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Bike rides & Leisure cycling

Bikes on trains
Off-road Biking Trails
Safe cycle routes

Cycling is the fastest-growing leisure activity in Europe.

The gentle lowland hills of Nord - Pas-de-Calais make it ideal for cycling. The region has a large and expanding network of safe cycle routes.

Crossing the Channel, you will now find new safe cycle routes into the ports and right through the docks to the ferry at Dover and Calais. Cyclists travel at very cheap foot passenger rates, bikes go free on the ferries. Bikes and their riders are also carried on a special daily shuttles through the tunnel - contact Eurotunnel for times.
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Bikes on trains
The good news is, it's getter much easier to take your bike on a train!
Local trains in Nord-Pas de Calais
Bikes are carried FREE on most local "TER" trains in Nord-Pas de Calais and other regions. Just to check, look for this logo - - in the railway timetables. It's up to you to load and unload your own bike on the train - and there is often no specific place to stow bikes. We tried it, and found it worked OK! - local people (especially students!) seem to quite happily take bikes anywhere on the local trains.

Long-distance trains
You can also take your bike
FREE on specified long-distance trains - otherwise, you have to send it on ahead, and pay for it as 'unaccompanied luggage'. Some long-distance trains have been equipped as "train+velo" - with cycle racks - including only some specifically timetabled trains on the Calais-Boulogne-Amiens-Paris route (look for this logo - - in the railway timetables ). This service is FREE, and (as with the local trains) you are responsible for loading and unloading your own bike.

High Speed trains
Eurostar and TGV trains on the London-Lille-Paris and other routes will only take folding bikes carried inside a cover, so they can go as 'hand luggage'.
see Railways
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Off-road Biking Trails

Val-Joly Nature Park: trails through the wooded hillsides round the lake make an ideal mountain-biking centre

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For those who want to ride their mountain bikes off-road, Nord - Pas de Calais' four nature parks offer attractive signposted trails [see links below].

Nature parks: [with off-road bike trails]
Adomarois - near Saint-Omer
Boulonnais - near Boulogne & 'Entre Deux Caps' area
Parc Val Joly - Avenois Nature Park, near Avesnes
Saint-Amand - Nature Park

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Safe cycle routes

Sign boards give information at the start/finish point for circular bike rides - pick up a leaflet from the tourist office (look for -
"ITINERAIRES CYCLOTOURISTIQUES".) and just follow the signs! (see example below)

Nord - Pas-de-Calais is ideal for cycling, and has a large and expanding network of safe cycle routes. These include signed recommended longer distance A-to-B routes, away from busy roads, that are recommended for cycle touring, and also circular routes for the leisure cyclist, which start and finish at a point where you can park your car or (in some cases) arrive by train. Maps and leaflets include suggestions for places to stop and eat or drink, picnic sites, and interesting places to visit - contact tourist offices for maps and suggested routes.
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"Balades à Vélo" - Discover the Nord's countryside with 36 bike rides, described (in French) in this book with maps, descriptions and places to visit - from bookshops and tourist offices in France.
Try a search on 'bike' on

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This sample bike ride from one of the new leaflets includes a detailed map to help you find the route, with the start/finish point, picnic sites, and other places of interest clearly marked.

Also useful is a diagram showing the height of the land along the route, warning of any steep hills that might deter those who are less fit... and an estimate of how long it will take you to complete the ride.

On a family bike ride, you need places to rest - most children appreciate a target to aim for, and somewhere interesting to 'let off steam'!

Group Booking service
If you want to book a group cycling or walking holiday/short break, there is a new service for the Pas de Calais area (Calais, Boulogne, Le Touquet, Arras, Lens, St.Omer) that will make all the arrangements for you.

The service is open to you whether your group is a school group, a family, a group of friends, a society or association, a works council, a local council; and whether you are looking for sport, culture or adventure.

Examples of programmes

  • for half a day, 2 days, 1 week or more…
  • for one or several hiking activities
  • including accomodation and food
  • including the route and the descriptions of the journey
  • on your own or guided by qualified people
  • with the option of extra services : orientering course, carrying luggage, booking ahead places you want to visit (museum, local products,…)

Examples :

  • A 2 day journey : 1 day mountain biking and 1 day hiking (one night in transit lodging)
  • 1 week journey : from Arras to Boulogne + local products tasting in the "Haut Pays" area (one night in Bed and Breakfast).
  • Canoeing downriver on Canche to Montreuil and way back by horse riding…

Address for bookings:

Cellule Développement de la Randonnée
Maison des sports du Pas-de-Calais
9, rue Jean Bart
62143 ANGRES - France


Places to visit:
When you are in France, look into the nearest tourist office for maps and suggested routes for your bike rides. Back to top

We found useful...
Cycling France -guide
Lonely Planet guide: "Cycling France" - tips for day trips + longer tours
Find out more at AMAZON

Where to stay on your cycle tour:
'Logis de France' bed & breakfast, small hotels;
Youth hostels. Back to top

Related background information
Cycle racing - the Tour de France and other famous races in the region
Sports & outdoor leisure

Tell other visitors about YOUR experiences riding bikes in Nord-Pas de Calais:

...Send in a review..
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A-Z © Copyright 2000-02 Invicta Media Last updated 31st August 2002