Cycling has never been so popular among tourists visiting France, according to Natasha Wright, who runs the bike rental and delivery service Bike Hire Direct with her husband Neville.
She says business has been booming among British tourists, no doubt helped by the fact that the Tour de France was won by Brits in both 2012 and 2013.
(Why not take the Jarnac tour (above) in the Charente Valley?)
But aside from the media attention focused on the sport, families are increasingly looking for inexpensive activities which appeal to all ages.
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Wright, who is a mother of three, says she would much rather take her children on a cycling trip than to a theme park, which can often be expensive.
“People are always looking for better value things to do, and also things to do as a family that children, teenagers and adults can all enjoy.
“You can do a different route every day, and go out in all types of weather.”
Wright also considers cycling to be safer in France than in her native England.
“Since we moved to France, I’ve given my children a lot more freedom outside on their bikes than I would in the UK because it’s safer – cars definitely give cyclists more leeway.”
Although the majority of her customers are English-speaking – including many Americans, Irish, British and Australians – cycling also appeals to many northern European tourists, especially the Norwegians and the Dutch.
Wright says her favourite place to cycle is in the south west of France.
“The south west may not have much to offer to a hardcore racer, but it’s perfect for the average cyclist. You’ve got beaches, fields, vineyards – pretty much everything that people imagine when they think of France.”
Founded in 2006, Bike Hire Direct offers bike rental and delivery in the south-western Charente, Charente-Maritime, Dordogne, Gironde, Deux-Sevres, Vienne, Haute-Vienne, and in the Vendee departments of France. Click here for more information.