Introduction

Introduction
Early in 2010 we were cycle touring in France and stumbled across EuroVelo 6. We then made an impromptu decision to follow it for a few weeks. The official website, http://www.eurovelo6.org/, does not provide enough detail to allow good planning.

Maps for the French and Romanian sections are now available. Maps for the central section are being prepared but no release date has been announced.

We found that the maps for the French section were not completely accurate as some sections have been realigned, and do not always show route through the larger cities. Portions of the route are still not marked so there are a few challenges.

The maps do not provide accurate information about what accommodation is available, though there is an accompanying guidebook but we have not seen one for sale. Some of the regional tourist boards do have information about accommodation.

This blog is to share information about EuroVelo 6 so those who had ride part or all of the route can share their experience and advice with those who are planning to undertake a ride all it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

To GPS or Not to GPS

EuroVelo 6 has a section between Angers and Saumur. The route leaves Angers, riders tour past long abandoned mines, and water filled quarries then through rolling hills and vineyards.

At Gennes EuroVelo 6 is split into an east only path and a west only path. Things are made more complicated as there are several “local” velo routes that are not shown on the EuroVelo 6 map set. Using Michelin touring maps, the few signs and a compass we were able to navigate our way through the maze of minor roads.

While getting lost is part of cycle touring, most tourers prefer getting lost on their own terms.

Another problem is navigating into large towns and smaller cities. If possible, you obtain a map in advance, if not then you follow the signs to “City Centre” and hope for the best.

On a recent tour many of the European cycle tourists use GPS to assist in navigation. The most common were the lower end mapping units. See https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=145 for some examples.

Garmin now offer a cycling specific GPS, the Edge 705 (See https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=160&pID=10885). This GPS is normally used for training and racing but can be used for cycle touring. Some functions such as heart rate monitor would need to be turned off.

Given that even the most detailed European road maps do not show every country lane and that the EuroVelo 6 maps do not show every detail, then would a GPS be useful?

How useful would a GPS in navigating the Central and Eastern portions of EuroVelo 6?

Does anybody have firsthand experience of using a GPS while cycle touring?

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