The Loire is marvellous for cycling and May is the start of a great time of year to do it. Jim Budd tells Decanter about his experience.

Ask Decanter: Cycling in the Loire

Simon McIntyre, from Edinburgh, asks: My wife and I are looking to do a gentle cycling holiday in the Loire next year. We’re not wine experts and don’t want anything too challenging in terms of hills or distance. Where would you recommend, and when would be the best time to go?

Jim Budd, for Decanter, replies: Having cycled extensively in the region, I can thoroughly recommend it. The Loire is marvellous for cycling – only Sancerre has challenging hills.

There are many quiet roads through the vineyards, plus white tracks among the vines you can take if you have a hybrid or mountain bike. I’d also suggest the cycle route Loire à Vélo (www.cycling-loire.com), which runs from Nevers to the Atlantic and has lots of shorter local cycle routes too. My advice would be to concentrate on exploring the area between Tours and Saumur, which is particularly beautiful with lots of great wines en route.

The best time to visit is between May and mid-October.

Jim Budd is awine writer and also the Decanter World Wine Awards Regional Chair for the Loire.