Crossing France on the EV6 route – 2

Monday Aug 13. We are in le Creusot tonight, not on the planned route, but we felt the need for a rest day and took the train here yesterday. It is as near the original route as we could find for a way to hop ahead by train so that we can have a day off and keep the ongoing accommodation reservations.

Sunday morning we said goodbye to Joanne as she headed off to return her bike and fly to Paris to spend a few days with friends before heading back to Canada. We’ll miss her; it was fun to have her along.

The heat wave has passed, at least for the time being. We are back to normal August temperatures of mid twenties to low thirties with some thunderstoms. Only one rainy day so far.

Following the Loire, we have ridden a lot of dikes and canals in the last few days, mostly through agricultual land. We’ve now left the Loire, heading north-east toward Basel Switzerland. So far we’ve ridden about 650 km.

A few photos:

New Crops


Riding out of Gien after lunch by the river.




Fishing in the canal.


Discussing the route.


Flowers alomg the bike path.


Trees in a farm field.


Inge on a fence by the canal.


Joanne also on a fence.


L’Allier river, just before it flows into la Loire.


Crossing a canal aqueduct over l’Allier.


Alley in Nevers.


Solar powered phone charging station in Nevers.


Roy helping the lock keeper by cranking a manual canal lock.


Cycling on a canal towpath.


Bikes on a local train.

Crossing France on the EV6 route

We’re back!

We were forced to abandon this route last year after only three days of riding—now we are back to complete it and carry on to more riding in France.

We arrived in France Monday July 30, rode from the airport into the centre of Paris, spent the night at a hotel near the Gare Montparnasse, and on Tuesday took the fast TGV train to Angers. Wednesday August 1 we began riding East on the Loire River with its lovely old towns, limestone buildings, vinyards and chateaux.

Our friend Joanne from Vancouver is riding with us for the first 12 days.

It is incredibly hot and sunny, up to 37º, but fortunately we planned shorter stages for the first part of the ride and we’ve had good luck getting early breakfasts at our hotels so we can start early to avoid the worst of the afternoon heat. We’ve visited two chateaux, Chenonceau and Chambord, ridden through endless fields of grapes, enjoyed great views and had some good food and drink.

The first part of the EV6 follows the Loire Cycle Route, the most popular long-distance cycle route in France. It is fun riding with other cyclists and having so many cycle-friendly places to stay. As much of the route is on separate bike paths, there are many families cycling with young children.

A few photos:

Our hotel in Angers


Joanne and Inge as we cross a river on a little you-pull-it-across-yourself bike ferry.




Joanne and Inge


Staircase in Blois




Chateau Chenonceau


Chateau Chambord


Photo gallery or just a bunch of photos?

How best to present photos on our blog? Comments please!

On our last trip I went minimal and wrote the bog using a phone. With the the small screen on the phone I was limited in the tools I could use; I could only attach photos as large images below or in the text.

In the past I’ve used a gallery to display the photos for a post. You see a grid of small images in the post. It gives a quick overview. If you mouse over an image (on a computer) or tap it (phone or tablet) the caption pops up, and if you click or tap again, the image opens full screen and you can move back and forth between images in a slide show.

I thought the gallery was a good feature, but I’ve had comments that full-size photos below the post text are easier to view.

Here’s  ( an example of a blog post with a gallery.

And here’s ( an example with the images full-size below the text.

We will be off on our next trip, cycling in France, in a few weeks. I’m taking a small iPad and can do the photos either way.

Which do you like better? Why?

Offa’s Dyke Path Days 7 to 12

Yesterday I finished the walk, arriving at Prestatyn, a holiday town on the Irish Sea.

The weather during the second half of the walk was wonderful—no rain, warm, every day a mix of sun and cloud. Ironically, this morning walking to the station for the train to Manchester the weather was cold with low cloud and drizzle. Perhaps the gods wanted to make sure I understood how generous they had been.

Like the first half, the days were varied. A large part was walking in fields with endless gates to open and shut, stiles to climb and farm animals who always listened to whatever I had to say. I was growing a bored with the fields by the end of the first half of the walk, but in the second half I discovered that I enjoyed the open space and the simple routine of entering each new field, trying to discover where the gate to the next field was located and seeing how this new flock of sheep or herd of cows would respond to me.

It wasn’t all fields. There were days high in heather hills, forests (actually tree farms, all the old growth has been cut), canals, and a day with a long stretch across a scree slope beneath rocky cliffs.

A couple of days I walked with Rob, an English hiker, but he was doing the walk in a day less than me; we eventually parted when he had a longer stage. I missed his company but I also enjoyed solitude.

The walk went by quickly. It is different from the alpine and pilgrimage walks I’ve done, and took a few days to appreciate, but it is one of the best.

Photo gallery, no photos featuring cows or sheep…

Offa’s Dyke Path Days 3 to 6

In some ways the last few days have been alike: walking through the countryside, sheep, hills, views from the hill tops, villages in the valleys. Good weather.

But each day was different. Day three was a climb to a long ridge walk in the Black Mountains, well away from roads and fields, into heather and high grazing land, with wild ponies and panoramic views of the farms below.

Days four and five were hills and sheep. And also the first chance to clearly see and follow Offa’s Dyke.

Today is rated as the toughest day of the walk, following the dyke northward as it crosses east-west hills for a cumulative ascent today of 980m (3215ft) with some extremely steep climbs. A tiring day, but rewarding.

At the end of today’s walk I was standing at a crossroads in the rain waiting for a bus to take me off route to a nearby hotel. I decided to try hitchhiking. Ten minutes later I had a ride to the hotel door.

Some photos:

Cows trying to follow me

Border marker on the ridge

Wild pony

Wild pony

The endless 14 km ridge trail

Farm fields

When the official signs go missing…

Weathered sign post

Village street

Hiker on the dyke

Lamb peeking over the dyke

Half way point