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The Newsletter of CTC Wessex Cycling

Winter 2013

A good turn out for the Sunday Potterers on Sunday 22 September. Castle Hill New Forest. - View spectacular. - Great ride.!

Jill Burden

A Tunnel on Mike’s Alpine ride. - Page 8


The Quarterly Magazine of CTC Wessex Cycling in Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch I don’t think it is so very well known these days that the CTC Heart of England Rally held every May also includes a service round the National Cyclists’ Memorial on the Meriden Village Green. Our cover this issue shows the Memorial itself. Next year the service and rally will be special as there will be a celebration for the WW1 Centenary. ● There will be the dedication of a new plaque to recent war casualties by the Bishop of Warwick at the memorial service at 11am on Sunday 18 May. ● A display of World War 1 cycling memorabilia, ● Supper and film show on the Saturday evening. ● As usual there will be the Cotswold Challenge and Warwickshire Wanderer Audaxes and two led leisure rides on the Saturday. Details of the events and booking at Why not plan it into your 2014 touring schedule? 17th & 18th May 2014


Calendar Dates For 2014 Apr 12th Apr 13th

Hardboiled 300km Dorset Coast 200km Dorset Coastlet 100km

Shawn Shaw Peter Loakes Peter Loakes

01202 685014 01305 263272 01305 263272

Apr 13th May 4th May 11th May 11th May 11th May 11th TBA TBA May 24th Jun 28th Sept 7th Sept 7th Sept 7th Sept Sept 7th Oct 12th

Porkers 400km New Forest Challenge 50km New Forest Day Out 100km New Forest 150km New Forest Excursion 200km Dorset Downs 100km Dorset Downs 150km Brimstone 600km Devon and Dorset Downs New Forest Challenge 50km New Forest and Coast 100km New Forest Century 150km New Forest On/Off Shore 200km Dorset Dirt 50km offroad The Gridiron 100km

Shawn Shaw John Ward John Ward John Ward John Ward Justin Oakley Justin Oakley Shawn Shaw Peter Loakes John Ward John Ward John Ward John Ward Ken Reed John Jackson

01202 685014 01590 671205 01590 671205 01590 671205 01590 671205 07968 213833 07968 213833 01202 685014 01305 263272 01590 671205 01590 671205 01590 671205 01590 671205 01305 772654 01590 683815

Informal Wayfarers Rides to Burley This ride happens every Saturday and is completely informal. There is no leader and no back up, but generally an experienced cyclist somewhere around. The route is designed for beginners but joined in by all abilities. Start 08:45 at Waitrose Supermarket, Christchurch every Saturday or 09:00 at The Oak PH, Burton Or make your own way to the Old Farmhouse Tea Rooms, Burley for 10:00

Committee meetings at The Conservative Club, Kinson. Next committee meeting: 19th February 2014 at 19:30 Committee meetings 2014: 21st May; 20th Aug; 22nd Oct (AGM) ; 19th Nov Secretary: Mike Walsh: 17 Grove Gdns, Southbourne Rd, B’mouth BH8 9JQ TEL: (01202) 429985 Email Editor: Keith Matthews: 10 Hill View Road, Ferndown, BH22 9QY TEL: (01202) 855001 Email “CycleInk” is the Newsletter of CTC Wessex Cycling, a Member Group of the Cyclists’ Touring Club. Published four times a year for members. Views expressed are not necessarily those of the club. Contributions and Photographs: The committee meeting date is the deadline for Newsletter contributions. Contribute by any way you like. Photographs are welcome in any form.

