I had big plans to do some significant bicycle touring here in southern France. As the map below shows, there is a series of canals that were mostly built around 200 years ago to connect the Mediterranean with the Atlantic so that there would be a trade route that didn’t require making the dangerous trip through the Strait of Gilbraltar and around Spain. The canal tow paths now form a popular 6-day tour from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean that I would like to take some day.
I had plans to do two full-day rides of 50-70 miles per day along this canal path by taking a bike on the train one way and riding back to Toulouse. Really, I did. I even bought a book and brought my bike shoes and clothes. 🙂
However, between web research and visiting some bicycle shops in the city, I could not find any easy way to rent a real road bike. My choices came down to mountain bikes or “city bikes” – big heavy bikes with fat tires. Clearly, I’m not going to do 50 miles on one of those!!
So, today I rented one of those city bikes and set out to explore the area. I headed southwest on the Canal du Midi. It is a great trail for riding – paved, separated from auto traffic, pretty smooth, shaded, nice views, and, most importantly, flat! 🙂