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Leisure Cycling Blog

Cycling from Strasbourg to Basel - Part 1

Strasbourg TGV Station

Arriving into the European Parliament city...

Strasbourg is located in eastern France and part of Alsace approximately two hours from Paris by TGV train. The city is famous for being home to a European Parliament and is one of the most important cities in the European Union. Along with the Parliament, there are other important institutions in Strasbourg with a permanent home such as the European Court of Human Rights.

Every month, the European Parliament alternates between Brussels and Strasbourg and the city becomes a place with real political power and buzz.

Another bargain Ryanair flight...

Strasbourg is also popular for tourists and is also in one of France’s most cycle-friendly regions. I have been to Strasbourg before but never rode around. Amazingly despite the school holidays, I found a bargain £4.99 flight with Ryanair from London Stansted, booked a bike locally and decided to go on a cycle tour that went through some of Alsace’s most picturesque areas. I would end the tour in the Swiss city of Basel approximately 250 km away.

Alsace is located in eastern France and historically has been part of both France and Germany. What is interesting about the region is that the architectural styles and food have strong German influences with the German border largely following the course of the nearby river Rhine.

Following the Canal du Rhone au Rhin...

After arriving in Strasbourg city centre from the airport by train, I picked up my bike from a hotel close to the strikingly impressive train station and started riding along the ‘Canal du Rhone au Rhin’ with an aim of getting to Breisach am Rhein in Germany. A distance of about 80 km away from Strasbourg.

Canal du Rhone au Rhin

When I was planning the tour, I was a bit apprehensive about riding along a canal route for such a long period of time. In England, towpaths along waterways are generally of a mixed standard and riding long distances can be a time consuming and bumpy affair. Not in France though...

As soon as I left the city centre, I was guided onto a well signposted, smooth, pan-flat cycle route that ran parallel to the picturesque canal. Compared to riding along canals in Britain, this was a dream and there was even decent pedestrian/cyclist segregation too.

When will this amazing cycle path come to an end...

This is a first-class cycle route and one that went on for dozens of kilometres. In fact, it didn’t seem that the route was ever going to end.

Canal Towpath

Whilst I am not moaning here, having super smooth tarmac and a wonderful cycling experience cannot mask over the fact that sometimes canal towpath riding can be quite monotonous.

The scenery doesn’t change much and the sun is often blocked by a canopy of trees. What didn’t help matters was that I was doing this on Sunday afternoon, in the middle of a heatwave and through a very rural part of France with not one shop open to get a drink.

Thirsty, hot, hungry and tired...

Having slept in the airport direct from working at the RideLondon 2017 Cycle Show, caught an early flight, picked up a bike, got changed in a toilet and hit the road from the city centre, stocking up on supplies before setting off foolishly didn’t come into my mind.

Britain may not have the cycling infrastructure to compete with mainlan