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Cycling and cycling holidays are very popular throughout the whole of the Dordogne region.
The hills are generally not too scary - occasionally a little longer than you might wish, but easily avoided if you prefer. In any case the scenery that you will cycle passed on the way will successfully distract you from the hills. You will frequently have one of the Dordogne regions famous '1001 chateaux' in sight to keep you motivated as you cycle quietly passed...
You could consider either taking an organised cycling holiday in the Dordogne, or 'doing it yourself' by hiring a bike locally:
There are many companies that offer organised cycling holidays in the Dordogne area, most focussing on the region to the north of the River Dordogne, and the area along the river itself. There are a few reasons why you might choose this kind of holiday.
- you will stay somewhere different each night, probably in a small hotel
- meals will often be arranged for you
- your baggage will be transported for you
- there will be backup support if your bike has a problem
- chance to meet new people with shared interests
The possible disadvantages are:
- the set itinerary may not be as challenging as you would like (or may be too challenging) - the daily distances covered are often quite small
- the itinerary may not be flexible in the event of bad weather
- you may not like the people you are touring with
- the cost
Overall, organised cycling holidays are very popular, and provide a good way to admire the scenery without worrying too much about getting a puncture or carrying all your clothes with you.
'Do it yourself' cycling holidays in the Dordogne
For those who are driving to their holiday destination, it is often practical to bring bikes. Alternatively most towns have cycle hire shops.
Having your own bikes with you gives a great amount of freedom in where you can go and what you can achieve. The downside is that you may be based in one central location, and need to drive to a start point or find routes starting from your accommodation.
Tourist offices will be happy to suggest lots of possible cycling routes and provide maps - the focus in France will usually be on road cycling but most towns will also have VTT / off-road cycling nearby as well. You won't go far wrong if you simply follow roads on a map and keep going...you will never get too lost, however hard you try, and you will have more entertainment in the attempt.
You could also study the routes followed by 'organised cycling holidays' even if you do not plan to book one of these holidays yourself, to gain some ideas for good cycling routes and circuits.
Dogs can be an occasional issue, although not often. Best advice? Get off and walk, or speed up, or shout at the dog - 'coucher', or 'allez, dans la maison' in a very loud voice seem most effective.