Cycling Bordeaux wine country

An independent traveller’s guide to cycling around the Châteaux of Bordeaux
by Tom Kevill-Davies

'Terroir' on a bicycle: experience the sun that ripens the grapes, climb the slopes that provide drainage for the vines and that afternoon's rain-shower which arrives unannounced may make or break a year’s vintage. A two-wheeled trip around the vineyards of Bordeaux introduces the 'terroir' better than any other mode of transport.

Cycling in this fascinating wine region of France provides a deeper understanding of the wine not to mention an active and rewarding holiday. Cycling and wine tasting are a perfect match. Peddling through the vineyards one can view, smell, hear and experience the landscape that is vital to the flavour, colour and texture of the wine produced in Bordeaux. As a cyclist one doesn't contribute to the pollution of the region, and for that fact alone the Bordelais should open their arms to welcome any cyclist. Cyclists are also likely to be a thirstier, more hungry visitor – another reason to embrace the traveller.

But fear not, the idea of riding a bicycle in the worlds most prestigious wine region shouldn't be filled with the dread of arriving sweaty, out of breath and ill-prepared for tasting.

Whether ‘living it up’ with luxury tour operators or ‘wild camping’ there are many ways to plan a cycling holiday. These tips are aimed at those who are embarking on what is know in the world of cycling as a “credit card tour”: an independent tour by bicycle, carrying all one's needs in bicycle panniers while staying at B&B, hotels or Gites.

Following these practical tips will ensure that time spent in the saddle is as enjoyable as out of it.

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