Bicycling

The cycling from the village is amazing.  Cyclists wanting an easy cruise can simply ride down the hill and pedal on flat roads up and down the Lot and Cele river valleys, below limestone cliffs, looking over tobacco fields, sunflowers, medieval villages, dominating chateaus, and centuries-old mills.

Cyclists wanting a challenge can climb out of the valleys up 8-10% grades for fabulous hillside views, beautiful black-oak woods, and quiet pastures.  The village is in the Midi-Pyrenees, which accurately describes the  ascents — mostly moderate grades of 500-1000 feet (175-300 metres).   The road from the river to the top of the village is a 10% climb and perfect for hill repeats.

Many touring companies sell France bike tours specializing in point-to-point travel. They charge large amounts of money to plan a route and move your luggage between hotels.  We offer a “hub and spoke” experience.  This allows you to really get to know an area, to choose each day how long you want to ride, and to come back to the same bed in the same beautiful village each night.

I have enjoyed spending days riding one way to a destination (Cahors, Sarlat, Figeac, etc.), and meeting Ann and the car there for the market or lunch.  Then loading the bike on or in the car and driving home.  We have a basic bike rack that attaches to the back of most cars.  Let us know if you want to use it.

We do not rent bikes.  Several shops will rent mountain bikes, but road bikes are not generally available in the area.  We recommend bringing your own bike.  Several European carriers only consider a bike to be a regular piece of luggage.  American carriers, unfortunately, are not so enlightened.  Even on many American carriers, however, the cost of bringing a bike is comparable to (or less than) the cost of renting a bike.

MY BIKE TRIPS FROM SCL (downloadable here)

SCLCajarc (via Lot valley) — 19.5 km.

A pleasant ride above the Lot River with manageable elevation gain.  From the village descend to the River and cross the bridge to Tour-de-Faure.  Enter the roundabout and head east on D662.  There’s a nice old cathedral on the right in St. Martin, and another on the slope on the opposite side of the valley.  Don’t miss the Chateau de Cenevieres on the slope on the opposite side of the valley.  For a short detour, cross the river to the village of Cenevieres.  The road from the bridge to the village is lined with old Plain trees. Riding through them is a classic experience of riding in France.

Continue on D662.  There is some traffic, but it generally is courteous.  At the intersection with D19, take a left and follow the road down the hill into the Cajarc Centre Ville.  Return the same way, or if you want some climbing, return via the Cele Valley.

Return Via Cele Valley. – 40k w/long climb. From the Cajarc Centre Ville, find D17.  Ascend the hill until you think it can’t go on any longer, and you’re almost there.  Ride across the ridge, and avoid taking the minor roads that branch off.  Stay on D17 down the hill into the Cele valley.  Cross the Cele River into Marcilhac-sur-Cele.  Take a left on D41 and head toward Sauliac.  Go through Sauliac and Cabrerets,  and the road ends in Conduche.  Take a left on to D662 and follow it through the tunnels and along the river to Tour-du-Faure.  Take a right at the roundabout and cross the river and continue up to the village.

SCL-Figeac (via hill outside Cajarc) – 45 km.

Figeac is a wonderful old city with a number of tourist attractions.  Either ride into Figeac is  superb.  For more hills, follow the route to Cajarc via D662.  From the Cajarc Centre Ville, find D19 northeast toward Grealou.  D19 ascends for some time, reaching a 10% grade in parts.  Note the shepherd’s bouree just outside Grealou.  Continue down the hill until it merges with D662.  Follow D662 into Figeac.

Via Lot and Cele Valleys – 51 km.  This route avoids major climbs and follows the river valleys.  From SCL, take the road down to the river and cross the bridge to Tour-de-Faure.  Circle the roundabout and go east on D662 toward Conduche.  Enjoy the tunnels and valley scenery until the junction with D41 near Conduche.  Take a right onto D41 and ride up the Cele Valley toward Cabrerets.  Follow D41 Sauliac, Marcilhac, Saint Sulpice, Corn, and Boussac.  Stay on D41 until the junction with D802.  Take a right on D802 and follow it into Figeac.

SCL-Sarlat (via Gordon) – 90 km.

Sarlat is a wonderful destination, with its beautiful medieval sandstone buildings.  The Saturday market is huge – get their early to beat the traffic heading into town.  The route crosses the Dordogne, and gives a sense of the heavier traffic and increased tourist impact in the Dordogne region.  It left me thankful for the less-traveled but still beautiful roads of the Lot Valley.

From the village, head downhill to the river and cross the bridge to Tour-de-Faure.  At the roundabout go east (left) on D662.  Follow D662 through Conduche and Saint Gery in the valley.  Enjoy the flat road cut through the cliff, and look up to see the Chateau des Anglais set into the cliff.  Take care crossing the angled railroad tracks that go back and forth along the road.

Continue on D662 into Vers.  In Vers, go north (right) on D653.  Continue north through the ____ Valley for ___

One may find other routes including ones through vineyards in the region on line at the Tourisme-Lot website (make sure you look at the English version, which for some reason includes options not available on the French tabs