Cycling is a pleasure across the whole south Dordogne and north Lot and Garonne region of south-west France (with the possible exception of the main road along the Dordogne River during the summer months, which you may find too busy). See further down this page for a couple of my personal favourite routes.
Because the roads are quiet, and there are miles of unexplored back roads, this region of south-west France lends itself very well to cycling for visitors. And there are no mountains! There are hills, but these are mostly gentle, or short enough to push your bike up. And plenty of sunflowers to look at on the way...and the pleasures of approaching Chateau Bonaguil or Chateau Biron on your bike will help distract you from the hill you are cycling up...
In the region you could consider either taking an organised cycling holiday, or 'doing it yourself':
There are several companies that offer organised cycling holidays in the Dordogne area of south-west France. The majority operate to the north of the River Dordogne. These holidays have several advantages:
The possible disadvantages are:
Many people enjoy these kind of holidays and they are an excellent way to see the countryside with no stresses of organisation.
If you can't bring your own bikes, many towns will have bike hire centres. Ask in the local tourist office.
If you are driving to your holiday destination it is relatively easy to bring bikes, otherwise they can be hired in many places. Having your own bikes with you gives a great amount of freedom in where you can go and what you can do on your bikes.
Tourist offices will be able to suggest lots of possible cycling routes, mostly on roads but sometimes 'off-road' on tracks etc.
When estimating the time required for a cycle ride, a typical, gentle, touring speed for cycling is 15 km per hour (10mph), and 20kmh is reasonably fast, perhaps the speed you will do if you cycle recreationally from time to time. 25 kmh or more takes quite a bit of effort...but you can always find somewhere nice to stop and rest and enjoy the scenery.
Below I have described two of my favourite routes just to get you started...the directions are given with a Villereal start (because that's where I live!) but can of course be started anywhere on the route.
The main trick is to avoid the larger roads that join the towns in the area - always look on a map for the smaller roads. You will seldom be disappointed.
Personal comment: cycling in south-west France, in the Dordogne and Lot-et-Garonne, is for me the best way to see the scenery and the countryside. The weather is usually perfect for cycling - you might prefer to cycle in the morning in the summer and the afternoon in the spring and autumn, because afternoons in the summer can get a bit warm...with canoeing, my other favourite, it is a perfect way to pass a day.
To learn some tips and tricks to help with your cycling before you set off, Road Bike offers lots of useful information.