Cycling in Provence: Sun-e-Bike Day 1

Today was a perfect day  bicycling in the Luberon. I actually had a blast cycling on a Sun-e-Bike electric bike.  To be honest, it was as much or more fun as a day at Disney World, Provence style!  While I will be the first to say that electric bikes may not be for everyone, after today, I can tell you that they are definitely perfect for exploring hilly areas such as Provence and the Luberon. This technology has the ability to radically change recreational cycling, opening up whole new areas for people of all ages to explore.

The day began with a short walk to the Sun-e-Bike shop in gorgeous Bonnieux.  There we were met by Florian Machayekhi who manages the Bonnieux location for company. Florian is personable, extremely knowledgeable and very sensitive to first-time e-bike riders.  There is definitely a learning curve to riding these e-bikes, fortunately it is well under 5 minutes!  A quick lesson in the details: how to shift, using low gears when going uphill, how to use the three different levels of e-power and you are good to go.  Believe me when I tell you that within 5-10 minutes you will feel like a pro on the Sun-e-Bike!

Bicycling to the town of Lacoste

Bicycling to the town of Lacoste

For today, we opted hill bicycle to a series of hill towns in the Luberon: Lacoste, Menerbes, Maubec and Oppide Le Vieux. There are not enough superlatives to describe the scenery and the adventure of traveling on a Sun-e-Bike. No matter how hard I try to put the experience I words, nothing seems to capture the experience adequately. I found it unbelievable. There’s no question that you still get plenty of exercise cycling, but when you need that extra oomph to get up the hills, the power just magically kicks in. As a matter of fact. Depending on the level of power that you use, it can really kick in!

Approaching Menerbes

The batteries on the Sun-e-Bikes last for just over 30 km, and there are a series of exchange partners located throughout the region.  You simply go to an exchange partner, turn in your old battery and pick up a new one for the rest of your voyage. You can cover a lot of territory with the Sun-e-Bike, so, depending on how early you start, you may need to make one or possibly two exchanges during the day.  Florian will make sure that you know where to exchange batteries, depending on your itinerary for the day.

Entrance to Oppede-le-Vieux

Entrance to Oppede-le-Vieux

Our exchange point for today was the very old village of Oppede-le-Vieux, alone of the prettiest villages I have ever seen.  We made the exchange, had a glass of wine and were on our way!

Vineyards for tasting along the way

Vineyards for tasting along the way

For the Luberon area, there are about 10 possible itineraries, so there are numerous opportunities to explore this fantastic area of France. Tomorrow we will explore the lavender fields enroute to Saignon, then on to Apt and Roussillon, returning to Bonnieux. I can’t wait for another day of e-bicycling!

Returning to Bonnieux

©2013 Experience France by Bike.  All rights reserved.

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. It is refreshing to hear that other countries are more sensible about their laws regarding e-bikes than the U.S. It is a great way to tour the roads and trails and is absolutely not one bit more dangerous or problematic than regular bikes.

    I do not own an e-bike and do 99% of my trail exploring on hybrids, recumbents, tandems & cruisers. But it’s nice to know that electric bikes are an option for hilly routes or for people who may not want to spend their whole vacation pedaling full-force.

    Thanks for shedding light on the option of e-bike touring, Maggie.

    1. Hi Kevin!

      Our experience in the Luberon with the e-bikes has been terrific. I am looking forward to writing more about the experiences as soon as I have the time. You are welcome to use any of the photos. Will also plan to send you additional ones when I get home if you need them.

      Maggie LaCoste

  2. Oh, by the way Maggie, I just wrote a blog-post on PTVshow.com about electric bike rules in Europe. Is it okay if I use one of your photos from today’s blog-post? I will make sure there is a link back to your blog in the post.

  3. […] Cycling in the Luberon can be very challenging, most of it not for recreational cyclists.  That is, unless you are planning on renting electric bikes in Bonnieux from Sun-e-Bike.  This company has opened up the Luberon to recreational bicyclists with their incredible network for exploring this hilly region.  Exploring this region by e-bike is such a great experience that my next e-guide will on exploring the hill towns of Provence on an electric bike!  You can read about my experience cycling in Provence last summer on a Sun-e-Bike at http://experiencefrancebybike.com/bicycling-in-provence-sun-e-bike-day-1/. […]

  4. […] If the terrain of Provence still seems too challenging to you, I highly recommend you consider experiencing this region by electric bike!  Exploring the hill towns of Provence by e-bike several years ago was one of my favorite cycling experiences…..one I will never forget.  You can read about my experience cycling in Provence last summer on a Sun-e-Bike by clicking here. […]