Le Grand Tour: Day 17 – Roz-Sur-Cousenon To Saint-Briac-Sur-Mer (72km)

CURRENT LOCATION: Home Camper, Saint-Briac-Sur-Mer

If I wanted variety after having cycled along the seemingly endless disused railway tracks of the Veloscenie, I certainly got variety today after my day of rest / escape from the heat. The cycling was varied, the landscape was varied, the weather was varied… 

It all started in bucolic fashion riding along the polders of the flatlands stretching to the west of Mont-Saint-Michel. With the sun low in the sky, it was delivering hazy sunshine through the thin clouds. Not too hot, not too cold. Goldilocks stuff. Even the wind was on my side blowing firmly to the west. What was there to complain about? Well, the signage could have been better…

Whereas along the Veloscenie and the Avenue Verte before that (and, indeed, the Velomaritime when I first met it when I crossed the border from Belgium) the signage was big, bold and frequent, the Bretons seem to have taken a more laid back approach. To be honest, along some sections the signage people had taken such a laid back approach that they were still in bed and hadn’t bothered. This might not have been an issue along the Avenue Verte and the Veloscenie where often the signs were superfluous (trains only go in straight lines!) but when the route keeps twitching left and right it was a tad frustrating at times. Thankfully I had the trusty Open Street Map ‘cycle’ layer to help me. And it had to, frequently. 

That said, I was basically following the coast so as long as I kept the sea on my right I was never going to get lost. It did mean, however, that I was questioning more than once why I seemed to be cycling along busy roads. Was there a voie verte hiding behind that polder that I should have been on? I did take a few short cuts, including a rather drastic one. Keep reading…

A few functional tasks were on the agenda for today; posting the dysfunctional GoPro camera back to the UK* and giving Wanda (and the panniers) a good old jet wash to remove the dust transported from the the Veloscenie. Topographical maps of western France will now need to be rewritten after Wanda’s wash. The average height of Brittany has increased ever so slightly. I also took time to restock on the essentials in a supermarket just outside Saint Malo; spaghetti, pesto and a few less important things (soap…). At this point, much to my delight it started raining so Wanda got a second wash, I donned my raincoat and the temperature for the remainder of the afternoon plummeted to the mid 20s. Perfect for cycling. 

Saint Malo is a great place. I first visited about 15 years ago and was expecting a quaint fishing village. I found a fortified walled town that was about as far from quaint fishing as Boris Johnson is from the truth. Bearing in mind it was seriously damaged during the war, it is a testament to post-war French builders that it looks as it does today. But this is no Calais (built in line with post-war British reconstruction which is basically awful) or indeed Munich (rebuilt exactly as it was prior to 1939). Saint Malo was reconstructed where it could be but the rest was rebuilt with good design with materials that will last until the next time some decides to start dropping bombs on the place. It looks fantastic. Different to how it might have looked in the 1930s but a testament to a forward thinking post-war architectural vision. 

Right, that’s enough Kevin McCloud… 

I deviated ‘slightly’ from the EuroVelo 4 in the early afternoon by taking the road over the barrage between Saint Malo and Dinard. Forgive me… It was a bit too much like cycling along a motorway on the the Saint Malo side to be comfortable, but you could at least cycle along the pedestrian walkway (hauling the bike up and down a couple of short flights of steps) across the barrage itself. More of an issue was getting off the barrage with a bike. Here the stairs were far too numerous so I waited for a gap in the traffic and dived into the flow for a short sprint to a point where I could peel off to the right and into the suburbs of Dinard. My efforts must have saved around 10km. I wasn’t the only cyclist to do this and it’s a shame that the authorities haven’t come up with a cycle-friendly solution for crossing the estuary on a bike without having to put your life in peril. 

Once in Dinard, I took a laid back approach to the rest of the day. Easy in a laid back place like Dinard. Very sedate. Laurence of Arabia spent time there chillaxing in his down time. I found a bike shop and asked them to fill Wanda’s tyres with a bit more air which they were more than happy to do, free of charge. 

I’d already secured my accommodation at the ‘Home Camper’ place and I have to say it is wonderful. A large field next to someone’s house. A few chickens running around. Toilet, shower, electricity, no riff raff… Perfect. I may have to do this again.

So that’s all for tonight. I’m off to try and CG et the replacement GoPro camera working…

*What common item do you think I also returned to Britain in the box. Something most people use frequently every day but I found that since I arrived on the continent I hadn’t used at all. Answers in the comments section. 


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11 replies »

  1. As you might have surmised, I am infinitely more alarmed at the thought of Truss being prime minister than missing out on a prize.

    • It’s either the son-in-law of a billionaire or an idiot. Brilliant… (Or an intelligent, erudite, thoughtful man who has a life-long commitment to public service but who the right-wing papers call ‘boring’. Give me boring any day!)

  2. Quiz question: was it your Tory membership card, sent back in disgust now that Liz Oink 🐷 Oink Truss is probably going to be the next democratically elected prime minister of Little England?

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