French tour 2017 – day 1, 72km
Today I was woken up at 5.45, slowly, by a harp being played through the ferry speakers. Even though we only had small beds in the cabin, we all managed to get a good nights sleep. Although when we left Portsmouth the water looked very rough, once out at sea it was all very smooth, with a perfect lull to send us to sleep.
As we were getting closer to land and went down to the hold and started putting our large panniers on the bikes. There were actually a fair few other cyclists on the ferry, about 15 in total, all trying to reach there own bikes and pack. We didn’t have to wait too long before being whistled at and told to cycle off. I completely forgot that we were in France and headed straight onto the left side of the road…
After passport checks we found ourselves straightaway on the La Velo Francette cycle path. This follows a disused railway line, which we now follow for about 2 days.
Arriving in Caen, we left the other fellows cyclists from the ferry and headed to find some typical fresh bread. We hadn’t quite realised that it was still fairly early so most shops hadn’t received there daily bread! However after buying some much needed water, the bakery van turned up, making our stomachs rumble!
As we cycled out of Caen to find a good breakfast spot, we past lots of different exercise machines in the park. All sorts of hand, arm and leg exercises; the leg press was great to warm up the legs!
We carried on the fairly flat cycle path most of the day, meaning we were only 15 km from our campsite around 1pm. Although the railway by the cycle path was disused, there were lots of ‘Velo Rail’ carts on the track. Basically small carts with pedals on, each seating around 4 people. They looked like they would be able to get up to speed and overtake us, although when they started pedalling, they actually only went around 5km/h!
Clécy was a good place to stop for lunch, although much busier than the cycle path went were on earlier. Similar to the Cheddar Gorge in Somerset, Clécy had rock climbing, cafés, restaurants, kayaking, pedalos and electric boats to hire.
So far the weather in France has been quite changeable, with wind, clouds and also some sun. No rain yet though!
The campsite where we were staying tonight was a small field behind the owners house, who had moved here from England 20 years ago. It turned out that not only had one of the owners grown up in the same county as my mum, but also the same village! They lived down the street, and went to the same school, although he was 5 years older. What we’re the chances of that!?
Once they had finished reminiscing about the olden days, we pitched up our tents and boiled some water. It was only at this point that we realised, as we opened the small milk carton, that we had actually bought some cream instead! Cream tea anybody??