The origins of bicycle touring
As soon as the bicycle was invented and popularized, bicycle tours developed. The very first tours were done on velocipedes. The Olivier brothers, great promoters of the Little Queen at the end of the 19th century, embarked on the first long-distance bicycle adventure in August 1865. On the back of Michaux machines, they made a 794 kilometers ride in 8 days between the region of Nevers and Avignon, passing through Lyon, crossing several natural obstacles such as the Pin Bouchain pass, but also artificial ones, such as the road network of the time, particularly difficult. This tour is considered as the first bicycle tour.
As its name indicates it, the bicycle tour refers to a leisure practice, to playful journeys. This practice of the bicycle of leisure can be done on variable durations. It can be a few hours ride, an excursion or several consecutive days as for the Olivier Brothers. Thus, a bike ride can be done close to your home as well as over thousands of kilometers through nature or on the roads of the globe or France. It can be done alone, with your family or in a group. You can organize it on your own or call on the services of a professional bike touring company like Evazio.
Bike touring is a form of bicycle tourism as are bike trekking (related to long-distance sports tours), cyclo-camping or bikepacking, which is therefore different from the utilitarian practice of cycling.
The bicycle touring today
It can be practiced on all types of terrain: on roads, tracks and paths or in the open country. Depending on the route, the bike tourer will use a mountain bike (VTT) or a VTC (vélo-tout-chemin) but all types of bikes are possible in a bike tour.
If you are a beginner, you will first consider riding on the many marked paths and roads in France and Europe (the véloroutes in France and the Eurovélo network in Europe).
The next step is the bike trip, which simply means a bike ride that takes place over several consecutive days.
A popular success
Since the Olivier brothers’ journey, bicycle touring has been widely democratized under the impetus of enthusiasts, professionals and communities that have followed the movement by contributing to the development of bicycle tourism.
Nowadays, nearly 40% of French people say they regularly ride a bicycle, either in their daily life or for leisure. The practice of excursion or bicycle touring in all its forms concerns 20 million of our fellow citizens.
Bicycle touring is also popular throughout the world and on all continents. It reflects the love for cycling of people in Europe (Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Scandinavia in particular), Africa, Asia (China), America (USA, Canada, Latin America). The tourist agencies propose numerous routes on all the destinations answering and thus spreading the success of the bicycle touring. It must be said that it is a privileged way to access many areas and is also fully in line with certain trends such as “slow tourism”.
France is a privileged territory for bicycle touring as the ultimate tourist destination, thanks to its heritage, its landscapes, the strong anchorage of the bicycle culture and the quality of its road networks and tourist infrastructures.
The bicycle tour adapted to all audiences
Every ride has its own difficulty, but there are routes suitable for all profiles. Evazio guides you in the choice of your bike ride thanks to a simple nomenclature allowing you to know what to expect.
For each bike ride we associate a level of difficulty: “relaxed”, “easy”, “moderate” and “sporty”.
For the occasional cyclist. You will ride on flat terrain and well-developed bike paths. There are plenty of opportunities to take breaks in pleasant places on your route. If you want to discover the joys of freedom on a bike without putting too much strain on your body, this level is for you (and for children).
Suitable if you ride your bike regularly but without difficulty. If you go to work from time to time by bike, for example, or if it’s an everyday object that you take out on Sundays. The selected Evazio routes are mainly flat, with gentle slopes or passages on gravelled roads that are not very difficult. The goal of an easy bike ride is to enjoy the scenery and the roadsides in a relaxed way – without forgetting to pedal.
This is for the real cycling enthusiasts. If you have already experienced the joys of cycling, this is the level of difficulty we have set for you. At least if you are not looking for thrills and spills. On the longer routes, you will find steeper climbs and hilly stages that will provide small challenges. However, you will be able to ride at a slow enough pace to fully appreciate the magnificent environments of your road or paths.
is clearly aimed at… athletes. If you regularly practice bicycle touring and often prefer the bicycle to the car in your daily life, if you are in excellent physical condition and are not afraid of steep paths and routes, this is the level that is made for you. You will discover hilly routes, beautiful but challenging nature roads, and experience the full potential of cycling by covering distances that allow you to visit different towns, villages and environments.
In any case, your cycling experience will be an opportunity for you to forge unforgettable memories, to appreciate the direct contact with nature and beauty.