A blog about cycling...especially the long distance stuff

Monday, 7 May 2012

Calais to Paris: Day 2

I woke up late after a massive sleep but with a return of my sore ankle...it was really stiff and a bit swollen so I spent a good while stretching and trying to loosen it up. The day started with a steep hill climb, all the major towns in the area seemed to be at the bottom of valleys, including Poix De Picardie. But it wasn't raining! So once I got up the hill the riding conditions were better than day one by a long shot. Still overcast, but fantastic on the flat hill tops, with well signposted roads:

And the further on I got the less pain there was in my ankle. Originally I'd planned to follow a long wide arc south west of Paris, but decided instead to cut slightly less south and risk a few busy roads in exchange for a slightly shorter route. Besides it was also much more fun just plotting my own route, I just used Gmaps on my phone, using an "Euro internet booster" through my provider to keep the cost down, and this worked well...didn't loose reception once.

The weather cleared a little too, and I just adored the section between Poilly and the outskirts of Paris...

The feeling of complete freedom that cycle touring gives you, when you are totally self sufficient and your only limitation is your own strength, is a wonderful feeling. You feel the world opening up before you...

The only problem I had was finding somewhere to get water and something to eat... it was a Sunday and the few small towns I passed through were well and truly closed for the day. So my advice to anyone following this route is to stock up well!

I finally found something (yes, a bakery) on the outkirts of the city at Osny, and then got pretty lost even with   gmaps but eventually sorted it out. The main problem entering Paris from the west is the amount of river crossings, the lack of bridges mean some of the roads are extremely busy. But is is possible - and I cut out about 20 km going this way.

Anyway Port D'Orleans was the point I chose to cross the dread "Peripherique" and it was no trouble at all, probably helped being a Sunday. I'd caught the odd glimpse of the top of Le Tour Eiffel on the way before finally coasting down Rue Des Longchamp and seeing the whole big pile of scrap metal tower in her full splendor:

Being election day, it was a busy place. A vocal group of Syrians were trying to raise awareness for their plight, but the show was stolen by a large group of Chinese performing Tai Chi and putting forward a message of peace and free speech. While they were doing this the local police were busy trying to round up all the immigrants trying to make a living selling cheap miniature plastic Tour Eiffel's and noisy wind up toys...what a crazy place...

I did like the French election posters though...very stylish. They looked like they were drawn by Herge and then painted by someone equally famous

This was almost the end of the line for me on the ride, I somehow picked up a puncture at the tour Eiffel but 1 stop to pump up the tyre got me across town to my family's place...my ankle was really very sore when I got  there but what a rewarding ride that was.

The whole trip all up was about 326 km, here was day 2 (at least up until Le Peripherique):

France, you're stunning countryside and friendly people were an absolute joy to cycle through...I hope to return again!

No comments:

Post a Comment