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Innovative French start-up offers free water for cyclists

Discarded plastic water bottles have become the bane of route organisers; a startup has come up with a tech-savvy solution

Not all cyclists are inclined to be eco-conscious when they’re cycling at speed Pic: TORWAISTUDIO / Shutterstock

Cycling is thirsty work, even for those quietly pootling along a scenic, well-managed cycle route such as the epic 1,300km-long La Vélodyssée, which stretches the length of France’s Atlantic seaboard from Roscoff to Hendaye.

Route organisers have collaborated with startup Hoali and its #gourdefriendly solution, which serves not only to encourage users to leave single-use bottles at home but also to keep cyclists hydrated once they have drained their own gourde (water bottle).

The idea could not be simpler: cyclists can request a sticker to affix to their water bottle from one of the 59 tourist offices joined up to the ‘Le Passeport La Vélodyssée’ operation (or pre-order online). 

They then scan the QR code found on the sticker and are directed to an interactive map that geolocates drinking water fountains, bars, cafés, and other establishments in the vicinity offering free refreshment for their water bottle.

“It’s an efficient approach that means you can travel light (a single water bottle is all you need, refilled as you go) without having to buy yet another plastic bottle,” said a spokesperson.

You can plot your cycle route at

Related links

What is in the €2bn plan to promote cycling and bike lanes in France?
Cycling in France: Bike festivals and where to cycle this summer
French cycling: France's historical passion for the bicycle

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