Falmouth Wheelers
Monday October 23 2017 
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Wheelers in Brittany



 

Brittany Apr 2017

 

The first wave of Wheelers arrived at ferryport, via trains and cars, some earlier than others, so some had time to rehydrate at new bar next to ferryport. Sylvia did a few turns of the roundabout and carpark, as we unloaded and sorted bags etc, Sylvia asked where my pannier rack was, I explained, Victor had volunteered to carry all of "our " kit in the panniers on his bike! As my Giant is not compatible with pannier racks.  How generous.

 

 Finally all boarded to find cabins, The Pont Aven is quite a large ferry and the cabins were spread randomly around the various decks, we rendezvoused in the bar, where various other Falmouthians were gathering, inc Trevors cousin and Falmouth Vocals choir, it was like being at home.  After eating, we returned to bar for the top notch entertainment, the disco went well according to Mike, especially YMCA, the French student loved that.. The we had the magician, Kk spoilt this for us by telling us what would happen next, We always knew he had a special gift...then the singers came on with their take on Jolene, quite an unusual song for two strapping lads to sing, then whilst they sang Bon Jovi's Living on a Prayer, we all slipped quietly out to relocate the cabins we struggled to find when sober.

 

Friday 28th Apr, first cycling day, luckily Nick and Christine "offered" to carry our pannier bags in their campervan to the campsite, so we were fairly unladen on our pre planned Garmin route out of Roscoff,

 

we rolled along the pretty lanes admiring the stone work buildings and how well the new and old went so well together.  Then onto Santec, with lovely sandy beaches, we were following the well(ish) signposted cycle route to Sibiril, where we tried to find a coffee stop, as we had been quite cold,  No cafe/bar  there, so to warm everyone up we went the wrong way and ended up re climbing the hill we had just come up.. Then stayed on main road to Cleder, where we piled into bar for coffees and to the bakers for pastries. Yum, this was going to be a great weekend. We got chatting to one local chap Leou who was quite taken with Sylvia, being so tall. As she was wearing the red jacket he thought she was in charge, and gave us his address as where we were going was on the next road to where he lived, about 10 miles away we said we would look in if we got the chance, We headed out of Cleder back toward the coast to follow extremely  scenic route to Plouescat for our lunchstop, Crepes or sandwiches for us. Some were also seen visiting the patisserie , photos were taken.... Mike and John went into restaurant Bistrot des Halles to sample the food to see if it would be good enough for us all in the evening. It was. So we booked our table, and set off for the campsite to unpack and get out of our lycra.  and back into civvies, by now the sun was shining and was warm enough to sit out and relax with a cup of tea...

 

The campsite was about 2 miles out of town, so we cycled to restaurant  in the evening, to keep our cycling miles up. The food was just as John and Mike had said, "excellent".  Then we raced back to site to catch up on  our beauty sleep.    around 40 miles today depending on whether supermarket run included.

 

Evening meal Bistrot des Halles, food excellent especially the chips, and desserts, great service.

 

Day 2, The second wave of Wheelers were on their way!  As Victor and I cycled up to Plouescat town to the bakers we spotted a car with bike rack on back and GB number plate.  They had been much quicker getting out of ferryport than we had. They carried on, to site for Clare to get lycra'd up and Paul and Hilary to plan their visit to Morlaixs Saturday market.. And visit the well known Martins patisserie. mmmnnnn.  KK, Gill and Steve, decided to do a local ride so headed off with a map unfortunately Steve broke a spoke, no bike repairs shops near so back to site, then out for exploring on foot.

 

Our ride today was preplanned on Garmin again. So we headed out on the D10 then D110 to Lesneven for coffee stop, the route today not as flat as coastal route, but we were warm.. Lesneven was quite bustling and we soon found the bar with a great terrace on front, we had been there many years ago on another Wheelers foray, luckily they didnt remember us, and we all got served.. Onto the amazing town of Landerneau where we had decided to have lunch, on arrival to the town centre a nice chap advised us of a good restaurant, and gave us directions, unfortunately it was closed for the holiday weekend.  well this is France.  We found the Tourist Info office, also closed, for lunch. So John found us a great restaurant, in the centre, as it was fairly busy, we took up two tables,  this was definitely a cyclist restaurant as the tablelamps were made of old gear wheels, very clever. The lunch was great, unwisely I copied Clare and had a small beer,  I am easily led astray.   I could of done with a nap in the sunshine, but Garmin was raring to go again, and the road to Roche Maurice was fast and flowing.  Stunning scenery and quiet roads, just what we wanted, then we hit the road D712 which although very scenic, would have been great if is wasnt used by racing motor bikes, which was at times very scary.  We pushed on and soon got off that road, to a steep climb, where Victor was stopped by a chap in a car, he handed something black to Victor, apparently, one of us had dropped it back on the top of the hill. Sylvia had taken her jacket off and dropped her camera. How nice of him to chase us down to give it back.. Then on to the charming village of Bodilis where we joined the crowd who had just come from a funeral at the church, and straight into the pretty bar L'Hermine, this had originally been our planned lunch stop, so we just had a refreshing cold drink,  and comfort break, sitting in the sunshine, this is what these trips are all about.  From there the road back to Plouescat was about 14 miles and the road D35 was a pleasure to cycle on, well surfaced,  rolling inclines and very little other traffic on them.    total miles around 53 depending on whether we use strava or Garmin or other bike computer.

