A Breath of Fresh Air

How I'm getting back out into the countryside whilst living with MS

La Piste Cyclable d’Annecy

Lake Annecy from Bout du Lac

Lake Annecy from Bout du Lac

We’ve just got back from our holidays by Lake Annecy in the French Alps. We seem to keep gravitating towards hills! The thing about Lake Annecy, though, is that there is a wonderful cycle path that runs the entire length of the lake along an old railway line.

We hired a tandem – it’s become a holiday essential now! Due to cost (it seems to be much more expensive there than other places we’ve been) and to manage fatigue, we hired one twice for a couple of days at a time. We went to Coup de Pompe ( http://www.coup-de-pompe.fr/) which is also a cafe (a plus!) and sits right on the cycle path, at Bredannaz.

 Coup de Pompe cafe and cycle hire

Coup de Pompe cafe and cycle hire

I immediately noticed the difference using the hired tandem compared with our own, with Pete’s wonderful adjustments. I really appreciated them all the more when they weren’t there! Suddenly my legs were going round in full circles instead of mini ones without the adjusted crank shaft – much more tiring! Also, an unexpected difficulty was that my foot kept slipping off the pedal and I struggled to get it back on. Fortunately, the simple addition of a string loop on the pedal kept my foot in place – magic!

More string was also useful for keeping my stick secure on the bike, and a last piece was used to tie our bag to the seat post. Have string, will travel! Very chic we looked!

the stick holder

the stick holder

We were based at the southern, quieter, end of the lake,  where both lake and valley fatten out. Sailing boats cut across the water, whilst dots of paragliders sweep the sky. You can head north up the lake, or south into the alpine valley and its peaceful hamlets.

essential siesta

essential siesta

There are plenty of villages if you head north so you can do a few kilometres, stop and admire the view, watch the world go by from a cafe, then head on or back as you wish. Even in the heat (and it did get a bit extreme for a few days) there’s a breeze from your own movement – better than walking!

cycle tunnel at Duignt

cycle tunnel at Duignt

You go through a tunnel near Duignt – and it really is impossible to pass through it without making train noises! If you travel north along it in the early evening just after sunset you can even cycle through the hillside back into the warmth, where the sun has yet to set.

rock climbers by the tunnel

rock climbers by the tunnel

The north side of the tunnel makes an excellent stopping point for a number of reasons: there’s a lovely view of the lake through pretty rooftops, it has a water pump and, best of all, a rock climbing wall, so you can watch other people doing crazy things whilst you rest.

cycle path at Duignt

cycle path at Duignt

All manner of people use the cycle path, from those who look like they are looking for the Tour de France with their aerodynamic gear, to those enjoying a gentle ride along a beautiful path (like us); there were roller bladers, recumbent cyclists, a wheelchair user, lots of families with a variety of contraptions for carrying their children, and we counted four other tandems in one day!

If you search for cycle information of this area it brings up many steep climbs up lots of exciting cols. Ignore them! What you need is a gentle cycle ride along the lake shore!IMG_0658


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7 thoughts on “La Piste Cyclable d’Annecy

  1. Christine on said:

    Just read your blog. Sounds great. It almost makes me feel that I could manage it! Enjoy your peaceful evening.

    Love Mum x


  2. Looks so lovely Mary. Thank goodness for string is all I can say!

  3. Wendy Lennon on said:

    Same at Lac Leman (Geneva)…in fact wherever there is a lake (or river) there is usually a good cycle path – although I did try the one along the Dranse some years ago and ended up splattered in a pile of mud (which at least was a soft landing!) – it could have been worse; could have ended up in the river or impaled on a tree stump!! Lake Montriond is another wonderful destination in the French Alps. Thonon and Evian are good at Lac Leman. Unfortunately I am now in a wheelchair full-time but I always say, in the villages, I can go wherever the skiers and the bikes go – except up the mountains! but it’s best to think about what I can do, not what I can’t do. Love Annecy too. Love that whole area. Great to read your article.

    • We’re only just getting into this whole cycle path thing so it’s great to have these other suggestions, thank you! Especially around sunny French Lakes. The whole tandem experience is giving me a new lease of life and even simply imagining and hopefully planning other such trips helps. I’m glad you’re able to follow the cyclists and skiers with your own wheels!

      • Wendy Lennon on said:

        We’ve had a place in Portes Du Soleil’ – between Mozine and Thonon, since my skiing days, and if I was fit and well would move there in a flash, but we enjoy it there as often as we can now….the air is sooo good! It’s a wonderful part of the world, so glad you enjoyed it. It’s frustrating I never got on with the tandem – it was a balance thing, and a not being in control thing.

      • I can just picture it now – and smell the air! I do feel pleased that I can balance sufficiently to be on the back of the bike – I have schooled myself to deal with the lack of control!

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