made by a Norwegian family in summer 1997.
Kjartan (14) accompanied his
parents. Mother Turid and Father Terje
the immense airport of Gatwick in the afternoon
the 14th of July 1997,
and it took us about one hour to collect our
luggage and make the
ready for cycling. We had believed we could
easily find some quiet
lanes near Gatwick and cycle on such roads to
Portsmouth. The traffic
Gatwick was rather intense, and we had to stay
on the main road towards
London for some kilometres before we could
branch off towards
Before we left home we had got assistance from
an English cyclist and
of the Cyclists'
on how to find our way from Gatwick and he had
described our way to the
nearest camp site. We just followed his
instruction and that is why we
went over Charlwood and farther over Rusper to
Horsham. Thanks to his
we could avoid going into Horsham town and we
were directed right on to
the camp site near Southwater.
Tuesday the 15th of July, app. 50 km.
the foot of the South Downs. The traffic on the
B2139 was fast and it
not so nice cycling here. As recommended by our
route planner, we
the village of Amberley, a nice spot with old
kept and nicely decorated with flowers.
Near Amberley flows the river Arun through the
South Downs. The Arun
is a favourable place for the railway between
the South coast and
to pass the South Downs on the level. We could
not cross the South
that easily. We had to stick to the road and go
over the hills. The
had grown heavier. It was not so nice climbing
rather steep roads while
we had the feeling of being chased by heavy
lorries. We arrived at a
roundabout, and we were to take the second exit
out of it. Roundabouts
with intense and fast traffic are not so nice
while you are on a
we had learnt not to stick to the edge of the
roundabout because that
be dangerous with traffic turning off to the
left. When we entered the
roundabout we stayed in the middle of the road
and bent to the left in
front of our exit. After the roundabout we had
come on the main road
Fortunately we were going downhill, and the
traffic did not seem so
Wednesday, the 16 of July. 30 km
This day we reached Portsmouth where, unusually enough i Britain, we were offered cycle ways. They were not of the good quality known from Denmark and the Netherlands. The surface was rather poor, on crossing roads the motor traffic had all priority. On these spots the cycle ways were even equipped with a sign: Cyclists alight.
two sights worth visiting, at least Kjartan with
his 14 years was
just the right age to be very interested in
them: The battle ships sail
ship Victory and steamship Warrior. We had
arrived early at the camp
and we intended to visit the ships on the same
day. Unfortunately the
I had on Portsmouth was not so good, as only
main roads had been shown,
and it did not take long until we were
completely lost. At last we
to find our way to the battle ships, but the
ships had been closed for
the day. Kjartan got very disappointed, so we
decided to stay on for
Thursday, the 17 of July. 15 km within Portsmouth.This day we made an extra day in Portsmouth when we engaged ourselves to naval history. The sail ship Victory was quite impressive as she lay exhibited in a dock. The glorious age of sail ship turned out not to be so glorious after all. The guide told us that onboard the ship hard methods of punishments towards the crew were needed because the majority of the sailors did not want to be there. They had been recruited from inns and more or less trapped to join as crew. The steamship Warrior was from the last century. On board it various guns were demonstrated by a man who introduced his demonstrations by saying, "Britain did not win an empire by being nice to people." The third ship from the glorious past of Britain were the remnants of the sail ship Mary Rose. The ship was sunk during an engagement with the French fleet near Portsmouth. It was rediscovered and brought ashore in 1979. Parts of the hull is exhibited, and it is constantly being treated with chemicals in order to be preserved for the future.
Friday the 18th of July, app.. 50 kmThe ship from Portsmouth to Cherbourg sailed at 8 in the morning, and it arrived in France at 13.00. In fact the voyage took 4 hours, but we lost one hour because of different time in Britain and on the continent. In Cherbourg we were positively surprised because at the landing place of the ferry we found a cycle way. We followed it towards the town centre, but the cycle way, typically enough, finished soon. Out of town we took the road towards Nouanville. We used Michelin maps in the scale 1:200 000. In fact I had bought those maps way back in the 1960s when I had once planned to make a cycle tour through France. I never made that tour, and therefore I turned up in France 1997 with those antique maps. The area we cycled through next to Cherbourg had been developed and new roads had been laid out, and that was of course very confusing with my old map. As soon as we were outside the development area the road signs showed villages right as they were indicated on the map. We found nice roads, and roads of that type we used throughout our cycle tour in France. On small routes départementales and routes vicinales we made our tour along hedges and through villages where we frightened the hens and the dogs frightened us. To our relief both hens and dogs were usually kept behind fences. Normally even the road numbers were the same as on my archaic map. Only at places where new main roads had been built the map did not coincide with reality.
