Inveterate dabbler in business, travel, gadgets & life

Day 10 Nantes to La Rochelle at 25,259 days old

The Loire in Nantes
The Loire in Nantes

Another brilliant day of cycling South. It was a bit of a nightmare leaving Nantes in the rush hour with its maze of cycle routes, some physical cycle paths and some painted jobs like in Cambridge. I fell of the bike once when my foot I thought was unclipped was actually still clipped in 🙁 bashing my shin in the process. I survived anyway 🙂

Crossing  the Loire I was amazed at how wide it is equally crossing over the peripherique I was equally amazed at how busy the road was! Oh the joys of pedaling on country roads.

It was an over 90 mile day so I tried to keep stoked up, however obviously Wednesday is a national closing day for shops & patisseries, perhaps that is why there were so many cycling groups out today!

Moutiers-sur-le-Lay was having a market day so one patisserie was open 🙂 I loved it when I said I wanted a fromage sandwich sans jambon, she just opened it up and whipped out the slice of ham 🙂

At Marsilly I decided to hand over navigation for the final stretch to the hotel to Google. It proceeded to take ma around field edges across field tracks and through snickets in housing estates but I stuck with it as I discovered the backwaters of La Rochelle.

I was more dismayed passing through huge grain silos and other industrial stuff to find my hotel, The La Jetee Sud and its famed seaviews was right next to them and its seaviews were through the port fencing 🙁 However, the guy who runs it is really friendly and speaks good English. I loved the open plan bedroom/toilet/shower just like I made in Glisson Road all those years ago 🙂

In chatting, he mentioned that Ryanair runs flights to Stansted from the immediately adjacent La Rochelle airport. So I quickly booked a return flight from thursday to tuesday so I could pick up my new iPhone 7  so I could see Sally 🙂 He is willing to look after my bike and bits here so I can continue my trip next wednesday.

All in all a very enjoyable day and my legs seem to be overcoming their stiffness, it will be interesting to see if it returns 🙁 although Sally mentioned a Sportive on Sunday!

Strava says I did 91.8 miles and 1,494 feet of ascent at 12mph – the fastest average for this trip! Interestingly the Strava iPhone app keeps crashing, I think it can’t cope with the Gaia, & gmaps been open all the time! so the data comes from the etrex20 which plods on.

The days photos can be found on dropbox here I would be interested in any feedback about this way of displaying photos.

Day 9 Rennes to Nantes now reached 25,257 days old.

After another good nights sleep on a firm bed I was out on the road at half past eight after my croissant and coffee.

It was amusing to see all the kids walking to school with their duffel coats, hats and scarfs on with me feeling OK in T shirt and shorts :-).Once out of the city, skilfully guided by I met the really thick mist with quite poor visibility and my spectacles getting steamed yp all the time.

A misty start to the day
A misty start to the day

At Chavagne I managed to find a Carrefour open so I could stock up on water and Mars Bars 🙂 By 11 the sun had burnt through and it turned into a lovely day.. The route Strava had worked out for me last night was perfect, not to much traffic at all. Its certainly faster on the road than the towpaths etc. I re-discovered the V2 cycleway at Maure de Bretagne so I thought I would give it a try, but it was a real pain having to zig zag around barriers every 5 minutes so I rejoined my trail at Lieuron.

I discovered the Atlantic trail that runs alongside the Brest to Nantes canal at Blain. However, I was going so well I stuck to the road although I’ve got to be a lot more careful on which way to look first at junctions! and which side of the road to ride 🙁

Orvault cycleway coming into Nantes
Orvault cycleway coming into Nantes

Nantes is a vast town with a maze of trams and cycleways so the last 30 minutes were quite exciting, compared to the UK a set of lights is missing at every junction 🙁

I’m staying at The Grand Hotel de Nantes, Grand is in the name but not inside! I forgot that when gives it a 8.2, it’s only for the location element not anything else. The bike is down in the basement, a first and it will be a struggle bringing it up the spiral staircase tomorrow.

My Etrex says II did  81 miles and 2511 feet of climbing at 11.5mph so thats on Strava

The pics are on Dropbox here

Day 8 St Malo FI Hotel to Rennes on my 25,256 day

Wheres the bikes owner?
Wheres the bikes owner?

I had a really great sleep, rock hard beds suit me I think, Should modify the bed at home with a sheet of plywood as a topper 🙂

At brekkie two English cyclists were complaining at the hills between Rennes and St Malo they didn’t seem to happy when I said they was a canal side path and a old railway line. How nice to be smug sometimes 🙂

I set of to on a route suggested by that avoided the dual carriageway. However when I reached the Parc de la Briantais its gates were firmly locked 🙁 🙁 I followed the track around the humungous wall and slid down to eventually reach the dual carriageway fortunately they drive on the right so I didn’t have to attempt a perilous crossing of one high speed traffic lane.

I was quickly onto the Barage de la Rance and just to see the sheer power of the rising tide going through the turbines was amazing. To think the Severn Estuary barrage could generate 8% or so of UK electricity and we can’t be bothered to build it 🙁 After a bit of side roads I was soon on the old railway line at Pleurtuit and the V2 cycle trail. Excellent riding and at Taden smoothly dropping onto a riverside path. Dinan is truly incredible not only for its ancient buildings but its patisseries 🙂

Canal and path
Canal and path

The route then carried on the Canal d’Ille et Rance. I dropped of at Tinteniac for a bite to eat and started chatting to the young couple next to me. Turns out that they are friends with Paul & Diana in Jersey and he is a pilot too! small world.

Eventually I reached Rennes  a bit parched & hungry as I couldn’t find any shops after Dinan – must try and stock up tomorrow. The Hotel Lorient is OK although it only opens at 5.30pm.

Strava says todays ride was 72 miles with 1,579 feet of climbing. So not quite flat 🙂

The photos should be here

Day 7 – I make it to France with my bike, 25,255 days old.

St Malo lido
St Malo lido

I arrived in St Malo with 15 Belgium Harley Davidsons just before midday, Condor had bought the start time forward by 2 hours because one of the boats engines had failed, apparently they needed to make sure it would catch the  tide to dock in St Malo.

I couldn’t  easily change my booking at the F1 Hotel so I had a whole afternoon to do some sightseeing and checking out a route to get to Spain.

Whilst on the net in my rather dismal room, sans WC (Well for €35 what else do you expect) I happened upon the Cycling Brittany website which described the R2 route from St Malo to Arzal with a convenient gpx file for the first 110km to Rennes, so a decent day’s biking along the canals & rivers. It was quickly added to my Gaia app 🙂

The next find was La Vélodyssée, the 1200km Atlantic cycling route from Roscoff to Hendaye on the Spanish border. My route from St Malo should hit  it at Redon which is only 75km from Rennes. So hopefully, should be a decent route all the way to Spain.

First task tomorrow is working out a route across The Rance Barrage to get across to meet the R2. A task made really easy with the app, although it has a bug which wants you to go around rounabouts the wrong way 🙁

Oldest house
Oldest house

St Malo is well worth a visit. a historic walled town with lovely sands and a busy port importing timber from Russia

The very feeble Strava of 16 miles and 626 feet is here

The pictures are in Dropbox here