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Right to Ride Report - November By Paul M. Turner Poole - Bournemouth - Christchurch Three Towns Corridor’ Local Sustainable Transport Fund. These are some of my thoughts on cycling in the Three Towns Travel Corridor but you can find more details on its website. Search on “Three Towns Travel”. In Poole, both Poole Road & Lindsay Road are Primary Traffic Routes. Poole Road has many buses and trucks as well cars. The problem is the speed of the traffic. When it is congested it is very slow. Other times it is fast i.e. 30-45 mph in a 30mph zone. The proposals of LSTF both Poole Rd and Lindsay Rd accept buses and motorised vehicles but fail or barely include pedestrians and cyclists. Around Horseshoe Common, Bournemouth, there are plans to restructure Old Christchurch Road including removing Fir Vale Road roundabout to beyond Madeira Road. The plans with new street layout and new paving redesign the edge of Horseshoe Common to incorporate cycle stands and street new furniture. At Christchurch -Stony Lane – B3347 there will traffic lights either way under the bridge from Christchurch to Burton will be in effect making traffic flow one-way. The shared footpath/cycleway can then be widened. The wider pavement will make it safer and give easier access for disability scooter users and parents with buggies as well as cyclists. Drivers will also benefit no longer having to avoid on-coming large vehicles in the middle of the road. The works originally planned to start on 4 November 2013 have been postponed until Spring 2014. This is Wessex CTC Saturday cycling route to Burley. New Richmond Hill Junction in Bournemouth is almost completed. Personally, it seems that the project has its dangers as you can see from my photographs. Motorised traffic divides the cyclists from the left going down the ramp to Wessex Way and going straight on to the Richmond


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Richmond Hill Junction

Hill. I observed cyclists for 15 minutes only. Out of ten cyclists (all female as it happened) 9 went down to the pedestrian underpass to town and only one cyclist went on the green cycleway around the roundabout to Richmond Hill. To my mind best way to town is by Horseshoe Common nearby.


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How the Other Half Live

Reported by Bob Chitt

You think cycling is tough in England? News from South Africa Watch out for Rhinos . . .

An avid mountain biker is “lucky to be alive” after a head-on clash with a furious Rhino during a race in the Drakensberg, South Africa. Grant Shortridge was knocked off his bike by the Rhino but escaped with minor injury because of his quick reactions. Shortridge was among a group of riders going through the game reserve near Emseni camp when they encountered six Rhinos. “We were riding up a hill on a jeep track when we suddenly saw them 20 metres away, charging us,” Shortridge said, “they must have been angry with us because we were in their space.” Shortridge said he instinctively veered towards a tree for cover, but the animal followed him and rammed into his bike head-on. It wrecked the front wheel and forks of his £1300 bike but he escaped with five stitches in his lip! Think of the Poor Paperboys too . . .

For the last 26 years Tony has been delivering newspapers throughout Durban. For the past 10 years, he's had one bike to help get the job done. Tony's bike was well worn, it’s frame was rusted. The front tyre was flat, the back tyre riddled with repaired punctures. Tony is married with two children. and has been working two shifts a day for as long as he can remember. He leaves his home before sunrise and gets home well after dark. For the past few months he has been unable to ride his bike, but has to load it up with papers and push it. A photographer asked to take his portrait with his bike and assured him that he would put his photograph on the Humans of Durban Facebook page with a request for anyone or anything that could help him or his bike. That night he uploaded the photograph of Tony and within seconds received messages from people who wanted to help, one from a homesick South African living in New York City, another from a mother and daughter who recognised


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Tony as their newspaper delivery man. By the end of the night, enough money had been pledged, making getting a new bike a possibility. Within the next few days, with the very kind assistance and donation of Dave Wiseman Cycles, they were able to buy Tony a new bike, complete with a puncture kit, a lock, and a basket perfect for his newspapers. It is worth noting that Tony probably earns about ÂŁ13 a day, while supermarket food prices in Durban are about the same as in the UK, and I must add that of course Dave Wiseman Cycles has no relationship to our own member of that name!


Provence & Southern Alps

By Mike Walsh

Another ride in France, this time a two week holiday organised by CTC’s Cycling Holidays and led by Sheila Simpson. Two weeks of cycling on routes devised by Sheila was really marvellous. The scenery was spectacular and the difference between Provence and the Southern Alps was very noticeable. We started and finished in Orange the first day. The first day was not a long ride and only gently climbing, but still included Col St Martin. Lots more to come. A good number of the others on the holiday had been on CTC Cycling Holidays before, what a grand advertisement for them! The scenery was set off by the brilliant sunshine which was at times bordering on being too hot for cycling.

