Bicyle in the Auvergne
Bicycle in the Auvergne
Cycling tourists, mountain or hybrid bike users, accomplished sports cyclists or just in for the ride, you will find the ideal terrain here to pedal according to your interests. From plains to valleys, deep gorges to plateaus, nearby or over the many Auvergne mountain passes, there are bound to be trails which will satisfy your needs, or lanes which will carry you away.
The cycling tours « Long Live the Wild Loire », The Great Crossing of the Cantal Volcano, The Great Crossing of the Massif Central on Mountain bike, The Tour of the Livradois-Forez Natural Park … all exceptional routes. But you can also just try out one of the small local tours which are available everywhere, and visit a small part of the Auvergne for an hour or a day.
Trails, tracks, ridges …, diverse and beautiful, the Auvergne was made for mountain bikers. A large number of tours, waymarked and documented in guides, invite you to discover the region in an original way. The Auvergne has 13 specialised bases which have received the French Tour Cycling Federation's quality label. These centres are very handy and offer cycle lover's accommodations and/or catering. They also care for you and your machine: cycle washing facilities, repair-workshop, locked cycle garage, laundry and ventilated drying area to get your gear back into condition... So jump into the saddle. There are also 6 sites and areas approved by the French Cycling Federation, which together account for almost 4,000 km of waymarked routes offering all the necessary facilities for Mountain Bike riding.
There are a thousand good ideas awaiting you, but here is a selection of classics which will appeal to the most demanding.
- The Great Crossing of the Massif Central on Mountain Bike – (Grande Traversée du Massif central à VTT) This superb route is 666km long and takes you from Clermont-Ferrand to Montpellier in 10 to 20 days.
- Tour of the Tronçais Forest Pools (Tour des étangs de la forêt de Tronçais) Over about thirty kilometres, this route - accessible to all – links the different pools of the superb Tronçais Forest. The Etang de Saint-Bonnet-Tronçais (one of the nicest bathing pools), The étang de Morat, the Fountain of Viljot, three hundred year old trees bearing the signature of local writers, are things which you will find all along this enchanting tour.
- Mountain Bike Tour of the Livradois-Forez (Tour VTT du livradois-Forez) This unique route forms a 232 km loop which takes 5 to 7 days to complete. You will ride through Auvergne's land of the rising sun. It can easily be divided into 2, 3 or 4 day tours. There are 23 waymarked stages and lots of nice surprises.
- The Velay of the Three Rivers (Le Velay des trois rivières) The Velay of the Three Rivers is a region with a strong and endearing identity. Volcanoes, granite, trout rivers, wild gorges, wooded hilltops and wide horizons of pasture. Not forgetting the people who have kept these mountains well alive, with agriculture, industry and tourism. 39 waymarked routes, from 9 to 44 km, allow you discover this area on mountain bike.
From the Bourbonnais to the Cantal Mountains, from the Puys Range to the volcanic pitons of the Velay, the Auvergne presents a wide range of areas for Cycle Touring. Among dozens of cycling ideas, here are some which deserve a pedal. Why not ride a part of even the whole of one of the four Tour de France stages that go through the Auvergne in 2008? Around Aurillac, an area renowned for its roads and cols, there are a number of possible tours to be made. The circuits go from 60 to 100 kilometres, with altitude differences ranging from 600 to 1800 metres with 6 cols for “La ronde des grands espaces”. Legendary climbs: pulling yourself up from the village of Mandailles to the Puy Mary Col (1589m) means putting your foot into a piece of legend. Or a wheel, more like, as these hairpin bends are part of the great history of the bicycle. After the effort, your reward will be a breathtaking view of the Cantal Massif. There is a total of 85 cycle routes to choose from … take your pick !
For easy quiet rides and outings with family and friends, the Auvergne is the ideal place. With its undulating landscape and its
substantial network of small picturesque roads, the Allier departement is particularly adapted for bike rides.
The Puy-de-Dôme and the other departements also present a number of routes.
Escape for short time, from a few hours to a few days, and let yourself be surprised by the wealth of the natural and cultural heritage … in a green environment full of castles and curiosities, you can be sure of a pleasant ride!
Facilities for safe cycling.
Why not take one of the 6 green ways and follow the trails for a family adventure with even the smallest members of the family … for example, "La Voie Verte du Puy-en-Velay" will take you through wonderful landscape but, be careful, don't forget to pedal ...
The vélo-rail, another way of pedalling.
Bicycles are mounted onto a platform which fits on the rails of an old railway line... The view can be surprising! It's a great and handy way of exploring the Auvergne.
A selection of pretty cycle touring and mountain bike routes taken from quality guides is available in bookstores (1) or at the Comités Départementaux du Tourisme (Local Tourist Boards) (2)
(1) Guides available in bookstores:
- Cycloguides FFCT / IGN of the Allier, the Cantal, the Haute-Loire, and the Puy-de-Dôme
- Chamina Guide “Grande Traversée du Massif central à VTT” and “Tour du Parc naturel Livradois-Forez à VTT”
(2) Free downloadable guides: