From my initial idea, to the books and maps that inspired me, the tools I used to map the itinerary and how I drew my map, you’ll find everything about the route of Mammenn here
If you want to see the details of the route itself and the regions I’ll go through, it’s this way: Mammenn, the route.
The animated map of Mammenn
1/ The initial idea
I started to think about this tour de France as soon as October 2020, so a good year and a half before setting off. At that point it was only a little idea in the back of my mind with some long distance bike routes that I wanted to travel. But more and more I started to imagine a route and to mature the project.
In order to (re)discover France, I wanted both to see the places that I knew and meant a lot to me, such as Alsace and Bretagne. But I also wanted to discover those regions of France that I had never been to and always wanted to visit, for example the Pyrénées and Corsica.
I chose a timeframe of 4 months, the summer ones and I had to make choices, otherwise the trip would have been much longer. For example, I had to give up seeing the Ardennes or the Massif Central that were originally on my list. For this time at least, it will be for the next one!
I also decided to integrate trail running, for several reasons: I love running, it gives me a huge amount of well-being, and didn’t want to give up that for several months. It will also be a nice change from riding my bike and will allow for even slower travel and access to different places.
2/ The inspiration behind the route
One of the first source of inspiration on where I could go, was the France Vélo Tourisme website, which shows all the bike routes of France. I particularly like their interactive map, which is a good way to visualize quickly where all the routes are. The website also proposes a division by stages of each route, with descriptions and allows to calculate your own bike friendly itinerary between 2 points.
In the same spirit but that I discovered more recently, is the AF3V website , showing all the “green ways” of France.
Finally, I also signed up to Facebook groups about cycle touring or travelling in France, to get tips from locals or from people who already travelled the places.
Books and Maps
Since I started imagining this trip, I’ve accumulated and been gifted a number of books and guidebooks. I could then pick what attracted my interest and design my route around it. Or the other way around, look for hikes or bike paths around my planned itinerary. Special mention here for the beautiful hiking guides of the Pyrénées: Haize from Adrien Ballanger..
I also use another great tool, which is the Recto Verso method, by Les Others. It’s a map and a methodology to plan your own micro-adventure in France, as well as a number of example of cycling or hiking trips, from one to several days. The quality is amazing!
The electronics for planning and following my route
Once the route is loosely mapped, it’s time to get to the precise itinerary. For cycling, I use mainly Komoot. Komoot is at the same time a route planning map and a network where you can share your trips. There are a lot of functionalities, you can choose which type of sports you’re doing (road cycling, mountain biking, running, …), see the things you shouldn’t miss around your route, the type of surface (gravel, asphalt, …). With the premium version, you can also see the network of bike roues and hiking paths. I can then export the GPX tracks I’ve created. On the bike I use a computer, the Garmin Edge 530, to follow my itinerary.
For hiking, the reference is Visorando, to find a hike and to get its GPX track. For trail running, I export the route on my watch (a Garmin Fenix 6S).
4/ My Map
A number of people have asked me how I made and then animated my map.
For everything graphic design, I use the software Affinity Designer and a pen tablet. I first drew the background of the map, following the outline of an official map, then added the main places I will go through and the trails I plan to run. Finally I drew the bike part following my projected route.
For animating, I used Photoshop. To be honest, I don’t think this is a the best combo, especially for the animation, but I made do with what I already had and knew how to use.
I hope this article shed some light on how I planned my route for Mammenn and that it might give you the tolls if you want to prepare an adventure of your own. If you have any questions, or suggestions, leave a comment or feel free to contact me!
At l’Île Grande, in 2019, one of my pilgrimage places.