey without a map. It’s a great route.

You might consider Manchester > Euston > Victoria > Portsmouth > St Malo. This was my method of getting from Chorley to St Malo, it was cheap and easy. The major hassle being the section from Euston to Victoria which with a loaded tourer, no previous experience of riding in London and needing to navigate was difficult - I pushed the bike for at least two miles of the four!! Scary.
 
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Geoff Crowther

Geoff Crowther

"... travel far, not fast", Ted Simon
I did this in 2014. I have friends who live in Nice. I sent my bike box down about three weeks ahead. From memory it cost £60/70. Flying from Nice to Manchester with the bike box was a doddle.

There is a book called France en Velo which describes in great detail a route from St Malo to Nice. The detail is so thorough one could probably manage the journey without a map. It’s a great route.

You might consider Manchester > Euston > Victoria > Portsmouth > St Malo. This was my method of getting from Chorley to St Malo, it was cheap and easy. The major hassle being the section from Euston to Victoria which with a loaded tourer, no previous experience of riding in London and needing to navigate was difficult - I pushed the bike for at least two miles of the four!! Scary.
Thanks for that Paul. I saw that book yesterday and have already ordered it. The route sounds attractive and I really can't be bothered re-inventing the wheel. I know a bike box I fancy and could have my wife buy it from Rose Cycles in Germany while I'm travelling and I'm guessing it'd be shipped free to Nice.
Note your points about the train. I really don't fancy that when I can one-way rent a car for £100. I did this to get to Lands End for LEJOG. If you like driving (which I do) it's very convenient and gives you complete control of timings. Also, home (Peak district) to Portsmouth is much easier than home to Dover when driving. Have done both many times. Another bonus is the overnight sailing. I'd get a cabin in lieu of a hotel in St Malo so, once off the ship, I'm away!

Getting closer to a plan now. Book will be here in a day or so. If I like the look of the route I'll book flight, car rental and ferry.
Thanks again for the useful comments.
 

PaulSB

Legendary Member
@Geoff Crowther most of the route is superb. There is one day which was grim, just long straight undulating roads which went on forever but I think one just has to accept this.

Be aware some of it is very rural and you won’t happen upon a pretty little village with a beautiful boulangerie every day!!!! I made a point of always carrying the next meal on my bike. I did have a couple of nights when I couldn’t get any other food
 
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Geoff Crowther

Geoff Crowther

"... travel far, not fast", Ted Simon
@Geoff Crowther most of the route is superb. There is one day which was grim, just long straight undulating roads which went on forever but I think one just has to accept this.

Be aware some of it is very rural and you won’t happen upon a pretty little village with a beautiful boulangerie every day!!!! I made a point of always carrying the next meal on my bike. I did have a couple of nights when I couldn’t get any other food
Thanks Paul. I like rural but I take your point. Out of interest, whereabouts was that day? Re food; my touring strategy is always to have a couple of days food on the bike so I agree with you.
How long did you take?
 

PaulSB

Legendary Member
It took me eight or nine days to reach the Dordogne when I had to cut short the trip diverting to Bordeaux. I then took the train to Nice. I had to hit Nice by a specific date for a family celebration and it became clear I was going to be late. I was simply having too much fun!!

Speaking from memory the 30-40 miles prior to Challon Sur Loire were poor - the last 10 on a fast road. The day riding to Parthenay crosses flat plains populated with nothing but oil seed rape and wheat. The scenery never varied

You’ve reminded me I can’t find all my maps and the book will be with them. I’ll look it out and confirm later.
 
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Geoff Crowther

Geoff Crowther

"... travel far, not fast", Ted Simon
It took me eight or nine days to reach the Dordogne when I had to cut short the trip diverting to Bordeaux. I then took the train to Nice. I had to hit Nice by a specific date for a family celebration and it became clear I was going to be late. I was simply having too much fun!!

Speaking from memory the 30-40 miles prior to Challon Sur Loire were poor - the last 10 on a fast road. The day riding to Parthenay crosses flat plains populated with nothing but oil seed rape and wheat. The scenery never varied

You’ve reminded me I can’t find all my maps and the book will be with them. I’ll look it out and confirm later.
:okay:
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
You might consider Manchester > Euston > Victoria > Portsmouth > St Malo. This was my method of getting from Chorley to St Malo, it was cheap and easy. The major hassle being the section from Euston to Victoria which with a loaded tourer, no previous experience of riding in London and needing to navigate was difficult - I pushed the bike for at least two miles of the four!! Scary.
It's better now and it's only three miles by a reasonably OK route for experienced cyclists: Gordon Street, Malet Street, Gower Street, messy junction, Monmouth Street, St Martin's Lane, Trafalgar Square, The Mall, Buckingham Gate, Buckingham Palace Road.
 
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Geoff Crowther

Geoff Crowther

"... travel far, not fast", Ted Simon
So, it's booked.
Here's a link to my blog with an update:
https://farnotfast.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/next-years-cycling-adventure.html
In addition, I've booked a b&b in Nice through Airbnb for three nights, giving me two full days to sort packing my bike and luggage for the flight home.
My only outstanding worry is packing. I've never flown with a bike before.
Do I:
a. order a bike bag through a bike shop in Nice. I can then cycle to the shop, bring the bag on my rack back to my accommodation and pack it up at my leisure.
b. post a bag from home to my accommodation. Don't know if they'd accept this.
c. go to a bike shop in Nice and scrounge a cardboard box. But how do I get it to my accommodation? Is it feasible to pack it up in a bike shop? Do I pay the shop to do it for me? How long will it take? I'd have to take taxi back to b&b.
Thoughts are welcome.
Did I say I'm a worrier?
Goes off to worry some more...
 

PaulSB

Legendary Member
I think a lot of people will suggest option C for packing the bike but you’re correct getting the box to your accommodation will be a challenge. You are though only carrying a cardboard box which is lightweight and collapsible.

You may find a bike bag is far more awkward to get from bike shop to accommodation. They’re pretty bulky.

I’ve two suggestions. Order a bag or box online and arrange delivery to a pick up point. Chose a pick up point close to your B&B. Research the bag/box you want from the UK and then order while in France.

Alternatively from a DIY store buy a large strong polythene bag or sheet. Also buy pipe lagging. Use the lagging to protect as much of bike as possible. Place the bike in the polythene bag. The theory is that baggage handlers can see it’s a bike and will be more careful. It’s not a theory which convinces me but I’ve read people on here have success with it. You’d probably needed to remove the pedals and rear mech hanger.
 
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Geoff Crowther

Geoff Crowther

"... travel far, not fast", Ted Simon
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