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There were some exceptions. One was when we climbed Col de Restefond and it was cold even before the top. The others went on and climbed a further 35 metres to the Cime de la Bonette. By the time I got to Restefond they barred anyone going up Bonette, I assume because of the possibility of ice on the road. They were putting out ice warning signs on my way down. The snow melt had formed streams across the road. I did not stop on the way down but the valley view was taken before half way up the 32 km ride. I think this was my hardest climb ever but of course I am less fit, more over-weight and older than any of my earlier climbs. On the climb an overtaking rider spoke to me and we discovered that his son had won the Cranborne Chase race, most probably when Terry was the organiser. Just for the record all riders were overtaking, I nearly caught two but they stopped at the only cafĂŠ which was half way up. The other times when I needed two layers was when we rode through some very narrow gorges with the icy river racing through chilling everything. The roads generally wound around the edge of the chasm but sometimes a tunnel was cut through. Any lorry using these roads would never go through the tunnel and went around even against a no entry sign (inside cover). Again, breathtaking scenery through these gorges. Towards the end of the ride we had the opportunity to climb Mont Ventoux, a chance not to be missed. The challenge accepted and completed. I found it not to be a hard as Col de Restefond. Unfortunately the late spring had held back all the lavender field in Provence and the colour was only just starting to come through. I must book another holiday and ensure I am in Provence when the lavender is in full bloom.



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Retarded . . . Who, Me?

By Big Bob

The above title is not a confession but a gradually realization in my cycling life that either I am slowing down or life is speeding up. Small things give it away like unclipping dutifully and stopping at a just changing to red traffic light only to look away for a moment and some irate motorist is honking me to move off on the green . . . who made traffic lights change faster? I stop again at one of our resurrected zebra crossings where a dear little old lady is waiting to cross, quickly gazing down at my front mech. I look up, to discover little old lady, complete with shopping trolley, has not only crossed but is halfway down the road . . . who made little old ladies go faster? A club run, slight incline, doing my best when venerable club Chairman Terry powers pass me . . . who made Terry go faster? A club café stop for cakes and tea. In the usual mayhem the charming waitress asks me my requirements, before I have a chance to think and choose she has moved on to my companions and left me . . . who made waitresses go faster? Dave W tells me one of his vast store of excellent jokes. Arriving at the eventual punch line he expectantly awaits my usual guffaw, but I find I missed what he said to start with . . . who made Dave’s jokes go faster. No, the conclusion is inescapable, Big Bob is slowing down and the world is as it’s always been. There are consolations in being on the slow train of life. Riding is more relaxed, the passing comments of irritable motorists concerning my mental health and physical arrangement loses it’s sting and Bulbarrow hill, in perception, is climbed in no time. I will happily enjoy the new floating life in the saddle and as dotage approaches will look around expectantly for an existent cycling group comprised of riders similarly blessed, and off with the fairies, to occasionally join. Now where could such a group be I wonder? Have you noticed the time of the year? Oh come on you must have. I’ve watched with an unbecoming enthusiasm for one of my slightly more mature years a heartwarming glow as Christmas descends on our Cyclists retirement manor “Le Hotel du Velo Sportiv”. Jean B,our catering manageress seems to be everywhere and was last seen chivvying our poor village butcher into nervous spasms concerning poultry supplies etc. Anne M, who normally tends our two large greenhouses, has been rushing about with armfuls of green stuff covered in berries which now cascades down everything around us that doesn’t move a lot. Jim Mc, was seen dragging a five

