Monday 13 June 2016

Racing and Riding

Catching up as Google has provided me with some technical difficulties. Now already 3 days ago we chatted to an American family who had hired a large cruiser and were going through a lock. We several times passed and repassed them trying to claim we were faster. We saw them again the next day when we were having lunch and waved goodbye as they were going back.
Ling says this was a good day as we didn't get lost. We arrived in Agen and I fancied a glass of wine while Ling did the shopping but I was thwarted as the shop was too far away.
Outside the supermarket we were going to lock the bikes and both go in but without saying anything to each other we decided one of us should wait with the bikes.  The reason being there was a very scruffy bloke who may have been under the influence of alcohol or possibly other substances and looked as though he might take anything he could get off our bikes.
The day ended at a budget motel cooking dinner on a picnic bench.
The next day we headed for Auvillar where Ling had stayed while walking. It was a lovely ride but it is an old hill top town so the last part was a hard push uphill.
We decided as the weather was going to be horrible and the gite was very nice we would have a rest day.


Yesterday we finished the lovely Roger Lapebie cycle trail, confusingly called a piste.  (We did a bit more than necessary by going 5km the wrong way from the campsite, so 10km in total wasted.)This was a fully tarmacked trail well away from roads and well signposted.  This then led to a very hilly section in the hottest part of the day.
Today was very exciting, we are now following the Garrone canal and noticed a few kliometres along that the water level was very low and it looked barely navigable although there were boats tied up. We discovered a bit further on that the canal bank with cycle path had collapsed and the canal was draining out down to the nearby river. We were certainly glad not to have been there the day before!
The day continued to be exciting when we cycled passed a group of french cyclists who cheered and applauded us as if we were in the Tour de France, it made us feel very special!
Unfortunately after that the weather took a turn for the worse and there was a heavy thunderstorm. We took shelter near a closed restaurant but the staff preparing for the evening opening took pity on us and let us in for some welcoming hot drinks.

Collapsed Cycle path

Wednesday 8 June 2016

Bordeaux and beyond

We got up in good time and sorted our bags out. The previous day I had noticed that the front mudguard was rubbing on the wheel and thought it just needed a little tweak but no matter what I did to it I couldn't make any difference, so in an act of frustration I took it off and it is now strapped to the rack bag. Ling was feeling the effect of my frustration and general morning grumpyness and set off before me to wait at the bridge at the start. I think she had a long wait as I did my usual city thing and went in the wrong direction.
Once we got started the cycle trail was as good as promised, traffic free and a good surface. We then had a stop when we came across a very elderly man who had come off his bike and hit his head and elbow badly. Previously I had dissed Ling's first aid kit containg a triangular bandage which nobody ever uses but it came to the fore getting wrapped around his head. It was later retrieved bloodied and sweaty after the ambulance arrived.
The route continued to be pleasant and easy to follow but it was exceptionally hot. We decided on a short day and went to a lovely campsite after only 24km as the next one would have been a bit of a stretch.
We splashed out a massive 6 euros for our evening meal -really must try and cut back tomorrow.

Tuesday 7 June 2016


Coast to Coast in France

It's a 4am start for the trip to Gatwick and our flight to Bordeaux. I am doing this trip with my friend Ling. It is her first cycle tour and claims to have never cycled more than 20 miles in a day but in her defence unlike me she has never cycled into a canal or crashed into a perfectly visible barrier using her chin to stop herself. So we should do well between us.
Surviving the 4am start which is a personal achievement though helped by feeding my latte addiction we arrived to a sunny day in Bordeaux.
Awaiting excitedly for our luggage and bikes we find that our chinese laundry bag which contains panniers etc into one bag has ripped open. We don't seem to have lost anything but will need to find another chinese bag. By the time we sorted out the bag we thought we had better get the bikes but were disappointed to find them not there. They arrived at the hostel some 30 hours after we did. It was a good start.
We spent the day on the usual city tourist stuff and today with much more enthusiasm than me for city touring Ling set off on a marathon of bus, tram and ferry tour, we thus parted at lunchtime for me to return to the hostel and sort the bikes out. All went well and there was only minor damage with one rear reflector broken. It was only when I wanted to lock them up did I realise in an act of supreme numtyness I had brought 2 locks one a newly bought very expensive very heavy lock but had managed to leave the keys behind!
One expensive new heavy lock later courtesy of the local cycle shop we are ready to go!