Bog Roll ::

It's Not Magic, It's Work!

31 Aug 2013

Summer Holiday 2013 (Days 07/08)

In the morning we left our rather fancy - but bike friendly - B&B and threaded our way through the mediaeval streets of Pontivy to rejoin the canal. We had a short stage today, having a long lunch at Rohan before arriving early in the afternoon at Josselin, home of another big Rohan family castle. As the Gite d'etape wasn't open we had to push out bikes about in the town, so we took advantage of the delay to nip up to the supermarket to buy more provisions.

Behind the church there is the Town Hall and when we went past they were setting something up. The church tower is free to visit and from the top you can get a stunning view of the town, that picture and others will soon be found on my Picasaweb pages.

While waiting for my better half to go up the church tower an elderly British lady walked past, and without any understanding, was most annoyed that the Town Hall had the French, German, Italian and some other flag on it and was disgusted that it didn't have British flag on it. Sadly she failed to identify the Breton Flag which is everywhere in Brittany and on just about everything in a tourist shop, mixed up the Hungarian flag with the Italian one and didn't notice that the town is twined with one in Germany and Hungary and that today was the anniversary of the twinning (it was even in shop windows) and that there was a reception in the square that evening...

Eventually the gite opened and we were able to unload and lock our bikes up inside, then return to the town without our bikes.

The town is dominated by Rohan Castle which is built on an outcrop with the river/canal at the foot. The bulk of the town is a picture-post-card of half-timbered houses of all shapes and sizes!

After walking round for a while we decided to gate crash the reception at the town hall and listen to the local Breton Pipe band and see if we could get some free nibbles... They were rightly very happy and celebrating a transcontinental bike ride various people had undertaken. It was a strange mix of town hall staff/civil servants and hard-core bikers... Tonight will be humble fare in the gite - assuming the cooker works (it didn't look impressive when we arrived...)

Our night in Josselin wasn't the best night we've had. The gite had an odd smell, there was some machinery behind it that made an noise all night and I was got at by a mosquito... We left Josselin and cycled on, meeting family at Malestroit for lunch - galette and crepe off course!

In the afternoon we carried on to Redon where we are to spend the night at a gite/B&B. So that means a real bed and we don't have t make our own breakfast! Redon was a bit confusing to navigate but the owner of the gite kindly suggested a better route so we avoided the complicated town centre and took the scenic route along the canal and then up the river Ille-et-Vilaine. Redon also has a laundrette which is kind of essential when you are travelling light, and only have just over half of the clothes you will need to complete your holiday!

29 Aug 2013

Summer Holiday 2013 (Days 05/06)

Today was our first full day on the canal, starting on the canal and ending on the canal. Today we cycled from lock 218 to 140, and changed from the river Aulne to the river Hyeres, then a section of actual man-made canal, up a serious section of up locks and arriving at Gouarec where the canal connects to the river Blavet.

A long day but a good day. Lots of nice things to see as we biked along - pretty place Brittany...

Our bed tonight is in another gite d'etape, this time in the old railway station. After unloading and a shower we went to explore, finding one shop full of British goods and the local tourist information office staffed by Brits!

This morning we were delayed slightly owning to a rivet snapping on our Karrimor panniers. There was no shop in the village to sell us a nut, bolt and washers to repair it so I had to do my best with a bungee cord. We left Gouarec and cycled onwards. We first visited the Abbey de Bon Repos, which looks more like a ruined stately home than an abbey. We next had to leave the towpath as in the 1930s a series of valleys through which the canal ran were flooded to build a hydroelectric power station.

We completed our cycle today at Pontivy when we arrived at our B&B next to the Chateaux. After a shower we went to explore the town, and to find a shop to buy a nut/bolt and some washers to fix the pannier. In the end we found a large out of town DIY shop and was able to buy 50 times what we wanted - so the pannier is now fixed.

27 Aug 2013

Summer Holiday 2013 (Days 03/04)

Today we cycled from out hotel on the outskirts of Quimper to Lanndevennec on the Bay of Brest. The French roads are a quantum leap in quality over our roads in the UK: smooth surfaces, proper edges and wide enough to allow cars to overtake without knocking you into the bushes. Having said that, Breton drivers are much more bike aware than their British equivalents and do give you proper space when they pass.

Tonight we are staying in the gite d'etape in Lanndevennec, after some more galette and crepe of course...!

In the morning we cycled from Landevennec to join the canal at the last lock (No. 237) "Guily Glas". The road out of the village was only marked at 12% but it was a lot steeper in places - felt more like 50%... There were also some fearsome ups and downs along the route - I could smell the disk breaks on my bike on one of the descents and even then I trigged a speed indicating camera!

At Guily Glas we joined the canal where most people end it - we're doing the canal in the reverse direction to normal as it makes more logical sense from a route planning perspective. We then started to cycle along the cycle path, stopping for lunch at Chateaulin and finally stopping for the night at Chateauneuf-du-Faou between locks 219 and 218.

The cycling along the towpath or chemin de halage, was a lot easier going that the road to get to it - being very flat. The route is clearly marked, in good condition and has plenty of picnic tables and benches along it's length. I wouldn't take a road bike on the path but a robust hybrid bike or mountain bike is fine.

Pictures can now be found:

25 Aug 2013

Summer Holiday 2013

We cycled down to the station, we had to take a detour because of CarFest South and annoyingly we had to deal with some petrol headed moron who doesn't understand that single track lanes aren't wide enough to pass bike any more than tractors... My other half was nearly knocked off.

While at the station waiting for our train two planes from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight came buzzing over.

We took the train without a problem to Portsmouth and boarded the ferry without problem.

We arrived in Brittany all okay. We cycled through Saint Malo to the station and took the train to Rennes where we changed for another train to Quimper. We then cycled to the hotel on the edge of town, dumped our stuff and cycled back to town.

We had two sets of galettes/crepes today one in Rennes and a second in Quimper. The Rennes one was okay but a fraction too salty for me but the second in Quimper was very nice and just what I needed after the bike ride.

Cycling may be a joke in the UK and something the government seems to hate and is clearly more popular and supported in France, but SWT's trains that have cycle provision are better than SNCF's trains... I really don't like the stupid hang your bike from the ceiling design.