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Cycling the French roads - the sheer joy of it

Potholes. Homicidal, cyclo-phobic drivers. Excessive traffic. These are just a few of the hazards you can expect whilst cycling in the UK. You do seem to be taking your life in your hands when you take to the road in this country. If you favour some of the more populous routes like the Olympic circuit (including Box Hill) you will find every man and his (proverbial dog) out on a Sunday morning with similarly Olympic style pelotons. You really do have to suffer for your art here.

Having cycled in the UK for many years I can testify to the shortness of the average Joe’s car driver’s temper where it comes to sharing the road with bikes. I have been shouted out, gesticulated toward and generally abused by both genders and once or twice even swerved in front of to presumably teach me a lesson. It is not as if the roads here are really worth competing for. The pot holed, uneven and generally poor quality of British tar mac found on anything but the newest of highways always leave a lot to be desired

If you find that cycling in the UK is a bit too anxiety provoking then I would encourage you to try cycling on the French roads. For a start off the French seem to take great civic pride in their locale and that includes the state of general state of their highways and byways. You could cycle all day on the most rural of ‘routes’ without finding anything like the potholes we have to get used to here. They are very well maintained, smooth and mostly blemish free and offer the perfect.

French drivers (despite their reputation) seem to have a healthy respect for road cyclist and will give your two wheels a wide berth on the tightest of thoroughfares. Maybe it’s the Tour de France or just Gallic insouciance but I have never once been threatened with death whilst riding through France. They behave as if cyclists are human beings too The piece de resistance is that trucks and lorries are even banned from the roads on Sunday – magnifique!

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