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.
The campsite at La Réole, a municipal site, was right next to the Garonne and just along from this brige. The bridge was going to be the site for the feu d'artifice, firework display, for tonight, it being the 14th July.
There weren't a lot of campers at the site, though by the end there was a whole human power contingent. There were 6 cyclist and even a canoist. The canoist was a character, he was going from the Atlantic to the Med following the Garonne, he'd done it the year before following the canal but fancied a bit more of a challenge.
I heard him tell the story of his eating, drinking (je me suis alimenté bien y je me suis hidraté bien...) and fluctuating heart rate to about 3 different sets of people. Really interesting way to travel though, I definitely fancy doing that.
Also met a very helpful woman from Paris who was doing the canal entre deux mers ride who corrected a few of my worse french mistakes. She also, unsuccessfully, tried to explain the difference in pronunciation between brancher and broncher and monter and mentir (je mont and je ment).
This is a view of the campsite taken from the bridge in the previous photo. I decided to take a quick walk into town before the bridge was closed for the firework display at 10.00
I was told the firework display was spectacular, but I was in my tent by 9.30 and really couldn't be bothered to get out of my sleeping bag, get dressed, and have a look. That's probably sad isn't it?
15th July. 90km, avg 15.9km/hr, max 36.1km/hr, 6 hours
The Canal Entre Deux Mers and today I will reach my final destination, Agen. Trouble was it had taken 10 days, with a rest day, and I had 21 days holiday - been going a bit too fast it appears!
So, I meant to slow down but the very good tarmac on the canal meant I just rolled along.
This photo probably sums up what most of the canal is like, roll your mouse over it to see a picture of what the surrounding countryside was like, and, as ever, click to see a larger image.
Probably, if I'm honest, whilst it was beautiful after even a few hours it was starting to get a little boring, after several days...
Of course going along the canal there are various things that happen: you pass other cyclists and pedestrians, you pass boats, you go under bridges and you go over locks. A lot of the bridges are are like this one in both design and material.