Photos – Cycle Camp in Normandy, France

Amazing cycling with the Explorers in France, during April. One thing I will say though, going from Cherbourg to Caen is the wrong direction when it’s that windy.

We took the fast ferry over to Cherbourg on the Thursday morning (little did we know that as we were setting off, a certain volcano in Iceland had gone a bit explodey) arriving in Cherbourg in plenty of time to get lost coming out of the port. Eventually we broke free from the endless ring roads and wheezed up a steep hill into the glory of the Normandy countryside. Thereafter the rides were superb, the French courteous, the food amazing, and the time had good. We rode about 40 miles maximum each day, staying in municipal camp sites for most nights, except for the second night where we found an amazing little site run by a family, where we could camp out of the wind, and order breakfast to be delivered from the bakery. We visited several of the major sites of D-Day. The Explorers in particular knew little of the battles and were just astonished by the scale of loss of life, it really shook them up finding graves of soldiers who were younger than some of them.

As is traditional on our continental rides, my wheel went wrong. This time a full buckle 8km from Bayeux necessitating a long lone run to the town with my bike, and a frantic hunt for a bike shop. A quick repair, and I was on my way again, another 10km to join the team at the final camp site.

The next morning saw the tents crusted with ice and a low fog all around. Within hours though we were riding through blazing sunshine to Pegasus Bridge and the ferry. We had failed to notice the lack of airplanes in the sky, but we did notice the sheer amount of passengers on the boat, and the fact that many of them were sleeping on their luggage on the floor, and that many of them looked more grimy and worn out than us, and we’d been cycle camping. It wasn’t long before we found out about the volcano. Thankfully we were first off the boat so managed to avoid the long queues as every single passenger went through a full passport check.

There’s a lot of photos here, so more appear after the first one if you click the read more link.

Cycling in France

On the road - each tree along this road represents a German soldier killed in Normandy in WWII

radio mast at Cherbourg

Your author at the crest of the hill out of Cherbourg - Explorers strung out up the hill wheezing heavily, just out of shot

Nice French bike

Check out this lovely French bike, look at those beautiful panniers!

Splendid French Panniers

A close up of those wonderful panniers - covet! covet!

My mountainbike decked out

My chosen steed was my old MTB, with thin tyres, rack, leather saddle, bell, custom British and Euro stickers, and handlebar bag. It was an awesome ride.

Magnificent French House

This house was magnificent, I took many pics of it as we drifted past

Skip on bike

Skip looks sort of regal here, sort of.

Cycle camp france

We chanced on this superb campsite, pitching our tents agains the fence in order to block the wind. Here the chow is being cooked up in the evening

cider in panniers

A bottle of cider from the cider farm was crammed into the panniers

US graves at Omaha

Thousands upon thousands of US soldiers are buried near Omaha beach. The Explorers were deeply moved, few of them knew of the events of D-Day until the ride.

Frenchman fixes my wheel

The now annual sneakily taken shot of a french bike shop mechanic fixing my wheel

Folding Bike, Pegasus Bridge

A WWII folding bike in the museum at Pegasus Bridge

Moules

The meal before we boarded the ferry, which turned out to be a refugee ship

Published in: on May 19, 2010 at 10:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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