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.
5th July, Clamecy to Panneçot, 94km, avg 15.3, max 48.3
Started at 5.30am to this beautiful sunny morning. This is just outside the campsite, this bridge just crosses the canal and I turned off left here. It's great starting early, firstly because it's still cool, but also because there are fewer people (though it's not that busy anyway) and you see more wildlife. I'd seen 6 heron, 1 red squirrel, and 2 birds of prey before 8 o' clock!
Sometimes, on early starts, the canal would have a light covering of mist and, except for bird-song, be utterly silent except for the crunch of my wheels on the gravel outside the lock-keepers' houses.
I've a few photos of houses with painted shutters and flowery front gardens. Notice the small well housing and the church steeple in the background, more obvious if you click on the photo to see the bigger version.
The Nivernais is lovely to ride, perhaps even nicer than the Canal Entre Deux Mers, that I'd follow later, it was more open and definitely had more wildlife. The countryside around it was quite varied too, sometimes quite hilly and at other times flatter with wide, expansive views.