“How Did You Remember That?”

It’s a question I am occasionally asked. My quest to re-cycle the route of last year’s Grand Tour around Europe in written form continues… Today I will hopefully ‘arrive’ in La Rochelle. It was one of the longest days of cycling from Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie to La Rochelle on the west coast of France. 140km in total. At least the landscape was flat and it was a beautifully sunny day. This is the fourth book that I will have written about my travels on a bike. When I think back to writing that first book, it was very much a detective job as I didn’t record much information about the cycle from southern England to southern Italy in 2010; a few short web posts, a few photos, no video to speak of and not even a GPS track. Why would I bother? It wasn’t as if I was ever going to need all that detail again…

Twelve years later when I embarked upon Le Grand Tour, things had moved on significantly. The fact that I knew that I would be writing a book combined with the technology available has made life so much easier allowing me to concentrate much more of my time on the writing and much less of my time in working out where the hell I cycled and what I saw. I have hundreds of photographs to look back upon, hours of video, detailed daily write-ups that I posted to this website and a very accurate GPS track. I also have the social media comments that, looking back, give an insight into how I was feeling as I cycled. In addition, I published a short 5-minute or so video each day about the cycle that had just taken place. These were edited at the end of the day, often while I enjoyed an celebratory end-of-cycle beer but sometimes crouched in my tent late at night. The biggest challenge was the sound and normally I didn’t use any of the sound recorded with the video choosing instead to overlay the whole thing with one of the generic pieces of music supplied by Apple’s iMovie software.

However… on the day that I cycled to La Rochelle, I knew that it would be a very long cycle and that the chances were that I would arrive at my destination late in the day cutting down the amount of time I would have to write up the story of the cycle. So I decided to record a commentary as I filmed the pieces of video. It required me to use the plug in microphone that muffled the wind but the results were good and of all the videos that I published during the trip, it is (in my humble yet biased opinion) one of the more interesting. Decide for yourself:

You can, of course, watch the whole of the Vรฉlodyssรฉe portion of Le Grand Tour in part 2 of the longer Grand Tour films that were published late last year. These were edited at home (not in a bar or a tent!) and used the commentary recorded for the podcast. Here is that video. The day from Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie to La Rochelle is squeezed into a minute of the film at 9 minutes.

If you are a member of Cycling UK, don’t forget to read about the entire Grand Tour in the current edition of Cycle Magazine. (The photograph that Cycling UK chose for the cover of the magazine was actually taken on the day I cycled to La Rochelle.) More details below:


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What do you think?