Cycling Part of Eurovelo 1 ‘The Atlantic Coast Route’

Out for a cycling ride this afternoon, after relocating from Soulac-sur-Mer further south to Hourtin. We first stopped at Hourtin-Plage, where the Eurovelo route goes through, as there was supposed to be an Aire there, but it appeared to have disappeared or been incorporated into a commercial camp site, which was closed for the winter anyway. So we went around the other side of the Lac D’Hourtin-Carcans to Hourtin Port, and found a lovely Aire nestled amongst the pine trees, and only a couple of hundred metres from the edge of the lake.

If you don’t already know, the [Eurovelo]( are a series of cycling routes around Europe, 13 in all, and this is number 1, the longest route that follows the [Atlantic Coast from Norway to Portugal](, passing through Scotland, Ireland, Wales, England, France and Spain for a total of 8,500kms. About 50% of the route is off regular roads, on signed cycle paths, but quite a lot if actually not even on tarmac as far as I can figure out.

[![Beware, there be Quicksands in these parts – Aargh!](×863.jpg “Beware, there be Quicksands in these parts – Aargh!”)]( “Beware, there be Quicksands in these parts – Aargh!”)
Beware, there be Quicksands in these parts - Aargh!

It has to be said, given my experience of France and its attitudes to cycle routes (impressive) I was assuming that whilst this section goes through the pine forests it would be on a road or neatly manicured stretch of tarmac cycle path, but no, this was not quite what it was like. It was a strip of concrete, varying between 18 inches and 3 feet wide and not always completely contiguous, and often covered in sand, pine needles and massive pine cones. In quite a few places, the concrete had deteriorated to the point where it looked like the patio at Fred Wests house, after the forensics had been in.

[![The ECF were kind enough to provide some log jumps too](×863.jpg “The ECF were kind enough to provide some log jumps too”)]( “The ECF were kind enough to provide some log jumps too”)
The ECF were kind enough to provide some log jumps too

So it made for a very entertaining ride down south between the Atlantic and the Lake, although both too far way from the path to be seen or heard. We covered maybe 15 kms like this, and the pictures probably give you an idea of what it was like. The terrain isn’t always flat (after all, you are on reclaimed sand dunes) and so it was interesting having to try and peddle up hill in deep sand. Quite often a swift and abrupt dismount was required as the concrete disintegrated ahead of you leaving vast bunkers of sand. We did compound matters by insisting on carrying on along the route despite the fact that in places it was signed as ‘for walkers only – cycling prohibited’ due to the state of the path. I think the [Rough Stuff Fellowship]( would have been proud – as they say ‘never go out for a walk without your bike!’

[![Looks more like the footings for Hadrians Wall than a cycle path](×863.jpg “Looks more like the footings for Hadrians Wall than a cycle path”)]( “Looks more like the footings for Hadrians Wall than a cycle path”)
Looks more like the footings for Hadrians Wall than a cycle path

Still, another 36 miles in the bag. Mel’s bike seems to have developed a slight binding in the back wheel after the thorough shake down it got today. I need to take a look at the brakes which might be the cause, if not its the hub, but I’d be surprised given that its new.

4 thoughts on “Cycling Part of Eurovelo 1 ‘The Atlantic Coast Route’

  1. Canal du Midi was like this as well, with roots every…10 feet? Bump…bump…bump…but it is ironic that I say this as those trees are now infected and most if not all will be cut down. See it before it’s gone.

  2. Wow, looking up Hourtin-Plage again, I’ve been there! Two years ago, I took East to avoid this very odd looking “trail” and I had 3 flat tires that morning alone. Got up to Carcans, went North on the D3, which has no shoulders, and my last flat tire, at about location 45.13493, -1.04520. Fixed it, biked into town, found a hotel, went to bed.

    Honestly, I find this type of publication irresponsible. There should be a collective effort on cycle tourists to report good parts and bad parts, to consolidate knowledge of out in the field.

    Glad I found this. Great waves on the beach, but holy cow, provide a route if you say so. That can get people into trouble.

    1. Thanks for the reply. It was an interesting ride, and definitely part of the EV1 route, so it seems redundant providing a map. Just take care whilst riding. Plus, this post is two years old, so I think they are likely to have removed the trees by now, if not done something about the state of the track, but it was clearly marked as being not suitable for cycling, we were just being pedantic.

      Have fun cycling!

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