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Momliz Nov 6th, 2005 06:59 AM

Family Bicycle trips in Dordogne, France
 
Hi,
I'm thinking of taking the family on a bike trip through Dordogne in April 06, spring break. 5 of us, 50 ish parents, a teenager and 10 year old twins, all boys. All fairly fit, teen and hubby can easily fix bikes. I speak fluent French, teen in French 1 in high school. Your thoughts and advice would be appreciated: self guided or a tour, and which ones have you liked. Also, I believe the weather should be nice then, and what do you do if it isn't on a bike tour?
This is my first post, thanks for your help!

laverendrye Nov 6th, 2005 08:09 AM

For a start, you might want to read Christopher Buckley's hilarious account of a bicyle tour of the Dordogne with his kids, "How Foie Gras was my Valley" http://www.forbes.com/fyi/2002/0304/029.html

His tour was with a very high-end (i.e. expensive) company, but you will get the idea,

StCirq Nov 6th, 2005 04:30 PM

Well, I have a second home in the Dordogne valley where I have spent a great deal of time in the last 14 years, and my advice is - don't do it.

Go to the Dordogne, rent a house and a car, drive all over and see the sights, kayak or canoe down the rivers, visit the castles, go to market, eat yourelves silly, but STAY OFF THE ROADS WITH YOUR KIDS, unless, of course, you are all expert riders.

The roads are tortuous, the French drivers are very fast, the British drivers are simply megalomaniacs on the wrong side of the road, the truck fumes will burn your lungs, and the hills will kill you.

Vacations are meant to be fun, right? Do yourself a favor and do the Dordogne by car. You can rent bikes at any campground there and go for some leisurely rides by the rivers on safe bike trails.

I really don't want to have any more near-misses with American kids on the way to market in St-Cyprien!

ira Nov 7th, 2005 04:53 AM

StCirq is an expert on the region.

Take her advice seriously.

((I))

JeffreyJ Nov 7th, 2005 05:18 AM

Hmmm...I did a self guided cycling tour in the Uzes region in 2004, in the company of my wife, and had no scary experiences with traffic whatsoever. In fact, I found French motorists one heck of a lot more courteous and considerate to cyclists than American ones. It was the finest vacation, and one of the best experiences, of our lives, my bride and I agree. We plan on doing it again in June 2006, perhaps in the Dordogne.

MomLiz, we used www.discoverfrance.com to organize our last tour. They did a marvelous job. I'm considering www.cyclemundo.com this time, because their price is so much better and since we'll be travelling en famille, everything will be x five. You might want to consider organizing it yourself, too...with the internet at your fingertips all things are possible.

Self guided is the ONLY way to go! You move at your own pace, see what you want to see, and avoid the regimentation that's necessary to run an organized bike tour.

Hope this helps.

Cordially

Jeff

Michael Nov 7th, 2005 01:19 PM

I have not found that the driving on the roads in the Dordogne was in any way excessive. In fact, there is a serious crackdown on speeders. This would make the roads safer for bicyclists. But it would not lessen the hills.

Momliz Nov 18th, 2005 07:56 PM

All the tour companies stress that they go on back roads and bike trails, so from their information, I would hope that traffic won't be that much of a problem. And many advertise that anyone of average fitness can do their trips. Biking will be fun for us, far more than sitting cooped up in a car.
I have been looking at discoverfrance and cyclomundo as well, does anyone have any experience with other companies?


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