In addition to any number of castles or palaces, the Loire Valley offers good cycleways, excellent food, superb wine and the beer is better than you would expect. It is an ideal place to enjoy a leisurely cycling holiday. However transporting a bicycle to the start of your trip can be a problem and you may want to spend some time in Europe travelling, but not always on a bicycle. The regional government in Cher has an initiative to encourage bike hire in the Province of Berry (www.berrycyclettes.fr). Bikes can be hired on the Loire in Belleville-sur-Loire. Boullert, Cosne-sur-Loire, Sancerre, Charité-sur-Loire and Cuffy, and away from the Loire at Sainte Montaine, Vierzon and Bourges. The prices are reasonable ranging from 14 Euro a day up to 59 Euro for a week. There are good bike carrying train links along the Loire, so you could cycle down to Nantes and take a train back to your starting point.
Whether the bikes come equipped with a tool kit and a lock is not clear, so it would be worth your while taking a spanner, tyre levers, a puncture repair outfit and a bike lock. If you are wandering round Europe with a rucksack, you don't need to wear the thing when you are cycling, you can lash it to a luggage rack with a bungee. Cycling with a heavy rucksack raises your centre of gravity and can lead to swerves ending in attempt to kiss the asphalt. Not to be recommended.
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