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25 things I have learned while cycling the Veloscenic

Written by Fiona July 11 2013


Skinny H (a journalist buddy and cyclist) and I are some four days into cycling the newly created Veloscenic route from Paris to Mont St Michel in the north of France. We have enjoyed a mixture of experiences. (These are in no particular order.)

Cycling while trying to navigate is tricky. It is all too easy to over shoot turn offs and if the route is sketchy you end up cycling many more miles than you expected.

Cycling with a guy does not guarantee a good navigator. Sometimes women are better than men at reading maps!

The section of the route from Paris to close to Chartres is not yet properly signposted which makes navigation testing. But it is still beautiful.

Sun and a tailwind bring huge smiles to the faces of cycling tourers like us.

Hills, even the smallest of ascents, make us out of breath (due to pannier weight).

French hospitality in hotels and restaurants for British journalists is superb.

The Veloscenic route from Chartres to Nogent-le-Rotrou is utterly gorgeous. The quiet, smooth roads wind through fabulous fields of barley, each lined with pretty wild flowers.

North France, so far, has been fabulously flat.

Chartres is a beautiful town that I would very happily return to for several days.

imageThe French are superb chefs.

The “green way” from Nogent to Alencon follows an old railway line for 60km. This means it is very flat and very straight and very easy to navigate by bike.

Salads taste so much better when the sun is shining..

A horse and carriage ride through pretty Normandy farmland offers a pleasant change from riding a bike all day long.

It is very easy to spend all day cycling French roads in the sun. (It would be a very different story if it was raining!)

People like my velo rose! It makes them smile!

i prefer a few hills, rather than cycling all day on the flat.

We are told that northern France has suffered rain for a year and this week is the most sunshine they have seen for a long time.

A beer is a welcome treat after a day of cycling.

Sleep comes very easily after a day of cycling in hot sunshine.

The Veloscenic route from Chartres is wonderfully easy to find.

There are lots of French castles and churches in this part of France and most are very beautiful.

I miss my partner and daughter a lot more than I ever think I will.

Packing as light as possible has made cycling with panniers so much more manageable.

At 9.30pm I am already too tired to do much more than sleep!

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