In the village Manoir, after 25 km from Cherbourg we had lunch. We made ourselves comfortable on a bench just outside the Mairie of the village. Kjartan was very sceptical to this exposed site. But it turned out worse because soon the local bus stopped just in front of us and all the passengers were staring at us, at least Kjartan had this feeling and he got so ashamed that he ran away. He is 14 years and in a difficult period of life. After this episode we always had difficulties in finding an acceptable site to have lunch because Kjartan had got very critical towards the exposure of the sites.
This day we cycled to le Rozel on the western coast of Normandie. The camp site was located just behind the dunes of the beach.
Saturday the 19th of July, app. 80 km
nice day, and from Le Ruzel we tried to follow
the coast on minor road.
On my old Michelin map we could easily find
roads on which we could
menacing traffic. In Carteret we branched off
towards Cap de Carteret.
We had some steep ascents, where Turid soon gave
up and started pushing
her bike. Kjartan and I would not like to give
up. I know that sooner
later Kjartan will be able to make that hard
climbing better than his
Still I am the better.
Sunday the 20th of July, appr. 50 km
This was the second day at a French camping place, and we had learnt one thing; French camping places are not usually equipped with toilet paper. The toilet paper we had used at the last camping place probably belonged to some other guests. Near the camping place we found a large super market, but on a Sunday they did not open till 11. Before we made a rather late start we bought our supplies of food and of course toilet paper.
Next day we arrived in Granville and we saw at syndicate d'initiativ a nice park with a bench. That was a good invitation for lunch. Turid and I gave Kjartan an ultimatum, "If you refuse to sit here because the place is too exposed, we are not going to mind you. We are going to have our lunch here." Kjartan had to accept our decision. I am sure he did not repent it.
The town Granville is situated on a steep peninsula. From the town we had a nice view of the sea and the harbour. Very interesting it was to observe the docks where the ships lay. Because of large tidal differences the harbour was locked off from the sea so that the water would be kept there at low tides. For us that was an interesting observation because we come from an area with only 50 cm of tidal difference.
It was time to continue our cycle tour towards the south. Out from Granville on road N 811 we encountered heavy traffic. Probably people going home after a week end at the sea. We were in a very disgusting situation. In St.Pair sur Mer I asked at the syndicat d'initiativ if there would be an alternative road with less traffic. There was, and along this road there would also be a camping place. We were very relieved and happy. The mademoiselle at the tourist office could easily hear from our French that we were foreigners, and she asked us from what coundtry we come. Was it because she was curious or was it because she would like to have a rare species in her statistics? Because there are only 4 million Norwegians we are seldom seen way down on the continent.
we found was a private one with a nice warden
and that made it all more
personal. To have dinner we cycled 3 km down to
the road along the
For drink we ordered cider. I liked it so much
that from that day I had
a bottle of cider every day. It is a delicious
drink in hot weather.
alcoholic contents is just 3-4 %, not more than
Monday the 21st of July, appr. 35 km
Today would be a hot day. We did however not manage to have things ready until 11 o'clock. We cycled into the labyrinth of minor roads of rural France. The town Avranche is situated on a height, and the climb up into the town was quite hard in this weather. Right on the edge of the steep hills is a beautiful botanic garden. From the garden we had our first glimpse of the famous monastery Mont St. Michel. If we turned our backs to the sea and the monastery we were facing an impressing Gothic cathedral. It was time for lunch. In Avranche I tried to buy a new tyre for my bike. When I pumped the tube of my bicycle after the flight to Gatwick, I must have pumped it too hard. and the cords of my tyre had given in. I had put a piece of old tyre underneath it, but it would be wise to buy a new tyre. On Mondays many shops are closed in France, and so were the bicycle shops in Avranche.
town in southern
direction. At the bottom of the hill from the
town, I suddenly felt my
front tyre was flat. To mend a flat tyre is
normally an easy operation,
but not here. The hole was at a place where
there was already another
I tried to to stick another patch to the
tube. It seemed to keep
the air. I pumped the wheel carefully and did
not put so much air
in the tube as I used to do. We could continue
to the place Pontaubault
where there is a camping place. Our strategy was
that I should cycle
to Avrance on Turid's bike next morning to buy a
new inner tube. The
at the camping place told us there is a bicycle
shop in Pontaubault.
