Posts Tagged ‘Angers’

Angers was the town in which Matt was to join us. He had left dear old blighty a couple of days earlier as he had decided a 550 mile ride wasn’t taxing enough and opted to head for the Alps to take part in the ‘Etape de Tour’ before taking the train via Geneva and Paris to Angers to reach as us at 22:30, as planned. I wonder if such plans had worked out in the UK and our fantastic rail network. Somehow, I think pushing sand up a drainpipe would be more fruitful.

We had arranged to meet Christian Pinneau along with other cyclists from Ligueil at 12:30 so that we could all ride in ‘en masse’ to a celebratory reception arranged by the twinning committee and others from our twin town. For this reason, we knew we should leave Angers early not only to be sure we weren’t late but also to minimise our exposure to the heat.

As luck would have it, the first half of the route was to take is along the Loire Valley [a route I believe everybody should cycle], past some magnificent chateau’s and some especially nice Caves (wine cellars, where some luverly wines were traded: unfortunately, cycle shirts aren’t designed to carry bottles of wine so we had to pass on so many opportunities. Such a great shame, as just before Saumur, we passed the Ackerman Wine Cellar: if you get the chance, visit it. It is fab.

As we (by now, it was just Charles [65] and I [nearly 60 Sad smile]) made our way east, the creaking in Charles’ Colnago was getting louder and he was down to only four useable gears. A quick inspection revealed that the gear cables had shredded and subsequently shredded. We needed a bike shop, and we found a bike shop with a very, very pretty French Lady who could speak hardly any English. Somehow, us two old deluded Codgers had to charm the nice little French Lady into understanding our needs(!). Eventually after much pointing and gesticulating, she got out her tape measure (!) to measure how much cable we needed and snip, snip, we were done. Strictly speaking, we also needed some nipples to go over the end of the cables but we decided to give that one a miss: tempting though it may have been Smile

After a quick temporary fix and our spares safely in our back pockets, we set off again on to Saumur [missing Ackerman’s] for a quick coffee / beer stop. Using a combination of Garmin Sat Nav and iPhone Maps (which were rubbish) we eventually all met up at a cafe / bar by the river less than 100 yards from a bike shop. As my mechanical skills had been enough to give Charles his gears back though we decided to resist going there to get it fixed properly and just rest up and have a drink before setting off to meet the Ligueil Cycling contingent at the designated picnic stop at Monsoreau just east of Chinon. My estimation was that the average age of the 10 Ligueil cyclists was 50, at least. But, they were often highly proficient cyclists as they led us to the picnic zone at 20+ miles an hour. But wow, it was great with 16 cyclists tearing alongside the Loire with two escort cars and our support van, we must have been (and certainly felt) a magnificent site.

Having made our acquaintance’s and sated our hunger, and thirst, the time came for the last 42 mile ride to Ligueil.

The pace was high, the route was hilly, the wind was unfavourable and there was 42 miles of it. As the French Cyclists surrounding the English cyclists there was this feeling that the English were being tested: tested to the limits so it was good to note the two or three of the Frenchies dropped out the back but nevertheless, the English were surrounded: kidnapped maybe?

Mile after mile, the French surrounded and herded the English, neither sided really understanding each other but united by a common bond of our love for cycling, we all eventually reached the outskirts of Ligueil where we all entered the town, three abreast with the French flanking the English (still making sure we didn’t escape) until we reach Centre Ville and then the Community Hall for a big welcome to be followed by interviews and photographs for the local media.

After showering in the local campsite communal showers and throwing all our grimy cycle gear into the communal washing machines, we were each taken away by local families who had offered to put us up for the night [the hospitality in Ligueil was truly amazing]. Once settled in our adopted homes, we all taken back to the Community Hall for what can only be described as a FEAST. Salads of all types, wine, with a barbeque that seemed to be going all night, wine, followed by typical French deserts, wine, and cheese and wine. Everybody had a great evening and nobody had cottoned on to the fact that tomorrow was going to be the longest day. Anyway, wined and dined, welcome and thank-you speeches made, everybody went back to their hosts homes for a good solid nights sleep.

Oh, do you remember Charles’s bike, well the French fixed half the gears before we went to bed, and they finished the rest by 07:30 when we were regrouping ready for the departure (with heavy hearts and heavy heads) and onto Le Mans.

Go Podge, Go

Cycling For a Better Future


Ok, here it is. The event I’ve been wanting to kick off is to become a reality.

I moved into Hungerford some 9-years ago and have recently developed an almost uncontrollable urge to [do something for the community]. For those that know me, you’ll have already guessed that cycling was going to be central to such an urge. So, following on from the theme of another well know event annual event, I looked for a possible cycle challenge for anybody who wished to [prove that they can] complete the event.

What is the event?

Well, Hungerford is twinned with Liguiel in France, just south of the Loire Valley; so why not cycle there, and back. Better still, why not time the ride so as to coincide with the Hungerford Carnival? So that’s the event / challenge (the carnival bit is still to be confirmed). Hungerford to Liguiel and back. The ride will hopefully comprise of 30 – 40 riders (more if we can manage it) plus 2 – 3 support vehicles (to carry luggage and look after the riders)

The purpose of the ride is [in conjunction with the Hungerford Rotary] to raise as much money as we possibly can for two very worthy causes:

End Polio Now


Bruce Trust Barges

Two very worthy cause which will hopefully encourage lots of interest and support.

When is the event?

The ride will  depart Hungerford on the 7th July 2013 (Sunday) and return on Saturday 13th July, having cycled 550 miles: The proposed itinerary is thus:

Sunday 7th July

Depart Hungerford and cycle (60 miles) to Portsmouth ferry terminal for overnight crossing to Saint-Malo.

Monday 8th July

Depart Saint-Malo and cycle (55 miles) to Rennes.

Tuesday 9th July

Depart Rennes and cycle (86 miles) to Angers.

Wednesday 10th July

Depart angers and cycle (80 miles) to Ligueil.

Thursday 11th July

Depart Ligueil and cycle (80 miles) to Le Mans.

Friday 12th July

Depart Le Mans and cycle (110 miles) to Caen – regrouping at Pegasus Bridge before heading for overnight ferry to Portsmouth.

Saturday 13th July

Depart Portsmouth and cycle (60) miles back to Hungerford for end of ride celebration. If possible, we will try to coincide the home coming with the Hungerford Carnival.

If you feel that you might like to take part in this event, then please do let me know of your interest (this does not commit you) and I shall add you to the mailing list.

Ride Route 2013

It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car, only a high will impress you, and you’ll have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.

Ernest Hemingway.