4 days cycling (and in an armchair) on the Canal des Deux-Mers with Myriam and Pierre

Myriam and Pierre, an adventurous disabled couple on the Canal des Deux Mers greenway between Bordeaux and Toulouse.
Myriam and Pierre had long dreamed of exploring part of France by bike, watching the countryside pass by as they turned the wheel and discovering treasures around every bend. They set off on the Canal des Deux-Mers, a greenway linking the Atlantic coast to the Mediterranean, one of the most accessible cycle routes for both able-bodied and disabled cyclists. Using an electric bike for one and an electric wheel attached to their wheelchair for the other, the two disabled adventurers covered 270km between Bordeaux and Toulouse in just 4 days. Here's the story of their journey.

Day 1: Bordeaux - La Réole (77km, approx. 5h30)

The Bordeaux Water Mirror marks the start of our journey. We take the cycle path over the Pont de Pierre to join the greenway that will take us to La Réole.

The first few kilometres will take you through woods, vineyards and fields of sunflowers. The colours are magnificent and it's a complete change of scenery! We have a picnic at the foot of the hill where the ruins of La Sauve-Majeure Abbey are enthroned. You can just imagine it, imposing and majestic, in its heyday.

The road is flat and pleasant, so we take our time and enjoy the gradual warming up of the landscape. With about ten kilometres to go, we left the cycle path to take a departmental road. The effort required on this very hilly stretch is just as demanding as the attention needed to keep up with the speed of the traffic.

After a refreshing dinner in La Réole, we returned to our accommodation on the banks of the Garonne. The atmosphere is peaceful, with the Canal des Deux-Mers just around the corner!

Day 2: La Réole - Sérignac-sur-Garonne (72km, around 5 hours)

A few kilometres after leaving our accommodation, we reach the tranquillity of the canal.

As far as Toulouse, the Canal des Deux-Mers, which alternates between asphalt and fine gravel (a thin layer on hard ground), is fully accessible to wheelchairs. The cycle paths are often lined with barriers to prevent cars from passing, which can be inconvenient for handbikes. We were pleasantly surprised to find very few of these on our route, which was wide enough and spaced far enough apart to allow us to pass with our equipment. We slow down a little when the roots become visible on certain stretches: we don't want to take any risks with Pierre's wheelchair, but the maintenance of the route is generally not a problem.

The leaves of the sycamore trees twirl in the wind before settling gently on the surface of the water. We pass the first set of locks, where we enjoy watching the boats go up and down before continuing our journey. Cycling through the locks is quite steep and can be a challenge for wheelchair users. Don't be afraid to build up a bit of momentum! Electric assistance or a gentle push from your teammates will do the rest!

Halfway through the stage, the Mas-d'Agenais is the ideal place to take a break after the last effort to reach the top of the hill! After a visit to the church of Saint-Vincent to see a painting by Rembrandt (there is a staircase to get into the church), we will have lunch in the shade of the arcades of the market square. Refreshed and recharged, we head back down the hill to the water's edge.

Day 3: Sérignac-sur-Garonne - Moissac (56km, around 3 hours)

After two days of fine weather, it rained on the third day of our journey. But it didn't dampen our spirits and we pushed on as far as we could. Just before Agen, we found shelter to enjoy some oysters in a guinguette. As the rain intensified, we had to make do with taking the train to Moissac.

To get to the station, we took the first canal bridge in France, built in 1839! This structure spans the Garonne for just over 500 metres and facilitated the transport of goods between Bordeaux and Toulouse. Today it is only used by pleasure boats. We end the day in the warmth of our accommodation, hoping to be back on our bikes the next day.

Please note: before boarding a train in a wheelchair, it is important to check that the destination station is accessible. All the information is available on the SNCF website (External link) .

Day 4: Moissac - Toulouse (70km, approx. 4h30)

The sun is back and before leaving Moissac, we visit the abbey church of Saint-Pierre and its magnificent Romanesque cloister, built at the end of the 11th century. We then stop at the market in Place des Récollets to buy food for our picnic. It's time to set off on this last stage.

As we leave Moissac, we cross another canal bridge, this time over the Tarn. Built in 1844 partly of bricks from Toulouse, it takes on reddish tones in the sunlight, contrasting with the dark green of the trees reflected in the water - it's sublime! After the Montech waterfall and its ingenious system for bypassing the cargo locks, we took the opportunity to make a final stop at a small marina to sample the charcuterie and cheeses we'd bought in the morning.

Then we set off, almost alone, at full speed along the plane trees. The closer we got to our destination, the more walkers there were. At the port of l'Embouchure, the Canal des Deux-Mers ends and becomes the Canal du Midi. We return to the hustle and bustle of the city, which we had almost forgotten during these four days in the heart of nature. The Place du Capitole and the Occitan Cross mark the end of our cycling adventure!

We're definitely in love with cycling adventures! These four days on the Canal des Deux-Mers confirm that soft mobility and wheelchairs are not incompatible. It's the ideal way to discover the often unsuspected beauty of France's regions, which are worth more time than a car trip. So when are you off on your next adventure?

Good to know : How do you organise a cycling tour in a wheelchair?

Cycling for a few days is easy to organise for an able-bodied person, thanks to a wide choice of rental companies and accommodation. But if you're in a wheelchair, it's best to plan ahead to avoid any unpleasant surprises!

The most important thing is to find accessible accommodation so that you can rest and recharge your batteries for the next leg of your journey.
You can find all our addresses with accessibility details on our Mapstr map (External link)

Secondly, you need to choose the most suitable equipment for your disability. Pierre opted for a bike that attaches to his chassis. It's equipped with a handlebar and electric assistance to support his efforts. Removable, it reduces the need for transfers during breaks: simply remove it to return to the reduced size and mobility of his wheelchair! On the Canal des Deux-Mers, it's best to bring your own equipment: as far as we know, it's hard to find handbikes for hire! The Locapino website offers tandem bike hire (External link) .

Sailing on the Canal des Deux Mers between the cities of Bordeaux and Toulouse