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legged chicken up the main staircase but this was subsequently discovered to be a full set of Scottish Bagpipes so the good lord knows what we are in for there. Unfortunately it appears Four Pints Dave will be spending the major part of our Christmas holiday laid up in the hospital wing after his heroic saving of our large Christmas Ale barrel by throwing himself in front of it as it escaped from the brewery delivery lorry, rolling at some speed down toward the river. Greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for our favourite beer of the year and I am sure he will be spoilt rotten in the coming few days. Our Yuletide Boxing Day Eight Pub Time Trial is once again eagerly anticipated by our more Bacchanalian residents. This is, as you will remember, a strictly run Time Trial under modified R.T.T.C. rules encompassing eight Dorset country inns where not only speed between the hostelries is important but equally the rapid despatch of one pint of good ale (½ pint for the ladies ) in each. The hallowed Ray H cup will again be reverentially taken down and awarded. Ray H, is as our older readers will recall, an awesome mile eating and fearsome ale consuming rider who even to this day can be seen in Dorset lanes, or his bike glimpsed leaning against an old isolated country Inn. A true free spirit of the road and the cup proudly bears his name. John H has dominated this event recently but the ever youthful Mike B has been snapping at his heels with heavy Saturday night training sessions so an exciting competition will be enjoyed by all, competitors and spectators. My own participation in the event is under question this year since the unfortunate misunderstanding last year with the Bar Lady at the fifth Inn, concerning my inability to make it to the Gents Convenience in time, let alone around the course. Anyway, the carpeting was a disgrace to start with! This, coupled with my befuddled departure from the last stop when I was accused of attempting to leap upon the Landlady and pedal her up the road instead of the bike. This, as was fully explained at the time was entirely due to being Eight Pints down and the loss of my spectacles! The House Committee are reviewing the matter and have promised to inform me of their decision well before the event, so fingers crossed. But whatever, we will all bask in the warm glow of Yuletide fellowship and all training regimes, diets and sports wing gym sessions forgotten as we congregate around the dining hall, main lounge and bars to celebrate together. As in the past if you are at a loose end this year do throw a few things into your saddlebag and ride over and join us at Le Hotel for a few days. You will be more than welcome and I am sure the Riders who joined us last year had a memorable Christmas and left weighing a little more. Personally I intend to spend a considerable part of the holiday, when not awheel, snuggled into one of the large armchairs in front of the log fire in the Library. It would be nice to see you. A Christmas hug to all who are awheel over the holiday.

Big Bob 11

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Dorset Coast Permanently?

By Andrew Preston

The Audax UK Dorset Coast 200km ‘Permanent Route’ administered by Keith Matthews is a great cycling challenge. When I started my ‘Randonneur Round The Year’ (i.e. a 200km audax every month) quest in 2012 the ‘DC’ was a natural one to pick for months when I wasn't doing calendar Audax events because I can start and finish in Dorchester. By the end of the year I'd done it six times. I’m not sure when the idea of setting myself the ‘Dorset Coast Round the Year Challenge’ first occurred to me, but it was my plan for sure by Christmas, and now I’m just one hilly 200km circuit from completing it, and will be emailing Keith with my intention to ride as soon as there's a nice day forecast in December. It's a great route with many fine views, refreshment stops every 50km, testing hills, sweeping descents, and quiet lanes. It's certainly not easy; many of the rides have been really quite hard. Not having a background in touring, for a long time I found eating and riding difficult, and used to suffer from feeling sick, and the consequences of avoiding feeling sick; not eating enough. I realised last time round, that every single upward incline from Kingston Mauward to The Grove has at some point been the scene of that sinking ‘this is going to be hard’ feeling . . . but in recent months, now with some long Audax rides under my belt, and the whole eating thing finally sorted, I can pedal through those spots remembering what I've been like in that place before, and it's a great feeling. I've done the ride at all times of the day, mostly alone but sometimes with company. Memorably once acting as the guide for Audax Club Hackney who came down from London on the first train, and headed back after a successful circuit - beers from Asda in hand - on the last one home! I've usually seen the sun come up at the start, and/or go down at the end. Once when I'd forgotten about weekend commitments I had to set off at 4pm, which meant getting home at about 3am (fuelled by chips and pop from the kebab shop in Axminster at midnight) - but it was great, the Dorset lanes in the small hours are beautiful, and the solitude of night cycling is one of life's great pleasures.

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The Loire There have been owls and buzzards, foxes and badgers, and the sea off Chesil beach is always an incredible sight. All the more enjoyable in November because the road was closed to traffic for resurfacing - I squeezed through on the bike, with the tarmac still hot under the wheels. There are lots of memories. I can never quite place which ride they happened on - they're all merged into one - but crossing the chain link ferry in early morning silent fog, climbing up hills into sunshine, and back down again into the mist, the trees coming into leaf, turning, and falling with the changes in seasons, the rain showers, the hailstorms, the cold feet, the sunshine and ice creams: there's always something new or different and there's always a breathtaking highlight or two that make me extra glad I did it. People expect me to be fed up with it by now, and looking for another challenge, but I don’t feel in the least bit relieved to be getting to the ‘end’, and a couple of months ago I thought to myself, “I’ve always cycled clockwise, I wonder if it would be fun to do it the other way round for a bit?” . . . and I think it probably would. Whether I'll manage a consecutive twelve; we'll have to see. My top tip for RRTY aspirants: First nice day of the month, get out and do it, for riding in the rain at the end of the month because you’ve squandered your chances is not much fun!


