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Cycling in France: The Loire by Bike

Tours Cathedral, Loire Valley


Following up the 2010 cycling adventure from St. Malo to Narbonne, intrepid cyclist and putative philosopher Phil Morris turned his sights to the Loire Valley for a 2011 revisit to the delights of cycling in France. The trip starts at Le Mont Gerbier-de-Jonc  - the source (possibly) of the Loire, and ends at Saumur after 1,000 km of a total 1,200 km for the whole of the Loire. At Le Mont Gerbier-de-Jonc , the extraordinary volcanic mountainette is of peculiar and eerie interest.

Of further and particular interest to the editor is the section from Blois to Tours, last visited by him in the 1970s. Here is a concentration of Chateux, fine vistas and medieval history whch repays an extended stay for exploration. Tours itself is  less than remarkable - as Phil explains all too well -  with wide, traffic filled avenues criss-crossing the town. But there are gems remaining still, and the old quarter around the cathedral is a reminder of how things might have been if the planners had not made forays into a somewhate benighted modernity.

A feature of the journey is in the number of ascents and descents - this is no easy ride on tow-paths or cycle lanes in the valley.There are lanes, of course. But often the landscape is arduous, and access to the meandering river is occasionally impossible. Check out the agonies and ecstasies - including a moment reminiscent of Spielberg's early movie "Duel" in which the nonplussed Dennis Weaver character, driving on a remote and lonely road is hounded by a rogue trucker hell-bent on his demise.

But of such stuff, adventures are made. This one is rich in history, in incident and in challenge. Worth a  read!

Visit: A Bike Ride in the Loire Valley


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