A Bicyclist’s Worst Nightmare: Stairs at the End of the Day!

By Maggie LaCoste

Most recreational cyclists  don’t spend six months getting ready for an overseas biking trip. Other than running and playing tennis, I really don’t do much if any bicycling before a trip, mainly because I won’t bike on our local streets and highways because they are not really that safe for cyclists.  So the first few days of bicycling anywhere from 40 to 60 km can be a bit of an adjustment, to say the least!

I love the total sense of accomplishment that you feel when you finally arrive at your destination for the night and know that a nice long shower and dinner await you.  You unpack your panniers, water and handlebar bag from your bike and proceed to check into your B & B or hotel.  The receptionist hands you your key and offers to show you to your room.  You eagerly follow, weighed down by your panniers, happy to know that you are close to the comfort of your room for the night. And then you see the stairs, an almost endless uphill flight.  Your legs and knees ache as you climb the stairs, weighed down by your panniers, all the time, cursing the fact that you didn’t travel a bit lighter.  Oh, and did I mention that the stairs were barely two feet wide?  You gasp for air as the receptionist asks if you are OK, not wanting him or her to think you unfit.  Finally you make it to the top of the stairs, you enter your room, and with any luck, you say that the climb was more than worth it.

Stairs may be a temporary enemy of yours when you are bicycling in France, but the payoff is often spectacular views.  And they definitely add to the list of funny stories that you remember long after your trip has ended.  Here are the stairs from some of our overnight stays this summer on the Loire!  Seeing these pictures brings back very fond memories of my days adventuring along the Loire.

La Sansonniere in St-George-des-Sept-Voies

Hotel Le Bussey in Montsoreau

Hotel Diderot in Chinon

Hotel Diderot stairs to third floor

La Rocheliere in Vouvray

Hotel du Centre in Chitenay

Stairs in Orleans

L’Ange est Reveur in Langeais

Posted by Maggie LaCoste

I love the adventure and unpredictability of experiencing France by bike. Cycling in France is the ultimate slow travel adventure, an opportunity to see it through the back door in a way few tourists experience. One week on a bike in France and life takes on a different meaning! I created Experience France By Bike to inspire recreational cyclists to visit France the slow way....by bike, and to be the best source of information for planning the perfect bicycling adventure. I encourage readers to embrace the uncertainty of the road ahead and to take the path less traveled, exploring roads, towns and villages that you would never experience traveling by car.

  1. While I don’t bike, I can relate to stairs when in Europe. B & B’s are wonderful but most don’t come with elevators so it is up the stairs with all your ‘stuff’ with you! Then you run into them again if you’re traveling by train. You’re right, you get tired just looking at them!

    1. Hi Debbie!

      Stairs are definitely part of the French Experience! But as a bicyclist, they sometimes can bring tears to my eyes at the end of the day!