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Customer Review

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good for general ideas but a bit unreliable, 14 Sept. 2010
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This review is from: Cycling Southern France - Loire to Mediterranean, Updated and Revised 2016 (Spiral-bound)
I recently tried to link three of the long-distance routes in this book together to cycle from Bordeaux to Arles. The first section was great, but the book's assessment of the state of the surfaces was really unreliable! We were supposed to be going along the canal du midi, most of which the book designated 'good quality off-road path' - we got 30 miles outside of toulouse and found the surface deteriorated vastly. For at least 20 miles the path was narrow, rutted, and covered in tree roots, tree stumps, and rocks. My bike is a hybrid and it was ok, althoguh I think for this to have been actively enjoyable you'd need a mountain bike, but my boyfriend has a proper road touring bike and the path was quite impassable for much of the way. We also wasted about an hour just past Sete trying to find a canal path on the Narbonne-Sete canal which was pretty much entirely overgrown and inpassable, and then went back onto that canal path at a later point, on the basis that the book said it was good quality, to find that it was covered in thick salty sea-mud. At this point we gave up on the book entirely and found alternative road routes with the michelin maps.
The book has some good ideas for general itineraries, but if you're on a road bike don't believe what it says about the canal paths being good quality!! And it is not really detailed enough to be your main planning tool on the road.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 31 Mar 2011 01:11:03 BDT
Tony says:
Cycling Southern France - Loire to Mediterranean

I am not really impressed with this book. It is badly laid out - certainly compared to other similar publications. The Michelin maps add unnecessary detail to already over cluttered pages containing 10pt Comic print. (If you give me good information to start with I can then access the Michelin Maps online myself or my Garmin maps.) I concur with the succinct comment in Shona's review: "And it is not really detailed enough to be your main planning tool on the road." Which is precisely why one buys such a book. Shona has been overly generous with her three star rating.

Posted on 1 Oct 2015 18:49:49 BDT
Fid says:
I rode the Arles to Bordeaux routes in September 2015 and Shona's summary is still spot on. Much of the Canal du Midi is a dirt track, with tree roots, a narrow rut to follow (6 inches or less) and, when we were there, regular closed sections. Find the good bits on the Michelin map where they are marked as cycle paths. From Bordeaux to Toulouse the route is great but much of what follows to Agde is really not for a touring cyclist on a road bike. I suggest in the wet it could be quite dangerous. We went on empty, beautiful back roads instead. I found the book added very little of use and making us aware of the wonderful transporter bridge in Rochfort was the most useful (only?) thing it offered. It might help a bit with planning but it is really of minimal use on the tour.
I would give it 2 stars only.
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