Arrivee en Dieppe

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Nearly there

We are nearly done and unfortunately so are England. The owner of the Logis hotel we are staying in kindly set us up in our own private dining room with a tv so we could watch, eat and drink at the same time – who said men couldn’t multi task. However they couldn’t manage it but not a bad campaign. Back to cycling, we heading for Forge les Eaux which was a 42 mile ride with some potential hills so once again an early start. The day was dominated by mechanical issues once again. Mike had a broken spoke and a split tyre and Paul had a bulging tyre. We managed to make it at reduced speeds and luckily found a bike shop who did the necessary repairs. Looking back quite a different trip in many ways to our southbound route. The main reason being the heat. We  underestimated just how hot it could get and it dominated the first 7 – 10 days. However we worked together, planned our route accordingly and here we nearly are. A very satisfying trip with two truly great guys, I wouldn’t want to do this kind of trip with anyone else. Thanks to Paul and Cycleshack for their generous sponsorship of the trip and to all you followers for your support and comments. Richard 

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Dreux to Val de Veuil just south of Rouen.

Well we are nearly home. Just two more days of cycling and we will be back, one day ahead of schedule. Today was 53 miles yet felt like half that compared with much shorter trips some two weeks ago when we were less fit and riding in the much higher temperatures. Today incorporated some really nice Voie Verts which tend to be flat and obviously traffic free. The other “Tour de France” will shortly be repeating parts of

our route over the last couple of days and understandably we have had quite a few comments comparing us with Le Tour as we have pedalled swiftly down the newly laid tarmac that the real Tour enjoys! Today was once again following a river valley, this time the Eure which helpfully runs north to south and keeps the hill climbs to a minimum. Thinking back and I have realised that this has very much been a ride of the waterways of France. Despite a somewhat haphazard planning approach it has worked out rather well. A pint on our kitty for the first one to correctly list each waterway we have ridden along this last two and a bit weeks.  Just a quick update on the Heathens! I am pleased to report that their transformation is nearly complete. They are showing amazing levels of interest in the churches and cathedrals and other buildings of architectural and historic interest. Nearly there boys please maintain the progress! France have just won through to the World Cup final and we were obviously supporting them given that we were surrounded by 100 plus enthusiastic French people. Having been identified however  as Les Anglais we all agreed a France v England final would be the best final. RD is snoring again must be time to sign off! On to Forge les Eaux tomorrow! A demain! Bendy.

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Dreux (Monday)

Mike here.  Small update from me. Ric Dic just ‘posted’ from yesterday and not much to add from today.

Lenghty breakfast in Chartres this morning as we knew that 35 miles would give us an easy day.  Very good breakfast with lots of sandwich-making going on and stuffing of pockets with cheese, ham and cakes! Actually was quite useful as we have found many small villages literally have no coffee shops or places to buy en route. Strong headwinds at times wereECD80824-6FE4-421D-AAFB-0D17341037BF a pain but kept us cooler than we have been. A leisurely ride got us to Dreux by mid afternoon. Hotel is basic but shower is good and sheets clean.

Big push tomorrow (50 miles) so early start and hopefully will finish just south east of Rouen. We really are close now x

 

 

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Orleans (Sunday morning)

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We had an early breakfast with the lovely Sarah and were on the road by 8.15 heading for Chartres a 55 mile ride.  And a good ride it was, fairly flat, not too much wind and a few clouds to give us occasional respite from the sun.  No navigation problems, one straight road almost door to door.  It’s harvest time so plenty going on,  massive wheat fields being brought in often with two big combine harvesters working together. We arrive in Chartres at 2.00 and two cold beers later were starting our anti heathen lesson from Bendy , the Cathedral! I have to say it was pretty impressive, I struggle with the massive excess of it all but you can’t deny the magnificence of it from the sheer size to the stain glass windows. They are currently carrying a big clean and refurbishment on the interior at some massive expense I am sure. One of the attached photos shows a column on the right clean and the area behind not, quite amazing. It must of been a dull old space before! Then to our hotel a Logis on the outskirts of town but unfortunately the restaurant was closed so we ate in a Del Arte Italian next door. Can’t describe how bad it was, almost comical, made Faulty Towers look like the Ritz when it came to service. Very poor food from my point of view although Mike and Bendy said theirs was ok. Anyway enough of that, for me it was a bad food day as getting off my bike at a picnic spot for lunch I put my foot in a big pile of soft dog poo so spent most of the break cleaning it up. As a dog owner that makes my blood boil!!!  Not far to go now and for Bendy and I the thought of a decent pint of ale is drivings us on – Hop Head all round on Friday evening!! (It’s an ale for you heathens!) Richard.

