Published by Lyn on 4 September 2013
Margaret emailed from Australia to ask about renting a bike in Bordeaux to ride to the Canal du Midi.
My husband and I are interested in a ride along the Canal du Midi. We live in Australia and are wondering if there is anywhere in Bordeaux for hiring bikes for, say, 10 days, or are there places where you can buy, and then sell at the end of the trip? We think it would be too hard to bring our own bikes by plane for the ride.
So some things to consider:
* Do you want to ride to Toulouse from Bordeaux on the Canal de Garonne, or would you prefer to start in Toulouse and ride the Canal du Midi itself?
* Will you be coming back to your starting point at the end or would you need your bikes picking up by the hire company?
If you decide to start in Bordeaux, there is a shop quite central in Bordeaux called Espirit Cycles, which is very good. They have bike hire and also sometimes have second-hand bikes as well, so you may be able to weigh up your options renting v buying (but I would think hiring in general will be easier/cheaper as the hire could include panniers and other kit you wouldn't need to buy for yourselves).
Try also Bike Hire Direct and O2 Cycles, both services that deliver to Bordeaux. Relax Rentals specialise in the Canal du Midi, and may deliver to Bordeaux if you're ending your ride in Toulouse or further along the Canal du Midi. Alternatively email me about my bespoke bike hire service.
If you decide to start in Toulouse, then see this recent reader query where we discussed bike hire options in Toulouse.
For second-hand bikes, it might also be worth searching for 'velo' at www.leboncoin.fr
One of our readers has also recommended www.troc-velo.com. "It is THE site where French people sell their bikes, components, parts, clothing etc," he says. "It also has a very basic review system, a bit like ebay."
If you decide to bring your own bikes, see this article about taking bikes on planes.
From Bordeaux, Cycling Southern France, written by one of our contributors, Richard Peace, is a good guide and covers the Bordeaux-Toulouse route and, if you're continuing further, the route east of Toulouse. For the latter, the UK publisher Cicerone's Cycling the Canal du Midi is a good guidebook. There's also Ian Griffiths' guide to cycling both canals.
If you need a little help organising your trip, you could always consider a self-guided tour – there are a number of companies offering support along the Canal de Garonne (search 'Aquitaine' in our tour listings) and the Canal du Midi (search 'Midi-Pyrenees' or 'Languedoc'). They'll arrange bike hire for you, and also provide maps, luggage support and a hotel booking service.
For accommodation options you can zoom into the map below of browse our Where to stay section.
I hope that helps - let me know how you get on.
Lyn @ FF