Le Grand Tour: Day 30 – Saint-Fort-Sur-Gironde To Bordeaux (44km + Ferry + 42km)


Today was a good day. A very good day. Well, apart from the first 10km, but that aside, I loved today’s cycling. It had everything that you might want from a good cycle touring day; beautiful scenery, variety, a favourable wind, vineyards, good signage, a few nice encounters along the way, quality surfaces, an exciting destination, a laundrette and beer at the end of the day and a day off in your favourite French city to look forward to. My day could only improve if Yorkshire Television* decide to revive 3-2-1 with Ted Rogers* and Dusty Bin. On the subject of which, Happy Yorkshire Day! 

Hope you enjoyed last night’s sunset by the way. I liked the site at Port Maubert, even if the welcome was a tad cold. I should really have set up the GoPro about an hour before I did but at least I did finally capture a west-coast setting of the sun. Didn’t spot the famed ‘rayon vert’ but then again the sun disappeared behind a bush rather than plunging into the watery horizon of the sea. And this morning, upon inspection, the Merrell sandals, that are sublime for cycling in hot conditions, have reached the end of their days and been ‘retired’. Three holes in the right sandal and they were slipping on the pedals yesterday. I may have to seek out replacements in Bordeaux: 

I digress… That first 10km involved a few climbs. I like climbing on the bike but give me an anticipated 2,000 metres any day in preference to a 50 metre unexpected one. The brain doesn’t have time to send a message to the legs to say ‘brace yourself, we’re in for a bit of of physical exertion…’. After that, however, the cycling was bliss. Please refer back to the list above. 

Comedic moment at the level crossing in Margaux. I’m not exaggerating in the video. It really was a 20-minute wait. I had my camera poised in the hope that an impatient French driver might jump the barrier and get hit by the train (in a non-fatal way of course…) so that I could claim my £250 from Jeremy Beadle* on ‘You’ve Been Framed’ but being good law-abiding French folk, they just beeped their horns and shrugged. (I’m not sure what was going on with the Simitar by the way…) I was going to say ‘shrugged Gallicly’ but how else can French people shrug?

I criticised the authorities in Charante-Maritime on Twitter a couple of days ago for the dreadful condition of the cycle route into La Rochelle. (I’m sure the local Préfet has been summoned to the Elysée Palace to explain themself…) The authorities in Gironde and Bordeaux need to be commended for their cycling facilities. Since crossing the border into Gironde, the Canal Des 2 Mers cycle route has taken an eminently sensible route along quiet country roads (rather than ridiculous twists and turns along right tracks lest anyone be offended at spotting a car as they cycle) and as I approached Bordeaux, well… if Springwatch were a programme about cycle touring, Chris Packham would be rubbing his thighs. Fantastic! Watch the final bits of the video. Other cities worldwide take note. 

So with that I have my day off in Bordeaux. I’ve visited once before and I do like the place. Hopefully in tomorrow’s post, you’ll see why… 

*Andrew… Both Ted and Jeremy have been dead for many years and Yorkshire Television sounded its final fanfare over 20 years ago. Even Dusty is now a recycling bin on the Headrow in Leeds…


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4 replies »

  1. Beautiful video! I’ve lived in France for 30 years, 3 in Bordeaux, and it’s my favorite French city, too. Thanks for sharing.

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