Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Mercian goes to France

Being a very late convert to cycling, my experience of touring is limited, and when it comes to cycling abroad, then non-existent.  So, when I received an invite to join a party of Derby Mercury Veterans and Friends on a trip to Normandy I was delighted.

Eighteen of us met up in Derby and York Bike Liners who had made all the travel and accommodation arrangements soon had all our kit loaded onto the coach and trailer

Our trip coincided with the start of the Tour de France and it was our aim to try and watch the Monday Stage which went through Villedieu les Poles, the town where we had our base. But first it was onto Portsnouth and the overnight ferry to Roscoff

before racing down to Hilaire to watch the peleton flash past as can be seen in this short video

The enthusiasm of the local people was a joy to behold and one thing that really struck me was how much more  Cycling Friendly all the drivers were.

To celebrate the visit of Le Tour, Villedieu had put on a street party in the evening

We were there for a week and the group split up into different sections each day as riders were of different abilities and energy levels, but one common theme throughout all the rides was the necessity to try out the local Boulanger and Patisseries

In passing I noticed that the French Letter Boxes were of a similar design to our own with a similar reference system, though they chose a different colour

Stage 1 of Le Tour had started from Mont St Michel and was referred to as a ' flat stage '

Though that would not have been my definition and as I sped along in their tyre tracks it was nice to dream I was actually taking part

The weather was great and for those interested in seeing the scenery then there are a couple of videos

A Trip to Granville and the experience of cycling on cobbles

A Group trip to the Abbe d'Harbye

Being a load of Old Age Pensioners, then all the bikes were traditional with no carbon in sight

But Steel Rules through our Mercians !!

Now for next year..and let us hope that my language skills may improve