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New 'Green' cycling route along the Isere river valley

May 09, 2014

Yesterday could have been like any other day but a couple of events meant it was my best day of the year.

We had heard that a new tarmaced route for cyclists had been opened in St.Nazaire-en-Royans - 9kms from our base and after a bit of investigation found out it went all the way to Romans-sur-Isere - an historical town on the Isere river renowned as the shoe capital of France. It also passed close to the house of the former owners of our house who we are very fond of and who we have kept in touch with. Being a 'fete' - one of many in May, we called them and were invited to lunch, so the day was set. You have to know that this was the first ride Roger and me had done together for many years and it brought back many memories of when we went on cycling holidays in France. It was also to be the longest bike ride I have done for a couple of years, having struggled last year to find the energy to even get on my bike.

So, we headed off to St.Nazaire which is in itself is a lovely place to visit and one of our suggested 'routes'. Having passed the 1896 aqueduct, looking down on the paddle steamer boat being boarded by excited 'day trippers' we continued for another 500m and picked up the bike route. It is not brilliantly sign posted but hopefully that will change after a visit to the 'Office de Tourisme'. Once on it, we were delighted to find it is a clean, fully tarmaced road being used by lots of other cyclists. It was so wonderful to feel the freedom of cycling along a car free road and to see how many other people were using it, particularly the number of women. Along the route there are various picnic stops where friends and families were gathered. You also have the option to cycle to Romans-sur-isere for a lovely lunch and potter in the many shops or to continue even further to Chateauneuf-sur-Isere depending on how fit you feel. The spectacular views of the Vercors mountains with the highest ones still 'snow topped' are awe inspiring and where ever you look there is a vast horizon. It was fun crossing the bridges across the Isere river at various points and we arrived for lunch a little tired (well, I did) and hot, but that didn't matter.

The route back was just as enjoyable, particularly a couple of detours we took to check out some other quiet roads. So, 52kms later, I arrived back at Velo Vercors totally fatigued but totally exhilarated and just so pleased my energy levels are back up there. As for this new route, it will be added to our list of 'suggested routes' for others to discover and enjoy, immediately. Happy cycling ... Teresa

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