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.
There wasn't so much wildlife on the Canal Entre Deux Mer, at least so far, as there had been on the Canal du Nivernais. I'd seen the occasional heron but little else other than chaffinch (pinson), but these were the first swans I'd seen anywhere.
Philipe and his ICE
I rarely see recumbent riders in Newcastle where I live but ended up seeing about 4 in two days on the canal. This was the second, the first guy was riding a very low racer, an Optima Baron. This fellow, Philipe, was very nice and we chatted for quite some time, in English for a change too. We took photos of each other and then rode into Moissac together, what a nice change to actually look down on a fellow cyclist instead of looking up at all the DF (Diamond Frame) riders. Philipe taking a detour to show me where the campsite was.
His trike, an ICE, was very well equiped and he'd done some very big rides on it, one to the North Cape and back. His wife has an ICE too, but the later model with the rear suspension and the curved rear forks.
The campsite was in a great position, right on the banks of the Garonne on one side, and a small canal/river on the other. It was quite large, with some fantastic trees, and most of the emplacements were shaded. It was private, so slightly more expensive, around 9€, and although the people running it were helpful enough, they weren't quite as friendly as some had been, but then perhaps it had just been a long week.
Having put my tent up I decided to walk into town and look for somewhere to eat.
This house was on the way to the bridge and, apart from this very attractive frontage with a very mature wisteria, it also had a huge back garden running down to the banks of the Garonne.