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July 8-10, 2018

We began cycling with our friend Emmanuel and his four year old son Matthieu. His wife Nawal and 6 year old daughter Lise joined us by car after a couple of days. Emmanuel had planned out a lovely route along the Normandy coast for us. We quickly learned that his version of flat cycling is a bit different from ours and thus we created the French Flat term.


What happened…

Andrew writes:So today we finally set off on our tour of Normandy with Emmanuel and his son Mathieu. I worry a little about how slow we are, as Manu is constantly looking back at us from the seat of his speedy road bike. He’s offered to carry some of our stuff in his trailer, but I don’t think that fixes the “problem” which is that we’re just not as fast as he is. I often refer to us as diesel-powered, and weekend warriors are turbo-charged or gas-powered. We can go forever at our turtle pace and it suits me just fine.

It was really interesting to visit <<>>> beach and to see some of the concrete bunkers. There are a lot of monuments erected all over the place in memoriam of the event, and quite a few reference Canadian units, which is rather nice. We are camped out tonight at a 1-star campground which is very primitive indeed. Cold showers, and bugs in the bathroom. Somehow I didn’t think that 3rd world campgrounds existed here in France. Oh well, we’ve got a nice spot beside the river.

Riding in Normandy is pretty sedate. There are lots of little side-roads, and Emmanuel is very enthusiastic to stop and point out bits of historical significance; like this WW2 bunker, or that WW2 statue. We’re close to the coast though, and the weather isn’t too hot. We often have a bit of a tailwind which makes it really nice. I just feel bad for Emmanuel who is so much faster than us. Oh well, I’ll just cycle along and enjoy the scenery.

Nawal joined us at the bed and breakfast tonight after what seemed like a really long day. Oh wait, it WAS a long day! I’m just feeling the effects of jet-lag maybe? I just feel tired all the time, and this bike riding every day isn’t helping. The BnB is super-nice, and we all sat around a table and watched Team France advance to the World Cup finals against..we don’t know who yet! I wonder where we will be to watch the final in a few days.


Stephanie writes:
We set out to go about 90km but we had a few bumps in the road on the way. When we arrived at the ferry terminal we found out that the ferries at the terminal we’d planned to go out of didn’t sail on Sundays so we had to go back a few kilometres to get to the one that was open. When we got back to the ferry terminal that was open we saw how small the ferry was. It only fit 2 cars on the one we went on and some motorcycles, bikes and walk ons and the ride was only 5 minutes long across the river. It was definitely not what I was expecting when I heard we went on a ferry even with the idea in mind that it was free.

We had originally planned to go to a super fancy camp site with a pool. Instead we ended early and went to the nearest campsite. It happened to be a one star. There weren’t any toilet seats or toilet paper which seemed very strange to me off the bat but once we got a closer look, we realized it was a lot grosser than anticipated. There were ants absolutely everywhere. They were in, on and around all the toilets and were crawling in and out of the cracks and crevices on the walls and all around the tubes attached to the toilets. There were spiders and all sorts of other bugs crawling around too but none of them were nearly as bad as the ants. Once it was dark out it only got worse, there were parts of the wall you couldn’t see because of all the ants but if you were quick it wasn’t too gross. He first campsite definitely scared me into thinking all the campsites would be that way.


Amanda writes: It’s going to be flat we told her. It’s going to be along the river on designated bike paths. We’re going to Europe instead of South America so you can have access to western luxuries like flushing toilets and clean facilities. And before we left Canada we talked about what happens when you don’t feel well; and that was just say the word and we’ll take a day off the bikes because there is no rush. Well apparently we weren’t completely accurate.

The first day we cycled much further than planned only to end up at a campsite I would compare to South America. The facilities were horrible and filthy and overrun with ants and spiders. There was some dribbling smelly water coming out of the shower head but it was cold. This is not what I envisioned for Stephanie as her introduction to cycle touring.

On the 2nd day Stephanie really wasn’t feeling well at all. The poor thing was literally curled in a ball outside the grocery store crying. Part of it was how unwell she was feeling and part of it was the pressure to keep riding. With just Andrew and I would be different but we had Emmanuel and Matthieu in tow so she was really feeling like she wanted to ride. Emmanuel was great and because he is a doctor he put on his fix it hat and just wanted to help her get better. It was very endearing. In the end we ended up taking a few hours off and resting in the park and then riding to catch up with Emmanuel and Matthieu.

On the 3rd day Stephanie still wasn’t 100% but pushed through and didn’t complain once. And in the end she was rewarded. Emmanuel and Nawal set up a wonderful Bed & Breakfast with a private room for her that she could relax and get some good rest and a hot shower. Well done girl.


The aerial view of our sightseeing day:


Today’s Flickr Photographs

Do you have a lover?