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Le Grand Tour: Day 7 – Dieppe

Let’s start with some good news. Upon arrival in Dieppe yesterday after a long cycle in the heat, I sat down for a beer by the harbour and was, imho… fleeced €9 for a 50cl Leffe Blond on draft. (That’s a price Copenhagen’s harbour cafés would be proud of.) The evidence in my favour was a menu that said the price was €4.50 and that the drinks were served as 50cl or 75cl, giving the impression that it wasn’t an option for the premium Leffe to be a modest ‘demie pression’ (25cl). The drink was delivered and €9 demanded. I immediately complained and walked out in digust. Well, OK, being British, I smiled and tossed a cherry ‘merci’ in the waiter’s direction handing over my cash while seething internally. So where’s the good news? Well, having visited the local tabac-café this morning and paid the princely sum of €1.50 for a coffee (all in the name of price research), I’m back here now enjoying a 25cl draft Kronenbourg for €2.80. Success!

Rest Day 3: Edinburgh / Onward Planning

I’ve spent a nice day wandering the streets of the Scottish capital as Wanda has been taking a rest in our hotel room: We were watching the James Bond film ‘You Only Live Twice’ last night thinking about where we should have cycling; Japan… Anyway, the weather has […]

gray concrete building bear body of water

The Great British Cycle Tour 2020 Returns (Hopefully…)

Two capitals remain; Cardiff and London and I am beginning to piece together a plan for an 10-stage cycle which would see me return to Liverpool (the point at which I paused in early August) on the train, cycle across the north of Wales to Holyhead on Anglesey where I would pick up the Lon Las Cymru cycle route to Cardiff and then head west along the Kennet and Avon Canal and the Thames (national cycle route 4) to my final destination, London.

Le Grand Tour: Day 49 – Aigle To Sierre (81km)

On one level – the cycling level – it has been a pretty standard day. Dare I say boring? A flat ride, 90% off road on a good quality path beside the Rhône following the route of the EuroVelo 17 or, as it is known locally, national route 1. Sticking to just the cycling for a moment, I say ‘flat ride’… I knew I was heading uphill but couldn’t help feel that I was heading downhill. After the turn to cycle east following my brief pause in Martigny, the wind was behind me so this may have added to the sensation of cycling down a very gentle gradient but I think of more significance is the valley itself. I’ve experienced this before (although not that dubious ‘Electric Bray’ place on the west coast of Scotland where I was singularly unimpressed…) in northern Spain in 2019. There too I was cycling through a valley, knew I was cycling uphill beside a river heading in the opposite direction, but had a distinct feeling of going downhill all day. It’s the brain seeing something – the narrow valley with steep slopes on either side – and convincing the body that it is indeed what the brain sees, despite conclusive evidence to the contrary.

Le Grand Tour: Day 38 – Pouzols Minervois To Montagnac Via Sète (134km)

I’’m glad to have finished the Canal du Midi section of the Canal des Deux Mers cycle route. Now in Pézenas – I’ll explain in a moment – the highlight of yesterday was cycling along the excellent voies vertes that brought me inland from Sète yesterday evening. Cycling at the end of the day is something that doesn’t often happen (the way I tend to organise my days) but the advantages of cycling at that end of the day are similar to those of early morning cycling; quieter roads, cooler temperatures and the ‘golden hour’ sunlight that washes a beautiful soft tint over the landscape. It’s also worth noting (and remembering) that the winds tend to die down in the evening. Mmm… Perhaps I should do night shifts on the bike.