We set off – Mark, Chris, Pablo, Pierre Ives, Fabienne and I – to find breakfast on leaving the ferry at 8am. Not the best nights sleep (will take a blanket next time but probably worth booking a cabin if you can!) Pierre Ives knew a good breakfast establishment so we all followed him – downhill again (how long could this last!?) We went down to a little marina and all parked our bikes. Beautiful and the sun was shining – a great start to the day. We ate a feast of croissant and bread, orange juice and coffee then said farewell to P-I and Fabienne as they were off to get the train to Nantes.
Mark, Chris and Pablo were all going towards Morlaix (which was on velodysee) so we decided to go together. Mark and Chris would then head east towards Cherbourg. Pablo kindly said he was going to Carhaix too and so we could go together. I was having some difficulty with my GPS (mainly as I hadn’t really got to grips with it before I left and it was new). I had uploaded the route from the velodysee website and it was all on there but the navigation on it was taking me off route and so I would need to fix that somehow. It was a stroke of luck that Pablo was going the same way as me. We all had a great time on the way to Morlaix, a lovely, pretty town with a most impressive viaduct! Some big climbs (for me) through this section but I got to the top eventually and the others were very kind and waited for me. It was a good way to begin my journey. I was still feeling quite nervous but the good chat and encouraging words on the hills were a massive help.
We stopped at Morlaix for a coffee at La Terrasse in the main square, an old style coffee shop with good coffee. After this Pablo and I said farewell to Chris and Mark and continued on. Mostly the velodysee is fairly easy to follow but getting out of towns on the correct path is the main thing to be careful of.
Pablo was a great cyclist and was undertaking a cycle ride from the UK (where he had been working as a professor at Leicester University) to Barcelona in Spain – an incredible feat! He was riding to raise awareness about the need for better science funding in Spain and also to highlight the plight of many scientists from Spain who need to travel abroad, away from their families, for work. Pablo returns to Spain now to rejoin his family and begin a new job which luckily came up near his home.
We cycled 80km on day 1 (about 40 km more than I’d planned). With full panniers, tent, sleeping bag (a double – ridiculous that I didn’t check it) and a mat it felt more like 120 km. With Pablo’s help and encouragement we got to a camping in Carhaix (via Lidl) around 6:30pm. This was my first experience of the ‘municipal’ camping sites and it was great. Really cheap (5E) but with great facilities and plenty of space. We had wifi there too so, after we had got tents up, washed and fed ourselves (using the pocket rocket), we set about downloading a few more routes and trying to figure out how my GPS would be easier to use. I decided to scribble my blog into the notebooks instead of doing it online. I needed to conserve energy since (if the sun didn’t shine) I needed to charge my GPS and phone (very handy for data and directions to campings) at each camping and sometimes there’d be no electric. So I saved as much as I could and used the RAV Power Solar panels as soon as the sun came out. We had a well earned beer at the bar – tastes so much better after a days exertion – then hit the hay. A pretty good nights sleep considering I was using my clothes bag as a pillow – no luxury travel pillow for me!