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.
24th July. 49.5km, avg 14.9km/hr, max 57.2km/hr
Another nice day ride. Started with a ride to Buzet sur Baïse where I bought some pain aux raisins, some paté and some cherries. I ate the breakfast pain aux raisins behind this church. It seemed small to have flying buttresses, which is why I took the photo.
I then went via Damazan to Aiguillon on lots of tiny back roads. So nice to be free of the canal again.
The town on the south of the Garonne, where the bridge crosses over to Aiguillon, is called St Leger, and on a little track leading to the foot of the bridge I came across this pair who said a noisy hello.
Their noise made a couple of neighbours, who were already curious about the strange bike, come out for a chat. The usual chat in a way, though none the less enjoyable for all that: where was I from, what was the bike like, did I mind travelling alone, etc.
They pointed me to a restaurant next to the church they said was good.
I decided to stay north of the Garonne and get back to Port Saint Marie via the hills above the Garonne Valley. Once again they were very, very steep and I ended up having to push for the second time. I could at least see more this time, no rain, just a smattering of clouds.
Once the climb was over though it was very nice long ridge ride and then a big descent into town. Along the ridge I met a guy on his mobility scooter tootling along. It turned out he'd had a motorcycle accident and had lost the use of his legs, he was slightly speech impaired too but marginally so, and he was very good fun to talk to. He'd read similar books and said goodbye with 'see you later aligator' to which, naturally enough, I replied, 'in a while crocodile'.