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Blois to Orleans along the beautiful Loire. What a great day.

Bendys turn again! Well where do I start. Blois is another stunning French town and the Saturday morning market set us up with a kilo of cherries to chomp on along the Eurovelo Roue De Val de Loire which is a well marked route, mainly off road, quite closely following the course of the river. Probably the flattest ride so far it was still 44 miles mainly into the wind and upstream (which means slightly uphill!) but as Mike said we are a team and we take it in turns to lead and take the wind so the followers can relax a bit. With this blog there are some pics of the great views of the river et ses Château! So on to Orleans which is normally one of those cities you go past on the A10. Well it is just stunning and I honestly believe it is so beautiful that it has helped to convert the heathens to non heathen status! The Cathedrale de Sainte Croix D’Orleans is simply amazing and we ALL walked around the outside and inside and marvelled at the architecture, the stained glass windows and many other beautiful artefacts, also a rather touching tribute to American soldiers of both World Wars. Converting the heathens remains work in progress but progress is undoubtedly being made. But the best is yet to come. Readers of our 2014 trip blog will recall our brief sojourn in the  champagne region with the gorgeous Sarah Gallipaud, Mike’s sister. Well by a bit of scheming she and I conjured up a super surprise for Mike and RickDick. We arrived at our hotel and there she was. She had made a special journey down here to be with us for the evening. What a star she is! She was also happy to sit and watch England thrash Sweden. For me one of the best meals of our trip rounded off a really great day. Chartres tomorrow and a bit more heathen training! Onwards and upwards! Bendy xx.

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Time to Reflect

Mike’s go!

Two weeks since we set off and seems like an eternity. Hated much of it, but actually loved it all. I guess you shouldn’t really take this sort of challenge on and expect an easy ride but much of what we’ve faced wasn’t planned for and I think we have all enjoyed the challenge of having to get on with it. Tough at the time but incredibly rewarding when it’s sorted. We’ve had to adapt to cope with the heat, the mechanical problems and had to generally readjust the way we operate to make sure we achieve what we set out to do. We will get there, but I have no doubt that each one of us has thought about the alternative. I certainly have. This is our third trip, and we have certainly learned to work as a team. We know when one is flagging, and we pull together. None of us are frightened to say how we are feeling, it just works. And everyday, when we first see our destination there is, for me, a real sense of achievement having sat on the saddle for five or six hours, that another 50 miles is under our belt.

So that’s my (slightly) emotional reflection, and now a big thanks to all of you who follow, who respond to our blogs daily, private messages, and phone calls. We share them and it helps, so keep them coming please. Ric Dic just asked me to say “where are you Mo?”

Today we rode from a very pretty Loches to an even prettier Blois. Most of you will know it is twinned with Lewes, but we have been unable to find a photo of the Town plaque ( for the Blog) which says “twinned with Lewes” but never mind.  It was 47 miles and much hotter than yesterday.  That gets us to 580miles in total. Much of the ride was along the Loire which was really scenic. Benoy calls me a heathen. He’s probably right but some of the French architecture and building capability from centuries ago, is amazing.

We have had a great evening out in the City, very noisy as France came through its World Cup fixture and hooters are still blaring. Aiming for Orléans tomorrow which is not a long ride but temperatures set for 33 degrees so it won’t be a late getaway. We also want to make sure we find a great place to watch England beat Sweden! X

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