Despite the best intentions, I rarely get around to blogging in the evenings. After a long days’s ride, all I want is a shower, food, and more food! Hence it’s now Wednesday morning, with two days of riding behind us and this post is about Monday. I’ll try to catch up, and perhaps add more photographs, later.
On Monday morning, we set off from our Hendaye hotel, a modern but unremarkable place, in search of Eurovelo 1 heading North. Accommodation was booked for Monday night in Saint Juien en Born, a little over 70 miles away. As is often the case, it was a little tricky navigating the pretty coastal town but there were plenty of cycleways and we found our way through. We then had quite a long stretch of road with moderately heavy traffic and some significant, if not particularly challenging, hills. Eurovelo 1 keep detouring from the most direct route to take us around every little loop that brought us close to the sea and most of this was on cycles lanes that were completely devoid of other traffic. After a couple of hours, we encountered a small restaurant, over looking the sea, that was just opening up. Six large oysters and a glass of wine for ten Euro was a tempting offer but we had to get some miles under our belts so we pressed on.
It continued to be quite hilly as we passed through Biarritz, which was very smart, apart from the large amount of construction work in progress, then on towards Bayonne. We passed through some industrial areas, but still safely on cycleways most of the time.
About 25 miles into the ride, the terrain became almost entirely flat, and so it was to continue for the rest of the day. It was sunny and the temperature rose to about 18 or 19C, idyllic weather for cycling. The only downside was that we were cycling into a 14mph headwind much of the time, but even that wasn’t particularly challenging.
By early afternoon we were ready to eat but there was no sign of the kind of oyster restaurant that we’d encountered earlier in the day. We decided to keep things simple, buying bread, local paté, ham and olives from a Spar supermarket and devouring these whilst sitting on a bench in the small town we were passing through. I can’t remember its name. However, just as we were leaving the town, we rode alongside a beautiful estuary and sure enough, there was the next oyster restaurant. Oysters and a dry white wine for desert. What could be better!
After lunch, we soon headed into the pine forests of Les Landes. The cycle paths were mostly the width of a car lane, perfectly smooth and many of them straight for miles on end. Although we were close to the sea, we saw little of it. Trees hid the beaches from the cycleways. There were only a few other cyclists and walkers around because the holiday season had not started. There were numerous lizards dashing across our paths throughout the day, but we managed to avoid them.
At around half past six in the evening, we arrived at our destination for the day. A house in the middle of a forest camp site, where our host, Maylis, greeted us warmly and told us where we could find the local supermarket.
After a brief shopping trip, Andy cooked up steak with endive salad and we collapsed into our beds to recover from the day’s efforts.
We’d covered 83 miles and climbed 3,600 feet, which was somewhat more than we were expecting when we set off in the morning.