Service station - A country hidden by a large dog - CycleBlaze

September 5, 2019

Service station

Sautenay Village to Cercié

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NOBODY would claim there was much to see at Cercié. For most, it's a set of traffic lights, a newspaper shop and a one-man general store.

But that's for those with neither eyes nor pedals. Because Cercié once had a railway line. The station is still there, long closed, and what's left of the platforms, and there's a large grey crane where goods were once loaded on to trains long fallen silent. And it has turned its station into a Point Vélo, a service station for cyclists on a path which spreads now along where rails once were.

Cercié's old station is a landmark for casual riders and pannier-warriors alike
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There is water, there are toilets and wash basins and, while perhaps it wasn't the intention, a neighbouring park into which you can find a way with a loaded bike to pitch a tent.

Cercié offers help to load heavy panniers on your bike
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We left our field in Sautenay Village this morning - and, yes, that really is its name, even if it sounds like a salesman's pitch for a housing estate - and we headed back to a secondary but busy road to take us well out of the claws of Lyon.

The road reared and retreated, like a circus lion confronted by a trainer, chair and whip, until the show was over and the roads lost their roar and the bulk of the traffic turned off down the Saône valley.

And from there we rode on narrow country lanes, our drying laundry flapping from our bags to give us just the right air of hobbledehoy.

We were just beyond the inappropriately named Belleville when we turned on to a dozen or so kilometres of smooth if gently rising calmness of bike trail, trees to one side and cows to the other and a rustic contentment that leads poets to pull out their pens. And that brought us into Cercié, which was as far as we cared to go after the mental and physical demands of yesterday.

How things used to be
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We have been sitting at a bench, cooking food, reading books and wondering why a group of Germans should be led on a tour of the park to unconvincing cries of "Wunderbar!" The price of town-twinning, perhaps.

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Now they've left and the moment is right, I have found a discreet place to camp and we will pass the night in the contentment of a day through the hills and three named cols tomorrow.

Sing ho for the open road!

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