The 1st French centre for gravel & bikepacking introduction courses opened in 2021 in the Vaucluse. Its aim is to make touring holidays with a gravel bike at everyone’s reach, through short introduction stays or days.
GRAVEL & BIKEPACKING: WHAT’S THAT?
For those who haven’t come across this popular activity yet, a gravel is a kind of bike that enables you to cycle without having to worry about the type of ground or surface you’re riding over, it’s a multi-purpose bike that’s perfect for touring in the great outdoors.
Then you also need the keys to the new “bikepacking” way of getting about. It needs a minimum of technical skill, organisation when preparing your bags, and a sharp sense of finding your route thanks to a dedicated app (or even an IGN map to be old-school!).
Facing the Dentelles de Montmirail, 500 metres from the village of Rasteau, the Centre Départemental de Plein Air et de Loisirs has become the first French Gravel and Bikepacking introduction centre, which stems from the Vaucluse Département’s environmental, sporting and educational aims.
THE RASTEAU CENTRE
Several gravel routes for all levels start out from the centre, which combines a broad, coherent service offer with this aim:
A group gîte, with 38 sleeping spaces in double rooms or dormitories (6 maximum),
A catering service with half- or full-board,
The services of a gravel specialist instructor,
Hire of gravel bikes & and baggage equipment that’s suitable (panniers that attach to the frame, handlebars or under the saddle); all bikes are designed and assembled in the Vaucluse, at Méthamis, by MW-cycle, with a local and environmentally-friendly approach,
A secure bike garage and washing space, GPS hire.
They have been designed for everyone, whether beginners or those into physical activities, who would like to try an introduction to gravel bike touring in Provence, or do a more intensive challenging course in the rolling countryside of Vaucluse, between the Dentelles and Mont Ventoux.
For rates and services, please ask the Centre for information.
A la carte and from 2 people:
• Introductory day
• “Introduction to bicycle travel” Holiday
2 days / 1 night (choose and pack your kit, distribute the weight on the bike, self-reliance, preparing an itinerary, using a GPS, bike adjusting/comfort, Bicycle test)
• “Terroir and heritage” Discovery Holiday
3 days / 2 nights
• Sports course & personalised course
5 days / 4 nights
A new itinerary map
A new VTOPO map with gravel itineraries in the département is available. It shows 30 routes for all levels and a major crossing that’s specifically for gravel bikes (English version, €13.50, on sale on the VTOPO website : www.vtopo.fr/carte-gravel-vaucluse.html )