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NORMANDY I CYCLE TOURS


TOUR INFORMATION:


Tour de Manche routes www.en.tourdemanche.com Cycle West routes and information www.cycle-west.com Normandy Tourist information www.normandie-tourisme.fr ACCOMMODATION ON THIS TRIP: Les Closeaux Phil, Romagny, near Mortain http://chezphil.over-blog.fr/


Les Logettes du Bocage, near La Graverie www.leslogettesdubocage.fr Chambres d’Hotes La Ferme de Marigny, ferme.marigny@gmail.com


Carentan. A look at the map suggests that alternative, more direct road routes would be possible. Many D-Day sites can be found around Carentan, so build in time if that is your interest.


READY FOR THE END Whilst we tucked into the plat de jour at Le Normandie in Briquebec, we met with several other travellers. Two Belgian cycle tourists, who were just exploring the area asked us about the route we were following. They were more interested in keeping closer to the coast. The discussion moved to cycling in the UK and all sorts of other topics. Wherever one goes, it seems that you’ll fi nd cyclists from the Low Countries and very amiable they always seem to be.


24 www.cyclingworldmag.com


Shortly after Briquebec the route took to the hills again. Several grinding climbs combined with several racing descents. The weather was clouding over and we prepared for our second rainy afternoon of the trip. Whilst the rain did not materialise until we reached Cherbourg, the clouds fell and what should have been long views over the coastal countryside was but a misty blur. Two horrible tunnels under main roads were probably the literal low point of the trip. One was stoney and the other, on the edge of Cherbourg was not well signed. It looked like a run for rats – we found it second time round.


The route into Cherbourg was initially along cycle-paths at the side of the main road. Losing the way, we eventually just


headed for the port by our own compass, making it in plenty of time.


In the rain Cherbourg looked gloomy, but the huge harbour and the vast maritime museum, as well as the military sites would have made a full day of exploration, at least. Yet we were on our way back to England. Having already said that a future venture along the Tour de Manche would have a looser schedule, we would also investigate some alternative routes of our own. Remember, cycling on French country lanes is always a pleasure and the voie verte are, in many cases, a luxury, sometimes a lengthy one. The Normandy landing sites and battlefi elds are on the agenda, that long agenda that should keep us occupied until our saddles sag.


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