Sat at my campsite for the night, about 30 or so km south of Rennes, reflecting on a hot day on the bike and just how difficult it’s been to get here. And how good it feels to actually be here given the difficulties.
In normal circumstances my route to Saint Malo to start this trip would have been an afternoon train to Portsmouth to hop on the overnight ferry direct. A few beers at the bar, annoy folks with my snoring and wake up in France. In the Covid 19 world that is not possible. Brittany ferries have apparently decided that bicycles represent more of a risk that cars and therefore banned them. Absolutely nothing to do with the fact that they have a maximum umber of passengers aboard and are only interested in the maxim price paying customers. I’d happily have paid as a car. I even looked into hiring a car in the Uk and giving it back in Saint Malo, purely to put my dismantled bike in and drive it to France. Sadly not possible at the moment.
So here’s how I did it.
I left home at around 4 on Sunday afternoon. Rode the 23 miles to my hotel in Dover. I had a very depressing hour sat within earshot of some Londoners who were expressing many of the ignorant opinions which drive me nuts in the uk. “Look at the facking state of that facking parking, bet that’s a facking bird” – said by the eldest looking lady within the group – in easy earshot of the table the other side of me – grandparents taking their (I guess) 8 year old granddaughter for a meal.
So a relatively early night enabled me to get up at 4am and hit my ferry at 5.50. Arriving in Calais at 08.30 in the morning, as the only cyclist, I was lead out of the port by a van with flashing oranges clearing my route. France port authority- “facking” awesome.
From there I had two hours to cover the 15 minute ride to Calais Ville station and jump aboard a TER to Paris.
There are no fast trains allowing bikes out of Calais so this took 3 hours.
Once in Paris I had 4.5 hours to kill before my wheel the bike on train to Saint Malo. Beer happened. I love Paris in the sunshine. It is a beautiful city.
My next train got me into Saint Malo around 9pm and a short ride down to the hotel had me dumping the bike in their ballroom (hardly a hostel you understand), showered and out for food by 10pm. For all it sounds like a real mission, it was actually damn smooth, just a long day!
The following morning I tucked into the buffet breakfast with gusto. Loaded up on cheese, cured meats and croissants I hit the road almost due south, heading for Rennes.
Here’s the video if you’re interested. A lot of first person track and road kinda stuff which is boring to non cyclists who weren’t there. I do make a guest star appearance though!