The days are getting longer, the mercury is rising, and the wind and rain is starting to abate all of which means biking summer is upon us.
I know ABR readers are a hardy bunch and a good number of you will have kept your mileage up over the winter, but even the toughest of us have to admit we prefer a hot summer night to a cold winter’s morning.
However, summer in the UK can be changeable, to put it mildly. That’s why, without being un-patriotic, you might be wise to shore up the weather situation by heading abroad with your bike.
A favourite destination of the ABR crew for getting out on the open road has long been France, and Brittany Ferries, who are currently celebrating their 50th anniversary, have a host of great value bike tours to get you and your ride across the Channel. And once you get there, they have a load of pre-planned routes to ensure you don’t miss the sights northern France has to offer.
The routes are easy to follow and have a selection of hand-picked hotels along the way so you can relax with a well-earned glass of Muscadet or Calvados at the end of the day.
France offers a fabulous mix of riding featuring everything from sweeping coastal roads to twisting country lanes, all flanked by stunning scenery and steeped in centuries of history.
1066 and all that
If, like me, you are a bit of a history buff then the Royal Normandy tour is packed with intrigue from the time of William the Conqueror. Take a look at the Bayeux Tapestry to find out the history of the Norman Conquest of England, then swoop eastwards to visit the ruins of Chateau Galliard, which was designed by our very own Richard the Lionheart (although he preferred Coeur de Lion, since he never got the hang of English).
This four-night tour covers approximately 103 miles of riding, but of course you can extend that with any detours that tickle you fancy along the way. The itinerary involves one night in Bayeux, two nights in Caen, and one night in Louviers.
Your very own D-Day landing
Also in Normandy, if more modern history is your bag, are the D-Day landing sites, which can be visited as part of the Glimpse of D-Day tour. Visit Utah, Omaha, Gold, Sword, and Juno for an insight into one of the pivotal moments in the Second World War.
On from there visit Pegasus Bridge which was freed by the British 6th Airborne Division glider unit. The first house to be liberated is now the nearby Café Gondrée which has been owned by the same family since the war.
This three-night tour covers approximately 32 miles if you take the most direct routes from place to place, but there are plenty of enjoyable digressions to be had along the way to your overnight stays in Port en Bessin, Arromanches, and Caen.
A ride with a view
For stunning views of the ocean, the Island Delights tour takes you right along the French Atlantic coast and allows you to take in the port of La Rochelle and some of the beautiful islands dotted along the Bay of Biscay.
Explore the Charente Maritime and see salt marshes, nature reserves, long unspoiled sandy beaches, the fabulous port of La Rochelle and the resort of St Jean de Monts.
From there discover the individual charms of the various islands, each with their own special “je ne sais quois”. Over 127 miles you’ll enjoy overnight stays in Rochefort, Ile de Ré and St Jean de Monts.
Fairy tales in the fast lane
Alternatively, enjoy the fairy tale sight of the château ant Josselin on the Taste of Brittany tour and, obviously, indulge in a bit of local cuisine. En route stop off at the market town of Morlaix before reaching France’s most westerly point at Plougonvelin for spectacular views from the lighthouse.
Over four nights and 281 miles you’ll explore the charming spots of Brittany and all along the route, will have the option to join the GR34 hiking path if you fancy getting out of the saddle for a bit. Overnights on this trip are in Josselin, Locronan, Plougonvelin, and Sables d’Or les Pins.
All tours can start on any day from any town on the itinerary but must follow the route in either direction. You even have the option of combining or customising tours if you want to extend your trip even further.
Last minute trips are available now, but they’re filling up fast, so if you haven’t booked your break yet you’d be well advised to get cracking.
They’ve also been offering trips tailored to bikers needs for years, so you can be certain the routes will be well suited to motorcycling from when you get to the ferry on the south coast of England, to the moment you arrive back in Blighty.
Book your tours from £301 per-person on the Brittany Ferries website today.