Wednesday, August 25, 2010

La Loire a Velo

Getting ready to ride! The Cruisers! Nice Cruising! A chicken at the road side. (Hmmm...says the Vet) Cruising amongst the Sunflower Fields - very pretty! More Sunflower Fields. Entering the town of Amboise (pretty close to Ambrose!) Neil's ancestry does originate from Italy not France - but it's close! Where we had lunch in Amboise. The Chateau Chenonceau Gardens - like this tree! The Chateau Chenonceau over Le Cher River. At noon today Neil was able to take a break from the conference and we appeared at the bike shop as planned for 12 noon. I had reserved the bikes in advance which was a good thing - it was busy in the shop. When I asked for assistance I said Bonjour, we are here to rent bikes. The shop owner says no - you are here to "book" a bike - not "rent" a bike. He mentioned "book" a bike a few times so that seemed the language to use. So...if you ever want to "rent" bikes in France - remember you want to "book" a bike! It was a funny moment! He kitted us out with helmets, a bag for the bike and the tire repair kit. He reviewed the route options and of course being of the "ultra" personality type we decided to aim for 2 castles. The shop owner was a bit cautious thinking we couldn't do both and be back in time for his 7pm shop closing time. We had dinner plans with fellow Canadians (a researcher at the University of Saskatchewan that Neil does work with) so we had to be back. We looked at the distance and figured with stops and all we could catch the 5:59 train back to Tours. I think he thought we were crazy! Obviously most people rent the bikes and go for a gentle cruise. They were cruising bikes alright and they defintely made us work hard! The rolling terrain of France provides great training on bikes. We passed lots of vineyards with grapes of various colours. Gardens full of rows of tomatoes and fruit trees a plenty. The flowers in the locals gardens were outstanding as well - made me want to get home and improve the garden! We took lots of photos for reference. We made it to Chateau Amboise (28km) in good time. Had lunch at one of the outdoor Brassieres where we started to notice the temperature warming up. Cute town Amboise. We did a quick walk around the Chateau and then got back on the bikes to carry on to Chenonceau. This section was very undulating which was a good hard work out on the bikes. Lots of picture perfect scenery - it was great. We arrived at the Chateau Chenonceau and it was so well organized with where to park the bikes - free helmet/bag check if you wanted. The chateau itself goes over le Cher River. Quite interesting to see. Of course the gardens were great and the cafe latte at the garden cafe was needed after the now 48km on the bikes. The train station back to Tours was right there at the Castle and we had to wait a bit before the 5:59 departure. While waiting for our train a very high speed train came through the stop. It is benches only at this train stop with a machine to purchase your tickets. Neil and I were sitting on the bench at the side of the tracks when the high speed train went through and I thought it was the end! The train was going so fast all you could see was water vapour and hear it coming at you. We were both freaked right out - I guess the locals get used to it! Efficient way to travel but keep away from the tracks! The train was packed with cyclists and their bikes - great to see! We made it back to the shop at 6:45 - he was impressed! Most people doing this route are obviously on a better bike. It was a great day out and a perfect way to see the special villages and farms in La Loire. We were showered and at dinner by 8pm!


  1. I like the video and the picture they are pretty cool. The story is very inspiring too.

  2. Great video Neil! Maybe you should put the video camera down though and concentrate on putting Lance Armstrong and that other Canadian rider in your back pocket....:)