As Shakespeare put it, “this sceptred isle,…, this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England“ is covered by a network of single lane, 15 mph “C” roads that are too small to be used by anyone other than the locals living on them, so they are perfect for cycling. In addition, as populations have increased, the “Sustrans” national bikeways system has been established to link the best of these roads with dedicated bikeways. France is also of course well-known for being a bike-friendly country, and has the same network of small country lanes as well as dedicated cycleways that are generally car-free.
What also makes these countries great for cycle-touring is the high density of quaint villages having pubs with delicious food and beer, tea houses with “creamy scones”, patisseries in France, medieval stone churches and homes, thatched roofs, and friendly coffeehouses and lunch-spots full of friendly people. You are never more than 5 miles from a wonderful rest stop. In addition, every day there’s at least one and usually more historic sites, castles, cathedrals, country manors, or gardens to enjoy. Finally, both these routes are well off the beaten track of American tourists – you’ll be able to enjoy them just like the locals.
Weather – Well, in order for a place to be called a “Garden the England,” there has to be some rain, and the Loire river valley of France is green as well. But the rain is not generally heavy or long, and the temperatures allow comfortable usage of rain gear. The high temperatures for France in June both are about 70-75°F, perfect for cycling.