Travellers' Tales: Cycling in Brittany and Normandy

Travellers' Tales: Cycling in Brittany and Normandy

Geoff Searle and his wife enjoyed a Petit Tour de Manche, despite mixed weather.

The ferries dictated the shape of our brief tour of Brittany and Normandy. Our first stop, after a barrel-rolling catamaran journey from Poole to Guernsey, was St Peter Port, where we had a swift drink. Then we were off to St Malo, where we overdosed on shellfish.

Next morning, shepherded by our new SatNav, we followed the signposted route to Cancale. We caught glimpses of Mont St-Michel occasionally. The weather closed in, turning from drizzle to monsoon, and emptying us damply into a roadhouse at Beauvoir. When the torrent subsided, we picked up Veloroute 40, which runs along minor roads and disused railways. It goes all the way to Paris, but we stopped overnight at Ducey.

We were going to travel north via St Lô, but the look on the receptionist’s face when I suggested we might cycle across through the bocage – which makes Cornwall look like Norfolk – made us reconsider. We followed V40 further east before tracking north at Mortain. The Tour de France was passing nearby so we met many French roadies. At Vire, we struck west to Percy.

The final day was a short but testing run through undulating countryside before a long glide down to Cherbourg."

Geoff Searle

Day two had been wet, cool and long, and at the end of it my wife had tendonitis in her ankle. We had 80 miles to ride on day three, but she did not complain, even when forced to pedal with one leg or pressing with her heel on the pedal. Happily the weather turned in our favour. We unfolded our free Manche tourism veloroute maps to plot an easy course to connect to the off-road cycle route from Coutances to La Haye du Puits – where there is only one hotel. It’s clean, cheap, and beyond parody.

The final day was a short but testing run through undulating countryside before a long glide down to Cherbourg. After a late lunch of moules frites, we caught the ferry back to Blighty.

Do you have a travelling adventure you would like to share? Email cyclinguk@jppublishing.co.uk for advice on what's required.

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