The Loire à Vélo was absolutely beautiful with gorgeous scenery and a fabulous chateaux round every corner. The weather was mostly crap but apart from that it was amazing. When we got to Nantes we again had the ‘left or right’ to make. We chose ‘straight on then right’ so made our own cycle route across country to St Gervais, which was very pleasant and we managed not to get too lost once we got out of Nantes. We are finding that the worst bits for navigation are getting out of, and into, large cities without being sucked into the urban black holes known as huge industrial estates. There is little or no signage, hostile roads and no people to ask for help.

The next day we cycled to the coast and then south. It was a horrible day with a full-on head wind and absolutely nothing to recommend either the cycle route or the scenery … it was basically shut. There were miles and miles of shut up new holiday homes and hundreds of campsites. It had the feeling of a ‘french cute seaside’ set for a horror movie … I have a feeling that July/August IS that horror movie! It was also mostly a bad food day as our campsite wasn’t near any bread for breakfast, so we had to leave hungry, and we couldn’t find anything decent open for lunch so ended up with a banana and a Mars bar for lunch. We couldn’t find any shops open to buy food for dinner but luckily our next campsite had a restaurant and I can honestly say that I have never had a burger and chips and beer that tasted soooo good!

The next day was better and St Gilles to Les Sables d’olonne was just lovely. We went through forest, along the beach, through wetlands with wonderful bird-life and into a really nice seaside town, where we went out for a meal and I had ‘moules frites’ (muscles and chips) and lots of wine. Unfortunately, the Husband did the very male thing of pretending to understand everything the pretty young waitress said and ended up with a very well done steak … which he hated! Lessons learned 🙂

We then took the train from Les Sables to La Rochelle to avoid countryside that looked suspiciously like more holiday-home/campsite hell … we have come to the conclusion that there is a direct and inverse correlation between the number of campsites and how nice the place is.

Journey update

Just to keep you updated … in the proper cycle-touring blog style …

31st May, 2014
Angers to Montjean-sur-Loire
Distance: 36Km
Average speed: 11.5Km/h
Max speed: 26km/h
Time: 3:03 mins
Total Distance: 540km

1st June, 2014
Montjean-sur-Loire to Oudon
Distance: 38Km
Average speed: 14Km/h
Max speed: 27.4km/h
Time: 2:39 mins
Total Distance: 578km

2nd June, 2014
Oudon to Nantes
Distance: 30Km
Average speed: 13.2Km/h
Max speed: 26.6km/h
Time: 2:14 mins
Total Distance: 608km

Now here we have a major hiccup …. as we were cycling along the Loire à Vélo route, I had noticed that sometimes my bicycle computer seemed to stop working – the speed indicator showed ‘0km/h’. I thought it was the battery so decided to get a new battery; however, as I payed more attention to the fickle numbers on my bike computer, I noticed a correlation between turning the battery on and the computer displaying ‘0’ … a-ha!

Further evidence of malfunction only became apparent when we took the direct ‘on roads rather than cycle path’ trip from Nantes to St.Gervais. The miscreant computer showed 55km for the trip and Google said the journey was 62km. Given that we had also done a bit of deviation around villages and got a bit lost getting out of Nantes, we conservatively estimate that the computer should have said at least 65km not 55km. Our conclusion is that the electric bike system is interfering with either the small magnet on the spokes that records the wheel rotations or the transmission of the information from the recorder on the fork to the computer on the handlebar.

This means that all the stats that I have so far listed are only my unelectric stats and do not include any time when I had the electric motor turned on, even on the lowest setting.

For the incorrect already posted stats problem – I have estimated that the the difference between what we actually did and what I have recorded is about 20% so I will add the estimated ‘true’ number in brackets.

For the computer problem – I have mounted the equipment on the back wheel instead of the front, which seems to have fixed the problem but of course has created a new one as I can no longer read the computer when I am moving. If I keep the computer part mounted on the handlebars, It will not pick up the data from the transmitter on the wheel so I have had to mount it down by the back wheel. To actually read the numbers, I now have to look between my legs and read it upside-down and sideways … I have not yet managed to successfully complete this stunt while moving! The ultimate solution will (we think) be to get a wired computer that hopefully has enough wire to go from the back wheel to the handlebars.

The following stats are from the new set up so we believe these to me more accurate:

5th June, 2014
Nantes to St Gervais
Distance: 55Km
Average speed: 13.8Km/h
Max speed: 27.9km/h
Time: 3:58 mins
Total Distance: 663km

6th June, 2014
St Gervais to St Gilles-croix-de-vie
Distance: 62Km
Average speed: 13.1Km/h
Max speed: 25.7km/h
Time: 4:40 mins
Total Distance: 724km

7th June, 2014
St Gilles-croix-de-vie to Les Sables d’olonne
Distance: 37Km
Average speed: 11.8Km/h
Max speed: 28.2km/h
Time: 3:12 mins
Total Distance: 762km

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2014/15 bike tour (Bromptons), All posts


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