To enter:


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The Gridiron 2013

By Denis Eveleigh

The Gridiron came of age this year in October reaching the 21st anniversary of its inauguration in 1993. It was entirely appropriate that the founder Peter Davenport was the last rider checked out of the Lymington HQ so he could see at first hand what a valued and successful event his vision has created. I am sure that when Peter first mooted the idea of a leisurely 100Km ride around the New Forest to see it in its autumn glory he never imagined it would attract 1000 riders from all over the country with regulars claiming it was their “must do” ride of the year. However although previously on numerous occasions the event has been held in autumn sunshine the weather this year reminded us why cyclists in the UK should never venture far without rain jackets and a sense of humour. Sadly the weather forecast predicting very heavy rain later in the day did indeed prove accurate and as a result we probably had our largest noshow percentage for many years. Of the 1000 entries a hardy 570 actually made the start. The early starters had the best of the weather with a light irritating drizzle before the heavier rain set in around midday. As John Jackson reported last year advance on-line entries only were allowed this year and it is testament to the popularity of the event that this number was achieved well in advance of the closing date and an “entry closed” poster had to be posted on the Gridiron website. Peter’s sole purpose in setting up this event all those years ago was to get people onto their bikes to enjoy the Forest and that principle still prevails with a desire to keep the entry fee as low as possible so as many riders as possible can enjoy the day. The oldest rider to complete the course admitted to being past 80 and several younger riders under 13 would have been able to brag about their achievement when they got to school on Monday morning. Hearty congratulations to all who mastered the conditions and the 102Km. From the hugging and kissing going on after checking back in I also suspect the group of young ladies sporting pink Mohican crests on top of their cycling helmets were very pleased with their day out. This may not however be true of the young gentleman who when asked if he had enjoyed his day replied he would have a better idea and answer once the saddle had been surgically removed from his posterior. The HQ this year had to be moved reluctantly from Boldre Village Hall to Lymington Community Centre as parking at Boldre had become an insoluble problem. With the benefit of hindsight, in view of the weather, it was a blessing in disguise as either the Boldre Village football pitch or a farmers field would have been very badly damaged by the movement of all those cars. A last minute route change had to be implemented as works to replace a cattle grid on Crow Hill over ran due to the late delivery of some materials, but otherwise it was very much business as usual Finally this event is as popular as it is because of the welcoming and can-do attitude of an army of volunteers all of whom are regular cyclists who not only cheerfully give up their Sunday ride but also spend a lot of their free time to make sure all the t’s are crossed and the i’s dotted so all participants have a good day. The number of compliments paid by the riders does mean an awful lot and makes all the hard work worthwhile. Heartfelt thanks to you all.

Denis Cycle Ink #171


Enigmas All Around Us

By Shawn Shaw

As we bicycle the lanes and byways we see all manner of things to raise our curiosity and we promise ourselves to find out more, and sometimes we actually do! The Potterers, led by Jim McD, passed by this building on 31 Oct 2013. The figure appears to be of St Christopher. The style suggests some ecclesiastical connection and indeed some writers suggest a chapel between the two wings. Merley Hall Farmhouse: Grade: II; Date Listed: 14 June 1954 Farmhouse. Late C17, altered and W wing added late C18. South elevation has a W brick gable with a left-hand blocked opening at eaves level; set back to the middle is a brick gable in late C18 Gothick style with sinuous parapet, 4-centre-arched moulded doorway with double doors and narrow flanking lights, similar first-floor chamfered 6/6-pane sash, and 2-centre-arched niche in the gable with a standing figure. [extract from original listing 1954] Two titbits that came to light during my quest: In the late 30’s the then owners were involved in court proceedings regarding the 1936 typhoid epidemic in Bournemouth.   In 1997 the freehold of the Merley Farm Estate was held by the Borough of Poole (transferred from Dorset CC during local government re-organisation). Are the two linked? Can you add more?

