Your Canal Du Midi Cycling Holidays Experts!
A quick look at how to pack for your upcoming Canal Du Midi bike tour. Cycling the Canal Du Midi will take a few days. We recommend packing lightly and use layers. We also have a list of mobile apps you might want to download before your start cycling along the Canal Du Midi.
1. Sunscreen lotion. Although the temperature in the southwest of France is not as high as some places the sun is very powerful. If you are not used to being outside for long periods of time, sunscreen lotion will make you more comfortable over the long run.
2. Sunglasses to keep the wind out of your eyes. Polarized sunglasses are the best of course, but UV blocking are good too. Depending on the season, they will also help keep flower and tree seeds from hitting you in the eyes. So sunglasses are very important to bring!
3. If you have a smartphone (iphone or android), downloading an offline map before you leave home is a wise choice. We recommend and use the NavFree application. Offline maps can be used without network access and thus will not consume your data minutes. Similarly, they also work when you are out of cell tower reach. Most modern smartphones have a build-in GPS receiver these days; find out if yours does and how to activate it. Do not download this app if you are already roaming as it will cost a fortune in data charges; only download if you are on WIFI or at home.
While you are at it, try to download a French menu translator and offline dictionary. Menulator, Bon Appétit - French, French English Dictionary + Freemium, etc will get you going nicely. For topographical maps of France you can use another great application called "OutDoors GPS France - Cartes IGN" which includes all topographical maps of France for free, has a build in GPS, and allows you to save sections for offline use as well.
New: Smartphone application (iphone and android) for Canal Du Midi by bike or by boat. Including map, GPS, historical sites, restaurants, etc, etc.
4. Cycling gloves. Wearing padded gloves to minimize vibration and pressure on the hands during long rides makes a big difference to your comfort. Use cut-off style for warmer temperatures, full-finger for cooler.
5. Windbreaker jacket. These are small and take up little space. Bright colors such as yellow and orange are strongly preferred as they will increase your visibility to other road users. Black and navy blue colors should be avoided as they will practically make you invisible, which is not what you want! Look for Gore-Tex or another waterproof/breathable fabric that breathes (so you don’t sweat too much) and protects from rain and wind.
6. Toilet paper. There are some bathrooms along the Canal Du Midi, but it might be hard to find toilet paper.
If you do not wish to have your luggage moved each day from hotel to hotel, than please keep reading.
Please try to take as little as possible. There is no need to take 3 pairs of shoes and 4 coats. As a general rule, lay out everything you want to bring and then take away half of that. Look for clothes that are lightweight, packable (i.e. non-bulky), versatile, and appropriate for your expected conditions. Some people think in terms of on-the-bike clothes and off-the-bike clothes, but as much as possible bring clothing that can serve as both. Leave your leather jacket and high heels behind! The bicycle panniers we provide are 15 liters each, for a total of 30 liters. The handlebar bag is 6 liters and is convenient to store money, cameras, sunscreen lotion, sunglasses, and phones. The truth is: the less weight you carry, the more fun it is to ride. Also, remember to leave some space for items you might want to purchase on the trip, such as souvenirs, fruit, or drinks. You will have to work very hard at not packing ‘just one more t-shirt’.
Shoes that are good for cycling as well as walking
Cycling gloves (optional)
Cycling shorts (also can be worn under looser fitting clothing for more modest people)
Socks — wool or synthetic (2 or 3 pair)
Lycra arm warmers -- makes all your short-sleeve jerseys optionally long-sleeved; these go on and off easily and take up almost no space at all.
Short-sleeved shirts (2)
Light, long-sleeved shirt for layering and sun protection (1)
Rain gear, jacket and pants — yellow or orange colored to increase visibility
Waterproof shoe covers (optional)
Comfortable pants (zip-off legs or rain pants could substitute)
Sandals, flip-flops, or lightweight shoes
Thin wool sweater or fleece jacket
Toiletries — pharmacies (indicated by a green cross) are plentiful in France, so you can always buy extras on the road.
Towel (lightweight to enhance quick drying)
Basic first-aid kit with emergency numbers
Bandannas (many uses!)
Sunglasses (very important to bring)
Camera and journal (optional)
Plastic bags (1 or 2, to store wet or dirty socks, food, etc)
The average speed for cycling on the Canal Du Midi is 10 Km/h. Only one third of the way is paved, mostly the beginning and the end of its length. This is the reason the average speed is lower than what you might be used to. Thus it is important to not plan to cycle 100 Km everyday, as that will be very difficult to do. Every year about four people cycle the distance from Carcassonne to Béziers in one day. They usually take 11 hours to do so, and always arrive after dark.
The Passa Païs runs through the mountains, and temperatures there are generally a lot cooler than in Béziers. Also, the higher elevations have a lot more rain. This rain is always very light and starts in the late afternoon.
Lunch times are very strict in the south of France. One must always eat lunch between 12 and 2PM. Even when you are not hungry yet, you should make sure you have something to eat either from a grocery store or restaurant before 2PM.
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Allées Paul Riquet
Phone: Due to too many people calling for 1 day rentals we no longer list our phone number here. We DON'T rent bikes for 1 day, stop calling about that.
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