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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Having read Zebedee's account of his nicely documented trip through Brittany, it has prompted me to ask if anyone out there has cycled the Canal du Midi between Beziers and Carcassone. We are meeting up with pals there in a few weeks and abandoning Tincan in "favour" of a boat for a week. We are bringing our velos and are curious about the state of the towpath along this stretch of the Canal. We would also welcome recommendations for nice restaurants for us or stopovers for the boat. I have ordered a book on cycling the canal but wont have it for another few days and anyway first hand experiences are always better recommendations. For anyone really interested Myra only dusted off her trusty steed last weekend when we were in Cong in Co. Mayo and loved the experience so much that she is cycling to the gym and for fun now, quite a result after a two year layoff. She had an operation on her dicky ticker in March and is playing catchup for all the lost experiences missed due to her condition. The op was a resounding success. We feel that using the bikes on the trip will provide space and personal time for all 6 of us if needed

TIA

Noel

edited to read better and correct typos
 

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Hi Noel

Thanks for the kind words. :D

Try doing what I did. I went on the internet and found a cycling holiday company operating nearby (in Gouarec actually) and emailed them for advice.

The one in Gouarec (Breton Bikes) is English owned, which helped, and it would not surprise me if you found a similar setup near your destination.

You could even email Geoff Husband at Breton Bikes. He would have some idea, and may even know the area well - and he's a very helpful and generous chap. :D

Hope this helps

Dave
 

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Don't fall in or be tempted to swim in the canal ! We rented a boat to cruise the canal the other year and were horrified to find out the canal boat toilets emptied directly into the canal, no holding tanks !!
I have a French mate who has just cycled the route you describe, I will email him and ask him about the state of the towpath. Lots of locks and of course going in your direction you will be going up-hill !!
Philip
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Philip,
I'm an optimist so I'll just convince meself that it'll be all downhill on way back as we have to drop the boat back where we pick it up and hopefully will last the pace with these other bowsies travelling with us. Passing very slowly through the Minervois could be bad for our health as we are very easily led and can fall into temptation really easily. I look forward to your buddy's input.

Dave; I will take your advice and trawl to see wots available on tinterweb. The little book I ordered is a recent translation into English and comes highly recommended but any info will be gratefully received

Noel
 

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I have extensively cycled the Canal du Midi 3 miles either side of Portriagnes. 8) On one trip I won the yellow jersey but that was only because the missus had a puncture but hey, its sport so I took advantage. 8)

If I were fit enough I would dearly love to cycle for miles along this beautiful canal and can only urge you to become even more excited about doing it. There is an antique lock where I was which is very interesting.

I think if the tow path is wet then there will be difficulties if the mud becomes soft but in the summer, even after rain it should be OK. Always something going on. Boats, cafes, boat yards, locks, other cyclists in abundance, 'orses, walkers, lovely scenary, selection of ducks, birds, insects and I never once saw anyone swim in the canal.
 

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We stopped at the aire in Trebes, super aire right on the canal, and cycled to Carcassone and back 9/10km each way I think and it was a good surface. Always fancied a barge holiday may be one day.

John
 

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There are some value restaurants on the side of the canal at Villeneuve-les-Beziers, right next to the campsite and aire in the MHF campsite database.

We cycled more from Beziers to the coast rather than too far the Carcasonne side of Beziers, but that was good.

Dave
 

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Hi again Noel

>>> This <<< should give you plenty of information and ideas. You can download their brochures and study a pretty detailed daily itinerary.

If they are generous enough to publish it freely on the web I'm sure they would help you with any specific questions, especially if you explain that your wife's medical condition prevents you from taking one of their holidays but you would like to do part of the route at her pace.

There are a number of other useful sites - I just Googled, "canal du midi cycling holiday".

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks all for your input.

Pusser; I had read about the scurrilous sabotage executed on a competitors bike in the local Portraigne free press. The culprit was clearly identified and was seen to be wearing a yellow hi-viz vest disguised as a leaders jersey. He was rumoured to be visiting the area in a Porky lookalike. We are excited about this particular trip as it will be the first time in a long time that we both are fit enough to enjoy the bikes, I have been a member of an exclusive club in work called FBC ( Fat B***ards Club) but with a concerted effort have managed to shed almost 2 stone in the past year and I do feel one hell of a lot better as a result. FBC promoted a change in lifestyle rather than a diet and I am just more aware of what I'm eating and have reduced portions now, with daily exercise now part of my day. I either walk or cycle to work covering about 12kms every day. I was told a long time ago that the best exercise was to push yourself away from the table.

DAB; we will probably move to the Eastern side of Beziers after the week on le bateau and may head for the coast. We have a few camping cheques which will expire soon so we will find a nice site that accepts them into July, hopefully within a bike ride of the sea.

Dave Zeb; There is some good stuff on that site which i will print and bring with us

Philip; in this part of the world swimming in canals is also known as going through the motions

Noel
 

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tincan said:
Thanks all for your input.