Shawn 15

Cycle Ink #171

The Loire à Velo

By David Chesworth

I am not sure when I came across this route along the Loire but it has appealed to me ever since. Many people have cycled along the Loire to a greater or lesser degree and a few of us had an excellent week in 2008 at the Semaine Fédérale based in Saumur. The Loire à Vélo trail forms part of the EuroVelo 6 route which runs from the Atlantic seaboard to the Black Sea. Heavy stuff, but my wife and I were concerned only with the section from Nantes to Orléans. The defined area of the trail incorporates the historical heart of major towns and includes key areas which form an integral part of the Loire landscape. Nantes is well known as the birthplace of the author Jules Verne and there is, of course, a museum to depict his life and works. The city is also now becoming famous for “Les Machines”. The first “machine” to be constructed was a huge elephant. It must be about 30 feet high and is a great tourist attraction. Nantes is not quite the starting point for the trail - this is St- Brévin-les-Pins, on the coast to the East and opposite St Nazaire but our return train would stop at Nantes and would make things simpler. The website for the Loire à Velo route is very helpful for accommodation and anything else you might want to know and it all worked out very well. I reckon a considerable amount of money has been spent over the last few years in developing this route and it shows. Virtually all the route is a hard surface with only some small sections, principally in the Angers area, being hard packed gravel. Some less frequented public roads were used for short distances but largely it was a dedicated cycle only route. The major towns all had wide cycle lanes and nowhere did we feel threatened by traffic - a nice change from the UK. I had bought a set of maps for the route but it is exceedingly well marked and it is almost a question of following the signs. Sometimes the river is on the right, sometimes the left and occasionally it is out of sight when the path goes a little inland. After our first stop at Ingrandes we were heading for Angers, a subsidiary route away from the river. It was marked though which was just as well as we would never have found our way through the woods and various paths. After negotiating the Parc Balzac we popped up in the middle of Angers. I saw the signs to the Tourist Office which I knew was close to the hotel and we made our way there along a wide cycle path. They were certainly geared to cycling and a young lady rapidly produced a cycle map of the town, pointing out our next day’s route via the old slate quarries to La Daguenière and the Loire. She mentioned that we would find the little ferry across a river “very interesting”!

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Next day was a Sunday and we rode quietly through the town enthusiastically following the signs. Suddenly I realised we hadn’t seen any for a while and it was obvious we had missed something. After wandering aimlessly around a housing estate I saw a lady with a shopping bike and flagged her down. She pointed out on my IGN map that we had come a little too far north and we wanted the Trélazé direction. We set off again (on a “bande cyclable” - marvellous ) and soon picked up our route which then took us on hard packed slate paths through the old quarries. Other cyclists started to appear on the route, mostly mountain bikes, some lone blokes shooting past and some families on a Sunday jaunt. On through the woods we went and suddenly, there it was, the river and the little boat. It was small and flat bottomed and held about 4 bikes and their riders. The passengers pulled the boat across by means of a chain. There was something of a queue on both sides but we were soon on board and a couple of minutes later on the other side of the bank. It was then a short ride to La Dagonnière where we stopped for a coffee in a very old fashioned café. Couldn’t have too much excitement in one day. We were heading for Saumur and after St Mathurin (with warm memories of the Semaine Fédérale and the puppet fireman hanging from the wall of the fire station clutching his bike) we took the D132 to Gennes. This is a lovely road along the river but, surprise, surprise, Sunday is also car boot day in France. The road was blocked to all traffic but we got off our bikes and meandered along looking at what was for sale. The sun beat down and the road was crowded. The stall holders didn’t seem too bothered about selling anything and most were sitting in the shade of their awnings having glasses of wine with their lunch. Eventually, we reached the end of the road and continued on our way to Saumur via the D751. To avoid some traffic and a busier road there was a small loop near the town which went uphill before the descent to the cycle paths and the main bridge crossings of the Loire. Our hotel was situated on the north bank of the river and we had a very warm welcome from the owner and his wife, the latter speaking English to us while I was doing my best to practice my French. They ran a small cycle hire business from the hotel and told us that the previous week there had been a vintage bike weekend with a very good entry , the cyclists also dressing accordingly. I gather this event is likely to continue in future. We ate on the terrace of a hotel across the river as our little hotel did not do evening meals and for some reason there was a celebration going on with lots of music and bands on a stage outside the hotel. The restaurant was full and we had a pretty good evening’s entertainment all for free. Next day dawned hot and humid and we were heading for Villandry whose formal gardens are so well known. We passed the chateau of Montsoreau, crossed the river at Candes St Martin and turned a little way along the Vienne before cutting across inland to Savigny and Avoine and then heading back to the Loire to take the cycle track towards Bréhémont - all a lovely cross country ride. There has been a bike shop at Bréhémont for some years but it moved from inside the village to the riverside to attract more business. A Canadian man was riding along the route with his daughter and had stopped to get a minor repair done to his carrier and we saw another couple waiting for attention. So I think the move was a good idea. After that it was a a nice ride along the river to Villandry, which is actually on the Cher, where we arrived at the hotel a bit hot and bothered and looking forward to our shower and a cold beer. I have seen the gardens before but my wife hadn’t and so, as we didn’t think we would have time to spend the following day, we took the opportunity to walk around at what was a tranquil time of the day. They are well worth a visit and we could easily have spent more time there.


