Le Canal Latéral à la Loire

we left the window open during the night to combat the sweaty clothes smell and each time I woke up I could hear the rain. according to the weather predictions the morning would be the worst, so we took our time with breakfast and packing, leaving the cute hotel in Decize around nine thirty. we set off along the Canal Latéral à la Loire – try to say it fast three times – deviating from the route set out by the book we bought in Belgium. we were pretty tired after yesterday so we definitely want to use a shortcut like the canal if at all possible.

there is a steady drizzle and it’s pretty cold: I’m wearing four layers of merino wool and a rain jacket. a drizzle will not get you wet quickly, but if you cycle through it for several hours you will be soaked through anyway. we thank the gods of science and technology for the invention of contact lenses, imagine doing this with glasses on your nose.

we start off along the canal, but it turns out that the tow path here is full of holes and water puddles, so we switch to the parallel local road. we zoom over it – I mean this in a literal sense, we both have brand new tires that are very noisy on the smooth asphalt – with the wind in our backs and make good speed to Cranot, where we pick up the official track again. from there it goes over the hills to Bourbon-Lancy, with some pretty climbs and descents. during one particularly gruelling ascent I switch down to my smallest gear, the only way to avoid running out of energy before the top of the hill.

After a panini in Bourbon-Lancy and the acquisition of some extra snacks in a bakery, we take the Voie Verte to Digoin, first following an old railroad track, then back to the Canal Latéral à la Loire but this time on smooth asphalt roads. it drizzles the entire time so we take only short breaks to avoid cooling down too much. we have the cookies from the bakery as a snack and arrive in Digoin where the canal crosses the Loire river on a huge aquaduct, it looks really impressive. unfortunately the hotel reception only opens at six so we spend a small hour in a local fast food bar with a cup of hot chocolat. I take the time to sort through the day’s pictures, can’t help but smile again at the swan chicks, so cute and fluffy.

today only three blue herons, but some bright yellow birds, type unknown.

  • total distance: 295,7 km
  • distance today: 76,2 km
  • cycling hours today: 5:10 h
  • average speed: 14,7 km/h

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