Cycle off that gourmet food by using your bikes whenever you can

Why bikes are essential equipment for a European campervan trip

March 6, 2019

If you want to fully exploit the freedom of motorhome travel in Europe, you need to take some bikes with you. Whilst the road infrastructure here is extensive and great for touring all over Europe, motorhomes don’t mix well with medieval villages, narrow cobbled streets or rush hour traffic! If you want to truly access all areas throughout your travels, you have to be prepared to park your van up at the edge of some towns and villages and explore on foot or by bike.

Cycle off that gourmet food by using your bikes whenever you can

Cycle off that gourmet food by using your bikes whenever you can

Here are our top reasons why bikes are the best solution:

1). Bikes can go places that motorhomes cannot and are much faster than exploring on foot. If you stay inside your motorhome as you tour, you will miss out on the most magical of experiences, interesting views and architectural treasures of each region.

2). Preparing your motorhome to move is not a five minute job. If you are parked up and want to nip to the boulangerie for the morning croissants, pick up lunch at the market or head to a restaurant a kilometre away, it is much easier to do so by bike than to stow everything in cupboards, gather in your electricity cable, come off your levelling blocks and drive your campervan.

3). Ancient villages, tourist attractions, tourism information offices, wine tasting opportunities etc. are often accessed by roads that are too narrow for cars, let alone motorhomes so you will regularly be forced to park some distance from your destination. Having bikes on board will get you to your target with the greatest of ease.

4). France and Europe has a very positive approach to cyclists. Just like motorhomes, bikes are welcome practically everywhere and the facilities provided for cyclists are first class. There are more than 20,000 kilometres of marked cycle paths throughout France alone and 7,000 kilometres of “Eurovelo” routes, which link France to its European neighbours. For more information about European routes take a look at and for detailed information (and suggested itineraries) in France check out

5). Finally, there is one more very good reason to carry bikes. The food here is amazing and completely irresistible so if you want to avoid an ever expanding waistline, cycling is the key. Just because you are on a road trip, you don’t have to drive all day and ignore the need to exercise so carry some bikes and use them whenever you can. Not only will you see much more of the beautiful, ancient cultures you are visiting, you’ll also enjoy the health benefits and feel a great deal better about trying the local delicacies wherever you go.

Some medieval villages were just not designed to accommodate motorhomes

Some medieval villages were just not designed to accommodate motorhomes

You will miss so much if you don't take some bikes for local exploring

You will miss so much if you don’t take some bikes for local exploring

As long as you are not a dyed-in-the-wool road cyclist, we suggest you buy road/mountain hybrids so you can comfortably tackle both sealed roads and gravelled tracks. Before you buy your bikes, give a little thought to how much you will use them, how far you are likely to cycle and whether you can lift them on and off your bike rack. There is no point investing in great bikes if you cannot easily lift them on and off the rack to use them. Lightweight, city bikes (which are typically 4kg lighter than regular leisure bikes) are great for short trips but they are unlikely to satisfy serious cyclists and won’t be comfortable over long distances/unsealed surfaces.

If you already have bikes that you enjoy back home, try and buy similar bikes or consider bringing your bikes with you (you can have them shipped straight to our depot before you come to avoid the inconvenience of travelling with them). Do invest in a decent bike lock (preferably with a combination lock so there is no key to lose) and a fabric cover to protect your bikes (available from any of the bike sales outlets listed above).

This tow path, carved into the rock in The Lot Valley is a good example where not to try and go in your campervan

This tow path, carved into the rock in The Lot Valley is a good example where not to try and go in your campervan

There are three great places to buy bikes within 5 kilometres of our depot so there is really no excuse to embark up your trip without them:-

Auchan Hypermarket sell bikes of all shapes and sizes at bargain prices (starting at around €149 for an adult bike).

Decathlon is a big sports equipment store with a great range of bikes at moderate prices (starting at around €199 for an adult bike) – they have a particularly good range of hybrid bikes and a helpful team to guide you to the right choice. They also have stores all over Europe, most of which have bike technicians so if you buy a Decathlon bike, it will be easy to get parts and get work done on it as you travel.

AD Villebenoit are more of a specialist bike shop so the right place to go if you have a special type of bike in mind (prices start at about €400 for an adult bike and go into the thousands for a carbon fibre road bike). The staff are snooty, slow and unhelpful but they sell really nice bikes and I put up with them to get my current bike because I had very firm criteria that Decathlon could not satisfy!

All three outlets also sell electric bikes but do bear in mind you might need a special bike rack to carry them due to their weight.

We hope you get our message loud and clear “Don’t set off on a motorhome trip without some bikes, you’ll need them”!

Like this blog? Share it with friends