Pusser; I had read about the scurrilous sabotage executed on a competitors bike in the local Portraigne free press. The culprit was clearly identified and was seen to be wearing a yellow hi-viz vest disguised as a leaders jersey. He was rumoured to be visiting the area in a Porky lookalike. We are excited about this particular trip as it will be the first time in a long time that we both are fit enough to enjoy the bikes, I have been a member of an exclusive club in work called FBC ( Fat B***ards Club) but with a concerted effort have managed to shed almost 2 stone in the past year and I do feel one hell of a lot better as a result. FBC promoted a change in lifestyle rather than a diet and I am just more aware of what I'm eating and have reduced portions now, with daily exercise now part of my day. I either walk or cycle to work covering about 12kms every day. I was told a long time ago that the best exercise was to push yourself away from the table.
:D :D I'm just starting my diet which is a mixture of Mckenna and a science based program on TV that suggests the following:

Never miss a meal.
Breakfast should be protein as this releases a .... (forgot :oops: ) and this affects the hunger ....(forgot ..... :oops: ) in your brain.

Drink a lot of water.

If you have a meal e.g. chicken, potato and a veg and a glass of water, if you liquidise the whole lot inc. the water it becomes a soup and you will stay unhungry for two to 3 hours longer.

You must however stick to the calories pertaining to your lifestyle which by my calculation for me and the exercise I do - mainly typing is 10.

Drink low fat milk and eat low fat cheese as the calcium binds fat in your tummy and makes it impossible to digest so it goes straight through and presumably out the other end.

Eat no more than 4 oily fishes a week as they contain contaminants i.e. PCB's (never realise fish ate motherboards) :( Eat white fish twice a week.

There were other rules but I have forgotten them but I have a least taken onboard the protein breakfast which should be egg, lean ham and mushrooms mixed in. :D I will worry about the other meals while I get used to a cooked breakfast. 8)

For exercise I have just bought a canoe from John Cross. Found a cheaper two man canoe which will do me and all I need now is some water. 8)
 

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Hi Noel, My mate has got back to me with :
"It is very variable.
From Toulouse to Castelnaudary about 40km of the 65km are tarmaced and very good.
From Castelnaudary to Carcassonne, there is no tarmaced piste only a canal side track, sometimes one tyre width wide.
Carcassonne to Epidum d'Enserune, only narrow canal side track, sometimes very difficult with tree roots and stumps (came off twice)
Final stage to the Meditteranean, mixed, some good piste and otherwise a rough track.
The final few km to the lighthouse in the etang is almost impossible to find and is a very rough track, I do not think many people actually complete the ride.
This is not a possible ride in wet conditions and it was a good deal tougher than I thought it was going to be - we did it in 4 days, ~ 270km.

It is a bit like the footpaths on Exmoor, close to the towns and pubs they are good and then a few km out, the track disappears.

Of course the lack of a tarmaced piste increases the solitude of the ride, which is nice"
Hope that is of use, and don't come off your bike "canalwards". Have a great trip, the trees along the canal make it a beautiful journey. Great spectator watching at the locks.
Philip
 

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tincan ........... we will probably move to the Eastern side of Beziers after the week on le bateau and may head for the coast. We have a few camping cheques which will expire soon so we will find a nice site that accepts them into July, hopefully within a bike ride of the sea

http://www.campingcheque.co.uk/en/

John

Edit .... can recommend it been 4 times and 7nts for 6
 

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Hope I get it right this time :oops:

http://www.campingleneptune.com/english/index.html

Page 133 Camping Neptune Agde

Easy walk or cycle to town or beach, lots of restaurants handy and several cycle rides of varying lengths. Stayed 14 nights for price of 11 once. And there is a Hyper U, a huge supermarket, 15 mins cycle.

In Agde there is a very good market on thursdays for food and in one of the allyways near the market hall is a little wine shop selling draft wine and the St Chinon is to be recomended.

Friends of ours spent 15 nights there in May with camping cheques it was their 3rd visit.

Hope the above helps. I am a very poor typist and was in a bit of a rush with the last post.

John
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks Waves, ya got de rhythm now. My typing is also a two fingered effort and if I'm in a hurry I use three sometimes, but always have to go back and check. We have looked at that site and may swing by for a look. We wont be booking anything, as our plans could change depending on the weather if its too hot or too wet we will go elsewhere. Our itinerary will definitely include a visit to Sancerre, Pouilly sur Loire, Vacqueyras and St Emilion to avail of their local nectars. Only a week to go before we take off.

Noel
 

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St Emilion has a very good camping cheque site....page 94 Domaine de la Barbanne with dedicated motorhome pitches and a free shuttle bus into the town, or an easy cycle or 40min walk. Have been there 4 times as well.

John
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Waves,
we have been staying in St Emilion regularly since '90 and have since made a local contact to buy his product. The wine is made in the traditional manner, no stainless steel in sight and it tastes like the angels themselves made it. Last year we called on our way home from Germany where we had bought an elderly 911 and we had great fun trying to see how many cases we could fit in the cramped conditions. The boot upfront was already full of Macon so we could only manage 4 full cases in the car leaving very little room for us or our luggage. We actually did a full scale mockup using empty cartons to ensure that we did not leave anything behind. We will be calling to see our friend on our way home this trip and will surpass the four cases in the back of Tincan

Noel
 
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