I’m at the leg to the journey to From Nantes to La Rochelle through the Vendee countryside. its very much like the Southern English countryside without the traffic and with the wine. (slurps another glass).
I’m trying to beat the weather. Its 2 days journey time max and i’m now on day 7, and still a days ride away from La Rochelle. Why? Rayons. Thats French for spokes.
My exit from Nantes was broken by sightseeing at the Dukes palace and a haircut.
I’ve visited Nantes so didn’t feel like hanging around. Heading south I came across my first vineyard, worthy of a photo..
Municipal camping was closed, which means the gate is down, showers are closed, toilets open and its free. The one other camper is a French scooter rider. He asked for help pitching his tent and I soon realised why, so pissed he could hardly stand up, although friendly enough. After he pitched his tent he scootered off again, presumably to find a bar tabac as I didn’t see him again until the morning.
Next days promising start came to and end with a boink. Rayon. I came to a halt with a row of houses to my right. Immediately a yappy dog ran to the gate and started barking continuously without pausing for breath. I sighed. Knowing if it would take me 2 hours to sort out the problem it would still be barking with the same ferocity, I wheeled the bike to a side road and fixed it there. From the front, it didn’t look like a house, but soon I was joined my a kitten, who after feeding it a scrap of bread was my friend for life. The couple who owned the house came out to enquire about my problems and soon I was invited in for breakfast of sweet bread and apple juice with the family. The most pleasant mechanical breakdown I’ve had.
On the road south I was flagged down by a Journalist who interviewed me about my trip. She was from the Journal Ouest France. I’ll post a link if it makes it to an article.
At 2pm travelling through Mareuil sur Lay Dissais I heared the dreaded Boink. Another spoke had broken opposite a sign pointing to the campsite. A pretty town so I thought about stopping, how lazy.. I thought.. On the way to the campsite.. boink. another broken spoke. My heart sank. Worst case I return to the UK with the rear wheel and get it sorted out.
After pitching the tent I replaced the spokes, but the whole wheel was buckled. Walked around town aimlessly looking for a bike shop that I knew wasn’t there with the rear wheel skidding as it rubbed on the brake. Being Sunday the whole place was deserted; Through traffic, yes. People, no. Monday all bike shops are closed even in the nearest bigger towns. That makes 9 days from Nantes to La Rochelle.
There is only one thing I can do and that’s fix it myself, so I did. over a period of 2 hours I worked out how to re-true a wheel. Which ones to tension, which ones to slacken. Its perfect. All spokes have a similar tension and the wheel is perfectly true. When applying the breaks there is no ‘intermittent’ rubbing. No bike shop needed and tomorrow La Rochelle, despite the forecast storms. My Lidl Crivit waterproof trousers have been replaced by Vaude multi technical miracal pant dryers, but what else would you expect for 100 Euro!
We’re happy to have share this “brioche” with you ! We will follow with our childs, your trip from now to kenya !
Bon voyage !
Famille from Vendée
I’m Christiane, the press correspondant. I hope you arrive to la rochelle without problem. If you can send me the photo I take with you, i will be very happy and i can related your travel in the newspaper.
Go go Jonathan!
As the Spokes Man for the ‘Be Kind to Rays & Rayons Society’ (based here in Worthing just above what the French would call 3 Cooks Boulangerie…) I have to let you know that your blog is wheely good!
Bon chance and keep your eyes peeled for those beautiful French Mademoiselles!