Well – we’re back!
- Total distance: 939 miles
- Total climb: 33,977 feet ( 10,356 m)
- Time cycling: 95 hrs 27 mins
- Calories burned (though luggage weight not taken into account): 37,192 (!)
Really good bits:-
- The tent was fantastic. Very quick to put up, take down. Very dry. Bigger than expected. Hassle free. Totally recommend.
- Garmin Edge Touring was superb, easy to follow the GPX route and reroute
- OSMAnd on Android superb, along with the Archies data and Archies app
- Internet-like-home 4G Roaming – makes life so so much easier!
- Bikes, Panniers and gear all survived well
- Route was varied and interesting
- Bums a bit sore.
- I lost no weight – Mel lost half a stone (!) How does that work!!! I was carrying more weight as well. Not fair. Though I guess I had more chocolate 🙁
- Cold wet driving rain was unexpected, and camping in 4-5 days of rain isn’t fun. Quickly forgotten.
- French supermarkets and eateries open weird hours, and aren’t as frequent as you need. Passing eatery at 11am and the next at 3pm is a bit annoying!
- Bikes badly geared for touring with weight. Seldom used the larger front cog, and on hills we were in the lowest gear very early on. Could really have done with 20-30% lower gearing.
- Weight – we took too much weight – not sure what we could reduce though….
- GPX route climb calculations were way off what GPS actually recorded. Route suggested it was 18,000m but it was actually only 10,000m. Not that we are complaining! But clearly either the estimates are wrong, or the recording on the GPS is wrong. So just take that into account when planning
The question we asked before we left was our usual question, “How hard can it be?!” . Well, the answer is VERY. Yep. Very. This was the toughest physical challenge we’ve done and maybe the only one where we’ve started and been concerned we may not be able to make it! However, we dug in, and made it with time to spare for the beach 🙂
Well, I’m not going to detail the route travelled or the places we passed though, or even recommend any route or campsite. Everyone will be different here, but suffice to say finding quiet roads and cycle paths is quite easy. Google maps (with 4g) is perfect and will give you routes and elevations, so easy enough to reroute.
Finding campsites enroute is easy with Archies camping data. These varied from €3.80 upwards. All bar one were absolutely fine (one was a dive but nothing else near). And two no longer existed. So always have a plan B within range! One closed one wasn’t a surprise, but one was a municipal – but clearly no longer in use. So always google the site before making a big detour or having it at your maximum mileage.
There is no perfect route. And whatever route you are on it will annoy you!
Some cycle paths are perfect flat tarmac, so great! Stick on these! Then it turns to either bumpy tarmac, gravel or sand….. Eek. So take the road. But, the roads tend to be hillier so fast then slow…. Then some traffic. So you then take the cycle path (!). Some quiet roads are lovely dead quiet and tarmac, but these can quickly become sand trails or worse and really slow going. Some cycle paths can do the same.
The only guarantee is there is a load of variety, and things change quickly lol! So, OSMAnd is a great app (as is the Garmin) to see alternatives and hop onto alternative paths.
But that’s it – the detail of where and how we went doesn’t matter 🙂 If you want the GPX files they are on the map pages, but other than that – just go out and do it 🙂