This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
NORMANDY I CYCLE TOURS


Sourdeval is the first place to find much in the way of refreshment after Mortain and Le Neufbourg. As is generally the case, the railway skirts the towns, so watch out for the signs placed by enterprising businesses keen to attract cyclists. Sourdeval has lots of accommodation and would make a good stopping point.


LONG WAY DOWN


The railway line reached its highest point at Les Maures. This signals the start of an almost unremitting descent of some sixteen miles. The long gradients here were the scene of a major railway accident in 1911. A passenger train hit a goods train on a blind bend near the summit. The wagons ended up on top of the passenger locomotive and the brakes and couplings failed. The passengers found themselves being told to jump from the carriages as the coaches gathered speed down the line towards Vire. Amazingly all the passnegers survived, but seven railwaymen died by the time the runaway finally came to a halt. Diverting into Vire, on a hot afternoon seemed to be a good idea, though the hilltop town made us earn our cold drinks and ice-creams. Vire has been prosperous since the middle-ages, though it suffered the misfortunes of being on the wrong side in the French Wars of Religion and of being strategically important. By the end of 1944 only five percent of the town remained undamaged.


WHERE’S THE GITE? Picking up the way north of Vire required placing faith in the signage, but we were rewarded. The Tour de Manche signs were in good order and our hunches on other cycle routes were wrong.


The short section of the voie verte to La Graverie was busy with families collecting wayside fruit or enjoying the sunshine. By contrast La Graverie was almost deserted. There was cycle parking near the church and some small shops. The next day would be a long one, so we stocked up well for tea today and breakfast on the road tomorrow. We then searched for the Gite. No one seemed to have heard of it. A lovely lady, having no idea, phoned up and got direction for us. It was not in La Graverie, it was in the Commune of La Graverie. Her English was not strong, but the directions were sound. Welcomed with cool drinks, child soon found children to play with; Les Logettes du Bocage was a most welcoming spot. Friendly people and a comfortable room. What? Leaving at seven nest morning? Well, not only will we give you a packed lunch, but you can have a packed breakfast, too. Both


20 www.cyclingworldmag.com


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100