Routes selected especially for gravel riding in Angers, for all tastes and levels

Looking for a gravel biking route around Angers? If so, you have come to the right place. As well as the selection of gravel routes we have suggested below, you will find plenty more great terrain for gravel riding all around Angers. Dozens of kilometres of nature await you just outside the city.

But before you choose your itinerary, find the right gravel bike for you

Let’s first take another look at the technical and highly debated question of what is and isn’t gravel? The topic is vast, but we can try to resume it. Gravel is above all a form of cycling that consists of sport riding on mixed terrain. It is for those who enjoy going fast on a nice smooth tarmac road but, at the same time, are not afraid to adventure off road when the opportunity arises.

Ultimately, you could very well do all of that on a mountain bike or a hybrid bike. So what is really meant by the term gravel bike? Well, it is the optimal bike for precisely the purpose described above. Gravel bikes look very similar to road bikes, but their geometry and components have been designed specifically for use on trails. They have a higher position, wider tyres, more robust transmission systems and disc brakes. Like with road bikes, dropbar handlebars are most common, but you can also find flatbar set ups on gravel bikes.

What makes a good gravel riding route?

It all depends on what you are looking for and how committed you are, or in other words what technical level you can handle on a bike. While some gravel bikers opt to ride mostly on B-roads and a few dirt roads, others prefer to go almost exclusively off road and sometimes along some highly technical trails. Technical experience matters, but it is also a question of what your bike is capable of.

That, though, is one of the major advantages of gravel bikes. They are incredibly versatile. You want to be able to enjoy both Angers’ smooth roads, and the dirt trails around the town. In this respect, our region is ideal. Indeed, Angers and the surrounding area have an extensive network of good gravel riding terrain, from riverside towpaths and steep vineyard slopes to country lanes and forest trails. There are gravel routes for all tastes and levels of rider.

It is important to note that the season will necessarily impact how much you enjoy your gravel route. Autumn and winter can easily turn a gravel route that you enjoyed in summer into an epic and sometimes very muddy adventure. This is something to consider before you head out. However, nothing is impossible with a gravel bike and you simply need to ensure you are well equipped – you may need to adjust your speed, your clothing and even your tyres.

Find the right gravel route around Angers

Whether you go north, east, south or west of Angers, you will find roads and lanes that are ideal for gravel riding. Green ways, towpaths, woodland, country lanes and forest trails all await, with or without climbs. It is to the west and south of Angers that you will find the most exciting and also the most technical gravel routes. Lac de Maine lesiure park is the gateway to these.

To the north and east, you will also find some fun terrain, including some smoother trails and lanes with less of an incline but which are also of interest for gravel riding. The Ardoisières Park, for example, is a superb place for gravel. In any case, whether you are a seasoned cyclist or just new to gravel biking, all of the paths are accessible. And there is no shame in hopping off your bike if things become too technical for you.

Discover the cycle routes in and around Angers, including a dozen suggestions of round-trip or one-way routes. All of these routes can be ridden on a gravel bike without any trouble, which goes without saying given the versatility of gravel bikes. For some routes, you just have to follow the way markings, like those for the long-distance cycle routes that pass through Angers: the Loire à Vélo, Vélo Francette and the Loir Valley by Bike.

Of course, some routes are particularly suited to gravel riding, with a large portion of unpaved roads. Here are two suggestions of gravel routes for independent gravel riders to try. The Angers Rivers one follows the Maine, Mayenne, Sarthe and Loir rivers and the other offers a ride between the Loire and the vineyards. Their relatively long distance – each is around 100 kilometres – makes them suitable for a bikepacking trip over several days.