05 July 2012 by Jessica Boston and Roger Nicholls
Motorbike Tours in Brittany
Roger Nicholls has been motorbiking in France for over 30 years and has made his love of biking the open roads of Brittany into a business by providing three gites on his property in Lanvrivain, at the heart of rural Brittany.
Motorbikes – a passion and a business
The properties are ideal as a base for bikers looking to explore the region and offer much more than just accommodation. Roger also has a fully equipped bike workshop and his wife Linda, an experienced physiotherapist, has set up a massage studio to treat any aches and pains caused by a long day in the saddle.
It’s a perfect choice for groups travelling together, and if you are travelling alone you’ll find you quickly make friends with other like-minded guests as you enjoy a BBQ or crepe night under the stars.
“Biking is a great leveller” says Roger. “We get people from all walks of life here from bin men to millionaires, artists and everyone in between, there’s a real sense of comradery between motorbike enthusiasts and whatever your bike, whatever your background, we are all equals here having a beer in the workshop and comparing stories”.
Bike tours exploring Brittany
Roger often takes groups out on tours exploring Brittany and the surrounding regions; the Loire is only two and a half hours away. He frequents various routes offering different levels of challenge, scenery and refreshment stops to choose from.
Groups can be up to 12 bikes so sometimes keeping together is a challenge – as Roger found with one of his previous groups:
“We have such a laugh when some of the older boys come over!
I had a group of 12 last year ranging up to age 74 and between numerous toilet breaks, people wandering off to get oil and abandoning bikes at petrol stations and losing half the party when they went the wrong way at a large road island – it’s a miracle we all got back to the gites together, but it’s all part of the fun.
Never a dull moment and makes for a great evening dissecting why, how, what and who went awry!”
Planning routes & managing expectations
“People don’t realize how big France really is” Roger remarks. “Brittany alone is about the size of the whole of Belgium and getting here, especially from further ports like Calais, can take longer than expected”.
Make sure you don’t underestimate the time it will take to reach your destination and be sure to schedule in enough petrol stations and refreshment breaks along your chosen route.
You’re never too old…
Roger welcomes bikers of all ages and feels you’re never too old to enjoy the biking life.
“It’s just about matching routes with ability, once a biker, always a biker, you never lose the spirit. I get chaps coming out with their bikes well into their 70s and even 80s.
My mechanic friend Jim comes every year to help out and he’s 74 now, he’s even brought his late 90 year old mother before and she’s been out in a sidecar with him!”
Roger has about several different bikes at his workshop including Russian sidecar outfits and a two-stroke motorbike and sidecar that was once used to patrol the Berlin wall.
“People love to try out the sidecars on the green lanes in our area, it’s a very different thing to driving a motorbike alone and it’s quite easy to end up in the ditch if you’re not used to it” says Roger, “I love them though and so do my dogs, it’s the only way to travel!”
If you love riding motorbikes, you’ll love it even more in France: quiet roads, gorgeous scenery, welcoming people and delicious food. Make new friends, experience new challenges and find a new way to combine a great holiday with your favourite hobby – you’ll be coming back year after year!
One of Roger’s recommended rides:
This is a 200km ride through the centre of Brittany from Plestin les Greves in the north to Huelgoat on the South Coast.
The scenery feels a little like Cornwall used to be in the 1950s with roads that wind through the hills and along the peninsula to Chateaulin on the river Aulne. There is a magnificent view of the city of Brest and the submarine pens from the north side of the Crozon Peninsula.
There is hardly any traffic about so it’s a lovely relaxed route and there are a choice of excellent Routier restaurants offering four course menus of local specialities for around €11 a head.
We’d love to hear about your own experiences of motorcycling in France and if you have any questions for Roger just post your comments below. Don’t miss out on our “Tips for Motorcycle Holidays in France” article for more great insight from Roger. For more information, visit Roger’s motorbike tours website.