 

Opposite Steves cabin were a cycling team Orbea Mavic, who had a look at fixing spoke, unfortunately no one had correct spoke, so Steve would have to run bike slowly back to ferry the next day.

 

Riders, Nick, Victor, John, Mike, Trevor, Jo, Sylvia, Phil, Clare, Caroline.

 

Evening meal at Restaurant Cap Ouest, again great food, great service and what a sunset.

 

Day 3, Due to poor weather forecast we all had a slow start to the morning, a group of us cycled up to the bakers/bar for breakfast, no beer for us though, just coffees and croissants, then into Spar to buy food for Sunday eve repas, as we decided to eat in and just chill out. As we returned to our bikes stowed in the market halles, we found another group of wet cyclists, who had been on Thursday night ferry, staying at Roscoff, but looking for a nice coastal coffee stop, I offered them to follow us and pointed them in direction of Roc'h Ar Mor as very nice setting overlooking beach, and great food, They must have been there a while as Sylvia also saw them still there quite a bit later.

 

Steve, Gill, Trevor and KK headed off back to Roscoff for the pm ferry, arriving safely although a bit damp. Nick and Christine headed further south in the campervan.

 

We eventually went out to find lunch, and set off at a good pace, then the heavens opened, were we mad to be out in weather like it? Yes probably.   We all had thoughts of turning back, but we could see the sky lightening ahead and persevered, finally the torrent stopped, and we arrived at Brignogan Plage, the harbour is breathtaking and this is where I asked Phil if this made the ride worthwhile, I have never heard Phil swear before!!!  Victor remembered where the restaurant, La Corniche, was, that we had eaten at before,  they were very busy and at first said they were full, 8 unhappy faces, the barman said something to the waitress and offered us the tables in the bar area, which we jumped at, we were very cold, very wet and very hungry,  We tried to dry out as much as we could, but still left puddles on the tiled floor. Paul and Hilary joined us, they had also cycled in the wet, The food was excellent  and well priced,  the sun was now shining we were all happy again. Then it was time to leave and head straight back to get dry clothes on, about 12 miles each way, easier coming back. 

 

Evening meal at No 74, a cosy little( some said luxurious ) caravan, where 10 can just about sit in some comfort. Food pretty good. Company excellent.

 

Day4 May Day.

 

The next to leave were packed and ready to go. Sylvia and Jo by bike, and Paul, Hils and Clare by car. A storm had been blowing through during the night and sadly it was still blowing gale force in the morning, although not as much rain as the day before,  Victor, Mike and Phil decided to go out on bikes,

 

 Day 4 (Monday) dawned clear-ish but very windy, so of the surviving wheelers just Mike, Victor and Phil decided to set out on a lads ride west toward the l'Aber Wrach estuary, Mike with severe doubts about his ability to keep up with his two semi-pro companions (as it turned out they were fairly merciful).  The ride out was mainly flat with just one very long hill to climb, but right into the teeth of the really aggressive wind. A three person peloton strategy worked pretty well, mostly Phil at the front (where he likes it apparently), but leader duties shared by the other two, even Mike for a short stretch.

 

A local group passed us - unfair, they had much bigger peloton than us but we hitched on the back for a short stretch before deciding that was a bit rude.  The effort of catching us must have taken its toll as they remained in sight for some time before our coffee stop at Guisény in the only open bar/tabac in the village. There was French politics on TV and in our conversation.  A local lady of advanced years informed us as she left that we were welcome to have Jean Marie LePen (in the UK) if we wanted him.