I was lucky, I could get a new inner tube there.
Tuesday the 22nd of July appr. 30 km
The bicycle shop was very small, and I was very sceptical if I would find what I needed. I had luck. I got it. It was a quick job to put on the new inner tube and the new tyre. We could set off for another day with beautiful weather. We took back roads towards Mont St. Michel. We enjoyed the ride on quiet roads with not much traffic. The roads we were cycling on, were probably roads that have developed from tracks between the villages and they probably date back to medieval ages. When we got closer to Mont St, Michel, the traffic grew, for everybody was heading for the great tourist attraction of Mont St. Michel. The monastery and the settlement are built on a small cliff island out in the sea. A causeway leads out to the monastery. We had some bad feelings when we locked the bicycles and left them with all our luggage on. What if they were stolen? There were more dangers about: A sign was warning against tide and the place where our bicycles stood would be under water at 22h. We knew we would be back well before that time. The settlement at the foot of the cliff was cramped with tourists. In the monastery and in the church on top of the cliff we had more room. Outside the church we made some interesting observations. From old foundations we could conclude that the church had been bigger before. We were just about to leave when a group of tourists came towards us. The guide was speaking Swedish, which is a very familiar language to us. We joined the group pretending we were just some tourists who happened to be there. The group was from a tour organized for people especially interested in history. We got a meaningful guiding through the church and the monastery.
place was at Pontorson. We had to cycle in
at this time of the day was going in the same
direction as we - away
Wednesday the 23rd of July, app. 80 km
Another hot day. Today we had decided to reach Rennes. We had an early start from Pontorson, and we remained faithful to the medieval structure and stayed away from main roads. Turid expressed her feelings for France and the road traffic by saying, "It is so much nicer to cycle here in France than in Britain, the car drivers are so polite and pass us at good distance. In Britain they drive fast and at a close distance." I tried to keep objective and said we are now in the French province far away from the French capital and the traffic is moderate. We have been cycling in Southern England with dense traffic, and that area has a large population and is close to London."
no. 97 we approached the city of Rennes. We met
many racing cyclists
this road and they greeted us. Just after
leaving Pontorson we had
from Normandie into Bretagne. Rennes was the old
capital of Bretagne
the French revolution swept away all privileges,
including autonomy of
certain provinces. To our relief we found cycle
lanes along some main
in Rennes. The cycle lanes had been marked green
to indicate bicycling
as a green movement and in order to discern the
pistes cyclables from
Thursday the 24th of July, app. 60 km
This day was not so hot as the previous one and we felt relieved. The first part of the day we spent looking at the town. The old timber framed houses looked very nice. The construction of the houses were shown as the beams were not covered. The openings between the beams had been filled with lime or bricks. In French such houses are called maisons à colombage, in German they are called Fachwerkhäuser.
then cycled to the west. We were aiming at a
camping place close to
at lake Étang de Tremlin.
Friday, the 25th of July, App. 80 km
Today's route led us northwards through the villages of La Chapelle de Lou, La Soudraie, Landujan, Plouasne, Tréfumel and St. Juvat. St. Juvat is a nice village, everywhere there are flowers. I have never seen all buildings so heavily decorated with flowers. The village had won prices for the best decorated village in France. I hope they succeded in 1997 too.
Dinan we discovered a camping place where we
stayed for the night.
advantage to stay in tents, is that almost
everywhere we can find
to sleep. We are far more independent than I was
at my young age when I
was cycling in Europe staying at youth hostels.
For our cycle tour 1997
we brought two tents. Turid and I had one, and
Kjartan had a small one
just for himself. We had enough room in the
tents, we did not feel
and because the weather was so good, we stayed
in tents for almost the
Saturday the 26th of July, app. 15 km
a nice town.
We spent the first part of the day looking at
the town with all its
streets and historic buildings. From Dinan we
cycled down to the river
This place is called Port de Dinan. The boats
there were sailing boats
and motorboats for leisure. When we came cycling
along the river, a motor boat with flag from the
passed by. Along the river was a flat gravel
road, used in previous
before ships had a motor, for hauling ships
along the river. This nice
road without motor traffic lasted only for some
kilometres until the
Rance became an inlet from the sea. Up from the
river (or inlet) we had
to do some climbing in order to reach the
camping place at Plouer sur
After two weeks it was about time to do some
laundring, which could be
done at the camp site.
