The Velo Piste

In Atlanta, people always ask us if we ride the Silver Comet Trail. We don’t normally ride bike trails because they’re flat and crowded. Here in Provence, there is a sophisticated and pretty far reaching system which appears to be very well-maintained and lightly used.DSCN1795

Luckily, two of the three villas we have rented have been very close to a velo piste (bike trail). This actually wasn’t planned, merely a happy accident. They are usually very well-marked and allow us to start and end many rides safely off of the main roads.

safely away from the cars to the right!
safely away from the cars to the right!

The secondary roads are narrow, often times they are about the same size as the path.

secondary (two-way) road
secondary (two-way) road

The drivers are used to making room (they pull off) for oncoming traffic and cyclists. As a rule they are aware, patient, and give us plenty of room. But you never know – so we take the safer way when it’s available, the views are usually just as good.

bike path near Apt
bike path near Apt

There aren’t many bike trails in the world that cross 2000-year-old bridges.
The Pont Julien was built by the Romans back in the day. Evidently, they build things that last in Provence.

We have found one downside to the Provencal bike paths.  At the crossroads, they become agility tests.

bike path near Comps
bike path near Comps

We see single bikes slow down and sail through the barriers without a problem. On a tandem, the captain must click out of the pedals and walk or scoot (think Fred Flintstone) the bike.

we dismounted for the photos, usually scoot through.
we dismounted for the photos, usually scoot through.

In most cases, I’m still clicked in so Roger’s calf muscles are getting a whole different sort of workout as he propels us through the blockades.


We still haven’t figured out where some of these routes go yet. Most of the roads here are so lightly-travelled that you can get on almost any one of them and be happy, except for the road to Gordes. But that’s a different story.

Coming up: Market day in Apt.

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