Total tour distance: 200 miles
Daily tour distance: 25 miles
Difficulty: 50 / 100
The Isle de Groix is one of the many small islands that bejewel the coast of Brittany. Small enough to have little traffic, no industry and a small population, big enough to support a small town and several villages. As a target for a cycletour it is a magical place. The route isn't difficult, but does involve a short section through Lorient that in summer will be busy enough for us to steer people nervous of traffic, or small children, towards other routes. That said the drivers are generally careful, there are cyclelanes and we take you via a 'rat run' as much as possible. Apart from this the route is as quiet, unspoilt and rural as any of the others - I cycled the route a few years back on the Led Trip and everyone loved it. The route is also quite flexible in that you will pass several campsites en-route as you go South so that if you are feeling 'full-of-beans' you can add an extra day on the island by pressing on.
Day 1 (Sunday, but if you arrive early enough on Saturday you can take a big chunk out of this.) - About 50 kms (30 miles) but with 'bolt holes' on the way. The map shows the route as if you manage to do the first 17kms on Saturday and then stop At Hennebont with a ride onto the island on the Monday - this is what I would do. Below is the alternative for those that cannot ride a little on their arrival day.
Starting on the canal towpath you soon strike off into country lanes that will take you down the Blavet river valley to the market town of Guemene (18 kms and a potential stop for the Saturday?). Then on to the larger town of Plouay, known as the capital of cycling and with a large cycle museum, thence to the campsite by a lake.
Day 2 - 45 kms
Well off to the island - braving Lorient (busy and flattened in the war so not pretty) to get onto the ferry. As you cross over you pass the massive submarine pens (why Lorient was bombed) and usually some of the French navy who have a habit of 'buzzing' the ferry. Thence to the island and your campsite in the heart of the island - this is a special place...
Day 3 and 4
Day 5 - 36 kms
You have to leave sometime so off into the countryside again leaving Lorient far behind. The Campsite at Arzano is rather all-singing-all-dancing, but the pool to dive into after a day in the saddle is a great luxury.
Day 6 - 30 kms
A fairly easy day today and the campsite at Priziac is one of our favourites with it's large lake, bar and the village with restaurants and pizzaria.
Day 7 - 34 kms -
This is Saturday but as it's an easy morning's run (as you are now fighting fit) and the last 6 kms are downhill and on the canal towpath it can be done in under 3 hours quite easily. The alternative, if you are short of time, is to sacrifice one of your days on the island...