Sunday the 27th of July, app. 80 km.
I am the one who did the map reading. On my front luggage carrier I had my sleeping bag and on top of the sleeping bag I had my Michelin map. When I had to study the map in detail I had to stop. Mostly I could manage the map reading well. Not so today. We intended to go northwards on minor roads from Plouer sur Rance, but somewhere I made a wrong turn and finally we ended up at the derelict railway line Dinan-Dinard. The closed station building at Pleslin still had a sign that it was also the station for Plouer sur Rance. Thus we realized we had almost made a complete circle. The derelict railway was of good cycling quality in spite of gravel surface. After 1-2 km we had to leave the railway line and we cycled to the main road towards Dinard. I wanted to do it quickly and we had wasted too much time on the circular tour unvoluntarily made at Plouer. With a favourable tailwind we stayed on the main road until we reached the power station at the inlet Rance. Because of great tidal differences on the Channel coast the tidal current out of and into the inlet Rance can be used for generating electric power. A dam had been built just south of St Malo. The dam was also used as a causeway between the two banks of the inlet. Just outside the dam was a sailing boat waiting to be let through. The boat did not have to go through the turbines. The road was closed while the boat was let into a lock where the water level was adjusted to the level inside the dam.
This famous tourist town of St. Malo was of course cramped with tourists, but we had one problem less than the average tourist; we did not have to find a parking place before we could enter the city behind its medieval walls. We felt hungry and in St. Malo we wanted to have our lunch. The problem was to find a place which Kjartan could accept. As the town was full of people everywhere a place where he would not feel starred at, was impossible to find. A compromise was made; he could accept it if we did not boil tea. He could accept it if we had soft drinks from tins. During the time we had spent with lunch along French roads Kjartan had started to like it, because of the very tasty French bread. Even in small villages we usually found a boulangerie with fresh baguettes, thus we could always have fresh bread for lunch and breakfast.
From St. Malo we cycled to the east, and we came to Mont Dol. Houses and the cathedral of this small town have been built on a rock stack, just like Mont St. Michel, the difference is that at Mont St. Michel the rock stands in the sea and that makes it more exciting, At Mont Dol the cliffs stand up among flat land.
go to the town of Dol. We branched off before we
reached that city.
the distance we could see the structure of the
big cathedral. We took
roads without road signs through a flat polder
area. The marsh land had
been drained at the beginning of this century.
Suddenly Kjartan had a
We mended it once, but the tyre soon got flat
again. There was another
hole and a new patch was needed. At St. Broladre
we were back on a main
road with road signs. We were then relieved
because we knew exactly
we were, and it was time to locate a camp site.
In order to reach the
at St. Marcan, we had to leave the coastal plain
and climb some 200
In the heat we were quite exhausted when we
arrived at the camp site
was perfectly located with a fantastic
view of the sea and Mont st.
Unfortunately we were turned down at this
exclusive camp site. "Le
est complet". It did not help that we had just
small tents and we had
motor vehicle. Especially Turid was very tired
and she was very
We had to cycle back, it was quick to cycle down
hill again, but we had
done all the climbing in vain. We just cycled
along the main road
Pontorson, where we had been before and knew for
sure there was another
camping place. We did not have to cycle that
far, after just 3 km we
a private camping place which was not marked in
our guide. The camping
had a nice restaurant, and satisfied and tired
we could go to sleep in
Monday the 28th of July, appr. 55 km
The aim for this day was the camping site at the town of St. Hilaire du Harcuet. We started by cycling through the flat polder area near the coast where we crossed into the province of Nomandie. We got to the little village of Beauvoir on the road between Mont St. Michel and Pontorson, and for one kilometer we cycled on a road we had cycled on 6 days earlier. We cycled on along road D 80. Just before coming to the village Vergoncey, I heard a shot with a dumb sound, as if it had been fired through a silencer. I knew immediately what had happened; a spoke at my rear wheel had broken. The spokes are probably not well done, and broken spokes have occurred many times before. I had the appropriate equipment, so that I could remove the free wheel and replace the broken spoke with a new one.