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The following day we were off, initially to Tours and then to Mosnes for our night’s stay. We made good progress until we eventually we reached a park on the outskirts of Tours. This ride through the park was a bit like Angers but I missed a sign again and reflecting on this lack we reversed track about 100 yards to a group of joggers. These people always know paths and routes and happily pointed out the sign alongside where we were standing and which led us under a little tunnel to pop up on the far side of the bridge crossing the river Cher again to the centre of Tours. It was very obvious really. Despite Tours seeming rather complicated geographically it was a simply a question of heading north until you reached the Loire and then turning right to follow the river again and picking up the signs. Riding was then on some fantastic tarmac and asphalt paths to Amboise. En-route we noticed a man and his wife coming towards us. His bike was loaded down with both front and back panniers. His wife was cycling along in front of him with no luggage whatsoever except a white handbag in the basket on the front of her bike. This was pointed out to me by my wife but I said I hadn’t really noticed! Strangely enough none of the cyclists we saw wore helmets or lycra and all were cycling in the opposite direction. Amboise was really jumping with tourists eating and drinking and the streets were crowded. We walked up through the town to the top of the hill to continue quietly along the ridge to Mosnes , our stop for the night. Mosnes has nothing to recommend it and our chambre d’hôte was little better. Nothing else to say and best avoided. Orléans was a bit too far for us the next day and so we were heading for Beaugency via Blois. There was some drizzle when we set off but it soon petered out and we made good progress through the woods, along a brand new tarmac path until we popped up in the middle of Blois. We didn’t intend to take the alternative route to the Chateau of Chambord and so after a hot chocolate and some lunch we took the right hand bank to follow straight roads to Beaugency. We saw only about 4 cars in an hour. Beaugency is an attractive town with a small stream running down the main street in a channel. Baskets of flowers lined the street and although it’s a popular tourist spot it wasn’t very busy unlike Amboise and Blois for instance. Then it was the last day of riding, or half day really, to Orléans. We crossed the river to keep it on our left taking a circuitous route before crossing again on to the Pont de l’ Europe from whence it was a short ride along the river bank before turning up the Rue Royale to our hotel. There was no problem in finding somewhere to eat in the evening despite the crowds in the streets. Like Nantes and Tours there was a very modern tram service here also. It was easy to get back to Nantes the next day on the train, the station being around the corner from the hotel. It was ,though, quite an experience as it was the start of “Les Grandes Vacances” - not the best day to travel I realised. We noticed a white piano in the middle of the concourse to celebrate a music festival of some sort and it was open to anyone to sit down and play. A number of people took advantage of this , adults and children and we listened to a variety of music , generally only for a few minutes from each player - jazz, classical and pop. Not sure I could see that happening in the UK We arrived safely at Nantes again and that was it. The mileage was 255 - a trip well worth doing and savouring with quiet roads along the Loire, through woods and small villages and with so many points of interest. There is quite a lot more I could write about this trip, particularly the train ride back, and the more I think about it the more I could imagine doing it again. Fantastic!


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That “Very Interesting” Ferry. - Page 16

CTC Member Lorenzo Maraspin of the “Merchant of Venice” in Ferndown receives our “Riders Cup” for his 10 countries in 10 days ride in the summer. Call in for coffee, he would love to see you.



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CycleInk Winter 2013  

CTC Wessex Cycling Magazine