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Auxerre to Agen

Another recumbent bike epic across France.  There seems to be a theme developing, accidentally, but based on European Bike Express' collection points; the last one was B to B (Beaune to Barcelona), this one is A to A.

Having gone down the east of France and over the Massif Central last year this year I thought I'd explore the westerly area a little more.  So, this trip went from Auxerre, followed the Canal du Nivernais to Decize, went west towards Chateauroux and Le Blanc then Poiter, followed La Vienne river skirting Angouleme, Limoge and Perigeux to get to La Reole, finally following the Canal Entre Deux Mers to Toulouse and a bit beyond before returning to Agen for the coach journey home.

About 1,500km in all.

Campsite, Les Tuili�res

My notes for the day say: "Tired, legs like jelly, cycling through treacle". 

I'd bought honey from someone and got into a long conversation about cycling and france with a passerby.  I'd also met a couple who were cycling to the Tormalet in the Pyrenees who I'd meet again cycling along the Canal Entre Deux Mers.

I'd had a very tasty lunch in Montpon Menesterol, puff pastry with fish and then 'paella' though not like I've tasted before - though still tasty.

This campsite was south of there (and doesn't quite show on the map I linked to at the start of today's photos, but does on the next), in a little place called Les Tuilières.  Another lovely site, private this time so a bit more expensive, around 8€ if memory serves.  The downside was that it was next to a road which wasn't busy, but every car that passed did so at great speed.

 

Moules Frites

In the evening there was a communal meal in the campsite.  Moules Frites.  How could I refuse.  I was very lucky with my table neighbours, I'd asked if there was a no-smoking part and they organised that asking everyone who didn't smoke to come to my end of the table.

We had animated and amusing talk all evening and ate moules frites until we could eat no more, they simply brought us more and more until we said stop.  With good bread and a chilled, fruity rosé with it.

 

14th July.  58.4km, avg 10km/hr, max 49.9km/hr

Here is a link to the map for today's ride.

The bike always raised a bark from most dogs, some were afraid and some aggressive, I don't which of those little and large here were, but they certainly made some noise.

Just next door to these two were two of my fellow diners from the night before and they invited me for breakfast.  It already wasn't my earliest start and it was lovely to see them again so I accepted.  Coffee, toast and jam, fruit and good wishes; a smashin' start to the day.

 

Little lanes & more dogs

This little hard packed gravel lane was the start to the day, very nice and peaceful.  Unfortunately, at the end of this lane I turned left instead of right, passing what might be called Sallegourd.  No problem in terms of wayfinding at all but a big problem in terms of dogs, I'll explain.

As I was just starting a shallow descent a large doberman pinscher ran out of a farm driveway, barked a few times and then ran off.  Luckily I'd seen a dog exhibit that sort of behaviour before.  He was actually going to get his bigger and more savage friend.  So I started to pedal as fast as I could.

I was doing about 28km/hr when I passed the driveway and the biggest, blackest, hairiest beast I've ever seen came charging out after me, snarling and drooling.  He was gaining on me and was about level with my elbow, by this time I was going about 30km/hr. 

The dog was too.  And trying to bite.

It wasn't until I got to about 35km/hr that I slowly started to outdistance the beast although he carried on chasing me for some 50 metres before he gave up.

Now for some dogs it's just the bike that freaks them out and if I stop and dismount they calm down, but, in this case, I didn't think that was a good plan.  Thank goodness I had a rolling head start.