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Along the Great Southern Burgundy Loop in France

Along the Great Southern Burgundy Loop in France

Surely there can be no better place in the world to cycle tour than in France.

A country with an amazing cycling culture, cycle tourists, no matter what type of cycling they enjoy, have the choice of an incredible array of destinations to choose from.

From the peaks of the Pyrenees, to scenic routes along rivers such as the Loire, Saone and Moselle Rivers and back roads through countless historic villages, France seemingly has it all.

This fact was once again graphically underlined to Mr e-Bike Cycle Tourist during an enjoyable day’s cycling from Chalon sur Saone to Macon and back yesterday in southern Burgundy.

Unable to continue on towards Switzerland and beyond while waiting for a new rear gear hub to arrive from Germany, I decided to set out on a solo day’s ride along the Great Southern Burgundy Loop while Rachel enjoyed a much deserved day of rest.

And what a great decision it turned out to be!

France’s first greenways path developed between Givry and Cluny in 1997 along the route of a disused rail line, the track passes medieval villages such as Buxy and Saint-Gengoux-le-National, the Cluny Abbey, Chateau Berze-le-Chatel and much, much more.

Another feature is the Bois Clair Tunnel, Europe’s longest dedicated tunnel on a greenways path at 1.6 km long.

Such is the quality of the cycleway path, that not only cyclists, but roller skaters, people in wheelchairs and hikers were seen during the day’s 128km ride.

Along the way there are many medieval villages to explore, amazing views to be enjoyed of endless vineyards and delightful kilometres to be cycled.

In total there are 19 medieval villages along the course of the track, with some on hill tops and others hidden away in the valleys and wine fields.

Most of the villages have retained their small communal wash houses, while in the fields you can still see the ‘cadolles’, small stone built igloo shaped huts that provided workers in the fields’ shelter in inclement weather in ancient times.

While, clearly, I wasn’t towing one of our Tout Terrain cycle trailers – a constant presence on our travels – such was the quality of the track surface and the amazing scenery that the kilometres just flew by.

The result on my return to our campsite at Chalon sur Saone was 128kms cycled - by far the longest day’s ride so far on our journey.

It also underlined the fact that while we are following the EuroVelo cycle route network wherever possible during our travels, there are also many other amazing cycle trails to discover along the way.

The only problem is that there are so many you would need years and years to discover them all.

 


Gary Corbett is an award-winning Australian journalist who has written for a wide range of newspapers, periodicals and travel magazines for the past 30-plus years.

After years of writing about other people’s travel adventures, in the mid-2000s he  booked a personal holiday with a difference – a one week guided cycling tour in the Loire Valley in France – and was instantly hooked on those “how good is this” moments that only cycle touring can provide.

In ensuing years he has gone on to cycle well in excess of 30,000 kilometres completing guided, self-guided, bike and barge and solo long distance tours in Europe, Australia, Asia and South America.

Gary now writes exclusively about cycle touring and travelling in general and as such the attempt to set a new electric bike world long distance record along with his wife, Rachel, is his latest “fact finding” cycling adventure – however this time it will be on an e-bike.

His future goal is to see more of the world from the seat of his trusty Trek 520 touring bicycle, and now that he has discovered the world of e-biking, his new Haibike xDuro Trekking RX e-bike. There is, after all, always another country to be explored, new cultures to be experienced and more cycle tours to be completed.


Before this epic journey Gary (a.k.a. The Cycle Tourist) contributed many excellent cycle touring articles to the Cycle Tours Global blog - you can read them at cycletoursglobal.com/Gary-Corbett.To find out even more about the expedition please visit http://ebikecycletourists.com.

 

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By: Gary Corbett
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