Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cycle Touring Day 35

Today I had to tackle the bit I had not fancied yesterday afternoon/evening - Le Harve. Not that I had anything against the place but I had been there twice before so would now just be passing through. Also at the back of my mind I was a little bit worried about just where I could cross the river Seine. The first huge bridge is a motorway crossing, so no chance of using that as expected. The second, much farther along the river seemed to be part of a main road but I was unsure if I was allowed to cycle over it as the Sat Nav had seemed reluctant to allow me to drag a route over it. If I could not cross there I would have to cycle even farther along and might not make my chosen campsite until very late in the day.

In choosing the shortest route through Le Harve, I spent the best part of two hours cycling through the industrial port - the most boring part of the whole journey so far and nothing of note to look at to distract me. Eventually I made it to the bridge and just as I did so a cyclist appeared so I asked him if I could cross it. He told me I could but that there was no lane specifically for cyclists. I feared that I would be buffeted by heavy traffic but had no choice other than to try. It was quite a steep climb up but once I was crossing the bridge I was happy. There was hardly any traffic and making the crossing here would allow me to relax for the rest of the afternoon and enjoy the cycle to Honfleur.

Whilst briefly in Le Harve, I had used the free internet in the tourist office to check emails etc. I had spoken to my Aunt who'd asked me if I was going to watch the FA Cup final today. I didn't even realise it was on. This year I have made an effort not to follow football, as for the past few years the diving and cheating has really gotten on my nerves more with each passing season, but regardless of who was playing today, I thought it would be nice to enjoy a bit of Englishness whilst here in France, so I decided to seek out a bar that might be showing the match once I had set up camp later that afternoon/evening.

The site I had chosen, just outside of Honfleur, was located at the top of a 100m elevation climb - buggers! After 95km that's the last thing you want. I got to the site absolutely shattered but set up the tent, grabbed some food and showered and then got back on the bike to head back into town. I had seen a bar just as I turned out of the town to start the climb to camp, so I thought I would try there first. I peered in the window and saw that they were showing the match on the tv. I locked the bike up and went in. I had only missed the first 23 seconds of the game. The match itself was nothing special but I spent it in the company of about 10 other English people, so the atmosphere was enjoyable at least. Five of the guys were over for the weekend on their Harley's. We chatted for most of the match and it was great to enjoy an afternoon/evening of conversation and laughter - something which had been missing from my tour until now. After the match, I wandered around the harbour for a while and then treated myself to a pizza before the climb back up to the campsite. The climb with an unladen bike is so much easier - whose idea was it to bring all this stuff?!?


  1. It's great you had company, you said it was a bit lonely at times so I'm pleased. Hope the camp sites are all good, makes all the difference having a decent one. Take care.

  2. Seriously, you are an inspiration and I am loving reading your posts x