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cycling the canal du midi

  • 25-03-2015 10:22pm
    Registered Users Posts: 129 ✭✭

    has anybody cycled the canal du midi , just interested in what the going is like from some reviews i found it's very rough,any thoughts?


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,724 ✭✭✭✭Inquitus

    pat25c wrote: »
    has anybody cycled the canal du midi , just interested in what the going is like from some reviews i found it's very rough,any thoughts?

    I have ridden along the canal extensively from Carcassonne to Ginestas, it can be a bit rough with roots and rutting of the paths. Its not bad though and I have done it on a non suspension hybrid with a baby chair on the back, just requires a bit of focus and care. If I were to recommend a bike for this I would say the ideal would be a hybrid with front suspension of some sort to iron out the bumps, but it could easily be ridden on a CX bike or a rigid hybrid. If you want to hammer it though front suspension would be a must, if you just want to take your time and enjoy what is a wonderful part of the world as you meander along the canal day by day, anything with 28mm+ tyres and some decent puncture protection would do.

  • Registered Users Posts: 719 ✭✭✭Buzwaldo

    Have holidayed (is that a word?) near this four times and cycled along parts a good few times, usually on a hire bike. From Portaraignes Plage back up as far as Neuf Elcuses n Beziers. Very pleasant, obviously flat and scenic in parts. Some slightly bumpy surfaces, tree roots beneath tarmac and some packed gravel road, but mostly good. More suited to hybrid/ tourer than bombing along on a roadbike.
    Route sometimes leaves canal for short while, and once made a mistake trying to get back on.
    Beautiful part of the world, and often thought it would be a nice few days to cycle along a good length of it. South of France though so could be quite warm inland in high Summer. May or September might be more pleasent.
    Attached pics of Villeneuf-les-Beziers, lovely restaurant in pic, have returned 3 years for lunch. Also pic from the river of the aqueduct where canal crosses it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 138 ✭✭dewindygap

    If you do a search on this forum you will read a report (warning) I gave on cycling/stumbling/bunnyhopping the Canal du Midi. After the first time, from Bordeaux to the Med, we swore never again (about 6 years ago). As it happened we came onto it again about 2 years ago (short memory) and thought, well it couldn't have been that bad but soon realised it was and came off it and stuck to the roads.
    As (bad) luck would have it, we hit it again last summer and it is ten times worse. It seems the beautiful trees planted by Napoleon (not personally I'm sure) all along the bank of the canal have a disease so the councils and contractors have been in with big machinery cutting them down and have destroyed whatever bit of canal path that was there by churning up the 'surface' maneuvering tracked equipment.
    Try the Brest/Nante or Canal du Garonne. Far superior surfaces and you see much the same.....water and trees ;)

  • Registered Users Posts: 537 ✭✭✭velopeloton

    I have done part of it (about 50k) between Carcassonne and the coast on a road bike with 25's on. It was ok but you wouldn't want to be in a hurry. I believe that between Toulouse and Bordeaux has a much better surface. There are lots of quiet back roads that you could ride in the area which would be more interesting route. Mostly all you see along the canal is trees.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,831 ✭✭✭Planet X

    Kinda planning to do this next Summer. Fly into Carcassone and cycle the Canal Du Midi to Toulouse then the Canal De Garonne to Bordeaux and then take the coast up to Roscoff. 1200k.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 433 ✭✭kildarecommuter

    As mentioned by other posters the surface ranges from good to middleing to awful depending on where you are.
    A lot of the trees have contacted Dutch elm disease and have been/are being cut down, so not much shade in some areas.
    A bonus perhaps is that your never that far from a village with a bakery cafe etc

  • Registered Users Posts: 965 ✭✭✭Gorteen

    This is an old thread but I wonder has anyone got more recent experience of this route?

    We are considering a cycling trip along the Canal de Garonne (Bordeaux) then joining the Canal du Midi to Narbonne. It's a sort of group 'bucket list' possibility for 2023 so any info or advice is most welcome.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 46,927 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder

    it might not be as picturesque as it once was - i don't know how many trees have been felled, but the trees lining the canal are probably going to all be felled within 10 or 20 years due to a fungus believed to have arrived in france in WWII on ammo crates from the states.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5 wheelsandreels

    Yeah I wasn't that enamoured with it back in 2015 (I think it was) but I gather from some of the websites I was browsing that they've kind of bought into it a bit more. There was no other cyclists when I was on it and no services for want of a better word but I understand that they've copped on to the tourist potential. The info websites are certainly miles ahead of what they were.

    This one is great for breaking your trip up into bite size gpx files with loads of info.

    ...I can't post links forgot this isn't reddit! So look for francevelotourisme and freewheelingfrance. The first is excellent, let's you map journeys and break the days up into recommended gpx files with pdf tour guides for each section. Found it v useful for a recent spin around the Normandy beaches, the Loire and Brittany.

  • Registered Users Posts: 456 ✭✭ARX

    I rode a bit (can't remember where) of the canal a few years back but I found it a bit monotonous. It was very nice, but there wasn't much variety, and I got bored after a while and went back to the road.

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