Saturday, May 23, 2015

Family cycling in Charente Maritime

French Village Diaries family cycling Charente Maritime Poitou-Charentes river Charente Saint Sevinien
River Charente, Saint Savinien

Yesterday I was treated to morning coffee in one of our favourite bars and lunch in another, as we just couldn't make up our minds which one to go to. I had to work for my treats though, with a 25km hilly bike ride to coffee, another 15km to lunch and then 18km home. Some may say that following 58km yesterday, the last thing my legs wanted today was another 40km ride, but some may say that was just what they needed. All I'm saying is that it's not often14 year old Ed actually asks to spend time with us on a family bike ride, so I was going no matter how tired my legs were.

French Village Diaries family cycling Charente Maritime Poitou-Charentes river Charente Taillebourg
Taillebourg Charente Maritime

We live ten kilometres from the Charente Maritime border and whether we hit the coast or stay inland we often enjoy a day out there. Today we cycled a relatively flat 40km circuit taking in small towns and villages with Romanesque churches, ramparts and chateaux, including Saint Sevinien, Taillebourg and Fenioux. We cycled through vineyards, poppy fields and wheat fields just beginning to turn yellow. We traced the banks of the river Charente and cycled through marshlands where storks were nesting. We had sun, cloud and at our beer stop, a bit of drizzly rain. It was a lovely day and we even met a few fellow cyclists.

French Village Diaries family cycling Charente Maritime Poitou-Charentes Taillebourg
Taillebourg Charente Maritime
The first one was a Frenchman with a very old bike who flagged us down at the side of the road to borrow a pump. Next we saw a very Parisian-looking couple effortlessly whirring downhill on their electrically assisted matching bikes, as we struggled up hill with nothing but tired legs and orange flavoured sports drink to power us. Then there was the sleek real cyclist, wearing the Lycra strip of a local cycling club, who breezed past with a courtesy ‘bonjour’ as I was puffing up another hill. But I was quick. I leapt on his back wheel and used his drag to power me up the hill, overtaking Ed and Ade with ease. Well, OK, I'm lying. I spluttered a bonjour, but before the thought of tagging behind him had entered my weary head, he'd gone to catch up with my boys. Oh well, I can but dream and anyway I'm sure he only had the power to overtake as he'd been using my drag to climb most of the hill.

Tomorrow I will not be on my bike, but it won't be a day of rest as the lawns need mowing and the car needs cleaning.