a different kind of touring…

Awake at 2.30 with 100km or more to ride tomorrow and the sound of a crazily busy and noisy road buzzing beeping bleeping and droning just a few 100metres from this campsite. What the hell is going on down there? In my imagination the road must be some kind of enormous spaghetti junction next to a huge 24hr building site next to the centre of a massive city. I never knew car horns came in so many different pitches and could be used in such a variety of ways. Maybe with long term study it could be deciphered as a sort of rudimentary language at least as rich as dolphin vocabulary (which is actually quite impressive) . I can’t imagine what would make anyone choose this place for a holiday resort they must all be insane or stupid or like us. Oh. 

So I’m now getting a very different flavour of bike touring. 90km a day is a short ride day. 120km is good. Busy roads are just a necessary evil and we’re aiming for mountains where the climbs are 7% for an entire day because the views will be amazing and the descents can be as long as 80km. We are using google maps to navigate and have no idea where we will sleep each night we’re just relying on finding campsites before we’re utterly shattered. A lot of campsites seem to be open till the 15th of oct so we have five more days which luckily is roughly when we hope to be in Barcelona. We should be at the Spanish border tomorrow- just three days after leaving st Marie de la mer!

There is NO WAY I would be doing this on my own. But with Brad and his relentless optimism and apparent fearlessness it’s quite fun! Although I do feel on the brink of being out of my depth and we have the pyrenees ahead…

We met two other cycle tourers at this campsite who are going the other way and have been on the road since August. They are heading for Italy next and have already been through France and Spain. They’re raising money for charity as they go and with a lucky bout of publicity at the start of their trip – a freind who works in Spanish tv they have managed to raise £1500 with out any more effort ( except for the effort it takes to ride 4000 km in two months!)

I said I’d mention their blog on my blog, that should increase their readership by at least 5 people and they’ll really start to see the cash come rolling in!


They asked me what made me get into bike touring – I couldn’t work out the answer! Now I want to reply ‘I had a bike, read a few blogs, quit my job and from there things just spun wildly out of control till I found myself here at 10pm in a wierd campsite in an undesirable corner of France with three guys I don’t know all talking about the fun they have racing each other up mountains and disc brakes and bike makes and other things I know nothing about!

But it does feel like more of an adventure!

So here’s a bit about the landscape we’ve come through. We rested in St Marie de la Mer for a day, catching up with reading and writing.


This area has more dragonflies everywhere than I have ever seen. It’s like an infestation! This was covered in them, I’m not sure if you can see them in this photo:


In the distance here you might be able to make out some pale white flecks just below the horizon. These are actually flamingos. Honest! This was just west of St. Marie de la Mer. A first for me to see them in the wild. We saw them fly over head too. Like long sticks with pink and black wings. Shame I didn’t get a photo of that really, you can always Google ‘flamingos in flight’ 😉

Carrying on west from here the hotels got bigger uglier more numerous and modern. The landscape stayed totally flat and the sun was out. We covered 120km fairly easily and then camped in a site which turned out to be infested with mosquitoes. I woke up with two massive growths on my head and loads of itchy bites every where, nice.

2 thoughts on “a different kind of touring…

  1. Hi Steph! One of the Matt’s you met in France here. Just had a chance to read a few of your blog posts. Will read them all properly at some point, they look a lot better than you let on in France!
    Conngratulations on reaching Barcelona!
    We made it to Italy today and are heading for Turin at the moment.

    • Hi Matt! Sorry for the late reply, I haven’t checked this for a while and only just saw your comment. Great to hear from you and to know you made it safely to Italy. I’m back in the UK now looking for work. It’s good to be back in some ways but I am determined that I will one day hit the road again and go further and to more adventurous places! I will read your blog and find out where you’re up to now. Hope you’re still going strong and enjoying it.
      All the best to you both and take care!

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