Published by Lyn on 22 March 2015
Andy emailed from San Diego, where he is director of the San Diego Bike Coalition, to ask about watching the 2015 Tour de France in Brittany.
You can post your own cycling in France questions on our Facebook page.
I’ve enjoyed reading your web site and am excited to be coming to France for the first time and watching the Tour de France in person. I am traveling with friends and family and we will be staying in a villa in Rennes from July 9-16. I have some questions and am hopeful you can help.
I have heard that its possible to ride a stage of the Tour prior to the teams coming through. Is that true? I have thought to ride stages 8 and 9 with a couple of my friends.
We will also be needing to rent bikes during our visit to Brittany, do you have a recommendation?
Any other helpful tips for riding and visiting Rennes. My wife and I also own a wine bar and are planning to visit the wine regions in the area.
I am the director of our bicycle advocacy organisation here in San Diego, California and work to promote and improve bicycling here. I appreciate any information you can provide prior to our trip.
Thank you very much,
I wrote back:
Yes, you can ride any or all of the stages before the peloton – you just need to check each stage/route out closer to the time to find out what time the roads close. Generally they close at least an hour (sometimes much more) before the caravan comes through. The local tourist boards usually have this information in the weeks leading up to the Tour de France. I sometimes post this info on the blog as it comes to hand but it's not always possible for me to find time to do every stage (though see here for info on the Stage 8 route). I was in the Pyrenees last year for the Tour and it was wonderful to see people of all ages and abilities passing by before the main event.
I know you're sorted for accommodaiton, but here's my 2015 Tour de France accommodation list for anyone reading this on the blog.
Either/both may know a small local shop with road bike hire, but otherwise I can recommend both for hybrid/touring hire.
I don't know much about the vineyards in that area, to be honest. For some local advice, you could get in touch with Wendy Mewes via Twitter or her website – she is a local Brittany expert and has written a number of guidebooks to the region.
For cycling in Brittany in general, go here.
This book is highly recommended for exploring the canals and greenway routes: www.reddogbooks.com/gw.html
I hope that helps.
If it's OK I'll post this question on the blog as a reader Q&A in case it helps others.
Say a big hi to everyone at your advocacy group in San Diego. If you and your friends would like to follow me on Twitter (@freewheelfrance), I'll follow you back - it's always good to hear what cyclists around the world are up to. I'm also on Facebook.
It would be great to hear how your trip goes.
Andy wrote back:
Wow, thank you! We will definitely keep following your blog. And yes, feel free to post. Much appreciated!
Andy wrote again:
You were correct, Lyn. Now I am thinking that it may be easier to rent in Paris where we will spend a few days before visiting Britany. What do you think?
I wrote back:
See also here an article on bike culture in Paris, which might be of interest to you and your bike advocacy friends.
Andy wrote back:
Nice article, thanks! Very similar situation here as we continue to grow our bike culture.