Last May, I was persuaded to cycle the Beara Ring in Kerry with 4494 people I don’t know by 5 I did. I took all of the carriers and side stands and any excess weight off the bike and also took three kilos from me before the cycle. My total cycling weight was 90 kg carried over 110 km. I even put on slick tyres at 105 psi to reduce rolling resistance. A sportive event, there were food stops and friendly Gardai managing intersections, stopping traffic and pointing the way.
Today we cyclegrims cycled 101 km. I was propelling a total weight of 125 kg kilos (5 kg is water and food). We cycled into headwinds that averaged 18 km/h and it was around 20ºC . We needed to dodge some serious rain showers and temperature fluctuations. I changed my clothes four times. The other important statistic is that we climbed 600 metres. And this was the last ‘easy’ part of our journey to Rome. I am hugely grateful to anyone who persuaded me to do Beara: it taught me how important pacing and constant snacking is. Vital for us amateurs.
Talking of food, I have a tip for vegetarian salads in France. Take lunch by the Saône and discretely throw the undocumented lardons and the like to the waiting carp. Worked for us.
We’ve cycled nearly 200 km alongside or near the Canal entre Champagne et Bourgogne. Built over 27 years to 1907, it’s logo is centred on a kingfisher. Thinking Field of Dreams – ‘build it and they will come’ – I saw at least 50
Kingfishers over the last few days. I heard a lot that I didn’t see too. I’m guessing there are hundreds more. And weirdly, they seem to spend more time on the canal than the Marne that runs alongside.
As luck would have it, there were few accommodation options around our route which is why we lucked into ‘the last two rooms’ in The Royal Saltworks, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Arc-et-Senans. This was our reward and what a great place to spend a night.