A lightweight fixed-gear bike tour of France and Spain

120kms from Loches to Chinon

We had a late start from Loches, it was a cold morning and we hoped the sun would dry out the tent. It didn’t. So we gave up and left.

The day proved unremarkable, we sped through the chilly shade, riding next to the River Indre. We had lunch next to a kayaking course and our afternoon ride passed many troglodyte homes. We looked inside one, but it seemed it hadn’t been used for much except a drinking hole for many years. When we reached Azay-le-Rideau we had no interest in paying for a campsite, so we rode into the Chinon Forest. We spent the evening reading and cooking dinner.

A troglodyte home

Our night was very cold and we woke up freezing. The ride back down into town was one long descent, and our hands were in a lot of pain from the cold. We tried to warm up at a bakery but they wouldn’t let us stay as the seating was for tea-room customers only, although at 8:00 the streets, the bakery, and the tea-room were completely deserted. We then saw the Azay-le-Rideau Château which was nice but unfortunately much of it was closed for restoration.

The chateau at Azay Le Rideau

After mixing up a big bag of trailmix (with a box of fruit granola, raisins and peanut m&m’s)  we headed up to the Villandry Château where we had lunch. We toured the gardens and the Castle before heading out at a very fast pace because we needed to get to our next town before dusk. The hill into Chinon was very long (5km) and we were exhausted when we reached the top. Our goal was the find the tourist office so we could find the Mcdonald’s (and therefor internet, and therefor the telephone number of the people we would be couchsurfing that night with. We already knew who we were staying with, but without thinking, Rob hadn’t written down the number last time we had internet. We are still in the mindset that if it’s online, it’s easily accessable.

The chateau Villandry

The manicured gardens at Villandry

We had a great evening just outside of Chinon with Camille and her family. They served us a delicious (and very filling) traditional French meal, and we had a great time. Even though not everyone in the family spoke English, so that there were really two conversations running at the same time (one in English, and then the French translation), the laughs started early and lasted all evening.

We spent the night in a caravan in their garden, and it was very comfy, with a real duvet!

Today we have a short day of riding (but hilly) to Saumur, our last stop along the Loire. From there, we head to the Massive Central, also known as hell-for-one’s-thighs!

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