On the 130th anniversary, I recreated part of the journey of the first person to cycle around the world on a bicycle. Taking it one day at a time. View the archive.

First day in France

By Stuart Lowe on

Cycling out of Dieppe so early in the morning sun meant little traffic and a gentle introduction to French road signs (advice on the signs from Janet helped). I had a few miles of fast A-road equivalent and then I hit more rural roads. As Thomas Stevens experienced, the roads in Normandy are well paved and a pleasure to ride on. I hadn't expected the drivers to be as polite as they are. I haven't seen such politeness since the western states of the US.

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Leaving Dieppe on the Ancienne Route de Rouen

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French field

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Normandy

On the ride out of Dieppe I stopped at a small petrol station where I bought a pain au chocolat and filled my water bottle with Orangina. When in France.

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Normandy

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Bus shelter food stop

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Old barn

By late morning I reached Clères and purchased some cheese, fruit and bread from the lovely local shops. On back roads, following advice from an expat Brit, I had amazing scenery. Through the Forêt Verte my knee was no fan of the hills but the scenery made up for it.

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Clères

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Countryside

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Mairie

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Poppies

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Beetle at lunch stop

I hadn't realised how high up I was and got a fabulous view of Rouen as I left the forest. My breaks were tested coming down the steep winding streets into Rouen and the Seine valley. I wasn't sure how long it would take to reach my kind hosts so I pressed onwards across the Seine. Through suburbs I was trying to find a bike-friendly bridge across a bend in the river rather than the autoroute that my GPS wanted me to use. Eventually I found one that crossed to an Idea and a retail park where I sat in McDonalds using the WiFi and toilets.

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Looking down to Rouen

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Rouen

As it got to 6pm I headed on to my hosts who would be back from work. They were the lovely Pierre and Marie and their two small children. They fed me, gave me a warm shower and gave me some strong topical cream for my knee. I slept on my camping mattress in their living room.