At Breton Bikes we've been running cycling holidays in France since 1989, and as you can imagine having hundreds of people riding tens of thousands of miles every year means that we've gained huge experience on equipment, routes, and most important the ins and outs of cycling in France. Half our customers are doing lightweight camping so we destruction test a lot of camping gear! For the others we use small hotels so we have a lot of experience with those too.
With this site we try to hand on some of this information as it has always been our main aim to get as many people over here cycletouring as possible - the more of us there are, the more people see cycletouring as normal, and worth investing in both at government/local government level, manufacturers and even such things as reaching the critical mass where drivers expect us and respect us on the road. So hopefully with help and encouragement from this site you'll have no excuses and get on the road!!! Please forgive the basic nature of the site layout, but with people accessing it on dial-up, slow internet connections or smart-phones I was determined to keep it as 'light' and fast-loading as possible - after all it's the content, not the presentation that is critical.
Lastly, though inevitably this site draws mainly from our own experience we would love others to add to it - if anyone has an article they would like to be included then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I've divided the articles into the following catagories so that they should be easy for both readers and search engines to navigate...
A sales pitch as to why Brittany is
the place to go on your vacation...
How to survive with basic French!
A little something on eating in Brittany
The story of our charity ride to the Pyrenees Most of our September led trips have a charity element, but in 2003 all money (not just profits) taken for the tour went to the Charity Intermediate Technology - this and money raised by sponsorship raised over £12,000. Here read my day-by-day diary of the trip which anyone would find easy to follow for their own tour.
A Loop From Roscoff - Many people have asked for help in organising a route for their own cycle holidays looping out from one of the ferryports. This is a lovely, and not-to-difficult week-long tour looping from Roscoff to cover both some of the coast and a taste of the interior of Brittany - it makes a lovely first tour in France - it also gives you an idea of how we set out the instructions for our commercial cycling holiday routes.
Climbing the Tormalet - The Tormalet is the most famous climb on the Tour de France, but here I explain how to climb it on a touring bike loaded with camping gear:-)
The route we took in Normandy in 1997 In 1997 our September Led Trip followed this route through Normandy. Not guarenteed to be 100% up to date, but little will have changed and it's a lovely two-week route.
Choosing a tent - a rather controvercial article on what you should look out for when choosing a tent for your bike tour.
Carrying loads - There are many theories on how best to load a touring bike - this is my take on the matter.
Self inflating mattresses - snare or illusion?
Gears for touring - You need the correct gear ratios to make cycletouring a pleasure - here's a simple guide...
A Cycletouring bike on the Cheap... You can spend a fortune on a top touring bike, or you could do it for pennies...
The wonderful 'Trangia' camping cook-set - how would you cook without it?
Steel Frames - why use steel - Right now steel is seen as a real low-end frame material - wrong!
Hubs for touring - There is a lot of rubbish written about bicycle hubs, here's my opinion:-)
The wonderful YAK Bob trailer - this little trailer opens up many possibilities for the cycletourist.
Touring tyre test
Only for families? Test of the Burley and Thorn child trailers
Test Of Brooks Swift
Two person tent test
Test of Orbits "Gold Medal" tourer
Ortlieb Pannier test
Test of DT hubs
Review of Nick Crane's cycling in europe book...Wheelbuilding book review
Cyclecamping in France for those doing their vacations themselves! - A quick guide on DIY cyclecamping in France
Go Cycletour - Just a short article to get you out there:-)
How not to starve on a Breton Bikes trip... Those dedicated Breton Bikers and gourmets, Jennie and Evelyn, give the low-down on eating 'on the road'.
Fashion Victims – a rant against bicycle design and it's impact on Breton Bikes...
A day of cyclecamping with our kids... - just to prove that we've done it too...
The Rule of Three - how to pack for a cycling holiday...
A Day in the Mountains - It's hard to pick the best day we've ever had on our bikes, but this currently tops the list.
Touring tool kit - what essential tools are needed for touring.
Reynolds 531 tubing - Reynolds 531 is THE classic tubeset, here's a piece on it's history and sad decline.
Brooks leather saddles - The finest saddles in the world - a pain in the ....
I have in my posession an 1887 copy of the Badminton Library's 'Cycling' book. This is a substancial volume covering all aspects of cycling at that time and is utterly fascinating - both to see the changes that have taken place and the things that have stayed the same. Here are a few short pieces lifted from this age where the Penny Farthing Bicycle was king, where there were no cars and when 'Gentlemen' rode bikes:-)
An Introduction to Cycle Touring...
Safety and first-aid in 1887 - this you MUST read!
Cycle touring in a group, and the CTC
What to pack on a cycletour - in 1887...
Planning a route in the 19th century!
Touring 100 years ago?