Along road D 108 towards St. Aubin I was a bit unlucky about a comment I made on Turid's cycle speed. She got very grumpy. What would happen to our cycle tour if it goes on like this? I was thinking of the report the German cyclist Martin Wittram has made about a cycle tour in France. It seems to be certain sociological laws of splitting up when a cycle group consists of three persons. He and two friends were cycling along the Loire river. One evening they came to discussing politics. They got so bad tempered that the next day two of them were cycling on the southern banks of Loire and one on the northern side of the river. Would the same happen to my cycling family? Fortunately not. Soon we found an excellent place for having picnic on the grass underneath a tree giving shadow. We had an excellent meal and the bad temper was gone.
reached the city of St. Hilaire through the
villages: Les Biards and
Tuesday, the 29th of July, appr. 35 km
Before we started from St. Hilaire we had to go to the tourist office to get information of the location of camping places farther away from the coast. We did not know that on that day we would just do a very short distance. First we were heading for the town of Mortain. Kjartan got a flat tyre. One of the patches I had put on two days earlier had started to leak. I made a good repair and the tyre kept the air inside it.
Mortain is hilly. In order to reach the town we
had to climb a steep
up from the river. In the heat it was very hard.
On the top of the hill
was a camping place situated right on the edge
of a gorge. The site was
very tempting, and Turid decided it: " I am not
cycling any farther."
found Mortain very interesting. In the lime
stone area the river had
a wild and beautiful gorge, nice for tourists to
walk through and nice
for climbers to practice their techniques on
steep cliff walls and
During the war the Germans took advantage of
this wild terrain, and at
Mortain they tried to make a break through the
allied lines after the
of July 1944.
Wednesday the 30th of July, appr. 75 km
as hot as the day before. In the morning it was
even misty, and the
made cycling a pleasure. I tried to keep our
cycle route on a level,
I avoided, if I could, taking roads which
crossed rivers because that
mean going downhill into a valley and then going
uphill again. We
into the département Orne. We passed the
town of Tinchebray.
to the east we took road N 811. In spite of
route nationale there was
much traffic on this road. On this road we could
easily put the
behind us, as it was going slowly downhill. We
branched off to the
and at La Londe we crossed into
département Calvados. The
became more hilly, and in order to attract
tourists the area is called
La Suisse Normande. We were heading towards a
camping site at Clecy on
the river Orne. In this hilly scenery we rolled
without pedalling for
least 3 kilometres down into the valley where
the river Orne flows.
on arriving at the camping site, Kjartan got a
flat tyre. It was the
tyre which had been bothering us for the last
couple of days. It was
to buy a new tyre. At Clecy there was no cycle
shop, and at the camping
I made some efforts to repair the tyre. Each
time it was flat after
an hour.The next town with cycle shop would be
in Thury-Harcourt, some
20 km downstream along the river Orne. I hoped
we would reach the town
in spite of some pumping of Kjartan's front
Thursday the 31st of July, appr. 60 km
The first thing I did this morning was to check the air of Kjartans front wheel. It was nearly empty. I pumped it again just before we started for Thury-Harcourt. We tried to keep to the banks of the river Orne. I constantly kept asking Kjartan how things were going with his front wheel. Each time he replied everything was all right and the air stayed inside the tube.
In Thury-Harcourt we had some trouble in finding a correct inner tube because Kjartan's bike is equipped with larger valves than what is standard in France. We realized we would have to do with a narrower valve. It would have been impossible with it the other way around, if the new valve had been larger than the opening in the rim. Because the air seemed to stay well inside Kjartan's old tube, we would have to cycle on and keep the new tube for reserve. Kjartan's old tube remained good for the rest of the tour, and we did not have to replace it with the new one. The fact that we did not have the really hot weather any more might be one explanation. Hot, humid weather have a tendency of dissolving old glue.
could continue towards Caen. Unfortunately there
was no road in the
valley and along the river Orne. Just after
leaving Thury-Harcourt we
from N162 to the left and took minor roads
without signposts. From our
road we had a view over the landscape, and the
river valley was clearly
visible. In the river valley lay a disused
railway line (Caen-Flers).
an attraction touristique it would have been if
the railway bed had
converted to a cycle way along the river Orne,
through a quiet valley.
Friday the 1st of August, appr. 10 km within Caen
for two nights. We spent some hours at a laundry
and we looked at the
of the city. The town had been badly bombed
during the war, and the
had a rather modern structure with wide streets
and fast traffic. We
the castle where once William the Conqueror had
lived and we visited
two churches St. Nicholas and St. Pierre. They
represented the two
of Romanesque and Gothic.
