Distance cycled…… 74 miles
So boys how would you sum up today in 3 words? ….. Tarmac, Canal, Shade
Yesterday’s good day saw the boys covering over 80 miles and reaching their next big milestone en route to the Mediterranean, Bordeaux.
This was quite a surprise as they were exhausted after having been kept awake by the party all night, so as you can imagine they were really pleased to have done such a big mileage.
After the lack of sleep in the tent they had the luxury of another night in a hotel and this one was excellent. Right in the centre of Bordeaux the ‘Quality Hotel’ was in a great location just off the cycle route, surrounded by restaurants and above all quiet and comfortable. The staff were also really helpful making sure the boys had somewhere safe to leave their bikes too, so all in all it was a very good night.
Like La Rochelle the boys enjoyed being in the city – there was lots going on and the riverside areas were lovely for an evening walk. After another good meal, which Andy described as being the best so far they had an excellent night’s sleep & were ready to head on again this morning.
After packing up they got back onto the cycle route which went straight through the city centre. The city is very well set-up for cyclists and the trail was well marked and when it went along the side of a main road it was phyaically separated from the cars by a barrier, so they felt safe even though the road was busy.
The trail, then tracked through an industrial estate, before heading out into open country along the Roger Lapébie cycle route, which was just delightful http://www.freewheelingfrance.com/where-to-go/roger-lapebie-bike-path.html
The trail itself was tarmaced and had a surface ‘like a bowling green’, which meant that the bikes (and the boys) were happy. Riding on a smooth surface makes all the difference and even Tom’s rear wheel behaved itself – he’s certainly doing a great job of nursing the bike through.
Today though even Andy had a ‘day off’ with George carrying not only his own panniers but taking the trailer as well and he made light work of carrying such a heavy load as they ticked off the miles, with Andy enjoying the feeling of cycling just a bike again!
By midday they had already covered 35 miles & had done 50 by the time they stopped for lunch. The quality of the track makes such a massive difference and they regret having battled their way along the poor route alongside the Nantes-Brest Canal at the start of the trip, when 50 miles in a day was good!
They’ve decided that if the route deteriorates again they will immediately hop onto the back roads and make their own route up as cycling rough tracks isn’t much fun but more importantly they really don’t want to risk any more damage to the bikes.
After lunch on the ‘Véloroute des 2 Mers’ http://en.canaldes2mersavelo.com/canal-des-2-mers-velo they started cycling alongside a Canal again, but this time on a well made track in the shade of the beautiful Plane trees, for another afternoon of ‘happy cycling’
Cycling alongside the Canal was lovely with lots of other people using the trail & a good number of boats pottering past. The trees kept them out of the worst of the heat from the afternoon sun, which meant they didn’t feel as drained.
It’s clear that the investment that’s been made in the cycling infrastructure here is paying dividends with the number of tourists using the route, all bringing money into the area – it just shows how popular activities like these are.
After a lovely day’s ride they pulled off the trail to the Camping du Lac at Damazan http://www.campingdulac47.com/ – a nice site, which (much to the delight of the boys had wifi!) – although it is the most important expensive site they’ve stayed on so far at 24€ for the night.
So tonight sees them about 90 miles away from Toulouse & there’s a real will for them to get there tomorrow – another huge milestone en route. Hopefully they’ll get a good night’s sleep & be able to hit the trail early…… Let’s hope so anyway!
Until tomorrow .