The fastest anybody has every cycled the entire Canal Du Midi, from Toulouse to the Bassin de Thau in Marseillan, is 11 hours and 48 minutes. He used a carbon road or gravel bike (not sure from looking at the video). For normal circumstances a road bike is NOT recommended for the Canal Du Midi; a gravel bike on the other hand might be ideal for trying to beat this record. If attempting this record, please note that it is best to do it in winter because you will have the towpath all to yourself!
Below is a translation from an article that appeared in the Depeche newspaper. The original article can be found here: https://www.ladepeche.fr/article/2017/10/14/2665029-bat-record-monde-canal-midi-velo.html
Some dream of moving to Mars, walking on the moon or more modestly flying. This could have been the case of Alexandre Ricaud, who is an engineer at Airbus. This sporty and hyperactive forty year likes challenges. He practices running, mountain biking and trail running.
Four years ago, he had an idea which he announced on his website: to travel the entire Canal Du Midi, from the Ponts-Jumeaux in Toulouse to the Onglous lighthouse in Marseillan, in the Hérault, by the towpath, by bike, without stopping and in less than 12 hours.
"The idea came to me because I cycle the banks of the Canal Du Midi every day to go to work", says Alexandre Ricaud. "The canal is a real bike lane in the heart of our region but is a bit underused."
Cycling 242 kilometers in half a day, even when you are a seasoned athlete, is a challenge. Since 2014, Alexandre Ricaud has failed several times: bad choice of bike or tires, punctures in series, fatigue, attacks of dogs ... He never managed to finish the road in less than twelve hours. Other cyclists, responding to the challenge he had invented, did succeed, the world record being held since last year by two peopole from Toulouse in 11 hours and 46 minutes.
After another failure in mid-September, Alexandre Ricaud rode his carbon bike again on Friday, October 6th 2017. "I left the Ponts-Jumeaux at 5 A.M. because it was imperative that I returned to dinner with friends in the evening at 8 P.M. in Toulouse," he says.
And this time, everything went like clockwork: at 3:48 P.M., less than 11 hours after leaving Toulouse, Alexandre Ricaud touched the Onglous lighthouse in Marseillan, becoming at the same time the new world record holder of the Canal du Midi ... by bike.
A title he barely had time to savor. "I had to take the train at 5 P.M. in Agde to return to Toulouse. My wife was happy that I returned and especially that I'm on time for dinner because she is a little tired of my challenges" he concluded with a smile. Unfortunately for his wife, things are not about to stop: Alexandre Ricaud is already preparing for next spring a new challenge, which he himself imagined. It's a trail in the Pyrenees that he called "The Nightmare Challenge": a whole program ...