Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Roscoff to Le Clôitre St Thégonnac. Deuxième désastre!

We were woken gently on the ferry by piped music. We had an 'interesting' night in the girls' cabin. Ruth and Rhoda were sharing the bottom bunk, top-to-toe. Rhoda rolled out of the bunk twice before I gave up and chucked my duvet on the floor for her to sleep on. Ruth managed to stay in her bunk until at least 2.30am when she announced she wanted to go to the toilet to be sick. I dashed down the ladder as the boat pitched and rolled, but by the time I got down to her, she had nodded off again, adopting a novel kneeling posture for the rest of the night.

 It was much less exciting in the boys' cabin, by all accounts.

We were greeted by a drizzly Roscoff morning. Briefed by fellow cyclists, we made an immediate turn off the main road and up a hill out of the port. We passed along a lovely stretch of segregated cycle lane, plenty wide enough for the trailer, and took our time to help Thomas Ivor build up his confidence after his crash and to get used to riding on the right. The promise of breakfast at St Pol de Leon made the first couple of miles easy work, and Thomas Ivor ordered himself a pain au chocolat in a patisserie, quite amazed that the French he learned in school actually worked.

This is what a proper village cycle facility looks like!
Not entirely clear where the pedestrians go at this point, though...
I had a slightly larger linguistic stretch to go to the pharmacy for more paracetamol and ibuprofen for our injured cyclist, to make sure I got the children's versions, but apparently I did pay attention in class fifteen years ago, so all was well (thank you Kate Golder and Caroline Gower for the A-level tuition!).

Administering drugs to cyclists - in full view!
After breakfast in St Pol de Leon, we set off again aiming for Morlaix as our lunch stop. Today was a hard-work day for me with the trailer- a fair amount of climbing to be done as we moved inland. We had a couple of moments questioning whether we could get the Croozer down some narrow stretches of the Tour de Manche route, but in each case we managed.

We paused for some lessons in farming: despite living in Devon with his mum for the majority of the time, Thomas Ivor knows astonishingly little of what raw food looks like and where it comes from.

The road into Morlaix that we chose at Lanvéguen (D769) in preference to the signed cycle route was lovely- wide, smooth, lightly trafficked. We rolled into Morlaix, under the motorway viaduct and towards the double height railway viaduct feeling good.

Then disaster struck "TWANG!!".

Another spoke, drive side, on Tom's rear wheel snapped at the hub. We didn't realise at the time quite what a disaster it was, deciding to retire for lunch and use some of the data bundle we'd bought for the phone to look up bike shops.

Morlaix's only bike shop would have been open (Google had assured us) but a paper notice on the door declared it shut on Mondays through July and August. The lovely man at the tourist information office told me that the only other store in town was Decathlon. Zero chance of repair that afternoon. That left us with a dilemma: ride another 16 miles to the campsite on a broken wheel, or try to stay in Morlaix for the night make up the mileage later. We decided to get to our campsite and re-evaluate our options tomorrow.

Our route from Morlaix to La Clôitre St Thégonnac was along part of the former Réseau Breton 'voie verte'. In the rain, the surface was soft, and the going was slow with the trailer. There were also lots of gates to navigate with the trailer. It made for a fairly miserable afternoon, with me dragging the trailer along mile after mile of climbing and Tom nursing a broken wheel.

We were glad to find some tarmac once more, roll in to 'Camping Les Bruyères' and get the tent up. Fellow British campers gave us a lovely welcome: Laura and Elaine made me a hot cup of tea, which small gesture lifted my spirits a hundredfold, and turned out to be the first of several kindnesses they did us. We crawled into our sleeping bags and decided to make a new plan in the morning.

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