Our 5 tips for planning your first trip along La Loire à Vélo

  • Cher-a-velo_©-D-Darrault_CRT Centre-Val de Loire

It's decided, you start for a trip roaming on The Loire by Bike. But how to prepare this first trip by bike? Here are our tips!

It’s decided, you’re off on a bike tour along La Loire à Vélo. But how should you get ready for this first bike trip? Here are our tips!

Planning your first bike trip – tip no. 1: Planning your itinerary and stages

The Loire à Vélo itinerary is easy to ride, but it is pointless to overestimate your abilities for this first bike trip! Opt for stages of around 30 kilometres. This will allow you to fully enjoy the scenery, take the time to stop for a visit or quite simply relax. Flat and without any significant slopes, the La Loire à Vélo route is accessible to all. Nevertheless, if you are worried about managing it, electric bikes are a good alternative to try. Many bike hire companies offer this type of bike – contact them for more information. Planning your bike trip also means thinking about your accommodation. There are multiple options, including hotels, guesthouses and campsites. All along the itinerary, many accommodation providers with the Accueil Vélo label promise an attentive welcome and services adapted to your needs.
La Loire à Vélo © F. Delong-CRT Centre-Val de Loire
To help you plan this first bike trip, purchase one of the Topoguides dedicated to La Loire à Vélo. It will give you invaluable advice for planning your bike trip. You can also take it with you via an ingenious map holder that fixes onto the handlebars! Do you need further assistance? Feel free also to contact the Tourist Offices scattered along the route. They will be able to advise and guide you in planning your stay. Would you like to enjoy La Loire à Vélo, but you don’t have the time or the desire to plan your route? Turnkey trips are the solution you’re looking for! Ask for more information.

Planning your first bike trip – tip no. 2: Travel light!

Preparing your bags carefully is one of the keys for a successful first bike trip. The first thing to consider is the choice of bags. Backpacks that weigh unnecessarily on your back and destabilise you are a definite no-no. There are many types of saddlebags (often waterproof). Some of them – handlebar bags or pannier bags – allow you to take your personal belongings with you during your activities and your visits. As for clothing, don’t overload yourself unnecessarily. Take lightweight clothing which is breathable and above all suitable for the season. Whatever time of year you’re setting off, don’t forget to take a rain jacket and a windcheater. For toiletries, opt for the small travel formats now offered by many brands. Another solution: travel pouches to be filled with your favourite products! Also, bring a first aid kit to deal with minor injuries. If you have chosen to camp, again, choose lightweight and compact equipment. Only take the essentials: tent, sleeping bag, floor mattress, camping stove, pots and pans, etc. Another tip – take something to dry your clothes, like a washing line or tensioner. Do you love camping but carrying your own equipment not so much? We have the solution for you, with the “Travel Light” campsite options!
Cyclotouristes © D. Darrault-CRT Centre-Val de Loire

Planning your first bike trip – tip no. 3: check the condition of your bike and equipment

Don’t take the risk of ruining the pleasure of this first bike trip with equipment problems. Plan to check your equipment before your departure, so you can set off with your mind at rest! The first thing of course to check is the condition of your bike: tyres, brakes, lights, horn/bell… check everything (or have it looked at by a professional). Remember to take a small repair kit and don’t forget to take a pump! But above all, don’t worry – if, despite your efforts, you encounter a problem during your trip, there are many bike repairers all along the La Loire à Vélo itinerary.
© D. Darrault-CRT Centre-Val de Loire

Tip no. 4 – Planning your first bike trip… with children!

La Loire à Vélo is a route that is perfect for all ages. You can absolutely set off with your little ones, but not without a bit of preparation. 😉 As you know, the younger they are, the more you have to plan ahead! Plan to take green lanes and cycle for short stages – between 10 and 20 kilometres. Even if you are pedalling, although the landscape might be magnificent, they have less to do, so they may get bored. Stopping points often offer playground equipment, so you can rest your legs while they stretch theirs. You can also plan to stop for an entire day in order to take a break from cycling and organise other activities, such as swimming or canoeing.
Cyclotouristes © CRT Centre-Val de Loire

Tip no. 5 – Planning your first bike trip… safely!

Safety is paramount for a great cycling experience. Your equipment plays an essential role. Be visible – for example by wearing bright colours -, wear a suitable helmet, observe road safety rules and road sharing rules on shared sections, and read the signs along the route. A large part of the route is car-free. You can reach La Loire à Vélo by car, train, plane or bus. You can also take advantage of the customised Train Loire à Vélo service, which takes you from station to station between Le Croisic and Orléans, with your bikes! You can identify professionals that offer dedicated bike services through the Accueil Vélo label, and specifically secure parking, in accommodation facilities for example. And there you go, you’re ready for your first bike trip! La Loire à Vélo is waiting for you, full of amazing landscapes, gardens, villages and local produce!