by Peter Saborowsky
I have been a serious cyclist most of my life. Almost 30 years ago I started cycling in South Western France. It's an idyllic region beginning on Atlantic beaches, winding through the Basque country, and climbing into the Pyrenees.
The area's lovely weather, famous sights, and varied terrains make cycling an inspirational affair. It was when I saw professional cyclists and national teams vacationing and training in this same area that I realized just how much magnificent scenery and enjoyable roads can improve one's competitive advantage.
People come to my area in France to improve their health, to reach personal goals, and to help them train to win difficult competitions. Cycling through a tranquil forest, riding beside spectacular mountains, and working through a challenging climb can all add greatly to a cyclist's experience.
All too often we traverse the same roads, see the same sights, and it all soon becomes monotonous drudgery. That is when your enjoyment of cycling and progress in the sport starts to slow or even slide.
The lesson in all this is to give your cycling regimen some excitement no matter who you are or where you live.
Adding interest to your cycling routine
1. Take a different route. Your next holiday would make a perfect time to pack up your bicycle and head to a nearby area with interesting scenery, better weather, or enjoyable roads.
2. Plan a training vacation. Many regions have affordable training camps and guided tours that add greatly to your enjoyment of cycling. It doesn't matter if you're a young person determined to compete or someone over forty who wants to keep his or her health in top form.
3. Consider a cycling adventure: just pack up your bike and passport and come to Aquitaine. No other country has stronger cycling traditions and more advantageous conditions for cyclists as France.
Cycling in south-west France and the Pyrenees
Here in southern France the weather is more favourable than many parts of Europe. Cycling can be carried out most of the year and the special conditions make this an inviting destination for cyclists from the U.K., the United States, and other parts.
Are you a rower who also cycles? I'm seeing more and more rowers who embrace cycling. Both activities give you a big lift in cardiovascular capacity. Many rowers who compete make cycling a regular part of their training regimen.
Cycling here takes you through inspiring scenic vistas from forest to mountains to expanding meadows; yet after 30 years here, completely unexpected views still surprise me around the next bend in the road.
Recently television has been featuring new cycling machines that scroll the rider through projected landscapes taken from Google Earth. That's all fine if you can't leave your home, but cyclists everywhere deserve something more.
Give your cycling experience a huge boost by paying attention to your surroundings. Give yourself an experience vacation with an inspirational ride. You will find you have new enthusiasm for the sport. You will become fatigued less easily and you will be ready to accomplish the next challenge you have set for yourself.
Mountain passes such as Pourtalet, Aubisque, Soulor and Peyresourde, which are famous from the “Tour de France”, are in this very vicinity.
Peter Saborowsky is founder of Cycle Training France at www.CycleTrainingFrance.com. His training camps and guided tours pass through spectacular South Western France while staying at quaint Villa Souvenir near the Basque country.