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


Stiffness in bicyle framesTyres 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

Cycling holiday on the Velodyssee * A Guide to E-Bikes - central or hub motors?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

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!

Stopping Power.

Cycling Article Index

Brakes for cycle touring – a very personal viewpoint...

Breton Bikes cycling in france Facebook Page

It is easy for us to spend most of our time on worrying about how fast a bike will climb, what average speed we can manage or the rolling resistance of tyres. But in reality how quickly and easily we can stop a bike is more important. As cycletourists, often riding heavily loaded bikes on steep roads, this becomes an even higher priority. The one snag is that though brakes are now more effective than ever before also now come in a bewildering variety so hopefully this article will help you make a more educated choice for your own use.

Read more: Stopping Power.

The PowerPack Revolution

I'm going to tell you about the best bit of kit I've bought in the last 5 years;-) 

Cycling Article Index

Breton Bikes cycling in france Facebook Page

30 years ago when Kate and I started cycletouring in France we had no electrical equipment with us whatsoever, with the exception of a small torch. As we cycletoured in France in summer having to carry lights wasn't an issue.

As time went on the situation even got easier as LED headtorches alleviated the need even for spare batteries. Happy days...

Read more: The PowerPack Revolution

Le Foot - Village Football in France

Cycling Article Index

Or how I nearly died in the name of sport...


This article was written 23 years ago and I've just found it again. It doesn't have anything to do with cycling, or with our holidays but I hope it'll make you smile and see one reason why we think this is such a special place...

Read more: Le Foot - Village Football in France

A quality touring bike on the Cheap – The VSF T50s

A bike to take on your first cycle tour...

Cycling Article Index

This is the first in a short series of reviews of good value bikes that are capable of loaded cycletouring - this month the VSF 50s.

Read more: A quality touring bike on the Cheap – The VSF T50s

Steel tubing for Cycle-tourists, Reynolds 531, 520, 853, True Temper – confused?


Cycling Article Index

A small favour

We hope you enjoy reading this short article and will go on to read many more. This website exists both as an information hub for cyclists – (and we offer free advice by email) - but also as a commercial site to sell our cycling holidays in France. For 29 years we've been the only company in the world offering fully equipped cycle camping holidays and now also offer hotel based cycling holidays and even run our local campsite which is uniquely well geared up for passing cycletourists - it is this experience that informs so much of what I write here.

Google is now punishing sites with high 'bounce' rates and also sees these articles as being nothing to do with cycling in France. That means if you read one page and then leave Google marks us down. If you don't click on one of the cycling holidays links in italics here Google sees this as a 'technical' site only. So please, when you've finished reading just click on any other link on the site before leaving - it would be a big help - otherwise I may be forced to remove such articles from the site and that would be a shame...

If you like what we do and want us to continue please help by sharing our Facebook page, telling your friends or linking to on any site you run. Without your support we'd not be here...

An idiots guide to steel cycle-tubing and how not to get fixated on numbers.


This is the latest in a series of articles on Reynolds frame tubing. Many years ago (25!) I wrote a short article in the very first on-line cycling magazine –– now long gone (but it still lives on our cycling holiday website) about Reynolds 531. It came at an important time as it was then that 531 was finally being phased out in favour of more TIG-welding-friendly tubing (more on this later). You will also find a basic article on bicycle frame stiffness here.

Since then the market has changed from one where perhaps 80% of all quality touring bikes (maybe 95%+ in the UK) were made in Reynolds 531, to one where where none are. So time for an overview to help all those confused by the plethora of tubing types now available.

Read more: Steel tubing for Cycle-tourists, Reynolds 531, 520, 853, True Temper – confused?