Saturday the 2nd of August, appr. 40 km
By minor roads we cycled on to Bayeux, the town of the famous carpet. The carpet is like a comic series. In a series of pictures the whole story of William the Conqueror is described. To each picture there is a short text in Latin. As we all know, William had a successful invasion of England in the year 1066. I should be consequent: His name is in French; Guilleaume le Conquérant
attractions of this town is a running water mill
and the gothic
which was not devastated during the last
invasion (not that one just
from 1066). Bayeux even had a large museum of
the second World War. The
invasion of 1944 took place along the coast of
Normandie, and Bayeux
its share of the military activity. The museum
has a large collection
weapons, uniforms, vehicles and other equipment
from World War II. War
films were shown, but we did not appreciate
those films so much,
they tended to be too nice. The film scenes had
normally been shot when
the war shooting was over, and the film gave the
impression that the
was a parade where the German soldiers were
surrendering. A German
was crying. Was it because his country was about
to lose the war, we
not believe that; more likely he was crying with
relief that he had
Sunday, the 3rd of August, appr. 50 km
After a night at a crowded camping place at Bayeux we cycled towards the coast. At Vierville there was a large American cemetery. For each missing American soldier whose body had not been found, a cross had been erected. There were crosses over a large area, and it made a deep impression on us as we were walking along the crosses of so many who gave their lives.
took us farther along the coast. At Pointe du
Hoc. Memories from the
were physically present in German bunkers. This
location does not have
a flat beach. From the German position there was
a steep precipice into
the sea. At the invasion of 1944 American
soldiers had climbed that
wall, because it was vital that the guns were
made inactive. The
were slaughtered at this place. When they
finally managed to conquer
gun position, it turned out that the guns had
been withdrawn. When we
about the role of Pointe du Hoc during World War
II we were deeply
War means suffering and death.
Monday the 4th of August, appr. 70 km
The last night we had stayed at the camping site at Isigny. Towards Carentan we partly used the highway N13, but that was all right because a new motorway had been built, hence the traffic on the main road was tolerable. At Carentan there was market day where everything from clothes to living ducks were sold. Because of the market activity there were many people in the town and much traffic about. We spent some time looking at the gothic cathedral. The crowded conditions of the town, made us continue without buying food for lunch. We did not find any shops along the road, as we had hoped. We had to increase our speed in order to reach the next larger village where there might be a shop, and we had to reach it before the shops were closed for lunch break. In St. Marie du Mont we could buy our supplies. We had a nice meal at a picnic place along road D329.
After lunch and after two more kilometres we were at Utah beach. A museum with an exhibition had been erected (I believe at the anniversary in 1994). The exhibition was less abundant than the exhibition in Bayeux, but at Utah beach we were right in situ of the very invasion. A farther distance along the beach we came to the place where the first French general had made his landing in 1944. While we were cycling on along the coast I allowed to make a joke with Kjartan, "The Germans should have guessed that the Americans would land and go ashore at Utah beach because that name would be so familiar to the Americans." Kjartan did not reply back because he thought what his dad said was so stupid.
that evening was at Quettehou, along the coast
north of Utah
At the entrance of the camp site there was
placed a sign: "Interdit aux
nomades". Turid made the remark that after 3-4
weeks of cycling around
and sleeping in tents, we were real nomads.
Well, we did not have any
in being accepted at the camp site.
Tuesday the 5th of August, appr. 40 km
would take us back to Cherbourg from where we
had started our cycle
in France, 3 weeks ago. We passed through
Tourlaville, a suburb
Cherbourg. From a map at a bus stop we planned
our route to the camping
place. One of our streets turned out to be
a one way street
our direction. That is typical of the situation
in French towns. One
streets have been introduced in order to help
motor traffic. Whether it
is useful for cyclists, they don't mind. If the
French are just as
about their one way streets as our Norwegian
road authorities are, we
have got a rather high fine in Tourlaville as we
were violating the one
way street. Frankly speaking, I don't see the
point in excluding
from using a one way street in both directions
as long as there is
room for a car and a cyclist to pass each other.
Wednesday the 6th of August, appr. 15 km
This was our last day in France. At the landing place for the ferry we met an Englishman who had been cycling since May, and he was now on his way back home. He had been in Marocco, and he had cycled all the way. It had been a great advantage to start as early as May when temperatures were not so high. He could be away for so long time because he was unemployed, and he avoided staying at camp sites in order to keep his travelling expenses low. His money came from searching beaches with a metal detector. He got enough revenues this way, he said.
