Monthly Archives: August 2014

Day Twenty One • Tours – Bréhémont

Leaving Tours was good for our heads. We were happy there but somehow it felt strange to not be on the move during a whole week.
With light hearts we rode thirty kilometers, our legs nicely reminded us that for seven days we had not used them much. Once again nobody was expecting us for the night, we decided to push it as far as Bréhémont and find a place to set our camp. While having an early dinner on a picnic table we met a man passing by who told us that about eighty artists were taking residence in Bréhémont in order to prepare a festival. He also told us that we were very welcome to stay for the night, which we did.

Their association is called La Dérive, their goal for this year is:
_To build rafts able to go down the Loire river from Bréhémont to Nantes out of recycled materials.
_Navigate down the river during the weekdays with the rafts and a couple of boats they own.
_During the weekends offer artistic performances in the cities that will cross their path.

On the docks they installed their workshop, we watched them at work for a couple of hours. Several people came to offer them materials, advice, informations or to ask for information about their initiative.

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We were lucky enough to assist at la mise à l’eau of one of the rafts, Le pégase who despite his heavy gas bottles proudly floats and can embark up to four people.
After this happy event, we were invited to share the dinner with everyone at their camp, and we nicely slept under the big tent.

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That’s all folks!

Day Fourteen to Day Twenty • Tours

This last week I took a break on writing. Mostly because we were not moving. Also because we spent some time with friends, forgive me my dear readers but I’m not sure I wanna share all the details of my social life.
There are still things that happened this last week that I would like to share with you.
We greatly enjoyed going to my friends wedding, spending time with friends I hadn’t seen for a while. After the wedding we went to the CC37, an associative bicycle workshop where Manuel’s bike was fixed by expert hands. The frame was changed and he’s now riding a totally different bicycle. Unfortunately the following day a drunken scooter driver drove on Manuel’s bike.

Day Thirteen • Beauvoir sur Mer – Tours

We woke up half surprised half relieved that nobody bothered us during the night in an abandoned warehouse we had found shelter in Beauvoir. The closest train station was still 16 km far, Manuel bravely drove this distance on his almost undriveable bike and we arrived in Challans where the bicycle trip ended. We took tickets to Tours and had to take two different trains to get there. Unfortunately the first train experienced technical issues and we got blocked in the train station of Nantes for five hours. The train company offered us what they called lunch boxes but I would be ashamed to call those food.

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Eventually we got to Tours and found the bar where we were to meet a friend that could host us.

That’s all folks!

Day Twelve • Bretignolles sur Mer – Beauvoir sur Mer

A day in hell should be the proper title of this post. We left Bretignolles in the morning fighting the strong wind all day long. We had rain, a lot of it. The dirt paths hurt our bicycles a lot. At some point, following the vélodyssée, we found out that the road we were supposed to take was flooded by the tide. We had to wait for twelve hours or turn over. Over thirty kilometers driven for nothing.

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We chose the second option. Nobody was expecting us on the way, we tried to push it as far as our bodies could. But at last it was Agosto, Manuel’s bike that decided to end our day. The frame somehow folded for no reason and Manuel tripped because he could not steer. It happened in Beauvoir sur Mer around eight o’clock. Fortunately Manuel is perfectly fine, as is his guitar. But the poor bike can’t ride properly anymore. We found a restaurant with wifi, had some dinner, then decided what to do. The wedding is a rendez-vous we can’t miss. Also In the mighty city of Tours we can find an associative workshop to build a new bike for Manuel. So we decided to stop the trip and take a train until Tours. Another thing I haven’t talked about here is a pain in my left hand. I will take profit of this halt to check it out. Maybe one more time I broke bone without noticing it. It would not be the first time.
That’s all folks!

Day Ten • La Tranche sur mer – Bretignolles sur Mer

We woke up sheltered by Pedro’s cabin on the beach, gathered our stuffs and once more hit the road leaving a note for Pedro.

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Pedro's cabin

Manuel said about this day that it was the hardest of our trip so far. We had to fight strong winds, we also had rain for a short time and Manuel broke one of his bicycle bags. We paused for lunch in a restaurant in Les Sables d’Olonne to fill our bellies and get some wifi. Since we passed in the region Vendée it became hard for us to connect. Usually we get wifi in the tourism offices but in Vendée those require a SMS activation to connect. And we still don’t have a phone number.
We fought against the wind all day long and eventually reached our destination, Bretignolles, where Romane, a friend of mine hosted us in her family. We decided to spend two nights there in order to recover. This day was indeed a tough one.

That’s all folks!

Day Nine • La Rochelle – La Tranche sur mer

We left La Rochelle in the late morning and once more lost the vélodyssée, so we just tried to keep the ocean on our left side and be patient about the furious passing cars. Few hours later, we changed of region, leaving Poitou Charentes for la Vendée and eventually we found back the vélodyssée.
I’ve told you how ridiculously small were the vélodyssée signs. We’ll in Vendée they’re just a mere sticker about five centimeters square. The game just got spicier.
We decided to halt for the night in La Tranche sur Mer, but nobody expected us there. By some kind of miracle I asked directions to a local and chatted a bit. He told me that a guy named Pedro built a cabin on the beach and that he loved to offer drinks to the traveling cyclists. We found the cabin and Pedro, the cabin is actually a nice beach bar.

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Pedro's cabin

We got our drinks, then performed a little show for the customers and Pedro invited us to stay for the night, after securing the roof against the rain.

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Pedro on his roof

That’s all folks!