 

Onward to Plouguerneau, a large town where, of course, there would be somewhere open to have lunch. Of course there wasn't, the French seem to take bank holidays very seriously, coupling this with a rather lax attitude to commerce. So the band of brothers pushed on and down, crossing l'Aber Wrach estuary quite deep inland and passing the Auberge du Pont (closed) & the Creperie du Pont (closed). Returning to Plouguerneau, Victor managed to glean from a local that there should be a Creperie open at Lilia, 5k away on the coast. La Route du Phare, Triumph! The nice head geezer there said that if we returned in half an hour there would be a table free. The place was absolutely rammed but the crepes were great.

 

Coming back with a fierce tailwind to help, and the long hill taken in reverse, the pace was tremendous: a bit like having a superpower, but this was a just and fair reward for the hard ride out. Circa 52 miles overall.

 

The evening meal was the last dinner for the trip, and was taken at a tremendous local cafe/bar/restaurant on the beach. The food looked amazing on the plate, but this author could only look: retiring hurt with an upset tummy (but nothing that depositing the contents of lunch and breakfast in a toilet bowl back at the campsite couldn't cure).

 

I decided to have  a walk around coast and watch the waves crashing onto massive rocky boulders and even some crazy people windsurfing., John also went for a walk and assisted in a small boat rescue, whilst on his walk.

 

Evening meal at Roc'h Ar Mor restaurant, No 1 on Tripadvisor, it certainly was an excellent meal, Unfortunately Mike felt unwell so left early. When we left it was very wet, windy and dark, so much so that we were led out through the back door of the hotel by the proprietor.

 

Day 5

 

Our final day , so todays ride would be back to ferry port, we took the Velo Route 5 along pretty lanes and to Pont Neuf, a really tucked away port with some lovely houses, lovely white sandy beaches, We arrived in St Pol de Leon, on a fairly busy market day, we opted for crepes as last meal in Brittany, for a while. After lunch just the quick but very undulating cycle route back to ferryport, will Probably stick to the main road in future, as much flatter. Straight onto ferry. For a lovely cuppa. Sitting in sunshine. With discussions about when and where we should go next........

 

25 miles. Mostly flat..

 

It was an excellent trip, a good group of cyclists, plenty of laughs along the way, no punctures and only one broken spoke.  So a success.

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 2014 Brittany Tour (The One Way or Another Tour)                                                                              

With the three cars parked safely at the ferry port, the eight keen cyclists loaded the panniers onto their bikes and  cycled onto the ferry.  Nickys choice of cycling footwear for this leg of the journey had to be seen to be believed. But as the old saying goes, what goes on tour , stays on tour.  After allowing the crew to lash the bikes to the railings on either side of the car deck we headed up to our luxury cabins, bags stowed we headed to the bar for  some refreshments and a quick briefing of the next days adventure, which would of course start with the delightful breton music playing on the ferry wake up  system.  Breakfast onboard was the usual, long queue for the fry up, by people who clearly shouldn't be eating it, I am pleased to say we all had the healthy option, juice, muesli, croissants and coffee. Well almost healthy. 

Off the ferry we quickly got through passport control and were on our way down through St Pol de Leon.  As the first four headed out of St Pol, we had lost the second four, so after a couple of phone calls, we regrouped at Penze, by the river. It was here that the P fairy attacked Jills tyre.  It was left to Charlie to change the tube, and it was decided to have an early coffee stop in the bar over the river.  After loading up with a bit more caffeine we headed off, but I couldn't find my gloves, I had taken them off by the bridge, but they were not there now and after another look in the bar to no avail, we headed off with my other gloves on.  We made good progress down to Morlaix, out along the river, up to Plouzoch then along lovely sunny lanes to our lunch stop at Locquirec.  Its a really pretty harbour town with several posh restaurants, we opted for a creperie for a quick bite and some chilled drinks.  As we prepared to leave to town, a couple sitting on a bench looking out over the harbour started to chat to us, as they had read our logos on cycling shorts, they said they were coming to Falmouth on holiday in August for the Tall Ships, they were of course English but have been living in Brittany for several years, but heading back to the UK to live.  We had quite a chat, but we did have many more miles to go so reluctantly said good bye and hit the road. The route took us through Plestin les Greves and along a long beach used for sand yachting and kite surfing, yes it was quite windy but very we headed on and up the hill to St Michel en Greve, ten onto Lannion, where we felt it was time for another cuppa.  we sat and watched the very busy town, Fred  and I decided we should go to the tourist office to find out if there was a better route out of the town centre.  We were given maps and infomation and we felt ready to get going again.  We pushed up through the town, but we realised French roadsigns and maps dont tally up, luckily a lovely man Claude, stopped in his car to try to offer help, he didnt speak any english, but offered to go home and get his bike and lead  us to the right route,  he said to carry on up the hill and he would meet us by the traffic lights.  This he duly did, still wearing his corduroy trousers and woolly hat, he led us through traffic lights, private carparks, industrial estates and finally to the top of a road, by the tip,  he said to follow the road and we would shortly arrive at Perros.  We said our goodbyes and merci beaucoups and did as we were told, and yes we did come to a junction and road sign to Centre Ville. Despite a route barre sign, as resurfacing work was underway we decided to head on through by the pavement, and soon arrived at the Hotel De Perros, our base for the next two nights,  We were greeted by Armelle who I had booked the rooms with,  she showed us the garage for the bikes and then our rooms. We quickly unpacked and felt we deserved a nice cool beer so headed along the road to the bar which we adopted as clubroom. With drinks we were given cacahouets, which I am sure you know are peanuts, they certainly made us thirsty and in need of another cool drink.  We booked our table at the nearby restaurant and headed back to the hotel to freshen up. And for Nicky to get those boots on again.  
Total mileage for day one around 57 miles . With luggage .  Quite an achievement.
 
