France Part 1
Three of my bike buddies, aged in the range 50 -70 years asked me in Dec last year if I would like to join them on a cycling trip to France for 15 days starting on the 28th of May 2011. They had based the idea on an organised CTC holiday that runs every year to France but has a limited numbers of participants. We decided to do our trip independently and based our plan on the route and travel arrangements used by the CTC. However we modified our trip to allow for our own stay schedule and daily mileages. One of our group is still working for a living and therefore the trip had to be contained within a 15 day period so that he could return home in time to resume his work. This meant we were not able to fit in a trip that included the full Calais to Montpellier distance. We sat down together for several pre-trip meetings to organise the mileage intervals, stop lengths and hotel booking arrangements. We reckoned that we could handle about a max of 100km per day with a min of 40 taking credit card, panniers and a front bike bag.
The hotels we are staying at are already booked by us and are of the bed and breakfast type. Some are small towny affairs and others are country farmhouse residences that offer patios for outside meals in good weather and the usual labrador dog to clap. This is the schedule:
|France 2011||Date||Dist km|
|St Benoit sur Loire||29th May||71|
|Celon near Argenton sur Creuse||3rd June||100|
|Sansac de Marmiesse||6th June||67|
|St Jean De Vedas||Montpellier||12th June||66|
The total distance will be 1006 km. Some of the terrain will be very hilly and I have yet to identify precisely where but I know it is going to include long tortuous road work in boiling heat. I hope!...typical Scotsman. At the outset of the plan one of the experienced tourists in the group asked me what bike I was going to take. I replied my usual general purpose racing bike, the one with the steel frame!... strength for the panniers you see! "Well you'll need a bit of strength to push the gears you have on it" he replied. "Whadya mean" said I...."I have a road triple on it!" "The gears on your road bike are far too high for touring in France" he said. "What you'll need is a chainwheel with less teeth than your biggest rear sprocket for this trip and that's no mistake".
I thought about this dilemma at great length and......................................(continued in Part 2)