18.00, and the crossing to Portsmouth took 4
hours. At ten we would be
in Portsmouth, and it would be dark. In Britain
it would not be ten,
nine o'clock, but the sun's position does not
change if the official
is changed, so in spite of 9 o'clock in
Portsmouth it would already be
dark. In Portsmouth we knew our way to the
camp site, and we
it with no problems although we were violating
the laws by cycling with
Thursday the 7th of August, appr. 40 km
Our way out of Portsmouth was to cycle from the camp site to the south, to a point from where we could take a cycle and pedestrian ferry over to Hayling island. In this way we avoided an area with much traffic north of Portsmouth. Until the 1960s Hayling island had a railway connection, and the railway track had now become a cycle way. In spite of a bit rough surface on it, it was good to cycle on. At the bridge from the island and to the mainland we had to use the road bridge. It was striking how much traffic there was on this road. The railway track continued at the end of the bridge, and by using the derelict railway we ended up on the main road A27 at Havant. This was the most rainy day we encountered on our whole tour, but the rain was not so hard as we know from our home on the Western coast of Norway
The traffic on A27 was tolerable because a parallel motorway took much of the traffic and one metre on each side of the A 27 the surface had been marked as an area for cyclists. We did not actually enjoy cycling on the A27 and we were happy when we saw a blue sign pointing to the right: "South coast cycle route". For this area we did not have any good map, and we did not exactly know where the signs with South coast cycle route were taking us, but we knew the signs would eventually lead us to where we were heading, Chichester.
a nice town with an impressive cathedral. The
camp site is situated
some kilometres outside the city centre. We were
really shocked at the
prices at this camp site. We payed GBP 16, over
double standard price
France. In the evening a little colony of
cyclists existed. During our
cycle tour we never met so many cyclists at one
Friday the 8th of August, appr. 80 km
Today was the day of splitting up of our family and time for individual travelling. Turid refused to cycle back to Gatwick, or actually to Horley where we had made a reservation at a guest house. She did not like the traffic in Southern England. We knew from before going to England that trains in Southern England convey bicycles with no restrictions and even free. Because of the traffic Turid and Kjartan decided to go by train to Horley, but I still wanted to cycle. At first Turid did not like the idea that I was not coming along with them because she was so afraid of the traffic and the huge round abouts at Gatwick, but she accepted the idea of my cycling when she understood that they could go by train all the way to Horley and thus avoiding the traffic machines at Gatwick.
was no rain, the sun was shining, and I enjoyed
pedalling alone at a
I decided for myself along road A285 towards
I could put the bad map of scale 1:253440 into
my cycle bag. For the
farther to the east I had a much better map:
Great Britain sheet number 6. From Petworth I
used country lanes, and I
enjoyed cycling along those quiet roads, through
the nice landscape,
the warming sun. From Petworth to Kidford and
Loxwood, to Bucks Green.
At the cross road at Ellen's Green I found a
bench under a shading
It was time for lunch. On my way to Horley I had
to cross a busy dual
Cyclists were warned that they should alight
when crossing it. Again an
example that road authorities can only think
motor traffic. A cyclist
be kept for a longer time in the danger zone of
the 2x2 traffic lines
he crosses the road on foot instead of cycling.
Saturday, the 9th of August, appr. 80 km
wanted to spend this day in London whereas I
preferred to make a
cycle tour in this garden-agricultural area of
Sunday the 10th of August, appr. 50 km
this was another day in London. I cycled from
Horley to the south, to
railway. I disliked the heavy traffic on the
roads, but things got
when I got on the by-roads south of East
Grinstead. Bluebell Railway is
a museum railway on a railway line abandoned by
the BR. When I arrived
at Horstead Keynes station, I observed old
British traffic signs, like
the ones I knew from my first cycle tour in
Britain 1963. The nostalgic
feeling got even stronger within the railway
station where steam trains
arrived and left. I felt rather disappointed
that my request for
my bike and luggage in a room at the station
while I was travelling on
the railway, was turned down.
Monday the 11th of August, appr. 20 km
when we left the guest house in Horley, Turid
and Kjartan wanted to
the heavy traffic at Gatwick and went by train
to the airport. I found
my way through the round abouts at Gatwick and
after the flight we all
arrived safely back home.