A Copenhagen mother with children

In countries where cycle use is high, such as Germany, Denmark or the Netherlands, utility cyclists form the overwhelming majority of bicycle users. They do not wear any special clothing (except perhaps rain wear), hardly ever ride racing or mountain bikes, and helmets are worn by a small minority. They cycle to work, take their children to kindergarten on their bikes, go shopping on their bikes and also enjoy cycling on holiday with the whole family. 

On holiday, they are not so much looking for adventure as for relaxation, aiming to get from A to B safely with their children. So they look for safe infrastructure. A majority of such cyclists find riding on country roads in mixed traffic pretty unattractive. The roads and paths in the villages must also be made safer for them.  A speed limit for cars can help here.

Bed and bike – Accueil Vélo

Cyclists are usually undemanding guests, but they are cheerful visitors, because after a sunny day on the bike they are in a good mood, hungry and thirsty and just want to eat, drink and sleep well afterwards. From their hotel, guesthouse or restaurant they expect to be able to store their bikes safely and connect them up properly. Pedelec riders want a socket to charge their batteries. They all need air pumps and sometimes some tools for their bike. Hotels and restaurants should definitely provide these. Help can be found at “Accueil Vélo”. 

Accueil Vélo establishments welcome cyclists

From Meyrargues to Salernes, no Accueil Vélo

But if you look at the map in the Var department, you will immediately notice that not a single establishment is registered with Accueil Vélo between Meyrargues and Salernes along the EV8. The closest Accueil Vélo facility is the campsite at La Verdière,  8 kilometres north of the EV8. La Provence Verte and its Acteurs de Tourisme have much to do in this area.

A new wind is blowing in Pontevès

Now, in the village of Pontevès, a new election has just been held and the new mayor has taken up the theme: “In connection with the EV8 cycle path (Cádiz/Athens), which follows the old railway line, we are planning a specific cycle reception facility to become a referenced stopover municipality.” 

A bicycle-friendly policy would also be of great benefit to the villagers. Little by little they could find out how much fun everyday cycling can be and how healthy it is for them. They don’t need any special clothing for it, they just need a sensible bicycle that can carry a bag or basket, and is equipped with a bell and light. Ideal for a hilly landscape is also a pedelec, a bicycle with electric support.

For local citizens as well as visitors, the municipality might wish to consider how to design the village so that there are fewer cars on the road and that they drive more slowly. The D60 up to the village of Pontevès is currently being ridden like a race track, making it very dangerous for families and people on bicycles in general. The small roads that run through the vineyards are also driven far too fast, and it is precisely these roads, with their romance and magnificent views, that are highly attractive to cyclists.

Nothing works without infrastructure

EV8 offers villages like Pontevès a great opportunity. Cycling without the threats posed by car traffic attracts people who like to cycle in a relaxed way. Soon they will be able to visit their families and friends in the neighbouring villages of Varages and Sillans-La-Cascade and beyond without having to use a car.