           We all had a good breakfast at the hotel, the selection very good and the service excellent.  Sonjia had a surprise for me, she had found my gloves in her bag, she must have picked them up with her Jacket at the bar.  The other surprise was she had left her Pjs on the ferry, I am sure there is a large box at the ferry port with pyjamas and other things that are left behind.  After a typical French breakfast we dressed for cycling and Fred got the nickname of Mr Motivator, because of his choice of Lycra outfit.  KK was feeling a bit stiff from the previous days ride so was given some stretching exercises to loosen up.,  We decided to have a leisurely ride around the coast to see the Pink Granite that the coast is named after..  The view across the beach at Perros was amazing, the sand fine and golden.  None of us had brought a cossie so decided not to take a dip, I expect it was a bit chilly anyway. We had a photo taken by some other people admiring the view.  I would imagine it is very busy in high summer and that some of the lovely houses were holiday homes.  We headed on down the hill and then out along the port and across country to Trebuerden, where we were going for lunch, again another amazing beach with massive boulders, KK and me had a climb up a few but not ideal in cycling shoes. Lunch was pizzas for Victor and me, some others had that special breton meal of moule frites..washed down with cider, drunk out of a bol (bit like a teacup), The talk over lunch was the usual banter, where we decided the song for this tour had to be 'One way or another' but not the One D version, but the original by Blondie, well we are all over twenty., This was something alledgedly to do with our map reading skills.   The other song that was high on our list was the one with the memorable line, "I see you baby, shaking that ass", this was sung every time that Charlie overtook us.  After lunch in the sun we carried on with the coastal route back to Perros, which was pretty flat and with stunning views at every turn.  At Perros KK and Charlie wanted to see what shops were around the town, and Jill thought she better go with them to make sure they didn’t spend too much., They were also going to suss out the restaurants for that nights dinner.  The famous five headed back down to the port for a beer in the late afternoon sunshine,  the only trouble was that the best bars were not now in the sun,, we followed the port road around a bit more and found a charming bar, cafe run by a lovely old lady, we ordered our beverages and discussed the lady's choice of calender, it would have been more suited to the local garage, but as they say what goes on tour etc etc.  After our drink  (and some cake from the local bakers) we headed back up town to check on the shoppers.  In the bar we were made welcome again with not just nuts but also a bowl of cherry tomatoes, we thought they must be clearing the fridge out, and thought we might stay all evening, until one of our ladies decided to knock a nice glass over, which broke sending the contents over her husband and Fred, luckily it was only beer, and not champagne. Fred mopped his legs dry ( yes he always wears shorts) and Charlie went back to the hotel to change his trousers, so it wasn't just Jills shoes in those panniers.  We went to a restaurant for dinner, L'Atelier,  it didnt look much from the outside, and we were the first customers !  It soon filled up when the locals heard that the mad english people were dining there.. Nicky asked me if the waiter spoke English, well with some of the conversation at the table, he was seen grinning so I would say yes he did.. He was the only one front of house and there was only one chef, the food was amazing and beautifully presented,  they both worked very hard.  One main topic of conversation at dinner was , Nicky thought we didn’t drink enough water when we were cycling  I explained that I preferred to not have to pee in fields as I was worried about the nettles etc. We settled the bill and headed back to the hotel, for a good nights sleep ready for the next days adventure. 
 Miles today only 27 to 32, depending on whether you went shopping or not. 
Calories consumed, definitely too many, but they were tasty.


