Author Archives: Steve

Spring ride

      No Comments on Spring ride

It’s not summer yet. We’ve only just left the grisaille of a Normandy winter behind and in March you never know what weather you’re going to get. So take your opportunities when you can. When we saw that the day was bright, we forgot about the work we should have been doing and grabbed the bikes. We knew we wouldn’t be back… Read more »

New greenways on the Vélo Francette

The other day I wrote about how we’d spotted a new voie verte (greenway) under construction. It was clear that this was a part of the award-winning Vélo Francette cycle route that runs 617km  from the Normandy beaches at Ouistreham (Caen) to La Rochelle. Although we walked only a small section of the new voie verte, I speculated that it might go as… Read more »

A greenway in the making

      No Comments on A greenway in the making

Travelling home from the garage the other day (don’t ask – bloody cars) we were passing through Laubrière when something caught my eye. You don’t expect to find anything significant in Laubrière; it’s just a wide spot on the road. You couldn’t even call it a village. But clearly it was once rather more important. I knew immediately what I’d… Read more »

Greenways everywhere

      No Comments on Greenways everywhere

This year we plan to ride more of the greenways (voies vertes) in the Grand Ouest – an area that covers Normandy, Brittany and the Pays de la Loire. It’s easy to get lazy and keep travelling the same stretches – especially as they’re so beautiful. But we need to explore more, so I grabbed our map of France’s voies vertes… Read more »

Vélo Francette – Europe’s best cycle route

It seems that the V43 Vélo Francette is not our little secret any longer. It has just been voted the best cycle route in Europe. Fiets et Wandelbeurs – a Belgian cycling and rambling organisation – has recognised the beauty and convenience of the route. According to Google Translate and a judicious bit of editing, the jury said something like:  “The… Read more »

Review: Ergon GC1 BioKork ergonomic handlebar grips

I’ve always had a problem getting a grip and lately it’s got worse. My bike came with cheap rubber handlebar grips that were, at best, functional. The problem, though, wasn’t them but me. I have osteoarthritis in every joint of my hands (not to mention lots of places elsewhere). This means I don’t have a lot of gripping power in… Read more »

Review: Optimum Nitebrite gloves

      No Comments on Review: Optimum Nitebrite gloves

In my experience, the first thing to freeze up on a cold day’s ride is your hands. And for anyone who has arthritis, as I do, keeping your hands warm is critical. I wear gloves a lot. The Optimum Nitebrite waterproof cycling gloves are part of a range of gear with an emphasis on high visibility. Indeed, one of the… Read more »

Review: Endura Velo PTFE Protection Jacket

As someone who generally doesn’t go in for buying cycling or sports clothing, this was an aberration. But a worthwhile one. I fell for the Endura Velo PTFE Protection jacket while the More Significant Other and I were in the midst of a full-blown shopping spree. You know the sort of thing – where you’re hopped up on the excitement of… Read more »

Room for everyone

      No Comments on Room for everyone

Over on Google+, I recently got into a ‘debate’ with another cyclist who took exception to us walking our dogs on the voies vertes. He was ill-mannered and aggressive, and his arguments, if you can call them that, not worth repeating here. But it did get me thinking about cycling spaces and infrastructure. The ‘rules’ about whether dogs should be on… Read more »

Winter light

      No Comments on Winter light

Taking a break from cycling can result in quite a shock when you get back in the saddle. For a variety of dull reasons, I haven’t ridden much lately. Then, just as I was ready to restart, we went on holiday. We took the bikes with us for our week in Brittany, knowing that the weather there is often surprisingly… Read more »

Review: Zéfal Arctica Isotherm water bottle

There’s nothing better than a cold drink on a hot day. And vice versa. Staying hydrated is obviously important. But you also want to feel refreshed on a blazing, dusty summer ride, and comforted with something warm when cycling through the chill of winter. That’s what led me to the Zéfal Arctica Isotherm water bottle. Its shell is a standard… Read more »

Green tunnels

      No Comments on Green tunnels

There are certain sections of the local voies vertes (greenways) that we ride frequently, but they never get boring. Every time is slightly different, depending on weather, light and – above all – season. In Summer, many sections of the voies vertes turn into green tunnels as the overhanging branches of trees fill up and bow down with the weight of their… Read more »

Dream rides

      No Comments on Dream rides

Cycling gives you a lot of time to think. And given how we often ride around the local countryside almost at random, it also brings you into contact with some unexpected sights. This can be a dangerous mix. Today, riding a road we’d never travelled before, we came face to face with this abandoned mill. It still has its water… Read more »