Reader Q&A: Bike hire in the Charente

Published by Lyn on 13 February 2015

Nicola wrote to ask about road or mountain bike hire in the Charente. Here's our email exchange.

Riberac countryside
Rolling countryside around Riberac, just over the border in the Dordogne, and east of where Nic will be staying in the Charente area of south-west France. Photo: Ben Salter

Hello Lyn

I am struggling to find a company in the Charente (Chalais) who hires proper road bikes (ie not hybrids). Or actually, a decent XC mountain bike (hardtail) would do as there are some great VTT routes nearby as well.

I am visiting my parents over the Easter weekend (possibly Wed-Sun) and cycling over there is lovely. I need to be training, but I don’t want the expense or hassle of taking my own bike.

Can you help?

Kind regards,
Nicola.

I wrote back:

Hi Nic

Try O2 Cycles in Bordeaux for a road bike.

It's run by a guy called Norbert (English-speaking). He delivers but I'm not sure what the delivery prices will be to the Charente (though you'll be in the SW so should be do-able).
 
Alternatively you could catch a train to Bordeaux and bring the bike back by train (there is a direct train service to/from Chalais – see here to search times and book tickets), or you could ride back – it'd be a lovely 100km-odd bimble.
 

There's a MTB hire place 50km south of Chalais in Montazeau (just over the border in the Dordogne). It's run by a couple called Malcolm and Sue. They deliver within a 75km radius so you should be OK. Their phone number is +33 (0)5 53 63 08 91, email [email protected] or check their website, www.themountainbikehirecompany.co.uk.

(NB For anyone reading this on the blog, see here for other Charente bike hire options, including hybrids).

I know you have a place to stay with your folks, but I'm including my Poitou-Charentes accommodation map here in case it can help others.

 
 
Also, for future reference, here are some contacts for shipping bikes to France if you don't want to the hassle of bringing your own but can't find hire next time.
 
You sound sorted for maps and other info, but just in case, here's our Poitou-Charentes overview and also some dayride ideas. See here for cycling around the Cognac vineyards.
 

Would be great to hear how you get on.

Cheers
Lyn.

Nic wrote back:

Hi Lyn

You’re an absolute star! Fantastic..

We fly into Bordeaux, so my parents could drop me off at the bike shop and I could ride back. Or if it’s a horrible day, they have an estate car, so I could put the bike in the back. 

But ... decisions decisions as the MTB place sounds great too and the routes are beautiful. 

Perhaps I’ll contact both and see what they’ve got and in what sizes and make a decision then.

I will let you know how I get on.  Thank you SO much for your help and for coming back so quickly.

Thanks again.

Kind regards,
Nic.

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