I’ve just returned from a two week stint in the Loire. What a place for cycling. No majestic mountains. No hairy downhills, no dynamite cyclo-cross riding – just plain lovely countryside. And wine (and winemaking). And cheese. And respectful drivers. And lovely hotels. And…… fields of sunflowers glistening in the sun, Abbey tops peeping over sandstone villages, Belgian beers on tap,the shimmering surface of the river Loire, tunnels that swoop below medieval Chateaus, cafes set in caves, rolling fields of vines, well marked cycle ways and numerous ways to cycle. I saw whole families cycle touring with kids aged little more than 7 or 8.
I was quite taken with it.
It helped that the sun shone – almost- relentlessly. It helped that Sky dominated the Tour De France and that Wiggo claimed his 7th Olympic medal (hard fromage Cav – there will be many, many more days in the sun). It helped that a fellow cyclist spotted my ‘cyclists legs’ and invited me out with his Dutch based mate for some decent early morning spinning (cheers Adam and Nigel). It helped that my choice of weapon (my Traitor luggernaut single speed) was geared perfectly for the conditions. But most of all, it helped that the French have wholly embraced cycling in this region and made it accessible to everyone. You needn’t be a cycling obsessive (like me) to enjoy the Loire. Just get out and embrace the fresh air, the warm sun and the joie de vivre. I think we’ll be back again.
Apologies for the crappy pun. ‘Louie Louie’ is an outstanding song – just listen to the evidence here (the kinks version) – and I’ve been looking for a way to shoehorn it into a cycling post. Bingo.