We’re getting ready to leave! To be honest, all the prep work until now has been mental/administrative, so I can’t say there’s much readiness, though we leave tomorrow afternoon.. A bike trip! Again! but what can I say, we just really enjoy the format. It’s a bit later in the year than usual due to work constraints and it’s a bit more touristy than usual, so we’re not 100% sure what to expect..
|where?||The valley of the Loire river in France|
|how long?||10 cycling days|
1 resting day
|how far?||about 600 kilometers|
I must admit I went all out, full steam, no efforts spared on the preparation of this trip, simply because I’ve been looking forward to it and wanted to be able to relax once we got going. The route is pretty simply: we start in Sully-sur-Loire and follow the Loire river all the way to the coast. The whole thing is pretty well documented, there’s even an official website Loire à Velo which is available in French, English and Dutch, with maps, practical advice, links to other relevant sites and of course the possibility to reserve a hotel or activity online. They have their own quality label Acceuil Vélo, identifying hotels/shops/restaurants that welcome bike trekkers.
Once I downloaded the gpx file from the website, I cut it into day-sized segments and yes, I used the website also to find hotels. The result is a detailed itinerary in Notion and a room reserved for every night. I even made a restaurant reservation for a few locations, in the cases where the options were few and I really wanted to be sure of a table. That can be surprisingly difficult, in the middle of nowhere on a Sunday or Monday evening, when most restaurants are closed.
I used RideWithGPS to plan the routes, which will be displayed on a smartphone on the bike. I even added some custom cues to indicate options for lunch or small detours to see a castle. There will be a lot of castles! Since I lived in that area (in the nineties, can you imagine) and we have visited it a few times since, all major castles along the river are familiar to us, so we might skip a few entirely. Or, if it’s not far out of the way, just ride to a lookout point for a break with a view. A more relaxed approach is our goal now: enjoy the ride, the sun, the food, the wine and cheese, ..
In any case, it’s going to be less strenuous than usual, since for the first time ever we’ll take e-bikes. My knees have been a bit bothersome with the occasional inflammation the last few months and I don’t want to risk having to interrupt the holiday or having to recuperate afterwards. Because we’re borrowing the bikes, some of our usual gear just doesn’t fit: so no camera bag, no Ortlieb front rollers, .. Tomorrow we’ll try to get our usual stuff into a different configuration. I’ve already decided I can live without the reflex camera for once, but I’m definitely taking my laptop. A holiday day is only complete if I can organize the pictures and write a blog post afterwards 🙂
I’m quite curious as how everything will turn out. Will there be a lot of other cyclists? Will it be too easy with the e-bikes? Will we get bored with 600 km of the same river?