Here we are again! Back with another amazing story from one of our very happy Juiced Bikes customers. This story is about a trip that Dian Thomas took to France on a biking trip back in Early 2018. Follow along as Dian tells us about her exciting adventure!
Two years ago a very good friend, Dale Majors ask me if I wanted to go to France on a bike ride with his family. Loving biking I said YES! It was about six months ago that we got serious. Getting ready was like going on a backpacking trip as everything that we took had to go on the bike. Tents, sleeping bags, and personal items were all part of the planning.
The plan was that we would fly into Paris and spend a week there and then take a train to Nantes and then begin riding across the Loire Valley. Recreational biking in Europe is a big sport. Not only do people still bike in France but people from all over the world come here for a biking vacation. There are special maps to help you plan your trip out. For example, the one that we are on is called the EuroVelo 6. It starts on the Atlantic Ocean and goes all the way to the Black Sea which is over 1,000 miles. If it is not on a designated path, it follows small country Roads.
The average age of the adult that was going was 37. I was 72 and very concerned about keeping up with the group. Dale and I decided that an electric bike would be the perfect way to go. Dale had just purchased a Juiced Bike and was very impressed. He suggested that I take it and I quickly took him up on the offer. It did not take long for me to fall in love with my new bike. I road it a couple of weeks before we shipped it off to Paris for our exciting adventure.
Bikes were shipped to Paris in April and we flew on June 7th for this new and exciting adventure.
Our Journey Begins:
We took off from Salt Lake City and flew to Toronto where we boarded a plane to Paris. The entire trip was about 19 hour from door to door. We arrived in Paris at 8:30 AM. By the time we went through customs and got our luggage, it was 10:00. Our group consisted of 19 people, which included 3 families and me. We took a taxi to our campground. Never did I dream there was a campground right in the middle of Paris. Just after we arrive a big truck pulled up with all of our bikes that we had shipped six weeks before.
For the next five hours, we put bikes together and set up our campsite. Our next adventure was riding into the heart of Paris to the arch de triumph. I had to celebrate the fact that Juice and I had made it to this famous landmark. There were 12 lanes of cars circling the monument. Later on during the week, we rode our bikes all the way around the arch.
Our dream that we had worked so hard for was finally here. Paris is a bike-friendly city. There are often bike lanes and if there is not a bike lane you can ride in the bus lanes. Paris truly was a city of lights. I will never forget the thrill of riding our bikes through this magnificent city.
Juiced Visits Landmarks in Paris:
On day two, the group of 18 that I came with was off to see Paris. It was still hard for me to believe that I was really riding through the streets of this famous city. Dale, our leader, assured us that riding bikes in the big city was very common and that we would not have any problem as long as we were careful. Yes, the cars seemed to go around our bikes and wait for us when we were not sure what we were doing.
Norte Dame was at the top of my list to see. It is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. It is one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture and is one of the largest and most well-known churches in the world. The kids had fun running after the pigeons in the courtyard.
Notre Dame is located right on the Seine River that goes right through Paris. There are bike paths along the river. We followed the path along the river to the most famous landmark the Eiffel Tower. As far as you could see were groups of people from all over the world sitting on the grass enjoying the view waiting for the right time when the lights would go on the tower.
Dark over here is about 10:00 PM so it was very late when the lights finally went on this most famous landmark. It was a long ride home in the dark after. This was the perfect way to end our first really big bike day in Paris.
Bike Ride to Versailles:
Today we left camp headed for Versailles. It is outside of Paris about 20 miles. It was mostly going up several steep hills which would have been very difficult for me on a regular bike. This is where Juiced came in. I got a running start at the hills and went right up without stopping. I was usually the first one to the top. What I have learned is I can put Juiced on the sports setting and it gives me all the power and with my peddling, I can make it up the hills that I had to walk up before.
We had a wonderful time riding through the French countryside. We stopped at one of the French pastries shops. It was own and run by a family. The pastries were just as I imagined French pastries to be simply delicious.
The Palace of Versailles has been listed as a World Heritage. Site. The palace contains 2,300 rooms and it is one of the most elegant palaces ever built. It was the royal residence for over 100 years. After the French revolution, this grand estate became a museum for the history of France. It is now been restored back to look like the royal residence and is visited by hundreds of thousands of people each year.
We took a stroll through the royal gardens and found a cool spot in the gardens to eat our lunch. After lunch, we had a most pleasant ride back to camp. What a memorable day.
Biking the Loire:
France is divided in the middle by a river called the Loire. It is used to divide the country. People will say south of the Loire if they are talking about southern France or north of the Loire if they are talking about the north. Along this river is the most amazing bike paths which attract bikers from all over Europe. Europe does have a network of bike paths. The main site to search if you want to bike Europe is the EuroVelo at www.eurovelo.com.
The path that we decided on is the Eurovelo 6 which goes over 1,000 miles from the Atlantic Ocean in France to the Black Sea. After our amazing time in Paris, it was time for us to catch a local train with our bikes to our starting point which was Nantes, France. See the map of our trip.
Dale Majors and his wife did this path 3 years ago and loved it. I now can see why. Here are my top five reasons for loving this path:
- The path is relatively easy and there are quite a few bikes on the path in the event that you have any problems they have been more than helpful.
- There are hundreds of castles which they call Chateaus along this route. It is truly amazing to be biking down the path and see a castle in the distance.
- Anytime you go to France you can plan on great food. This is particularly true because as you bike the Loire you are in one of the agriculture belts of France.
- As you find your way down the river you will bike through some of the most amazing little villages. It is easy to stop and enjoy a fresh pastry from the local pastry shops.
- This area is steeped in history. It is here that Joan of Arc came to meet the French King. Many of the kings in the 1500 and 1600 came here to build their chateaus.
This is truly one of the jewels of France. If you are a biker it is a must see area.