Cycling the Atlantic coast of Europe from north to south during the summer of 2017. View the archive, the route so far, or donate to MSF.

Hesitation, repetition, and deviation

By Stuart Lowe on

I woke up to the familiar refrain of rain. I waited. It didn't let up. Eventually I gave in and took my tent down in the wet. I had a very late start.

The first part of today was to cycle to Pont de Térénew. My GPS claimed it was 77 km. It didn't look that far. My GPS wanted me to go back via Brest and a ferry. I pressed on ignoring it's advice. Eventually it sorted itself out and realised there was a much shorter route the way I was going.

I reached the bridge then had a big hill to climb. I've been up bigger but this was big by Brittany standards.

Pont de Térénez

View from the bridge in the rain

The rain didn't let up. The cycle route seemed to truncate this regional Park peninsula and that was fine by me. I was gradually getting totally wet. At Douarnenez I had a choice. I could cycle out to Plogoff and back or head south. I was cold and wet and might just reach the warmth and dry of a youth hostel if I chopped it off. I ate late lunch then decided I wanted to be dry.

A couple of miles south my tyre went flat. Drat. It was the same reason as Monday. The side of my rear tyre was worn and it had punctured in the same place. I'd need a new tyre. I switched the inner tube and gingerly pressed on. After Pouldergat there was a sign saying a bridge was closed 2 km ahead. I was diverted. Eventually I rejoined the road at Landudec where I went in a big supermarket to use my phone in the dry. I quickly found an Intersport at Pont-l'Abbé. It was open until 7pm. I could make that. Could I also get to the Youth Hostel before the reception shut?

I got to the Intersport just before 6pm. They didn't have a Schwalbe marathon plus so I had to make do. I bought it but I didn't change it. There wasn't time. I had 36 km to go in 1 hour 54 minutes. That meant a lot faster than I've done. Thankfully it was much less hilly and there were some good bike lanes. I kept estimating my time based on 15 kmph and revised it down as I went. I gradually pulled the minutes back from an ETA of 8:36pm. I reached the Youth Hostel at 7:52pm with 8 minutes to spare before the reception closed. It took a good 10 minutes for the man to complete all the paperwork. French accommodation seems to like paperwork.

I had a shower and got dry. My wrinkly hands slowly returned to normal. I hung up my clothes with the hope that they would dry overnight.