It’s been a while since my last post, but my computer and internet have been fixed twice since then!
The plan for France is to generally follow Anne Mustoe’s route, but with a few changes.
Anne went in to Boulogne, and I originally planned to do the same, but the ferries that go in to Boulogne only take cars, not passengers or bikes or motorbikes or lorries or anything else, just cars. The only other choice of ferry leaving from the Dover area goes to Calais, so that has to be where I’ll take the ferry in to. Anne doesn’t detail her exact route, but from reading and re-reading I’ve managed to work out her approximate itinerary. So from Calais I plan to take ten or eleven days crossing France to Switzerland, going via Arras, St Quentin, Reims, Vitry-le-Francois, St-Dizier, Chaumont, Champlite, Besancon and Pontarlier, with those being the approximate places where I’ll spend the night. There are various interesting sites in some of those places, for example the war cemeteries during the first few days travel, and then General/President de Gaul’s home village, and of course the atmosphere and life in the villages towns and cities being an attraction in itself.
Obviously I won’t be able to cycle 120km a day 7 days a week, so the average distance while crossing France will be a leisurely 70-80km a day, including rest days once a week, which I have scheduled usually for a Sunday, but sometimes a day or two before or after so I can stay somewhere interesting instead of being “stuck” in a tiny village with no services open for an entire Sunday.
From the last stop in France, Pontarlier, I’ll cycle over the Jura Mountains into Switzerland, and on to Lausanne. Downhill all the way after the pass, I’m hoping the 63km total for that day will be possible, as only about half is uphill. From Losanna (I’m on the Italian map and spellings now) the route takes me over the Great St Bernard pass, no small undertaking. From Losanna I’m hoping to be on the coll in three days, the first one being a long day around the flat roads along the shore of the lake, then growing shorter until I’ll have to cycle 28km from Champex to the top of the coll. However, since it is freewheeling all the way to Aosta and further, my distance for that day should total over 95km.
From here it’s the Italian leg, which will be detailed in the next post.