What is quickly becoming a tradition for the late May bank holiday weekend. I have been cycling in France with 5 other friends. We headed over to St Malo on Thursday, via the overnight ferry from Portsmouth.
Joining our regular group members, Barry, Jeeves and Simon were Jorge and Peeley. So after a few beers, some food and 6 hours sleep. We headed out of Saint-Malo for an 100 mile circular route around this part of Brittany. The route included some stunning beaches and spectacular countryside.
Day 1 route
An evening in Saint-Malo’s walled old town, where we discovered a craft bar for beers, followed by a nice seafood meal and a good night’s sleep. The next day arrived soon and after a hotel breakfast we were on our bikes again, this time heading towards Falaise. This etap was to be the Queens stage of the tour 180+km and almost 2000m of climbing.
This is what Jeeves thought of the stage when we stopped for a quick break mid ride.
The good news was, with the wind coming from the North West, we had a cross tail wind for most of the day making it a relatively easy day. We arrived in Falaise to find that Simon had take a leaf out of Ryanair play book and had booked the hotel a few km’s from the centre of town. This meant that after 350km of cycling, nobody fancied the walk into town. Good news for the day is that the hotel had a bar and restaurant. So even though we didn’t get to sample the delights of Falaise we did get a meal and some beers.
Our sextet were heading for Honfleur. It was Sunday and we were in France. So we took the precaution of getting a few baguettes in Falaise, just in case we couldn’t find an open lunch stop. Here are a few photos I snapped as the lads were sorting the baguettes.
Jeeves turned into the support rider for the day, as he had a pannier and this was the best way to get our lunch in one piece and not some soggy smashed bread and ham. The direct route to Honfleur was a bit short so we took the circular approach and headed east of our target and looped into Honfleur to make up the km’s.
Although it was only 120km stage, we got some rain to make it a bit more difficult, and had our lunch in a delightful bus stop in an commercial estate, sandwiched between a Decathlon and a Peugeot car dealership, (both closed of course). Today we had a few small climbs on roads that would be at home in the Chilterns, this lead to a couple of punctures. Not a big problem, but if you have tubeless clinches tyres and have filled the tyre with sealant, you end up covered in sticky glitter infused gunk. As it was Barry’s tyre he took the brunt of it, but he did make sure that we all got a bit of white/blue much over us.
Next puncture was Jorge’s, he had standard tubes, so it was a simple job, although we still got supervised by a flock of sheep.
The rain cleared up before we made it to Honfleur, but we did have to battle into a headwind for the last 30km. All the riding was taking a toll and any opportunity to have a nap was being taken.
Even in the sparsely furnished hotel reception. Tonight’s hotel was a very basic Ibis-budget. Although it was near the centre of town. Having walked to the harbour we again had a few beers followed by a very average meal. Time to dry out and get set for tomorrow’s ride.
Jorge had his gopro with him and took some nice video and photos over the weekend.
Although it is probably only about 40km from Honfleur to Ouistreham, we of course couldn’t just ride directly there. So we headed Southwest to find some hills and a loop around and through Caen. This was planned after last year’s tour where we found ourselves 150km away from the ferry and a tight deadline to make the time cut. If we had any problems we could just cut this ride short and head for the Ferry. Today started cloudy but improved to see us finish the four days ride is bright sunshine. We stopped for a late lunch in Caen and had our best meal of the long weekend, unfortunately this was not an French restaurant but an Italian one. Now all that was left was the ride along the canal path to the Ferry. I was up for an easy ride to the Ferry, but Barry and Simon had another idea. Still they did easy up and wait for me in the end.
A great weekend away and we are already planning for next years trip.