Rothar Routes

Cycle routes & pilgrim journeys in Ireland and Europe …..

Posts tagged ‘bike touring’

Via Jerusalem Day 4 Belleville to Lyon

Route Map Belleville to Lyon

Dijon to Lyon

The name was a give away. Belleville. Not very imaginative. Still it got me back on track to return to Lyon and seeing as it was the 7th September, the only hope I had of seeing the All Ireland Hurling Final between Kilkenny and Tipperary was if I could find an easy way into Lyon, the third largest city in France, where I might be able to find an Irish bar showing the match.

Dijon to Lyon Dijon to Lyon

Getting in and out of cities by bike or walking is always tricky, either the roads are packed with traffic or you find yourself picking a way through ugly industrial zones.

Once I crossed the Saone my plan was to turn south in Montmerle sur-Saone on the D933 and try get as far down that road as possible. Not much further on was Messimy sur-Saone which was having a Sunday morning market and As I dodged my way between the stalls I took a side street that led down to the banks of the Saone.

Dijon to Lyon

It was an easy way to escape the crowds and I quickly bypassed the Town to try and rejoin the road. Looking at the riverbank it seemed that there was a walking path heading out of town and I decided to give it a try. 60kms later I was in the heart of Lyon!

The path was magnificent; it wasn’t really developed – in places there was a gravel path, other places a grass path and it passed through towns and villages, big and small, without any signage or indication that it would continue much further.

This is an ideal walking route for pilgrims heading for Lyon; no traffic, peace and solitude, towns and villages nicely spaced and flat too!!

The Saone is a mighty river here and unlike a towpath along a canal, the riverbank was windy and interesting all the way. With the sun overhead I couldn’t have asked for an easier or better way to enter Lyon.

Dijon to LyonCycle Dijon LyonCycle Dijon Lyon

When I reached the town of Saint Bernard I reckoned I should ask directions for the best way into Lyon and was promptly advised to cross the Saone and follow the main road south….I was assured it wasn’t possible to continue to follow the river.

I did and I was glad I trusted my own intuition.

And I did find an Irish Bar. The only people there were French and they were watching rugby. Funny thing was there was a black and white photo on the wall of Kilkenny and the use of sign language persuaded the bar man to flick the channels. We found the match as the sliotar was about to be thrown in!

Lyon was so much better than I expected. Worth a lengthy stay in it’s own right. I was ahead of schedule and I tried to bring my return flight forward but at €350 to change I decided to hang around!

Dijon to LyonDijon to Lyon Dijon to Lyon

Pack light!

This summer I exchanged pannier bags for a Revelate saddle bag. It meant I had much less storage space and was forced into packing smartly and frugally.
Maybe because the weather was so good I got away with bringing a lot less clothing.
A couple of other benefits were the bike was easier manage, was more stable, less bulky as the load was over the rear wheel rather than on each side.
The other major plus is travelling through the airport. The bike fitted into my bike bag much easier and I was able to put all my luggage in their too.

The bike bag is a clever idea from Ground Effect of New Zealand. It’a a sturdy canvas type bag that folds up, allowing you to







Don’t be taken in by the PRO’s!

The pro racing bike industry has a lot to answer for! 

It seems no one can go out on a bike these days unless they are like a mobile billboard. Cycle clothing takes the biscuit.

The price of this stuff is outrageous!!

All the claims made about the gear really don’t matter to ordinary folk like us who don’t race bikes! And I’m not sure it makes much of a difference to pros either!

Don’t be taken in by the marketing of the gear…

There is no need to spend a kings ransom on kitting yourself out for touring. For a start less is better. You don’t need countless changes of clothing; two tops, two shorts, two pairs of socks, a long sleeve top, a wind cheater and maybe a poncho for the rain.

Loose fitting tops are better for circulation, and lets face it, cycle tops are designed for whippets so we all look ridiculous in the gear! Why do we do this to ourselves!

I say a poncho rather than an expensive ‘guaranteed waterproof’ as I don’t believe there is such a thing on a long distance bike ride. And again the poncho covers more than the body and allows air in too.

And while talking of waterproof, line your panniers with plastic bags and store all your gear in the plastic bags – now that is waterproofing for a fraction of the cost!

Personally i go with ordinary pedals so I can wear runners on and off the bike. I also find it more comfortable to be able to adjust my feet position. I would bring a light pair of flip flops too. 

A few tools and some spare parts are needed too but I’ll come back to that.



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