A lightweight fixed-gear bike tour of France and Spain

In Clermont Ferrand

When we set out from Saumur for Clermont Ferrand (in the Massif Central), we knew it would be a roundabout journey, maybe through Paris or with lots of changes. But we never expected it would take 10 hours, including  a 4 hour detour! We arrived at the Saumur station and went straight to the ticket office to find out the best route. The lady there printed us tickets that went from Saumur to Angers, then to Tours, then to Moulins (a random town that happened to be where we would switch trains) then to Clermont Ferrand. We assumed that although Angers was in the opposite direction of where we planned to go it was a faster and more direct route, or maybe the only way to get there with our bikes. So we ran onto a train and at Angers, walked around, then sat in the station wasting time for around 2 hours. Then we took a train to Tours. Much to our surprise the train passed back through Saumur! Naturally, we were upset, the detour had taken four hours, probably cost extra, and meant that we didnt arrive in Clermont Ferrand until 7:30 in the evening. We probably could have reached our destination much earlier. We had no-one to stay with in Clermont Ferrand, so after looking for internet, we tried to take the bus to the nearest campsite. We were not allowed on, so we cycled up hill in the dark for 5 of kilometers to get to the campsite. We got there at 9:30, and the office was closed. Eventually found a number to call, and the guy on the end of the line just said, pick a spot, we will sort it out in the morning. We fell asleep, exhausted.


3 responses

  1. Della Clason Sperling

    Oh man, sounds like some of our adventures in 1970. Michael and I traveled for 8 months throughout Europe (Lichtenstein, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey, France, England, Holland) in a VW Camper all over Europe with only a soft cover map of about 30 pages. Very minimal.

    Hello Robert!


    April 16, 2011 at 2:16 pm

  2. I was wondering if you saw the Cathedral or the Michelin factory?

    April 22, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    • we visted the michelin store which was right next to the catherdral, surprisingly small and barely had our map. still, it was half the price of the maps in tourist offices.

      April 22, 2011 at 8:25 pm

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