Yes. No. Maybe. Only under the following circumstances…. How could such a simple question be so complicated?
I’ve tried answering this question for the last 3 weeks since returning from France and I still can’t give you a simple yes or no. To help you understand why I’m conflicted, let’s take a look at some photos from the 240 km route from Toulouse to Sete:
The Canal du Midi between Toulouse and Castelnaudery
Canal near Bram, deeply rutted by recent rain
First sign of any kind since leaving Toulouse
Narrowing of road and tall grass close to Carcassonne
Path virtually disappears just outside of Carcassonne
Not quite sure who could bicycle on this
Narrow rutted paths with tall grass past Trebes
Double deeply rutted paths with gorgeous Canal views
Narrowing deeply rutted paths near Marseillette
Canal path near Roubia
Canal path near Paraza
Near La Somail–I walked
Narrowing and degraded Canal path between Le Somail and Capestang
My bike and panniers are wider than the Canal path
Even narrower still with 4-5′ tall grass near Ouveillan
Where to go when traffic is approaching? Jump in the grass!
Wider dirt paths past Beziers
Barriers at Ecluses du Libron required removing everything from bikes on both sides
Only to be treated to another patch of narrow, deeply rutted paths.
Path from Marseillan to Marseillan Plage
New bicycle path from Adge to Sete
With views along the sea
As you can imagine, while bicycling the Canal du Midi, I kept wondering why none of the cycling books that I had read before the trip had done anything to prepare me for the conditions that I found along the way. Could it be that any of their authors had actually cycled the route? Join me for Part II of my review on bicycling the Canal du Midi. Some of my thoughts may surprise you!