On Day 6 we crossed the border into France it was a very hot day we had a massive climb to get to San Sabastian and we were feeling really good on the bikes. The road was really quiet and shady so we got to the top in no time at all. From San Sabastian there was another big climb and the day was hotter and there was no shade. I was drenched in sweat and my hands were slipping all over the bars it was really uncomfortable. When we got to the top my head was about to explode with the heat. A couple came to our rescue and gave us some ice cold water. It was much needed. We ended up in a campsite called Ametza it was lovely and the receptionist was very helpful, but it was not quiet at night, even though they said they had strict quiet times. It was probably the worst I have been on for teenages talking by our tent the whole night.
Day 7 we rode to a campsite called le Pavilion Royal in Bidart. This campsite was really nice and we had a cool pitch under some trees everyone respected the silent times at night it was very peaceful. For food that night we made tea on the beach and saw an amazing sunset. It was a stunning view as we had the mountains as a back drop it was unforgettable. Eva was happing playing in the surf and we were happy chilling with a bottle of wine watching natures wonder unfold before us and what makes it ultra special is knowing that you got yourself there under your own steam and effort.
Day 8 we stopped at some apartments because it was an overcast day we felt we needed to recharge everything easily. We would make up the shortage in mileage the next day. I tried to book them through Booking.com, but we got ripped off as they were shockingly horrible. None the less the bed was comfy and we had a nice sleep. The ride that day was lovely through pine forests all day long. This is when the route turned to what Rachael and myself imagined in our heads when we were reading about it.
Day 9 we made up the shortage in mileage from the day before and stopped at at a site that had been pre-booked. We got there real early too. Every site as had a pool but Eva was even more happy as this had water slides. The day was again spectacular, it was pine forests all day long and the weather was beautiful, the pine trees providing the shelter we needed. The route is so well organised, sign posted and cycle paths away from traffic I encourage anyone to do the route or parts of the route and have an adventure.
Day 10 we rode with no plan and just thought we will get a campsite on the road. We saw more pine trees and this route took us through woodland as well. We had a bit of a down pour in the morning but the rest of the day was fine. Eva had some more time in the pool and we tried to replicate our other night on the beech by taking our stuff to cook tea. We did make pasta and had wine but it was really windy. It was still nice though. A bit cloudy so we did not see a sun set that night.
The days are starting to blur at this point so I will describe what I remember over the last few days since day 10.
The route has continued to be well away from the noise of any traffic, it is just beautiful tarmac cycle paths weaving through forests, this Velodessy route is just unbelievable, the veiws you have of the coast and forest are truly life enhancing. We are passing family after family with loaded bikes, kids younger than Eva that are riding the route on their own bikes with panniers, there have been many tandems with kids this is a real family friendly route and I know a few of my friends at work will be aching to come and do it with their kids. The only thing I would say is don’t pre book your campsites that is a mistake I made, the sites in most cases have enough space for one pitch for one night. We have decided to go off the plan and play each day as it comes.
We got speaking to a cycle touring family on a site where we popped in for breakfast and he told us to go see Europes largest sand dune by going around the back and avoid the tourist, we took his advice and we near enough had the dune to ourselves. We rode further and realised just how lucky we were to avoid the tourists chomping up this single path like sheep in a traffic jam.
The other night we went to a site I had pre-booked for the previous night. On this instance they were full but the manager let us put up the tent in his garden. He had a beautiful house on the site and a beautiful grey Border Collie called Laya. He let us use the pool and all the facilities it was a truly lovely gesture.
From then we got up early and cycled to a site that had a waterpark!
