Survive France Cycling Challenge anyone?

Just as I am about to reluctantly return to the UK for a while, I thought, [as an incurable optimist], I would share a few of my weirder thoughts with my recently acquired SFN “family”.

I have always been a sports freak [no obvious comments please…too easy a target!!], and living in The Aude [albeit not full-time YET!], and so close to the unbelievably beautiful Canal du Midi, I am keen to put myself through at least one of the following four challenges, preferably NOT alone, but if needs must…!!

[1] Cycle the length of the Canal du Midi, and onwards to Bordeaux following the canal from Toulouse to Bordeaux whatever that “half” is called?

[2] Go in a narrow boat to do the same journey, but not quite to Bordeaux, as being tidal near that city, it can be very dangerous.

[3] Walk the same trail!!

[4] Just so that you know I am not solely obsessed by the Canal du Midi, number 4 is to walk the Pyrenees from the Atlantic to the Med. I know this is one heck of a challenge, and I probably will never achieve this one? Who knows the power of positive thought?

[5] Swim the Canal du Midi…MAYBE NOT!!..let’s stick with the first four challenges shall we…?

These are obviously very easy ambitions for me to put forth on the eve of my return to the UK for an indefinite period, but it has the very real underbelly of an interesting challenge for me personally; definitely NOT this year, but even if it became “The SFN Challenge 2012”, we “nutters” [those members who had time to undertake such madness] chose to undertake maybe one of these “events” in the next year or two, it would be great for me to meet some [several?] SFN members from other areas of France & beyond, whom I would / will otherwise probably never meet, other than as “cyber friends” in the Chat Room…just a thought, and a weird one at that!!

We can but dream…

I feel I am lighting the blue touchpaper and retreating VERY rapidly to the sanctuary of Devon!! In a week’s time when I “Sign In” it probably won’t have a single “hit” on the Blog, but what thew heck!!

Thanks to you all for a very entertaining few weeks in SFN “Chat” et al.

Bye for now!


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There seems to be a lot of interest, and I suggest we nominate a charity (ies). They should have a designated person or persons who can help with co-ordinating a fundraiser. People also could perhaps start “declaring” for which part of the Challenge they are going to attempt so the whole event becomes clearer. Well, that’s my halfpennyworth for now.

I think we need an organiser/co-ordinator, we have enough people to warrant someone taking charge of the whole shebang, any volunteers or at least suggestions as to how we should proceed?



Interested in the GR 10, from the Atlantic to the med, I have a friend who did it last year, so can scrounge all the maps etc etc

If you get to do the coast to coast, I am only interested the high level route, give me a call I will be very interested. Its on my bucket list just need the kick up the back side and someone stupid enough to do it with me. Shouldn’t take too long a couple of mates of mine did it in 2-3 weeks. So if it gets on your planning horizon please give me a call.

I have always been attracted to the Canal du Midi. There seems to be some magic about it.
The contrast between the busy and noisy motorways and the thought of the peaceful canal in a boat, stopping whenever a piece of landscape calls my attention-
I am not as sports oriented as you are, but it is a nice way of doing it as well.

Brilliant idea! I´d certainly be up for doing some cycling with the family who´ll be 8+10 next year - probably the relay idea would work best for us. We´re in Castanet Tolosan, SE Toulouse, just on the canal. We have a large garden, which, building works permitting, we could possibly offer for tents, and we could probably sleep another seven on the floors if we all budged up a bit.
Look forward to seeing how this all develops!

Think it’s great idea and would certainly like to join in for some of it. Already got the book Narrowdog to Carcassone. Having had experience of narrowboating on the Severn am in total agreement that you don’t want to go anywhere near tidal areas!! Done lots of other canals in UK and it’s very relaxing.

It would give more umph to the event if it was for one specific charity perhaps, like Sheila said.

In 2004 we spent our holiday on the Canal du Midi on a narrow boat and had the most amazing time, wouldn’t recommend swimming in it though due to the floating effluent, though some french children did

lol @ Hannah’s comment!

I’m up for a challenge also!!Did a 10k run in Manchester last year & loved it (well, the pint i let myself have at the end i enjoyed anyway!)I’m happy to represent the younger generation!!Haha

Time, energy and health permitting, both Henry and I would love to be involved in some part of this. Not sure about cycling, maybe walking? Have already done a week on a boat and it was quite a wonderful experience. Perhaps we could nominate a charity that helps paraplegics for example? Just a thought.

If we can get enough people involved then there could be a charity angle I reckon

Hi Phil, would it be worth organising some kind of relay event for SFN members? I am not very sportive but have alwayss wanted to cycle a part of the Canal route as we live not far from Moissac.
Time is also a restarint for me but I wouldn’t mind doing something, perhaps to raise funds for charity?
Having a relay would also be a little different and people could so as much or as little as they could achieve.


Thanks Catherine, I’ll let you know when we’re in the area.

Well make sure you drop in in Sept to say hello. We are at the start end so not too much use as an overnight stop but you are more than welcome! Cx

What a great idea. We loved watching Rick Stein’s Canal du Midi by boat series, and have the recipe book to refer to. We also love planning routes (usually for us in our Mini Cooper) and did try to see if we could follow the Canal du Midi by car, but it’s not easy. We are planning our next trip at the moment - a road trip along the Pyrenees from the Atlantic to the Med this Sept for my 40th birthday.

Annie lives in Beziers :wink:
There’s one stop.