April 2014 Brittany Tour day 3 (The coat on and the coat off day)
     We had seen the weather forecast , but to our pleasant surprise at breakfast, the sun was shining.  We had a good breakfast, settled the bills and loaded the panniers onto the bikes. The sun was still shining.  We decided to do a different route back to Morlaix as we wanted to avoid the busy (and hilly) town of Lannion, we plotted a route along quiet lanes, but badly marked  ones which meant we had quite a few stops to double check we were heading the right way.  From Perros we aimed for Rospez, quite a small town, but on arrival met a young garcon on a mountain bike, I asked him which way we should go to get to the centre for a bar or cafe, he replied "chepas" which we all know is slang for je ne sais pas, ( I dont know) we didnt follow him but made our way a few hundred metres to the centre of the village , where he (or his twin brother) popped out,  we looked around for the best cafe, and propped our bikes against the wall, the boy popped out again (or his other triplet brother).  We went in for coffee and checked the map again. It was still sunny, so we rode on toward our lunch stop along lovely lanes, through Ploubezre then we had to stop at a level crossing as the smallest train I have ever seen passed by.  We then had our first shower of the day, and as it was quite heavy we sheltered under several small trees, then we decided to push along the lane to some bigger trees, where clothing could be adjusted to suit the moisture level, from this shelter we could hear and see a tractor in the field, Nicky had time to reminise about when her son was younger and was a keen tractor spotter,  for anyone interested it was a Massey Ferguson.  When the tractor came out of the field it left a lovely trail of mud along the road that we had just come along.. it was just like being at Hamster Mill. As the rain eased a bit we arrived at Ploumilliau for lunch, we found a nice pizzeria,  which was quite busy, this meant we had to have two tables, but it was okay, it was dry and the food looked good.  After being hydated from the inside and fed, we headed out into the darkening skies.  From here on the road back to Morlaix was just a case of head down and just keep pedalling.   The wind had picked up and the high road that we were on caught it from every direction.  Sonjia was sticking close to Victor , she said she was enjoying looking at his rear, i think she was enjoying the wind break , but whatever.  KK was seen to be wearing a grumpy face on the final hill, I  had mine on as well. We were nearly at Morlaix but not quite, when we took a wrong turn and ended up at Ploujean, at the bus shelter in the pouring rain we had a quick chat with a young man who cycled into Morlaix each day for work, he advised us not to use the sign posted route down to the river as it was quite steep and in the wet could be tricky,  his advice was to trace back out of the village from the way we had come in, then just before the roundabout take the narrow lane down to the river,  we took his advice and Fred led the way, unfortunately Fred let out his little secret , he is a plane spotter, he headed straight to the roundabout to have  another look at the airport Morlaix International, Nicky quickly chased him down and brought him back to us, and we all headed into Morlaix for a well earned cup of something hot and a delicious cake, well we wouldnt miss it would we. I texted the the Wheelers already at St Pol to let them know where we were. Hilary offered to drive over to Morlaix to collect any bags, to make the final assault a bit easier, but we were made of sterner stuff than that, were we?  The final few miles were almost a pleasure, the rain had eased quite a bit.  As we rode into the lane toward the hotel, Adrian jumped out of the restaurant where we were having our meal, they had started to drink the wine lake, but promised to save us some.  Apparently we looked like drowned rats, I certainly felt like one, but after a warm welcome from Isabel and Michel, and then a hot shower, we headed out for dinner.  Relieved to have made it back with no mishaps, on such a miserable afternoon.  The food was very good and the wine flowed well.
Miles ridden today about 57            Inches of rain,several  

                                          
            After a good night sleep, breakfast, a quick peek out of the window, yes still raining, then a photo shoot at the Cheval Blanc, we rode the last leg of the journey to the ferry port, Victor even put on waterproof overtrousers, we checked in quickly, jumping in front of Adrian’s car, then boarded straight away,  one Wheeler almost stripped down to his birthday suit on the car deck, as he didn't want to take wet trousers upstairs!!!  Will we ever be allowed to go again.  We met at the Wheelers usual spot on the Pont Aven and had a bit of a chat.  As it was a bit choppy, I headed to the cinema, where I saw The Grand Budapest Hotel. Very enjoyable.  Then it was time for lunch in the restaurant. I had a presentation to make for Star Rider, this was a difficult choice as everyone had ridden so well, this ride had been the longest many  had ever done.  I felt Sonjia was a worthy winner, and everyone agreed.  As usual I will say, it was the 'BEST EVER' , but it really was! Good rides. Good company and good food, what more could you need.

The above are just brief notes on the trip, because the best bits fit the category of 'what goes on tour stays on tour'.  HA HA

Caroline



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