We cycled 75km that day and we still arrived in the early afternoon so Eva could make best use of the park. We knew the next day we needed to cover 100km to get to our site that had been pre booked because we are spending 4 days chill time on the island of Ille d Orleon.I have been here before and knew it would be the perfect place to have a bit of non bike time. The 100km was a very hard ride. We had the strongest headwind I have ridden in. EVER! As we were in the coast it was right down our chuffing faces all day long. In the morning we had to contend we the occasional down pour. I gave up putting my coat on and off as after you got soak you were dry about 10 mins later. We got the ferry across the inlet to Royan and that was the halfway point. After the ferry it was blue skies but the wind had got stronger. To get across to the island of Ille d Orleon you need to go on a 2km bridge the wind was still coming straight on and with the trailer and all the baggage it must of been the slowest and hardest 2km of my time on a bike,it went on forever! After the bridge there was still no shelter from the wind but we only had 5km left. We made the site and it has a little lagoon that Eva got straight in after we had made our way via the pool bar for a well earned White Russian. After Eva had finished the the lagoon we set up camp and made our way to the bar for food as we were too tired to cook, the food was smashing and the red wine kept on coming whilst the evening entertainment was on.
I am currently at the side of the lagoon. We are here until the 14th then we get back on bikes for a night in Rochefort.
Just had the last meeting up at Craggies with the parents of students that are riding the Coast 2 Coast in aid of their school.
The support is unbelievable. These parents have been kitting their kids out with panniers and racks etc. So they can ride the C2C route, but they have also been busy fund raising as well. Thank you so much!
Just to provide answers to a few questions that were raised in the meetings:
When you drop your kids off on the Sunday make sure they have food for their tea that evening and their breakfast the following day. They will have access to a single burner stove so anything that can be heated up will be fine. Also, staff will have extra food items in case they make the wrong food selection. No one will go hungry!
Each afternoon we will stop and buy things for our tea that evening and our breakfast the following morning, so they don’t need to carry loads of food. Also staff members will provide guidance in the shop about what is nutritious and what they can easily cook on a single burner. Students will need about £10 – £15 each day to buy tea, breakfast, energy and lunch.
If students are using a water bottle and pack wisely each day (keeping waterproofs, energy food etc to the top of their panniers) they do not need a day pack. If students are using a hydration pack, they could use this bag for small, light items, but you may want to keep daily items in your panniers also.
Finally, meeting you has been lovely. I am looking forward to the ride and we are all going to have a really amazing time!!!!
See you on the 9th July in St Bee’s!
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Two versions of video. One is 60 minutes long and includes some useful interviews and advice. The other is 15 minutes long and is the final stretch into San Diego.
1 Hour Movie: http://youtu.be/GlKt7oLT_go
15 min Movie: http://youtu.be/BARwcFPuJi4
I had a normal sized meal, or so I thought because Julie’s came out first and she ordered a small, it was huge.
After food Julie took us to the pier and gave us a run down or where certain stuff was, again a wonderful host and a really interesting person. Thank you so much for your help Julie, you are always welcome at a little spot called Halifax, if you fancy leaving the sun, surf, food behind 🙂
The lads followed me for a while on their bikes before they took off to box Gab’s bike up while I continued further to Mexico.
That’s it complete. Got to the border at lunchtime today. Need to get the picture off my camera. Bit of an anti climax it was like riding into Dover and expecting a brass band to be playing. The route was lovely as you will see from the pictures. It is always amazing how a shuffle playlist always picks the right tracks. As I was approaching I had Monty Python, always look on the bright side if life and Pete Doherty for lovers. Going to get ready and have a big night with Eugene tonight, after we have had a nice meal with Gab of course! Before he catches his plane.
I am so looking forward to getting my video footage edited with some cool music to set the tone.
Thanks to all the people that fainted an interest in my little trip. I am desperately planning the next one in my mind at the mo. I know convention suits most people but for some reason it just does not do it for me I think that is why I did not do my blog for a few days in San Fran, I got a bit depressed cause you just gotta keep on moving and making progress.
Italy next and the via faratas that I got told about at year 9 camp. Or maybe Norway in the summer this time, or maybe the east coast, or maybe Colorado, or maybe kayak the Amazon or maybe…………..
After I got back from the border I met up with Gab and Eugene and we went for some food before we went to the bike shop to pick up his boxed bike and he was then going to get a taxi to the airport.
We and Eugene then had to get to the hotel which is about seven miles away. It was very scary on the main roads when it was getting a bit darker and I was quite worried, but we managed, after asking, to find a bike path that took us straight to the hotel.
I am now watching Gravity, whilst eating as many cookies as possible. The diet starts on the 28th or 29th…. I have not decided yet! 🙂