Freewheeling France is an independent information source for cycling in France. It brings together cyclists, bike-friendly accommodation providers, cycle tour operators, tourist boards and bike hire firms to help make planning a cycling holiday in France easier. The website is for all types of cyclists – from first-time cycle tourers and holiday riders through to riders wanting to tackle Tour de France cols (there’s also a good deal of advice for TdF spectators). It has a detailed planning section, as well as information on bike routes all over France to help people decide where to ride.
The whole point of the site is to make cycling in France accessible to everyone because – in short – we believe cycling is the best way to see France at your own pace.
Why cycling in France?
France is the perfect cycling destination – with routes for all ages and abilities. However when Lyn, who runs the site, first moved to France in 2008, she could barely speak French and had trouble finding safe cycling routes to ride with her then 11-month-old (then in a child seat). In those days, the velotourisme sector wasn’t as well developed online and few tourist board websites had information available in English.
The site started as a blog idea that quickly took on a life of its own, morphing into a full-blown website that’s now used by hundreds of thousands of people each year to plan their cycling holidays.
Cycle for Life 2017
This is the second year Freewheeling France has supported “Cycle for Life” by offering help with publicity, route advice, cycling contacts, accommodation links and general ‘bikey’ advice. The site also has lots of advice for people cycling for charity.
Lyn says: “As a native English speaker in France, I realise what a fabulous job the Cancer Support France network does in offering support to people affected by cancer. One of the first friends we made in France was diagnosed with cancer and used the CSF network for advice and support. Having support available in your native tongue to help navigate the French health system and find reliable information can really make a difference at a stressful time. I’m really pleased to be able to help support the ride and to spread the word about CSF.”
Lyn at Freewheeling France rides both with and without her husband and two mini-cyclists. Her earliest memory of cycling is learning to ride without stabilisers in small-town Australia. Her first cycling trip in France was a mapless ramble through the Somme when she was backpacking Europe. She remembers the strange peace and tranquillity of the battlefields and the friendly farmers who let her camp in their fields. She later commuted in London for almost 10 years, and edited the membership magazine of the London Cycling Campaign.
The 11-month-old she had when she arrived in France is now 9 and onto her third bike (and gears!). She also has a second mini-cyclist, now 6, who was all but born in a bicycle trailer and now rides his own bike to school. Their dad Andrew rides faster and further than the lot of them each week, and doubles as the household bike mechanic. He also helps by adding advice and information to the website, and sharing routes. They live around 60km east of Bordeaux on the Gironde/Dordogne border.