Loire Eurovelo 6 info
  • LynLyn August 2011
    I received this great email from Bob MacQueen, who's just returned from trip to the Loire. Just posting it here as it's got lots of useful info.
    Lyn @ FF

    We have just returned after a real enjoyable trip but there are a couple of pieces of information that may help others going that way.
    Firstly crossing the pont St Nazaire is not really recommended by bike unless you are 1. Fit 2. Mad and 3. Fearless! There is a bus that carries upto 8 bikes across for just €2, but the information I had was that it ran every half hour and no booking was required. Well, not true. The bus – number 17 – leaves St Nazaire at 07.47, 08.47, 12.15, 16.19, 17.17, 18.27and 19.47 from the station at St Nazaire. It leaves St-Brevin-les-Pins at 07.15, 08.15, 09.15, 13.30, 16.42, 17.45 and 18.50.
    Also booking is necessary – you need to telephone 02 40 21 50 87 24 hours before you intend crossing.
    The bikes hang off the back held vertically and the driver expects you to help lift them into place. The hooks are a little large and were a tight fit between the spokes on my small-wheeled Moulton, but it didn't fall off! Luggage has to be taken off and goes in the bus with you. The crossing is fast and I'm glad I never attempted to ride it!

    The other bit of information is about the"Loire a Velo train service. This is new this year and runs from Orleans to Nantes and has a special carriage for bikes, looks like it can carry a large number. It costs €5 and seems a good idea. However we were returning to Orleans and when we booked the train we asked about the service and booking and were told at Nantes station that no booking was necessary. So we duly turned up for the train and as it was mid-morning mid-week, we did not expect a problem. Well we were told by a man in the special carriage that without a ticket and booking we could not put the bike aboard. As the train was about to leave and the tickets were only available a long way back, we looked like being stranded. Then we noticed that three carriages had 2 bike spaces in the end lobby – hanging vertically, but all were taken!
    We pushed our bikes in and hoped we could fit them somewhere. Luckily the two spaces were taken by a very resourceful and helpful German cyclist who had some straps, so we strapped one bike to one of his vertically, put one across the bikes and bungy corded it in so you could get passed. This left one bike – mine – which luckily was a Moulton. So split it in half and put the two halves on the luggage rack! We got away with it.
    When we reached Orleans there in the concourse of the station was a booth advertising the service and taking bookings! So OK if you are heading west – probably the best way to go as we had bad headwinds on two days heading east! Apparently you can book – 48 hours in advance – by phoning 09 69 32 81 50.

    Hope this helps someone.

  • LynLyn August 2011
    I've just received this from the guys at the Loire tourism board:

    "[The Loire train Bob writes about] is a new service that has been tested since July 1 and will run until the end of August on top of the 'usual' carriages in which there are just a few spaces for the bicycles. During this summer, there has been a special cycles carriage for which you need to book on the phone (09-69-32-81-50) and pay 5 €. It has been specially launched by the 2 regions who run The Loire by bike itinerary on the St Nazaire – Orléans route.
    For this year this is just a test though. I don’t know whether it will be available again next year or in the autumn or winter."

    Thanks to Virginie @ Société publique régionale des Pays de la Loire for the info.
  • LynLyn August 2011
    And a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.raileurope.co.uk/tdLandingPage.aspx?tdaffid=1859441&tduid=8fa9d7d767023ab2ca4099af0a50c30d&url=
    "A quick summary of bike travel in France:

    TGV - some single and duplex TGVs cannot take fully assembled bikes. Those that can need to be booked in advance with a fee.

    Teoz - Travel with fully assembled bikes need to be booked in advance with a fee.

    TER - These train usually have bikes spaces that do not require booking
    or payment, but availability is at the train staff's discretion."

    They've also pointed us to the Loire train advice at
    http://www.cycling-loire.com, specifially:

    "Q: How do you get onto the route?
    R: You can always take the train instead of the car with Regional Express Trains (TER) stopping at most stations between the various cities of Orléans, Blois, Tours, Angers, Nantes – which are all at anything between 1 hour and 1 and a half hours from Paris. The train is also an excellent way of getting from place to place if you don't want to do the whole route from start to finish. You can "Bike" it by train: as the TER (Regional Express Trains) have carriages where you can put your bike – these carriages are the ones that have the symbol of a bicycle on them.
    For more information : www.velo.sncf.com

    "Rail Europe does not specifically book this train as 'la Loire a Velo'. We are able to book TER trains that pass through the Loire. Each service can be configured differently, depending on demand. But some French trains have the ability to take fully assembled bikes without payment or advance booking, such as the local TER trains which are often used in the Loire. The TER trains have half a carriage for the bikes.
    "TEOZ trains have two bike spaces at the end of some carriages on each service. These spaces are bookable in advance with a fee.
    "Please remember that each route, date and time of service can have different train configurations so it is very hard to give a set answer on how to get from A to B with a fully assembled bike."

    Thanks to Emily @ Rail Europe for getting in touch.

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