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Enjoying Those ‘How Good is This’ Moments on the Loire

Enjoying Those ‘How Good is This’ Moments on the Loire

As anyone who has been lucky enough to enjoy an organised cycling holiday or who has completed a long distance cycle tour will tell you, there is no better way to see the world than from the seat of a bicycle.

When you are on a cycle tour every day is a good day, your day to day problems melt away and time flies ... invariably you know that you are in a very special place that you would not swap for anything.

As the e-Bike Cycle Tourists have discovered many times over the past four weeks those ‘how good is this’ moments can come at any time on any day … they are the addictive elixir that only cycle touring can provide.

After more than a decade of cycle touring in various exotic locations all over the globe, the past few weeks have provided us with a timely reminder of just how special cycle touring can be.

With more than 1700 kilometres now clocked up since we started out from London on April 23 in an attempt to set a new world e-bike long distance record, we have encountered all types of weather conditions, have seen many amazing sights and have met many, many wonderful people.

But while we had a great time over the first three weeks of our cycling adventure, nothing could have prepared us for the many ‘how good is this’ moments we have experienced since arriving in Nantes in France for the trip along EuroVelo 6 along the Loire Valley and, eventually, France.

At almost every turn of the road we have been amazed by the sights, we have appreciated the beauty of the wild Loire River and have generally loved everything the Loire has to offer.

But things got even better when we left Angers early yesterday morning after a day of sightseeing the previous day around the historic city.

Following a wet and stormy night we awoke to a cold but cloudless morning excited as usual about what the day had in store for us.

After packing up our camp and preparing our e-bikes for the day’s ride, we set off with a howling wind at our back, the sun in our face and huge smiles all around.

Villages and towns such as les Ponts de-Ce, St Mathurin sir-Loire, Gennes and Saumur were slowly cycled through with every picture opportunity seized, every chance to stop for a closer look at a historic monument or building taken … generally we savoured every moment of the day.

Even when the weather clouded over later in the day and we were forced to take cover under the porch of a restaurant in Turquant during a brief but very wet downpour, we marvelled at what we were seeing.

No ordinary building, the restaurant had long ago been carved out of the towering limestone cliffs. It was in effect a cave with a restaurant in it!

Unfortunately the premises were closed or we would have enjoyed a coffee while we waited out the storm, but it was another reminder that even when things go wrong there can be a silver lining waiting.

But that is what provides much of the attraction of the Loire. There is just so much history, so much to see, so much to do, so much to take in, and so many fantastic cycling tracks that it really is one big ‘how good is this’ opportunity.

After a day today revisiting Saumur to see the Chateaux de Saumur – which we bypassed due to the impending rain the previous day - and Fontevraud Abbey, the final resting place of Richard the Lionhearted, we are off to Chinon and beyond tomorrow in search of more historic castles and more ‘how good is this’ moments.

Given the huge number of things to see and do in the region, the suspicion is we will not be disappointed.

 


Gary Corbett is an award-winning Australian journalist who has written for a wide range of newspapers, periodicals and travel magazines for the past 30-plus years.

After years of writing about other people’s travel adventures, in the mid-2000s he  booked a personal holiday with a difference – a one week guided cycling tour in the Loire Valley in France – and was instantly hooked on those “how good is this” moments that only cycle touring can provide.

In ensuing years he has gone on to cycle well in excess of 30,000 kilometres completing guided, self-guided, bike and barge and solo long distance tours in Europe, Australia, Asia and South America.

Gary now writes exclusively about cycle touring and travelling in general and as such the attempt to set a new electric bike world long distance record along with his wife, Rachel, is his latest “fact finding” cycling adventure – however this time it will be on an e-bike.

His future goal is to see more of the world from the seat of his trusty Trek 520 touring bicycle, and now that he has discovered the world of e-biking, his new Haibike xDuro Trekking RX e-bike. There is, after all, always another country to be explored, new cultures to be experienced and more cycle tours to be completed.


Before this epic journey Gary (a.k.a. The Cycle Tourist) contributed many excellent cycle touring articles to the Cycle Tours Global blog - you can read them at cycletoursglobal.com/Gary-Corbett.To find out even more about the expedition please visit http://ebikecycletourists.com.
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By: Gary Corbett
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