Each year it seems I attempt grander and more elaborate escapades by bicycle, usually limiting them to one lengthy (for me at least) exploit a year. Such pedalling ways began in 2009 with a Bretagne – Normandie tour on my 2 speed Brompton, followed by London to Paris on 3 gears in 2010 and then trailing in the footsteps of 2011’s Le Tour my own personal Tour de Bretagne in 2011 (see slide show below). This year I thought my travelling quota had been met by the Dunwich Dynamo which would see me done for 2012 as the short summer seconds of sunlight give up and allow the autumnal months’ monsoon march on in. Happily this is not the case.
For what I had not taken into account was that such annual bummels apart from length all have one crucial connection which the Dynamo as lengthy as it was failed to include, namely: France.
Fortunately another French trip looks very much in offing this month, and employment situation allowing, once more I will be crisscrossing my way across our neighbourís land seeking to combine my two great loves of climbing and cycling.
Few things can be more pleasurable than the planning of expeditions, and this one looks to be a corker. With a 270 click route that stretches from Norman Caen to Grez sur Loing situated among the boulders of Fontainebleu, I’m anticipating a gentle 3 day pedal through a country renowned for its friendliness towards two wheeled brethren that will feature some excellent and hearty cuisine along the way too.
Then there is the climbing! Fontainebleau is widely regarded as a paradise for bouldering, and assuming there is at least one dry day in the week I will at last be able to scramble around a bouldering Mecca harboured in the vast forest which lives just south of Paris. Then back on the steel steed and Iíll follow my feet to wherever they may take me in my return to Blighty and whatever awaits me on Anglo shores (hopefully a new job).
At least that is the plan, which will be as anyone who knows me subject to multiple changes right up until the last minute…however in an effort to prevent self from attempting strength sapping distances (in my Tour de Bretagne I attempted on my first day to squeeze St Malo to Plouescat into one day when I had previously thought 3 would be pleasant! I ended up feeling a bit bored around Saint-Breuc and had a crack at the entirety only to collapse in Morlaix), I have thought that I would plan potential campsite visits and bike paths in advance.
First stumbling block encountered though is that I can’t seem to find a one stop shop where I could glean all such useful information about camping and pedalling through France. I turned to the twittersphere but it seems they don’t care for cycling or camping either. Perhaps my loyal readers might have some tips though? I do hope so…
Apart from that, the ride is a go-go. I’ve ordered some mighty fine panniers from Carradice and this coupled with a saddle bag of the same company will mean that on this long haul voyage I can include a pair of trousers (there was no room for luxuries like trousers last time).
One chum has mentioned a likelihood of rain, but according to @AdamBlythe89 “rain is just liquid sunshine” and the man should know being from Sheffield and a newly joined member of the BMC Racing Team, so rain should present no difficulties. The other is the cold, and I’ve succumb to the awesome marketing pressure of Rapha to buy an overpriced but very comfortable merino ‘chapeau’ from them.
Fuelled by good French coffee and some excellent cycling and climbing in the offing, once more I’m ready to roll and wheel out the old Franglais on another little tour – and who could ask for more?