Cycling Articles Archive

Cycling in France, general cycling, touring, holidays with kids and many more of my ramblings;-)

Here you'll find articles on cycling, touring, equipment, France and some slightly off-the-wall topics, sometimes funny, sometimes serious and frequently opinionated. It's an archive built up over the last 20 years so please bear in mind that when I do things like describing pulling a baby trailer, that was a very long time ago.


Read and enjoy and I am always very happy to add contributions from others in order to make the Archive as broad and as worthwhile as possible.

Cycling Article Index


Carradice bar-bag - perfect for cycling holidays in France?Dawes Sonoran Hybrid Cycle reviewTouring USB battery review * Touring Bike Brakes review * VSF T50s touring hybrid bike review * Ridgeback Expedition Touring Bikes review * Wheelbuilding book review * Cycling in Europe book review * Orbit Romany touring bike review * DTI Hugi Touring hubs review * Orbit Gold Medal touring bike review * Ortlieb pannier review * Burley and Thorn child trailers review * Brooks Titanium saddle review * Two person Tent test review * Brooks leather saddles review * Yak BOB trailer review * Trangia cooker review * Thermarest problems review * Robens Lodge 2 tent review


Tyres for cycle touring * Reynolds 531 history * 26" vs 700c wheels * Tyre pressures * The technical facts about steel frame tubing * General use of steel in touring framesLadies Frames - why not? * Chain-link extractors overview

General cycle touring advice and guides

Go on a cycling holiday – encouragement! * The Breton Bikes Guide to Cycling Holidays in France * Cycling Holidays for Beginners * Cycling holidays for experienced * Touring tyre tread patterns * Why cycle in Brittany * Food and Brittany * Cycling tool kit * Gearing for Cycling holidays * Carrying loads on a cycling holiday * DIY cycle camping holiday guide * How to choose a cycling holiday tent * My anti cycling-fashion rant! * How to climb on a touring bike * Hi Vis - worth it? * Death of the drop handlebar * Things to watch out for in a tent * A Cyclists Toolkit * Cycling with children - guide

Cycling Holiday route ideas

Cycleroutes from Gouarec in central Brittany (France) * Free hotel-based touring route from Roscoff * Free camping based route from Roscoff * Cycle touring up the Ventoux! * Tour de France 2018 in Gouarec * "A day in the mountains" * Climbing the Tormalet

General 'Fun' Articles

Village Football * The 2CV

Cycling a 100+ years ago!

Cycletouring in 1887 * How people planned a cycletour - in 1887! * Cycle Training with freinds - in 1887 * How to pack for a cycletour - in 1887! * Cycling First Aid - In 1887!

And last but not least – the whole saga of.... The Breton Bikes ITG charity ride to the French Pyrenees


Latest Cycling Articles

The Heart of Brittany

An undiscovered paradise for cycling.

When you think of Brittany it's the spectacular coast that springs to mind – and rightly so. With a longer and more varied coastline than the rest of France put together, it manages to fill an entire episode of the BBC's 'Coast' series. This is the area that gets the publicity, where the vast majority of tourism takes place and which inevitably features on just about every Brittany postcard.

The result is that inland Brittany has been largely ignored by the holiday feature writers – and yet what a mistake! For the heart of Brittany is one of the best places in France to take a cycle-tour.

Read more: The Heart of Brittany

Carradice bar-bag - perfect for cycling holidays in France?

Review of Carradice 'Carradry' Handlebar bag

Manufacturers website -
Cost £50



For those not familiar with these reviews I run a company doing cycling holidays in France called Breton Bikes. I generally only review equipment that I've bought several sets of and used in our hire fleet. Why? - Sample size. Just because you've bought an item and it fails badly doesn't mean that every other example isn't absolutely perfect – if you've had a great experience that too means little if loads of people have had something fail. In the case of the Carradice Carradry frontbags I bought 20 and used them in the hire fleet – what follows are my, and my customers views on how they performed...

Read more: Carradice bar-bag - perfect for cycling holidays in France?

A newcomer to cycling in france gets hooked

Life In A Pannier

A short article by James Ellis

As I laboured up the hill with the wind driving into my face, sweat mingling with the rain that dripped down my neck, listening to my breath rasping with each aching push of the slippery pedals, I couldn’t help but think:

‘Damn, this is good!’

Read more: A newcomer to cycling in france gets hooked

Why I hate remote controls

Nothing to do with cycling - and everything to do with one of my pet hates;-)...

I hate remote controls. They're generally a tacky bit of plastic which I don't need and have to pay for. The kids pinch them to play 'mobile phones' with (which doesn't matter unless it's a review item), they all look the same and they imply I haven't the energy to get up to turn a knob. But worst of all they are starting to become indispensable.

Read more: Why I hate remote controls

A Historical view on cycle touring and photography.

Choosing a camera for that tour in France...

Snap! Photography and Cycling.

Note - This is a very old article (as you'll realise the minute you start reading it) because it is almost all based around 35mm photography! It's amazing to think that it sounds like it was written 50 years ago and yet was current just 15 years ago - the pace of progress. As it stands it's of historical interest I hope and for the few fanatics still into 'real' photography it's still all true!

Read more: A Historical view on cycle touring and photography.

Tom's (and others) feedback on his cycletour in France with us


Nowadays all our feedback comes in the form of reviews on things like Tripadvisor - but in the 'old days we used to get emails like the following;-)

Tom's Holiday


"A very special bit of feedback"

What follows is probably of little interest to most people, but for me, and Breton Bikes it's a rather special few lines. Why? Because this is the feedback we got from Tom and Gerry 20 years ago. Not only were they our first ever customers from the USA, but more significantly they were our first ever internet booking. There's also the feedback from our first ever 'internet' family customers and I hope that in both cases you'll get a feel of the holiday as they are now - because little has changed! Of course nowadays it's all on Tripadvisor and Facebook, but in those days letters like these were precious...

Read more: Tom's (and others) feedback on his cycletour in France with us

Dawes Sonoran Hybrid bike - a budget tourer? - Review

Is the Sonoran a good first Touring bike? 

Cycling Article Index

Manufacturers website -

A few months ago I reviewed the VSF T50s Hybrid with the aim of seeing if it was a solid entry-level touring bike. In this review I've chosen to review a bike with similar aspirations from the Dawes stable – their Sonoran Hybrid. As with the VSF these bikes have been run as part of our fleet so comments are based on both my and customers comments and the experience of the hard life of a hire bike... Note that some pictures are from our fleet (and grubby after a ride!) and the colour is now a rather sexy matt black - if you want pretty pictures go to the Dawes website...

Read more: Dawes Sonoran Hybrid bike - a budget tourer? - Review

The Tour de France visits Gouarec in July!

Cycling Article Index

On Thursday the 12 July 2018 the Tour de France will cycle past our base at Gouarec in central Brittany. For those doing fixed-centre holidays with us, either gite holidays or camping, it means that you will be able to see the preparations in the village of Gouarec (which is ideal for such events), the whole panoply of the Tour itself and of course the party afterwards. Both the gite and the campsite are within 100m of the route!

For those who've never seen The Tour it is really something not to be missed. The whole village will be out in force, the village decorated, music, food etc and the whole thing just a massive celebration.

Read more: The Tour de France visits Gouarec in July!