Gabriel’s been going on cycling holidays for 10 years. Not bad going when you know that he’s only 11!
Yes, Gabriel’s mum and dad took him on his first long trip when he was just a baby. Of course, he didn’t do any pedalling. He sat snug in a little buggy, towed along behind.
But now Gabriel is often out in front – he’s now on the fifth bike of his cycling career. His little sisters, Alice, 8, and Manon, 5, have joined the family cavalcade – and if Manon gets tired, she can hitch up a tow from Mum or Dad.
The family make one big trip a year, often around France, where they live, but also abroad. They’ve cycled in Denmark and in Germany.
One big advantage of holidays by bike is that you don’t have to cycle all the way there from home. You can put bikes on a train, so you can discover places a long way from home without pedaling too far.
From sea to mountains
The first big trip Gabriel remembers was 8 years ago, when he was just 3. He spent a whole month with his parents, cycling all the way across France, from the Atlantic coast to the border with Switzerland in the Alps mountains.
Can you guess how far they pedaled in 4 weeks? It was 1,350 kilometres – nearly 50 km a day!
One thing that is helping Gabriel’s family – and thousands of other people who are joining the trend for biking holidays – is the European network of long-distance cycling routes. It’s called Eurovelo (vélo is French for bike).
Each Eurovelo route is specially designed to be great for cyclists – keeping them away from cars, and also as flat as possible!
Gabriel and his family followed Eurovelo 6 across France in 2013. The route goes on much further east – all the way through 10 countries to the Black Sea coast of Romania. And Gabriel’s dad, Damien, is thinking of maybe doing more of Eurovelo 6 this summer. Watch out, Austria, here they come!
Gabriel says he loves the freedom of travelling by bike. The family pack all they need into bike bags – panniers – including a tent big enough for five.
“On a bike, you can take the little roads. You see more than when you’re in a car. For example, we saw some really funny birds.”Gabriel
Does that give you an appetite to get out on your bike this spring after we get out of lockdown? Have a look at eurovelo.com and feel inspired about where you can go!
And if you do get on your bike with your family, send us a photo we can share with the WoW! Tribe!