Monday, 3 February 2014

Provence by eBike

I think I mentioned that in September Mr Aggy and I did a fabulous trip in Provence by eBike.

We booked the package tour through Sun ebikes. They were really helpful and Maxime of Sun eBikes customised a tour just for us. I really recommend this company.

The tour left Bonnieux in Provence. Maxime had organised a pick-up from the Avignon train station and this all went smoothly. At Bonnieux there were rows of Peugeot eBikes set up for day tours and two bikes set aside for Mr Aggy and I. Note that the Peugeot eBikes have seven gears like the Gazelle, but they use a derailleur rather than the Hub gears, so I had to make sure I was in the right gear when I stopped.

Sun eBikes have a great model for eBiking. They give you two batteries and a list of places with fresh batteries. You simply change your battery over around every 20 km. It is so easy and you never have range anxiety.

Day 1: 48 km

The first day we stayed at Bonnieux and then rode through Lacoste and Menerbes. (If you have read 'A Year in Provence' by Peter Maille then you might be a bit disappointed with Menerbes - it has changed a lot since the book was written!)

Mr Aggy and I were enjoying our eBikes as the route was very hilly and we were continually riding up and down. We ended up at a lovely town called L'Isle-Sur-La Sorgue which is surrounded by water. Our room at Les Terraces Du Bassin overlooked the river and a small bridge where we had dinner. The people who run this hotel were lovely and even lifted out heavy (locked) ebikes inside when it started to rain.

Nice spot eh?

You can find the Strava details of our ride here.

Day 2: 48 km

Poured with rain on and off - but luckily every time it rained we were inside! We rode to Roussillon today via Fontaine de Vaucluse (the source of the river Sorgue) and Gordes one of the prettiest villages in France at the top of a hill. 

Mr Aggy with Gourdes in the background

The hotel that had been booked had double-booked itself but Maxime found us some marvellous alternative accommodation. We ended up in a 'room' with an upstairs bedroom with toilet, downstairs bathroom with shower, separate toilet and spa bath; outside our own private terrace (on the second floor) overlooking the valley and a heated outdoor spa! 

You can find the Strava details of our ride here.

Day 3: 55 km

We started the day with a walk around Roussillon. This area is famous for its ochre buildings and ochre sands. We also tried to go down an ochre mine, but we missed the French tour and the English tour was too late. 

However later that day we rode to Colarado Proven├žal which has fabulous landscapes due to the over sands and lots if red rocks that looked a lot like mini Ayres Rock.

Got lost going into Apt, but eventually found our accommodation - an old convent. Very quirky, but lovely. (You pay what you think the drink is worth at the mini bar!)

We really enjoyed the eBikes, they were perfect for the terrain and the Sun ebike company's organisation was excellent.

You can find the Strava details of our ride here.

Day 4: 79 Km (bit longer than the itinerary!)

78.5 km today over massive hills and into a terrible headwind. Good old eBike! 

Our destination of Lourmarin was quite close to our departure point, but we went the scenic route! 

Mr Aggy at Col de L'aire Alt 696 m!

The view towards the Giant of Provence

One of the many pretty villages

Unfortunately on this final night, Sun eBike were let down by their choice of restaurant. The hotel restaurant was closed and they arranged for us to eat at. Restaurant No 9 in Loumarin. Food was terrible! If you have a chance to eat in Loumarin, don't eat here. The souffle was like a pancake.

We have a couple of suggestions for Sun eBike:

  • The two batteries tended to rattle, so we wrapped a coat around them. It would be better if they had a piece of thick rubber between each battery. 
  • Also, each bike had a large basket on the front. This is OK for day-trippers, but if you are riding all day, it would be better to have two panniers on the back. They are more stable and can hold a handbag and a coat and all the rest of the stuff you need.

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